Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

The Tepper School of Business requires the TOEFL or IELTS exam all of non-native speakers of English. This includes applicants who have completed degrees in countries whose primary language is English (including the U.S.). If English is not your native (mother) tongue, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and have the results forwarded to us.

Alternatively, we accept the Duolingo English Test (DET), an online English proficiency test that can be taken online, on-demand, in under an hour for only $49. The test is taken via a computer with a camera and includes a proficiency score, video interview, and writing sample which are shared with the Tepper School when you send your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session.


No. None of the areas within the Tepper School Ph.D. program require a master's degree for admission to the program. Students in the program who successfully complete two years of class study and pass all qualifying exams are eligible to receive a Master of Science in the area in which they are enrolled. Completion of coursework and production of the doctoral thesis over the next two to three years then completes the doctoral studies and leads to the awarding of the Ph.D.

No. The business school does not accept any transfer credits into the doctoral program.

In general, yes, although for Economics, the faculty prefer that applicants take the GRE. Applicants in the functional areas of business generally take the GMAT, but may substitute the GRE if they wish, although it is advisable to check the web pages for the particular area you are applying to for detailed information on this.

**To have your GRE test scores sent to the Tepper School Ph.D. program, you should use institutional code 2074; the institutional code 4883 is only for the Tepper School's master's program.

The Tepper School of Business faculty who review applications use the test scores as one component in the overall evaluation of an applicant's file. For the more technical areas, a high quantitative score sends a positive signal about the applicant's ability to handle math. In other areas, this may be less important. More generally, because of the relatively small size of the Tepper School Ph.D. program, we recruit students very carefully, looking at how well prepared they are for the course of study they have chosen, how well their research interests match with those of our faculty, and how well recommended they are by the people chosen as references. In this process, essays, transcripts of work done in college or previous graduate school, references and exams all play a role in assisting the decision.

This varies by the area in which you are applying, and by the state of the world economy. Areas like Economics and Finance receive two to three times the number of applications that areas like Accounting or Information Systems receive. In a typical year, we receive over 800 applications, although in a year in which the economy is down, this number can approach 1,000. The Tepper School's acceptance rates are highly selective, in the 3-5 percent range, given the small size of the program overall and the school's ability to support Ph.D. students while they are in residence. One consequence of this selectivity is that the faculty who review applications will generally find many more acceptable candidates than we have room for, so out of necessity, we turn away many qualified applicants.

It is the responsibility of each applicant to check the status of his/her own application using the online application system. Once you have created your electronic application, you will have the capability to sign into the site and see instantly what materials we have received and which are still outstanding.  

In general, these test scores are the last part of the application package that is marked as "received." This is due to the fact that we receive many test scores for people who then decide not to complete their application. The GRE (institution code 2074), GMAT, and TOEFL scores are sent directly to the Doctoral Programs office by ETS.  At the height of the application season, we try to match up scores with applicants' files as soon as possible. Due to the volume of applications, this may only happen a few times per week.

As soon as a decision is reached by the committee, it is posted onto the website. No decisions will be posted before January 15, and all decisions will be posted by April 15. This is the fastest way for applicants to find out the decision on their admittance. Electronic letters are also sent to all applicants. If you have been accepted into the program, you will first be contacted by email or phone by a committee member for your area of study. This will then be followed by an official letter. If you have not been accepted into the program, you will receive an email letting you know as soon as this decision has been made.