Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

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In the online application you will be given the option of choosing a first choice program and a second choice program. Applicants should only submit one application that indicates a first preference and an optional second preference. Duplicate applications will be deleted.

During application reviews the admissions committee will consider your qualifications for the other INI program you've indicated. If you are not qualified for the program to which you've applied for your first choice, the INI will consider you for your second choice program.

Competition is keen for admission to the INI. Application to our programs has consistently increased year after year. Admission is based on many factors including your academic record, GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, programming skills, and written and spoken English abilities. We also consider any work/internship experience, research experience, publications, your essay responses, and all other information you submit in your online application.

The INI does not use a "formula" to rank applicants for acceptance, and thus there is no magic number in terms of GRE scores, GPA, etc. that will guarantee admission. The list of minimum requirements provided on the How to Apply page provides guidelines for the basic qualifications needed to be considered for admission to the programs. Any further evaluation must be undertaken by the admissions committee once a full application is available for review.

No, the INI does not accept applications for spring semester admissions. All applicants must apply for fall admission.
Please note that with the College of Engineering's online application, you must submit a separate application to apply to different College of Engineering programs. Applicants who wish to apply to the INI and ECE for instance, must complete a separate application for each and pay a separate application fee as well.
The Information Networking Institute only administers the MSIN, MSIS and MSIT programs. For information on ECE graduate and doctoral programs, please contact ECE at apps@ece.cmu.edu.
You may apply online. We do not accept paper applications. Please see the How to Apply page for more detailed instructions.

Incomplete applications will be reviewed in the second round. Seats in the second round are offered on a space availability basis. The majority of seats are offered in the first round.

If you are applying online, you must pay your application fee online with a credit card. 

No. All applicants are required to submit their recommendations via the online application. There will be no exceptions for any reason and no paper recommendations will be accepted.

GRE scores may be retrieved from the Carnegie Mellon central database. However, if we are unable to retrieve your scores, you will be contacted and may need to send them again. Make sure to self-report your ETS scores; they will be verified in the system. You cannot upload your scores.

If you send your ETS scores to another department this may cause a delay in completing your application, so you are encouraged to use the GRE and TOEFL codes provided on the How to Apply page.

The INI now only requires applicants to use the institution code #2074. This will allow the INI to more easily retrieve your scores. No Department code is necessary since the INI no longer requires paper copies of ETS reports.

Yes, all non-native English speakers are required to provide a test of their ESL skills by taking the iBTTOEFL (preferred), or the IELTS (if unable to take the TOEFL). See “How to Apply” for additional information on TOEFL requirements.The codes for reporting the TOEFL test are institution code 2074, no department code is required, but if one is needed to complete the ETS order, you may use department code 99.

If the applicant has never taken the TOEFL, the INI may consider waiving the test if sufficient ESL skill is proven. The waiver must be requested and formally approved. Applicants who do not obtain a formal waiver, will not be considered for admission. Contact the INI Admissions Staff at ini@cmu.edu to request a waiver.

The IELTS should be sent with an official cover sheet as verification of authenticity.

Only the GRE General Test is accepted. Neither the GMAT nor GRE Subject Tests are accepted for admission evaluation.
The INI has no published minimum score requirements. As stated previously admission is based on many factors so there is no magic number that will guarantee admission. As a rough guideline, the INI looks for scores in the Quantitative section that are 80th percentile or above, and in the Analytical Writing section a 4.5. Verbal scores range in the 70th percentile or above. There is no assurance that you will be admitted if you exceed all of these guidelines due to all of the factors we evaluate, including other aspects of your academic record, and the strength of the applicant pool in any given year. Additionally, scoring below these guidelines does not mean you will be rejected.
As with the GRE, the INI has no published minimum score requirements for the TOEFL or IELTS. However, as a rough guideline, the INI looks for section scores of 25 and higher for the TOEFL and a total band score of 7.0 or higher for the IELTS. There is no assurance that you will be admitted if you exceed all of these scores due to all of the factors we evaluate, including other aspects of your academic record, and the strength of the applicant pool in any given year. Additionally, scoring below these guidelines does not mean you will be rejected.
The INI does not offer or manage any internship programs.

Students at the INI have the opportunity to get involved with the activities of other departments by assisting in courses as teaching assistants or working with faculty on research projects. These assignments typically offer compensation that is determined by the offering department. In addition, students with an interest in cybersecurity may have the opportunity to work on research projects through institutions, such as CyLab or CERT, that may also offer additional compensation.

Please note that the INI itself does not typically assist students in finding campus opportunities and will, on rare occasion, offer an RA position. TA appointments are determined by individual faculty members teaching those classes. INI students are allowed to apply for RA and TA positions, or any other student job on campus, while they are students at the INI. Students usually learn of many opportunities upon their arrival to campus in the first fall semester.

All applicants are required to upload legible copies of their unofficial transcripts and degree certificate if they’ve graduated at the time they are applying. Hard copy official transcripts will only be requested of applicants who are admitted and accept enrollment. The INI will not accept hard copies of transcripts as part of the application. Documents sent to the INI without a specific request by the department will not be retained.

See the following website for information on submitting transcripts. Note that documents should only be submitted once requested by the department. Admitted applicants will generally receive a formal email request for official transcripts as part of the demonstration of Proof of Graduation--a condition of enrollment. Proof of Graduation emails are sent after admissions decisions are posted.

Financial statements should not be uploaded to your application. To be considered for funding the INI requires that you answer “Yes” to the questions “Do you wish to be considered for funding,” and that you provide information about what funding you expect to use, either your own funds or those of a sponsor (family member, friend, funding organization, etc…). Do not name the INI as your sponsor. You may provide the funding information by answering the questions presented.

This information is for internal INI use and is not tied to the I-20, so financial documents should not be provided.

The INI does not offer tuition waivers.
Tuition for INI programs is set in the spring.Please see the tuition page for fees assessed for the current class.

Most graduates entering the program receive some assistance in the form of a tuition scholarship. The amount of the assistance, if any, is determined by the admissions committee at the time of application review. In general, students admitted to the program are responsible for the bulk of their tuition.

The majority of students find funding either through family, personal loans, government programs, or educational funding organizations. U.S. citizens admitted to our security programs have several unique full scholarship opportunities funded by the U.S. government under the Scholarship for Service program and the Information Assurance Scholarship Program.

Read More About Financial Assistance

Prospective students are welcome to visit the INI in Pittsburgh or Silicon Valley. Request a Tour and Information Session