Carnegie Mellon University

The Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) provides opportunities for students from underrepresented communities to explore STEM-related fields and earn college credit.

As SAMS Scholars, students engage in a rigorous curriculum taught by our renowned faculty and staff who are deeply committed to student success. The program allows students to develop deeper understanding in areas such as mathematics, biology, physics and computer programming via traditional classroom instruction, hands-on projects and engagement activities. In addition to their academic experiences, students also have the opportunity to collaborate, and develop meaningful relationships with peers from across the country.

Through SAMS and other outreach initiatives, the university:

  • Creates a diverse and supportive community of STEM scholars interested in attending top-tier universities
  • Strengthens student commitment to pursuing STEM-related disciplines
  • Exposes students to world-renowned faculty and campus staff who serve as lifelong mentors
  • Supports students as they engage in a highly innovative, collaborative and inclusive environment


Picture of Summer Academy of Math and Science students and families sitting at the SAMS Symposium


The SAMS curriculum is designed to develop mastery of critical concepts in higher-level collegiate math and science. Students enroll in courses, seminars, hands on projects and professional/academic development workshops taught and supported by faculty and staff who've demonstrated strong commitment to teaching and research. 

Please note that admitted students will take a math assessment test, administered by Carnegie Mellon faculty, to determine math course placement. All other offerings are non-credit seminars and students have an opportunity to make their selection prior the start of the program. 

Sample courses and seminars:

  • Mathematics: Pre-Calculus, Differential Equations or Concepts of Mathematics
  • Science: Physics, Chemistry, or Biology
  • Past Electives: Computer Programming, Entrepreneurship, or Standardized Test Prep

Sample projects from 2019 (over 15 different projects are generally offered):

  • Audio Recording
  • Biotechnology
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Entertainment Technology
  • Forensic Science
  • Video Game Analysis and Design

Sample professional/academic development workshops:

  • Standardized test preparation
  • Admission college essay writing
  • Pursuing undergraduate research opportunities
  • STEM engagement field trips
  • Leadership development


To be eligible for the SAMS 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 SAMS 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 STEM disciplines.


We strongly encourage students from the following backgrounds to apply:

  • Underrepresented in science and engineering, 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 412-268-1018.

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



Application Requirements

The application for the SAMS 2020 program will be available in November and will include more specific information regarding requirements. However, applicants can expect the application to include 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 prompt (300-500 words):
    • What do you hope to gain from participating in the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College program?
  • Response to one of the following essay prompts (no more than 1000 words):
    • It is often said that adversity builds character, and frequently the lessons we take from encountered obstacles can build a foundation to later success. Carefully recount a time that you faced a very specific challenge; name the setback or failure; and describe how it impacted and influenced your values. How did this experience affect you? What were your lessons learned?
    • Carnegie Mellon University has been a birthplace of innovation since 1900. In that same year, the founder, Andrew Carnegie stated, “My Heart is in the Work.”  Relate and connect this philosophy to why you are interested in attending the Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)? How will participating in SAMS impact your interest in research, helping others, and your academic and career goals? How will your past experience contribute to and influence the success of the current program? Most importantly, how will your work shape the curriculum in order to make a difference for students who attend SAMS in future years?

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Summer Academy for Math and Science is a residential program.

No, SAMS scholars engage in a rigorous curriculum during the six-week residential experience and therefore additional commitments cannot be supported.