Carnegie Mellon University

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 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.

The 2020 Summer Session course listings have been updated. Please view the updated 2020 Summer Session course list.


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.