Carnegie Mellon University


The Professional M.S. is available to qualified students who have earned an undergraduate degree. Select undergraduate students in ECE at Carnegie Mellon may be admitted into the IMB Program. The M.S. degree program is a full-time program in which students complete three full-time (36 units) semesters (including summer if summer is a student’s final semester). Students who are interested and qualified may take an accelerated course load and complete the degree in two semesters and should consult with their academic advisor. IMB students typically complete these requirements within 5 years of starting their undergraduate degree.

Effective fall 2018, all incoming M.S. ECE students are required to take the one-unit Introduction to Graduate Studies (18-989) course in addition to the 96 units already required to complete the M.S. in ECE.

Note to current/future IMB students: ECE students who are juniors, seniors, or current Master’s students as of fall 2018 do not need to complete 18-989 in order to graduate. ECE students who become sophomores in fall 2018 and after who sign up for the IMB program will be required to follow the new rule. ECE students who are juniors, seniors, or current Master’s students as of fall 2018 do not need to complete 18-989 in order to graduate.

Course requirements

A: ECE core graduate coursework: 60 units

The ECE program requires 60 units of core coursework that may not be waived or substituted. These courses should be in the ECE Department (18) at the 600-level or above. Additionally, courses in the Computer Science Department (15) at the 700 level or above can be counted. Exceptions to this rule, as well as courses outside the ECE and Computer Science Departments that are approved to be counted, are listed below.

  • 02-710, 02-712
  • 08-737
  • 10-701, 10-702, 10-703, 10-704, 10-707, 10-715, 10-725, 10-805, 10-807
  • 11-747, 11-752, 11-777, 11-785, 11-830
  • 14-735, 14-736, 14-848
  • 16-711, 16-720, 16-722, 16-725, 16-740, 16-741, 16-745, 16-782, 16-785, 16-811,16-822, 16-824, 16-831, 16-833, 16-843, 16-850, 16-867, 16-868, 16-880, 16-899*
  • 17-722 (formerly 08-735), 17-769 (formerly 08-769), 17-780, 17-781 (formerly 08-781)
  • 19-714
  • 21-801
  • 24-751, 24-785
  • 33-755, 33-758, 33-761, 33-762
  • 36-752, 36-783
  • 42-744
    *Only 16-899 Special Topics: Nuclear Robots is approved.

Note: these courses are approved to be counted as restricted and less-restricted electives.

B: Electives: 36 units

B1: Restricted electives: 24 units
Any ECE course (18) at the 500-level or above will satisfy this requirement, as well as courses from select colleges and departments as listed below. Courses that are exceptions to this rule are also listed below.

Courses at the 600-level or higher from the following colleges or programs:

  • Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) (39)
    • Biomedical Engineering (42)
    • Chemical Engineering (06)
    • Civil & Environmental Engineering (12)
    • Engineering & Public Policy (19)
    • Information Network Institute (14)
    • Integrated Innovation Institute (49)
    • Materials Science & Engineering (27)
    • Mechanical Engineering (24)
    • CMU Africa (04)
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    • Statistics (36)
    • Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (86)
  • Heinz School of Information Systems (95)
  • Heinz College-Wide Courses (94)
  • Mellon College of Science (MCS)
    • Biological Sciences (03)
    • Chemistry (09)
    • Mathematical Sciences (21)
    • Physics (33)
  • School of Computer Science (SCS)
    • Computational Biology (02)
    • Computer Science (15)
    • Entertainment Technology Center (53)
    • Institute for Software Research (08)
    • Robotics Institute (16)
    • Human-Computer Interaction Institute (05)
    • Language Technologies Institute (11)
    • Machine Learning (10)
    • Software Engineering (17)
  • Tepper School of Business (45)
  • Additional courses outside these departments that are approved to be counted towards the 24 units of Restricted Electives include:
    • 46-926, 46-929
    • 47-830, 47-834
    • 51-882
    • 80-713
    • 84-688
    • 90-756, 90-808
    • 93-711

Note: These courses are approved to be counted as less-restricted electives.

  • Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) (39)
    • Engineering & Public Policy (19) - 19-602, 19-655
    • Integrated Innovation Institute (49) – 49-750, 49-751, 49-761, 49-762, 49-763, 49-764, 49-765, 49-766, 49-767, 49-770, 49-771, 49-772, 49-773, 49-774, 49-775, 49-780, 49-781, 49-782, 49-788, 49-790, 49-791, 49-792, 49-793
    • Mechanical Engineering (24) – 24-792
    • CMU Africa (04) – 04-601, 04-602, 04-605, 04-900, 04-980
  • School of Computer Science (SCS)
    • Computational Biology (02) – 02-713
    • Computer Science (15) – 15-602, 15-603, 15-604, 15-649,15-669,15-689, 15-697, 15-698, 15-749
    • Robotics Institute (16) – 16-861, 16-865
    • Software Engineering (17) –17-643

B2. Less-restricted electives: 12 units
The remaining 12 units must be at the 300 level or greater from the same colleges, departments and programs listed above. Up to 3 units of professional development courses can count towards the less-restricted electives. Other courses outside these departments that can be counted towards the less-restricted elective include:

  • 51-673

*Petitions for exceptions to the above criteria may be considered by the Graduate Studies Committee. Please see your academic advisor for more information.

  • 18-994 Internship for Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Students
  • 39-699 CIT Professional Development Course


Course restrictions

Students are responsible for checking the syllabi for their classes to ensure that they meet these requirements. Of the 96 required units, you may not count:

  • Courses numbered as xx-299 or lower
  • More than 15 units of graduate research project (18980) units
  • More than 12 units of undergraduate courses (at least 300 level or greater)
  • Any units of physical education, ROTC, seminar/practicum/independent study courses, or courses taken as pass/fail or audit
    • Known courses include but are not limited to: 49-790, 49-791, 49-793
  • Courses where more than 50% of the course grade is based on a group project
  • Courses where more than 20% of the course grade is based on attendance
  • Mini courses worth 12 units
    • Known courses may include but are not limited to: 49-750, 49-751, 49-761, 49-762, 49-763, 49-764, 49-765, 49-766, 49-767, 49-770, 49-771, 49-772, 49-773, 49-774, 49-780, 49-781, 49-782, 49-788

Restrictions for courses outside the College of Engineering

All ECE Master’s students may take up to a total of 120 units during their Master’s program, 48 units of which may be from outside the College of Engineering. This rule applies to all students matriculating fall 2018 or later, with the exception of IMB students. For IMB students, this rule applies to all students who become sophomores fall 2018 and later. For any Master’s students who matriculated before fall 2018, this rule does not apply.

Transfer credit from previous universities or colleges

Only one graduate-level course, or the equivalent of 12 units, can be transferred from another university as credit toward the M.S. degree. As a guideline, three-credit courses from other universities equate to 9-unit CMU courses; a four-credit course equates to a 12-unit CMU course. The course being transferred cannot have been counted towards another degree and you must have received a letter grade of "B" or better. To transfer credit from another university, a formal petition must be submitted to and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. No credit will be considered or granted prior to admission to the M.S. degree program.

Course credit for continuing IMB students

CMU students who received their B.S. degree from ECE may use courses that were not used towards satisfying the B.S. degree to satisfy the M.S. degree course requirement.

Quality Point Average (QPA) requirement

In order to graduate, each student must have a Quality Point Average (QPA) of at least 3.0 in the courses being used towards the required 96 units. Coursework or graduate project units with a grade lower than ‘C’ will not be considered toward graduate degree requirements; however, they will be calculated into the student’s cumulative QPA. 

Applying to the Ph.D. program

Students in the professional M.S. and IMB programs

Students in the Professional M.S. and IMB Programs may apply to the Ph.D. program. These students must be enrolled for two academic semesters in the Professional M.S. or IMB programs before they can matriculate into the Ph.D. Program. Students must apply by the dates listed on the deadlines page.

Carnegie Mellon students from outside ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff

Carnegie Mellon students from outside ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff may take graduate courses in ECE, including those that can be counted toward an M.S. degree in ECE, subject to the same rules and requirements as currently exist and subject also to the availability of space in those courses.

  • Courses to be counted toward an M.S. degree cannot be more than 6 academic years old at the time the degree is awarded.
  • To obtain the M.S. degree, Carnegie Mellon students from outside ECE and Carnegie Mellon staff must be admitted into the ECE M.S. Program and meet all of the admission requirements that are standard practice in the department and described in ECE documentation.
  • Admission to the M.S. Program must take place no later than the semester before all of the M.S. degree requirements are to expected to be met, although earlier admission is preferable.