Carnegie Mellon University

AI Scholars

AI Scholars will take a deep dive into the world of artificial intelligence through a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on research projects, faculty lectures, and industry engagement with leading tech companies around the country.

AI Scholars students presenting at closing symposium.
Program Length
Jun. 22
Jul. 20, 2024 

 (4 weeks)
Applications* Due
Decision Notification On
Housing Option


*Applications with AI Scholars as a first, second, and/or third choice selection will NOT be considered for Early Decision or on rolling admission. Applicants selecting this program will follow the timeline listed above.
**Must be a current junior to be eligible.

Program Overview

AI Scholars (AIS), a CS Pathways initiative, is a four-week immersive experience on the CMU campus for rising high school seniors. This fully funded, merit-based program brings students together from around the country to explore artificial intelligence with Carnegie Mellon faculty, staff, and researchers who are leaders in the field. As a fully funded program, AI Scholars program costs are covered by CS Pathways through generous support from foundations, corporations, sponsors, and donors. Covered costs include tuition, housing, meal plans, and program-related field trips and special events. Travel assistance may be requested by families for whom transportation costs to and from CMU would provide a significant barrier to attendance.

As an AI Scholar you will engage in college-level courses, as well as weekly college prep and readiness seminars focused on college admissions, financial aid, social emotional wellbeing, and more. You'll develop meaningful connections with peers and mentors while being fully immersed in the college experience. A core value of CS Pathways and the AI Scholars program is building an inclusive, anti-racist environment. You will be expected to uphold this value and to participate in discussions about equity in STEM and beyond.

Academic Information

AI Scholars will participate in project-based learning and attend lectures in various aspects of computing and artificial intelligence. You will participate in a hands-on group project that you will present to your peers and instructors at the end of the program. This project will apply your newly acquired skills to real-world challenges that use artificial intelligence for the betterment of humanity. In addition, you will engage with industry leaders to learn about the vast and exciting opportunities in the field of artificial intelligence. 

The 2024 summer program is a four-week residential experience on the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon admission, you are required to participate for the full length of the four-week program dates. Admitted students are expected to give their full commitment to AI Scholars while in attendance - you will not be permitted to miss classes or schedule obligations for other (virtual) programs. If you are applying to multiple programs this summer, please take this expectation into consideration.

Core classes, guest lectures, group projects, workshops, and academic tours and field trips are held Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.* Evenings may consist of office hours, homework, group study, and social time. Weekends are yours to take part in field trips, participate in on-campus clubs, and to explore the rich culture of Pittsburgh!

*Class times may vary day to day, but typically end between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.


Virtual pre-program Python course to include synchronous and asynchronous components beginning approximately 1 month before arrival to campus. Prior coding experience is not required, and instructor support will be available for all students.
  • Core AIS curriculum taught by CMU faculty.
  • In-depth introduction to ongoing research projects from CMU faculty and graduate students.
  • Students will participate in writing workshops with a focus on college application preparation.
  • Career and personal development discussions led by experts.
  • Group mentoring from CMU faculty and graduate students.
  • Seminars in academic readiness and post graduate planning.
  • Peer socialization.
  • Group research projects led by CMU faculty, staff, and graduate students.
  • Field trip to AI industry leaders where students are introduced to people, topics, and career opportunities.
  • Capstone group presentations that showcase skills developed in the classroom will be presented publicly at the AIS closing symposium on the final day of the program.

Financial Need

AI Scholars (AIS) utilizes a holistic application review and admissions process, looking at the full application and selecting program participants based on a combination of factors. Because we are a fully funded, merit-based program for participants, demonstration of financial need is one of these factors. There is no option for participants to pay out of pocket tuition fees for this program, and documentation of financial need is required for application submission. Documentation includes either tax documents or a completed NACAC Application Fee Waiver signed by your high school guidance department.  

Further information is below, but please feel free to reach out with questions to Natalie Hatcher, AIS Program Director.

The AI Scholars program is intended to create opportunities for students who lack access and/or resources at home, at school, or in their communities. This can mean financial need, it can mean a lack of computer science education in your school district or community, or lack of access to affordable/stable internet or computing devices. We recognize that students may not meet the current financial need requirements, but may still lack access or opportunity for other reasons. If any of this resonates with your experience, we strongly encourage you to apply. If you are still unsure if this program is for you, please reach out to Natalie Hatcher at

Students in any of the below categories are considered to demonstrate financial need:  

  • Students who have received or are eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver.
  • Students who are enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program (FRPL).
  • Students whose family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • Students who are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
  • Students whose family receives public assistance.
  • Students who live in federally subsidized public housing, a foster home, or are homeless.
  • Students who are a ward of the state or an orphan.
  • Students who can provide a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader. 

All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be considered.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

To be eligible for AI Scholars, students must:

  • Be at least 16 years old by the program start date.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Students who are registered with DACA are also eligible.
  • Be a junior in high school at time of application submission.

Students applying for AI Scholars should demonstrate a strong interest in exploring AI, though no coding experience is necessary.

We strongly encourage students from the following backgrounds to apply:

  • Underrepresented in STEM fields.
  • Low socioeconomic status, which may be indicated by eligibility for public assistance programs or free/reduced lunch.
  • Raised in a home where English was a second language.
  • Future first generation college students (you’ll be the first in your home to obtain a bachelor’s degree).
  • From families with an absence of STEM degrees.
  • Currently attending a high school with historically low rates of admittance to top-tier institutions.

The complete application for AI Scholars will consist of the following:

  • Online application
  • Unofficial high school transcript
  • Standardized test scores (optional)
  • Responses to essay prompts
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation: 
    • One counselor recommendation (written by a school counselor or community-based organization advisor)
    • One teacher recommendation (written by a teacher in a STEM field)

A response to the following essay prompt is required (300-500 words):

  • What do you hope to gain from participating in Carnegie Mellon's Pre-College Programs?

In addition, applicants are required to respond to two additional essay prompts that will be provided in the online application.


Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, ancestry, belief, veteran status, or genetic information. Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate and is required not to discriminate in violation of federal, state, or local laws or executive orders.  Inquiries concerning the application of and compliance with this statement should be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity and Title IX, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.