Carnegie Mellon University

Incoming M.S. student FAQs

On this page, we hope to provide information for incoming Master's students regarding the recent program changes. 


I-20 international student FAQs
Research FAQs
Program FAQs

I-20 international student FAQs

A CPT-eligible internship must be completed during summer semesters only. If you want to do an internship during a fall/spring semester, you will be required to use pre-completion OPT and will also need to maintain at least 36 units. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you complete any internships during the summer semester only.
If you are on F1/J1 status and opt into a 3-semester program, you will be issued an I-20 for 3 semesters that cannot be extended. You must complete the program in the required time-frame of your I-20. Students interested in staying for four semesters should consider joining one of the Advanced Programs.

Research FAQs

Yes, once you have entered the program, you can count summer research units towards your degree.
Typically, students only take 12 units of research per semester, but this can be flexible depending on the research and the faculty member overseeing the research.
Yes, you need to pay for all units for which you register. If you take research units during a fall or spring semester as part of your 36 full-time units, you will pay the full-time tuition rate. For more information about tuition please visit here.
You may opt to get paid for a research project if the faculty overseeing that research project provides that option. However, you may only receive either units or pay for research projects. You cannot receive both pay and units for research project experiences.
Yes. Up to 27 units of research can count towards the degree in all program options, though it is not required. If you would like to add the optional Project Option to your program, that requires 36 units of research.

Program FAQs

You may request to add a Project Option to your program typically by your second semester. This option is subject to project availability and students will work with their assigned faculty advisor if they have an interest in pursuing a project option. For more information on the structure of the Project Option please view this page.
Once you complete all of your degree requirements, you are obligated to graduate. If you want to fit in additional courses or experiences, please work with your academic advisor to make sure that you plan it appropriately. You must have at least one remaining degree requirement to continue into the fourth semester.
While the full-time tuition rate remains the same for all programs, the Advanced Program is a 4-semester program while the other programs are 3-semester programs. You will be required to pay tuition for 4 semesters instead of 3.
No, the MS ECE Advanced Program does not require an internship. This program adds an additional semester of study for students. Students can use this additional semester to pursue additional courses, ordo an extended research project. Students can still do an optional internship if they've spent 2 semesters in residence in the program. Students can opt-in the Advanced Applied track if they want a required internship.
The MS program does not currently allow for co-ops as we like you to focus on your required full-time course work for fall and spring semesters.

For the Applied/Applied Advanced programs where the internship is required, you will not need to pay for the internship. You will be enrolled in a zero unit internship course to meet the requirement.

In the Standard/Advanced programs internships are optional. You may apply for CPT in these programs to complete an internship, which will require you to register for a 3 unit internship course and pay tuition accordingly.

In the 3-semester programs, you cannot enter your final semester with 120 or more units. In the Advanced (4-semester) program, you cannot enter your final semester with 156 or more units. It is important to keep in mind that once you complete program requirements, you will be required to graduate and cannot stay to take more classes. If you would like to build extra classes into your program, please work with your academic advisor.

We will work with you to provide on-campus project opportunities with CMU faculty for those who are unable to secure the required internship.
We don’t currently have the option to transfer directly from the MS ECE to the Ph.D. ECE programs. Students in the Professional M.S. Programs may apply to the Ph.D. program. These students are encouraged to be enrolled for two academic semesters in the Professional M.S. program before matriculating into the Ph.D. Program so the PhD Admissions Committee can better assess these applications with regards to course and/or project work. Students must apply by the dates listed on the deadlines page.
Not at this time. The dual-degree offerings have prescribed curriculums that are not compatible with these new programs.

The department is currently conducting an analysis to determine which new programs will be offered to which current programs. As of now, the Standard and Applied Programs are offered to all incoming students at the Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, and CMU-Africa campuses who are enrolled in the single degree MS ECE or MS Software Engineering Program.

The Advanced program is only offered to incoming MS ECE students at the Pittsburgh and CMU-Africa campuses. The Applied Advanced program is only offered to incoming MS ECE students studying at the Pittsburgh campus.