Carnegie Mellon University

Due to the ongoing considerations related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pre-College program will be offered only through remote instruction in the summer of 2021. Please view the Online Academic Information section below to review the updated program overview, curriculum, and requirements for our online Computer Science Scholars program.

Online Academic Information:

Students enrolled in Computer Science Scholars’ remote offering will experience the same academic rigor and engagement that the program typically delivers in-person/the residential setting. Participants will attend lectures by Carnegie Mellon faculty with expertise in various aspects of computing. They will also attend two academic seminars focused on programming and higher level mathematics. Project based learning will supplement classroom experiences and offer students an opportunity to apply learned concepts to real world challenges.

Outside of the academic experience students will engage virtually with industry leaders to learn about the vast opportunities in the field of computing. Students will have an opportunity to be mentored by industry leaders throughout the country. At the conclusion of the program students will receive a comprehensive evaluation which can be integrated into their academic portfolios for college admission purposes. 

The online academic schedule for the Computer Science Scholars program is 12-6pm EST, Monday through Friday.

For specific questions related to how the curriculum and student experience will be delivered in a virtual framework please email


o    Required hardware and wireless connectivity. If students do not have a computer or access to the internet, please let us know and a solution will be found to allow participation.

o    U.S. Location. The Program is available only to individuals in the United States. Students are required to be physically located in the United States at all times when accessing Program courses and/or activities.



The Computer Science Scholars (CSS) program provides students who are from traditionally underrepresented communities in the field of Computer Science an opportunity to receive exposure to computing and additional computer science pre-requisites. 

As Computer Science Scholars, students engage in a rigorous curriculum taught by full-time faculty, staff and researchers who are leaders in the field. The program enables students to take a deep dive into the field of Computer Science through a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on experience with research projects, seminars, and field trips to computer science related companies. In addition to their academic experiences, students also have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with peers from across the country and establish mentoring relationship with hopes of developing and maintaining interest in computer science related disciplines. 



The program curriculum includes the following:

CS Education

  • Completion of a CMU Computer Science seminar course
    • This course will not bear college credit 
  • Lectures by Carnegie Mellon professors
  • In-depth introduction to ongoing research projects from faculty
  • Field trips to CS industry leaders where students are introduced to people, topics and career opportunities

Personal Growth

  • Discussions lead by experts in career and personal development
  • Small group mentoring with CS faculty and graduate students
  • Social events with peers

Hands-on Experience

  • Small-group research project led by faculty or graduate students; projects focus on using CS for societal good
  • Group presentations showcasing work at the end of the program


To be eligible for the Computer Science Scholars program students must:

  • Be at least 16 years old by the program start date.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be a current sophomore or junior in high school.


Selection Criteria:

Students selected for the Computer Science Scholars program have the following qualities:

  • Have experience that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion in education, extra-curricular activities, or community engagement.
  • Demonstrate strong interest in Computer Science.
    • No coding experience is necessary.


We strongly encourage students from the following backgrounds to apply:

  • Underrepresented in Computer Science, defined as being African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native American
  • Low socioeconomic status, which may be indicated by eligibility for public assistance programs or free/reduced lunch
  • Raised in home where English was a second language
  • First generation college students (neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree)
  • Currently attending a high school with historically low rates of admittance to top-tier institutions


All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be considered. 

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 university ombudsman, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, telephone 412-268-3930.

Obtain general information about Carnegie Mellon University by calling 412-268-2000.



Application Requirements

The complete application for the Computer Science Scholars program will consist of the following:

  • Online Application
  • Unofficial high school transcript
  • Standardized Test Scores (optional)
  • One counselor recommendation (written by a school counselor or community-based organization advisor)
  • One teacher recommendation (written by a teacher in a STEM field).
  • Response to the following essay prompts (300-500 words):
    • What do you hope to gain from participating in the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College program?
  • Responses to the following Computer Science Scholars short answer questions (300-500 words):
    • Please describe any obstacles that you have had to overcome in the pursuit of your scientific studies.
    • What does diversity and inclusion mean to you? Is diversity important in CS, why or why not? Describe your past efforts, as well as future plans to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and technology.