Carnegie Mellon University

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

Program Overview

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 a deeper understanding of STEM via traditional classroom instruction, through hands-on projects, and sustained engagement with world-renowned faculty and skilled staff mentors. 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:

  • Develops a diverse and supportive community of STEM Scholars interested in attending top-tier universities.
  • Strengthens students’ commitment to pursuing STEM-related disciplines.
  • Broadens students understanding and access to opportunities made available through study in STEM.
  • Equips students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be successful STEM scholars.


The Summer Academy for Math and Science will consist of 2 parts:

PART 1: Part one of the SAMS program will occur prior to the start of the residential program (dates to be determined). This will be a virtual jumpstart for participants, focusing on some skill-building that will be needed for the in-person program. During this time the program will be connecting virtually for portions of these days, but students will not be needed for full days.  

PART 2: Part two of the SAMS program will be a 5 week, in-person Pre-College program. Students will move into the residence halls on July 1st, and the first day of classes will be July 3rd. SAMS Scholars will be in courses and meetings for full days during the 5-weeks they are here. The academic portion of the program will conclude with the symposium on Friday, August 4th and students will move out of the residence halls on August 5th.

SAMS is a fully funded, merit-based program. There is no cost for scholars to participate. We expect all SAMS 2023 Scholars to participate fully for the duration of the program. We understand that students may be applying to multiple Summer 2023 opportunities, however if selected for SAMS, scholars will not be permitted to participate in any other programs (virtual or in person) if program dates conflict. If you have any questions, please reach out to

    • Students will complete Quantitative and Computational Skill seminars that compose the academic core:

      • Math

      • Science

      • STEM-related seminar & project that is advised by a STEM faculty and/or graduate student

    • Students will participate in writing workshops with a focus on college application preparation.

    • Students will attend workshops, meet with alumni, students, university leaders, and finalize STEM-based projects.

    • Students will meet in mentoring small groups facilitated by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion.

    • Students will participate in and learn more about collaborative learning through group tutoring and academic coaching sessions offered through the Student Academic Success Center.

    • Students and families will participate in virtual enrichment sessions, such as financial aid, FAFSA, and college admission.

    • Families will participate in virtual workshops about how to best support their student in the college search and admission process.

  • SAMS culminates with the day-long Symposium which includes a Closing Awards Ceremony and STEM project student presentations.

August - December (optional, virtual)

  • Students will interact with admission, financial aid, student affairs, and academic support staff.
  • Students will interact with current Carnegie Mellon community members to explore STEM majors and opportunities at CMU.

Financial Need

Summer Academy for Math & Science (SAMS) 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 any of the following contacts: 

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 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 junior in high school at the time of application submission.

Students selected for the SAMS program have the following qualities:

  • Have an experience that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion in education, extra-curricular activities, and/or community engagement.
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in STEM disciplines.

 All eligible students are welcome, and 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 a home where English was a second language
  • First-generation college students (parent(s) did not complete a bachelor’s degree)
  • Currently attending a high school with historically low rates of admittance to top-tier institutions

The SAMS application includes 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)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Complete two essay prompts indicated in the application

An essay is required for the following prompt (300-500 words):

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

In addition, respond to one of the two following 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?
  • In 1900 Carnegie Mellon’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, stated, “My Heart is in the Work.” Understanding that one of the University’s foundational pillars is diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, please relate and connect this quote to your desire to attend the Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS). Discuss your interest in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) as it relates to STEM fields and/or your own experiences with inclusive education.  How will SAMS help you in your educational interests and career pursuits?

CMU President, PNC official and SAMS students
PNC Foundation Chair and President Sally McCrady and CMU President Farnam Jahanian with SAMS students during the 2022 symposium and closing event, where a $3 million grant announcement was made.


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 Office for Institutional Equity and Title IX, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.