Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate admission frequently asked questions

What are the deadlines for the fall and the spring admission processes?
Please refer to the Graduate Application Admissions Deadlines.

How can I check my application status?
Due to the large number of applications and volume of email received daily from ECE applicants, it may not be possible to respond to individual requests for information. Please review the checklist on the status page of your submitted application to review completeness.

What do I need to submit for my application to be considered complete?
A complete application consists of the application itself, statement of purpose, resume, three recommendation letters, transcripts, GRE score report (waived for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 Admissions), and non-refundable application fee. International applicants are also required to submit a Duolingo English Test (DET), TOEFL, or IELTS, or score report.

  • Statement of Purpose and Resume: You have the option to either upload your statement of purpose and resume or enter them directly into the online application as text.
  • Recommendation Letters: Once you access the online application, you will be required to enter the names, titles, and email addresses of your three recommenders. Your recommenders will then receive a link to the online recommendation form. All recommendations must be completed online. Any hard copy letters mailed to the ECE Admissions Office will be discarded.
  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded to the online application and school information must be entered. The ECE Admissions Office will only require an official hard copy of your transcript if you are admitted and decide to accept your offer of admission. In order for transcripts to be considered official, they must be received directly from the university in a signed and sealed envelope.
  • GRE and DET, TOEFL, or IELTS Score Reports: Self-reported scores must be entered into the online application. In addition, it is required that the ECE Admissions Office receive official electronic or hard copy GRE and DET/TOEFL/IELTS score reports in order for your application to be considered complete. Please note that the GRE is not accepted for the Spring 2022 or Fall 2022 admissions cycle.

Note: Please DO NOT mail any other paper documents to the ECE Admissions Office such as a resume/CV, publications, financial documents, or certificates as they will not be included in your file for review by the admissions committee. The only hard copy documents that should be mailed to the Admissions Office are official transcripts and GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS score reports. If you have publications that you would like the admissions committee to review, please link to them in your online resume. Any additional hard copy material mailed to the ECE Admission Office will be discarded.

Also, please note that the ECE Admissions Office will not accept application material submitted by third party consulting companies. It is expected that each applicant will complete his or her own application. Exceptions to this policy include application material submitted by a fellowship/scholarship organization, World Education Services, or ETS.

One of my recommenders is unable to receive the email to complete my Letter of Recommendation. What should I do?
First, please have your recommender check his or her spam mail. If your recommender still cannot receive the email, please log into your application and edit your Letters of Recommendation. Click the button 'exclude' to exclude the recommender who is unable to receive the email, and then add a new recommender. This can be the same person, but try using a different email address. If a personal email address is used for the recommender, we ask that the letter of recommendation be on letterhead and signed, if possible.

I submitted my score reports. Have they been received?
In order for your GRE & DET/TOEFL/IELTS requirements to be marked as complete, the following steps must be followed:

  1. You must enter your test/score information into the application. If you had previously entered a "pending" test into your application, you must log back in and enter the scores and test data.
  2. You must request the testing center (ETS/Duolino/IELTS) to send CMU the official scores.

It may take a number of days for CMU to receive your scores and for us to compare it against the scores you entered into the application. However, the committee can begin to review your application with the scores you have self-reported.

Please note that the system may not be able to link scores to an application in which the name is entered differently. If you believe that there is a discrepancy between the name in your application and your name in ETS/Duolingo/IELTS' system, please send an email to apps@ece.cmu.edu with a subject line of "Name Discrepancy" and we will check your scores.

Will you accept the ETS Tests at Home?
Yes, there is no distinction between the at-home tests and the tests taken at a testing center, so we will accept them.

Will you accept my GRE score if I send it in?
As an effort to accommodate students who may be affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, the Admissions Committee will not review or accept GRE scores for the Spring 2022 or Fall 2022 application cycle.

What are the ETS Codes?
Please request ETS to send your scores to CMU's Institution Code: 2074. We will accept any CMU Department Code, as long as the Institution Code is correct.

Is the Duolingo English Test (DET) required of all international applicants?
The DET is one option for applicants to fulfill the English language proficiency requirement. These tests include a proficiency composite score, section subscores, video interview, and writing sample which are shared with CMU Electrical and Computer Engineering when you send your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. For more information, please visit the website for the Duolingo English Test.

What is the minimum score requirement for the Duolingo English Test (DET)?
The minimum score requirement is a composite score of 105, with minimum sub-scores of Literacy-105, Comprehension-115, Production-70, Conversation-95.

Where should I send the results of my Duolingo English Test (DET)?
Please send your scores to Carnegie Mellon University – College of Engineering.

Can I submit a TOEFL score instead of a DET?
Yes, the TOEFL test is another option for students to complete the English language proficiency requirement.

What is the minimum score requirement for the TOEFL?
The minimum score requirement is a total of 84, with minimum subscores of IBT-R 22, IBT-L 22, IBT-S 18, and IBT-W 22.

Do you accept MyBest scores from TOEFL?
No, we do not currently accept MyBest scores. 

Can I submit an IELTS score instead of a DET or TOEFL?
The Admissions Committee prefers the DET or TOEFL to the IELTS. If you are unable to take the DET or TOEFL, the IELTS is acceptable.

What is the minimum score requirement for the IELTS?
The minimum score requirement is an overall score of 7, with minimum sub-scores of Reading-6.5, Listening-6.5, Speaking-6, and Writing-6.

Where should I send the results of my IELTS score?
We now accept electronic scores from IELTS. In order for IELTS to verify that the scores are going to the correct college/department, they require a physical address. Please use the following:

Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering
431 Hamerschlag Drive
Ansys Hall Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Can the English language proficiency be waived for me?
An English language proficiency test, such as the Duolingo English Test (DET), is required of all international applicants whose native language is not English. Native language is defined as first language, or language spoken from birth. Proof of English language proficiency is not required if the applicant will have graduated from a U.S. university by the time of enrollment, or if the applicant is a CMU student or alum.

What are the minimum GRE and GPA required for admission?
There are no "cut-offs" for the GRE and GPA. Both the GRE and GPA are evaluated in the context of your entire application package. Please note that the GRE is not accepted for the Spring 2022 or Fall 2022 admission cycle.

Can I make updates to my application after it has been submitted?
Limited sections of the online application will remain open. Applicants are still able to update their resume and test scores after the application has been submitted. Simply log into your application to upload a new resume or add new scores on the status page. Applicants can also make changes to their Letters of Recommendations. After logging in, you can send a reminder, request new, and exclude letters.

Are all applicants considered for financial aid? Is there a separate financial aid form?
All applicants, both U.S. and international, are considered for financial support for our Ph.D. program.

  • All full-time Ph.D. students accepted through the normal application process receive fellowships that pay tuition, fees, and a stipend for living expenses for the duration of their Ph.D. program, as long as sufficient progress is made toward degree completion. These fellowships are offered during both the fall and spring admission processes. There is not a separate financial aid form/process. These awards are sufficient to cover all expenses for the year (including summers). Research assistantships are awarded based upon departmental resources and available research project openings, as well as a student's overall academic and research background as shown in their application. Students are required to pay for books and course supplies. Off-campus housing is available within walking distance of campus.
  • Our Professional M.S. Programs are self-funded, course only degree programs. These programs take approximately 1.5-2 years (3-4 semesters) depending on degree program. View information about the current tuition rate and cost of attendance. Information about Financial Aid can be found here.

The HUB's Consumer Information webpage has been created to provide access to information that current and prospective students of the University may need in order to be informed consumers.  Higher education institutions that receive federal student financial assistance are required by the U.S. government to make this information available.

How much is the application fee?
The application fee is a non-refundable one-time charge of $75.  Re-applicants are required to pay the fee again.

Is it possible for my application fee to be waived?
The application fee is waived for Carnegie Mellon University students and alum, as well as applicants applying for a GEM Fellowship. The fee waiver will be automatically applied for all those it applies to. For all others, an application fee is required. If you would like to request an application fee waiver, please complete this formPlease note that you must submit your application prior to completing the form. Once you have submitted the application and completed the aforementioned form, you will find an additional required form on the status page of your application.

I already have a graduate degree, can I still apply?
Yes, you are welcome to apply. In your statement of purpose, please be prepared to address your reasoning for pursuing an additional graduate degree. Students who are interested in pursuing a second doctoral degree are encouraged to apply for a post-doctoral appointment, as we rarely admit students for a second Ph.D. degree.

Can I apply for more than one program?
You may now apply for more than one program within the ECE Department.  On the online application, simply rank your programs of interest in order of preference and you will be considered for each program that you include.

Can I pursue a graduate degree on a part-time basis?
We do not offer any part-time tracks. Masters students who are not precluded by visa restrictions may take courses on a part-time basis. Note that immigration regulations do not allow Carnegie Mellon University to issue visa documents for a part-time MS program. Interested students should be aware that most of our courses are offered on campus and during the day, so working professionals should plan their schedules accordingly. We do not offer any of the PhD programs on a part-time basis.

Can I apply for the MS in ECE program in Silicon Valley?
We are no longer direct-admitting students into the MS in ECE program located in Silicon Valley. All students in the MS in ECE program must begin their studies in Pittsburgh. MS ECE students who are interested in spending a portion of their studies in Silicon Valley may work with their advisors to pursue this option.

Can I apply for the MS in Software Engineering program in Silicon Valley?
Yes, we still welcome and encourage applicants to the MS in Software Engineering program in Silicon Valley. This is a fast-growing program within the ECE department in Silicon Valley, and applicants are advised to review the details and the Application Guidelines of this unique program prior to submitting an application.

Can I apply for a PhD program in Silicon Valley?
No, we are no longer admitting new students to any of the PhD programs located in Silicon Valley.

I do not have a background in ECE. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can apply without a background in electrical or computer engineering. Most of our applicants come with a background in an engineering or computer science, however we welcome applications from anyone who feels able to handle the rigor of the program. Please review the course requirements to make sure you feel comfortable with the material. Please also include any additional information in your Statement of Purpose (related courses, experience, etc).

If I was not admitted, can I reapply?
Yes. The ECE Department will keep your information on file. If you are interested in reapplying, please view the Graduate Application Deadlines to monitor the open application periods.

If I reapply, do I need to submit new materials?
Your new application will retain some previously entered biographical information. However, certain sections, including your program selections, letters of recommendation, and application fee will need to be completed again. Available program selections may change from semester to semester, therefore you will need to confirm new selections. Each section will have to be reviewed/updated and saved to complete the application process for the new semester in order to ensure you have submitted the most updated information. Revising your Statement of Purpose and Resumeto detail what you have been doing since your last application is highly recommended. You do not need to request Duolingo/ETS/IELTS to send new official scores if you had requested them with your previous application UNLESS you have retaken and have updated scores.

Where do I mail my transcript(s) after I am admitted?
Please wait to mail your transcript until you have been requested to do so. You will be provided with the address of your academic advisor.

My question wasn't answered here. Who should I contact?
You may contact the graduate admissions coordinator at apps@ece.cmu.edu.