Carnegie Mellon University

Exchange Programs

Exchange programs involve partnerships with universities abroad. These programs are based on relationships between Carnegie Mellon University faculty and overseas institutions which have been evaluated for academic compatibility. Exchange programs are reciprocal: Carnegie Mellon sends students abroad and receives international students from our partner institutions, providing a true cultural exchange. Traditional exchanges involve a balance of students coming and going and do not involve the exchange of tuition payments.

Over the years, Carnegie Mellon has entered into University Exchanges, which are open to students from multiple colleges, and Departmental Exchanges, which are limited to students from a specific department, such as art. Departmental exchanges are historically the most successful due to direct faculty support and commitment and careful analysis of specific curricular fit by major.

This page contains steps for faculty interested in pursuing exchange programming and logistical information about incoming exchange students.

Exchanges offer the benefits of:

  1. Careful assessment of curricular and academic compatibility for sending and receiving students
  2. Promotion of ongoing and long-term academic connections between faculty and students
  3. Maintenance of tuition at the home/sending institution
  4. In some cases, diversity of international students within the undergraduate student population 

Promotion of exchange balance is vitally important in ensuring a successful exchange. Achieving a balanced number of students sent and students received is a perpetual challenge at Carnegie Mellon and most U.S. universities, because more international students are eager to attend a U.S. college for a term or two than U.S. students are eager to venture abroad. Therefore, OIE encourages carefully considered exchanges, preferably driven by student desire and/or study abroad trends (ask a study abroad advisor about successful exchanges and popular destinations abroad) that incorporate appealing features such as work, internship or research opportunities, free room and board, and language and culture programs.

Establishing Exchanges

Traditional exchanges, which involve a balance of students coming and going and do not involve the exchange of tuition payments, are supported by OIE and are approved by the Provost's Office.

Agreements with overseas institutions that involve tuition payment and/or do not anticipate students flowing to and from Carnegie Mellon in balance will be developed in consultation with OIE, as well as the General Counsel’s Office with respect to US immigration, and financial and legal issues.

OIE also works with incoming exchange students during the application and enrollment process.

Establishing Exchange Programming

Read Guides

Faculty who are interested in pursuing traditional exchange programming should familiarize themselves with the following guides:

Draft MOU

After reading the guidance and proceedures, faculty should contact our office to request a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) draft. 

Complete NAPP

In order to establish an exchange, the following sections of the New Academic Program Process (NAPP) will need to be completed:

Incoming Exchange Students

Each year, Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus hosts between 50 and 100 students from our partner institutions. Exchange students tend to be highly participatory, seeking to maximize their short time here. 

Departmental and university exchange students go through slightly different application and enrollment processes. OIE supports the application process for exchange students and provides helpful orientation and enrollment resources to international students. 

Students participating in departmental exchanges apply directly to the host department at Carnegie Mellon.

University exchange students send their application materials to OIE. Upon determining that the university exchange student meets basic criteria, OIE forwards the materials to the department that best matches the student’s academic goals and ambitions. The host department will assign an advisor to guide the student through registration and other key academic processes.

Most exchange students require foreign student documents to enter the U.S. for their study here at Carnegie Mellon. The only exceptions are U.S. citizens and U.S. legal permanent residents who are living and studying outside of the U.S. OIE has developed detailed instructions for host departments about the DS-2019/I-20 request process and other practical matters such as housing and immunizations. 

OIE provides comprehensive pre-arrival and orientation information to all new international students, including incoming exchange students. For more information, visit the Foreign Students section of the OIE website.