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.

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, and application fee. International applicants are also required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS 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 and GRE/TOEFL or IELTS Score Reports: Unofficial transcripts and score reports must be uploaded to the online application. This is what the Admissions Committee will use for review purposes. In addition, it is required that the ECE Admissions Office receive official electronic or hard copy GRE and TOEFL/IELTS score reports. 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.

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.

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 in your online application to review completeness.

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.

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.

Is the TOEFL test required of all international applicants?
The TOEFL test is required of all international applicants whose native language is not English. Native language is defined as first language, or language spoken from birth. The TOEFL 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.

Can I submit an IELTS score instead of a TOEFL?
The Admissions Committee prefers the TOEFL to the IELTS. While you are encouraged to take the TOEFL, if you are unable to do so, we look for a minimum overall score of 7 on the IELTS, with minimum sub-scores of Reading-6.5, Listening-6.5, Speaking-6, and Writing-6.

Where should I send 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
5000 Forbes Avenue
119 Porter Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

What are the minimum TOEFL, GRE, and GPA required for admission?
If you are required to take 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. 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. 

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, test scores, and upload unofficial transcripts after the application has been submitted. Simply log into your application to upload a new document. Applicants can also make changes to their Letters of Recommendations. After logging in, you can send a reminder, request new, and exclude letters.

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.

Are all applicants considered for financial aid? Is there a separate financial aid form? Ph.D. Program:
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. Program is a self-funded, course only degree program. This program takes approximately 1.5 years (3 semesters). 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 one-time charge of $70.  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 your application fee is not submitted (via credit card, check or money order), then your application will not be considered for admission.

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.

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.

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. You do not need to request ETS to send new official scores if you had requested them with your previous application UNLESS you have retaken and have updated scores.

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