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 Pre-College Summer Session program.

Online Academic Information:

In Pre-College Summer Session, high-school students enroll in CMU college courses, earning college credit and receiving a Carnegie Mellon transcript. Courses are from subjects across the entire university, including in science, humanities, social science, engineering, computer science, and technology applied to the arts. The courses are the same ones taken during the fall and spring by Carnegie Mellon students, usually in their first year or as sophomores.

Pre-College Summer Session students enroll in one or two courses, which typically also enroll undergraduate students. The program is therefore appropriate for students who will be returning to high school, yet who are ready to take the challenge of fast-paced summer college courses within a supportive and welcoming environment. In 2021, the Pre-College Summer Session expects to offer approximately thirty courses, all available by remote instruction.


  • Required Equipment and Applications. [If anything other than home computer, Internet access and programs supplied by CMU].
  • 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.
  • Time zone. Courses are conducted based on local time in Pittsburgh (in the summer, this is Eastern Daylight Time). Courses meet at least eighty minutes every weekday; some courses have multiple sessions. Most courses meet between 9:00am and 6:30pm.


 The Pre-College Summer Session provides high school students with the unique opportunity to take summer courses offered by Carnegie Mellon for credit.

Students earn college credit while working in an academic setting that mirrors the supportive, rigorous environment of the first year of college. Every summer, Summer Session offers approximately two dozen courses from academic disciplines across the university. Successful Summer Session students leverage their experiences to demonstrate their ability to succeed in college, and have the potential to receive college credit for the coursework at Carnegie Mellon and other institutions that accepts the credit.

Please note that admittance into the Pre-College Summer Session does not guarantee admittance to Carnegie Mellon within the Undergraduate Admission process.


The Summer Session curriculum is comprised of undergraduate-level Carnegie Mellon courses. Students should expect the same rigorous, college-level work that you would expect from a Carnegie Mellon education. The majority of our Summer Session instructors are Carnegie Mellon faculty members who would teach those courses during the academic year. 

Upon admittance to the program, students will select their courses. Students participating in the 2021 summer program (completely remote) have the option of selecting one or two courses.The two-course schedule completed in six weeks is comparable in demand to the typical full-time five-course schedule completed in a semester.

The 2021 Summer Session course list is now available.

In the summer of 2022, students attending the residential program are required to take two courses during the summer. Commuter participants (available for students with a permanent local address only) have the option of selecting one or two courses. The two-course schedule completed in six weeks is comparable in demand to the typical full-time five-course schedule completed in a semester.


To be eligible for the Pre-College Summer Session students must: 

  • Be at least 16 years old by the program start date (to participate in the residential program).
  • Be a current sophomore or junior in high school.
  • Be in good academic standing and exhibit the ability to succeed in rigorous, fast paced coursework.

Application Requirements

The application for the Pre-College Summer Session will consist of the following:

  • Completed Online Application
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Standardized Test Scores (optional)
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Response to the following essay prompt (300-500 words):
    • What do you hope to gain from participating in the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College program?

Frequently Asked Questions

Through Summer Session, students will have the opportunity to take actual Carnegie Mellon courses alongside undergraduate students. While most students will be challenged due to the college rigor and pace of the 6-week courses, others may find it more manageable depending on their previous educational experiences. 

If you have concerns about the difficulty of the program,  please don't hesitate to contact the Pre-College Program Office or Program Director William Alba. We would be happy to discuss further.

Students who enroll in two courses (between 9 and 12 units each, comparable to 3 to 4 credits each at other colleges and universities) will experience fast-paced academic work. Two courses in six weeks will be similar to five courses in fifteen weeks, which is a typical work load for degree-seeking undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon. Students may enroll in up to 23 units. 

We recommend students in two courses focus on this program during the six weeks. Do not plan to engage in other studies during Summer Session, including preparation for standardized tests or major school assignments. You will be taking college classes and it is necessary to focus on this.

Students enrolled in two full courses are recommended against taking a summer job.  Students enrolled in fewer than two full courses may wish to consider a part-time summer job.


Every university and college has the authority to determine its own policies about whether to accept credits from another institution of higher education. While it is therefore impossible to state definitively that these college credits will transfer elsewhere, the following statements are true:

  • Carnegie Mellon considers these to be college credits.
  • Carnegie Mellon offers rigorous coursework.
  • Carnegie Mellon is a widely-recognized institution.
In order to make a strong case for transfer credits, a student must do well in the course and have that grade recorded.

With permission of the Academic Program Director, students may be able to change classes during the first two days of the program. Such changes are subject to space availability and academic appropriateness.