The atmosphere at Carnegie Mellon is one of the most eclectic of any school. The
name is often associated with computers and engineering; others think
of it as a school that specializes in art and drama. All of these people are right. And when
you add outstanding programs in the sciences, the humanities and business administration,
you’ve got the basic academic view of this university. There are students
here from halfway around the world; there are students here from two miles away. Some people are here building complex electronic and robotic devices, and some
are making beautiful art. The one thing that everyone does have in common is that they’re
committed to what they’re doing, and they work hard.
In 1900 Andrew Carnegie, a Pittsburgh industrialist and philanthropist, founded
Carnegie Institute of Technology and Margaret Morrison Women’s College to educate the sons
and daughters of local working class families. In 1967 these institutions merged with
Mellon Institute, founded by Andrew Mellon, and formed the present day campus. There are
now seven colleges and schools within the university: Carnegie Institute of Technology (engineering)
(CIT), Mellon College of Science (MCS), School of Computer Science (SCS), Tepper
School of Business (Tepper), College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS), College of
Fine Arts (CFA), and the H. J. Heinz III College (policy and information systems).
The school has also made great strides globally and is now an international degree granting
institution. Today, nearly a dozen international degree programs are offered
in places such as Australia, China, England, Greece, India, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, and
Qatar, its first international branch campus. There are also student exchange and
joint-degree programs in Singapore, Taiwan, India, and China.
No matter what a person’s major is, he or she will have a few classes in other areas. For
example, computer science majors are required to take non-computer related electives (such
as an English class), people in the humanities are required to take a math class and two science
classes, and every freshman is required to take a computer skills workshop, Introduction
to World History, and an introductory English class.
For every class, there is a study session offered before a test. In many cases, the professor
or a teaching assistant will organize a review session to help members of the class. In addition
to this, many students take it upon themselves to start their own study groups. In addition
to helping and being helped by their peers, many students find this to be a good way to get to
know people in their classes.
Classes and Faculty
The student/faculty ratio is eleven to one; the average class size is between twenty-three
and thirty-five students. This also takes into consideration the larger lectures. The
largest lecture hall on campus seats 300, which is relatively small compared to other universities.
Most of the classes that have lectures this size are introductory classes that many
students are required to take. In classes with lectures this size, there is always a recitation
offered with the lecture. The recitation is a smaller group (ten to twenty people) led by a
teaching assistant (TA) or graduate student who discusses the concepts and subjects covered
in the lecture. In all cases, the TA and professor will always have office hours for people
who may need extra help, and, in most cases, they will also give the class members (no
matter how many) their office (and sometimes home) telephone number and e-mail
address. Some professors even host social gatherings to become better acquainted with
The campus is home to more than 100 research centers, which often produce groundbreaking discoveries from graduate students working alongside professors. Most projects are federally funded and encompass Science, Medical, Education, Information Technology and a wide variety of other subjects. The research departments are so well regarded that big-name corporations have taken notice and set up centers of their own either on campus or nearby. These include Apple Inc., Intel, Google, Microsoft, Disney, IBM. General Motors, Bombardier Inc., Yahoo!, and the Rand Corporation.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Office of Admission looks at a lot of
different elements when choosing who gets in. Basically, the admissions counselors are trying
to get a feel of who you are and what you’ve done. The Office of Admission also looks at your standardized test
scores (SATs or ACTs) and SAT Subject Tests, your essay, activities you’ve been involved in, personal
recommendations, a portfolio or audition depending on your major interest and your
interview (recommended not required).
There is no set formula for how people get accepted. In some cases, one element (like
test scores) may not be as strong as you’d like, but something else (like extracurricular activities)
will make up for it. What admissions counselors look at also depends heavily on what your
intended major is. For example, if you are applying to be a math major, they will concentrate
on your math grades and scores.
Requirements for Majors
The classes that you need to have taken in high school depend on what you’re planning
on majoring in. Each major has slightly different requirements, so be sure to check on
that. Every major requires that you take four years of English; beyond that, it depends on
the major. Of course, as long as you carry a normal high school course load, you should fulfill
all of the requirements. You must submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT. In most
cases, you also need to take two SAT (subject tests). Students applying to art, design,
drama, or music are not required to take the SAT Subject Tests.
Recommendations and interviews are two of the best ways to show the Office of
Admission who you really are. Interviews are suggested, but not required. They not only
give an admissions counselor an opportunity to learn more about you, but give you an opportunity
to learn more about the school. For those students who are too far away to come to
campus for an interview, the school also offers hometown interviews. These interviews serve
the same purpose as campus interviews (although you won’t see the campus). Alumni interviews
in your hometown are available as well.
Depending on your financial need, your financial aid package
might include a combination of grants, loans, and work-study. About seventy-two percent
of the freshmen who entered in a recent year received some sort of financial aid. The average
need-based package was $22,943. Although you are not guaranteed financial assistance, most
people who are eligible and in need receive it.
Work-study gives students the opportunity to have on-campus jobs in order to make
money to pay some of their college expenses. These jobs include positions in offices, food service,
the child-care facility, and the library, to name a few. These jobs usually don’t take up more
than ten to fifteen hours a week and they allow the student to make extra money that they
might need to buy books or for other necessities. Since there are so many jobs available, students
may work on campus even if they don’t qualify for need-based work-study.
Student Financial Aid Details
The campus is self-contained and surprisingly
open for a city campus. There’s grass and trees and (if you’re in the right dorm) you
never have to cross the street. The campus is also fairly safe. Pittsburgh’s crime rate is
relatively low compared to the national average. With relative security and other cultural
benefits, Pittsburgh has continually been named one of the country’s most livable cities.
In addition to the campus police, there are many student-run safety organizations.
There is an escort shuttle bus (driven by students) that runs within two miles of the campus
and will bring you home if you don’t want to walk off campus alone. If you feel unsafe walking
across campus alone, you can call Safewalk and two students will come and walk you
wherever you need to go. The university has created an Alert Now emergency notification
service for all students, faculty and staff. The Alert Now service sends voice and text messages
to phones in the event of an emergency on campus. The service is free and all students
may sign up.
A lot of students jump at the chance to get off campus on the weekends. The campus is situated in the middle of three major shopping areas: Oakland,
Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill. Between these three areas you can find shopping, restaurants,
movie theaters, coffeehouses, museums, and nightlife (and this is all within walking distance).
Beyond that, it is easy to catch a city bus going downtown or to a nearby shopping
mall. Students have free access to public transportation with their ID card. Pittsburgh is
full of things to do, from the cultural to the just plain fun. You can go to the symphony one
night and then go to a Pittsburgh Penguins game the next. The possibilities are endless.
Beyond sports, there are more than 225 student organizations on campus. The student
body is incredibly diverse, so it is obvious that the list of clubs
would be just as diverse. From organizations celebrating ethnic heritage to clubs based on
political views to clubs made up of people who like to play chess, there is a club here for
everyone. And even if there isn’t, all you have to do to start one is find a few people with
your common interest and apply to the student senate to be recognized. Student organizations recognized by the senate are open to any student and vary in size from a few people
(usually the newer clubs have fewer members) to a lot of people.
Fraternities and Sororities
Throughout the year, the twelve fraternities and five sororities on campus plan various
events open to the entire campus. These events have, in the past, included talent
shows, dance marathons, and the annual Mr. Fraternity contest. The Greek system (fraternities
and sororities) make up about fifteen percent of the campus. Many of those involved
in the Greek system enjoy it because it gives members a chance to get to know other students
and to take part in large social events (each fraternity and sorority also takes part in
several charity events), but the number is low enough to not overwhelm the campus. If a
student chooses not to join the Greek system, he or she will still have no problem having a
social life. It is also very common for people to interact with many people in an organization
without being a member.
Each spring, the campus comes together for the annual Spring Carnival.
This three-day event includes shows, concerts, and contests. The two biggest elements of
Spring Carnival are Booth and Buggy. Each organization has the opportunity to build a booth
corresponding to the carnival’s theme, and each structure includes a game in which all of the
money raised goes to charity. These booths are often quite large and quite elaborate.
These same organizations build buggies, high-tech soapbox derby cars, to race through
Schenley Park. The buggies look like torpedoes on wheels and are driven by the smallest student
that the organization can find. People push the buggies up the hill and then
let them coast through the park (some get up to speeds of thirty-five to forty miles per hour).
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
There are seventeen varsity sports representing the Tartans. Men’s teams include: basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field. The women can compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and volleyball.
There are also many more intramural
and club sports (these range from very competitive to strictly for fun). Around eighty percent of the student body participates in an intramural
or club sport at one point or another.
There are more than 75,000 alumni spread out all over the world. The
goals achieved and backgrounds of these alumni are as diverse as when they began their
upper education. There are alumni who have become great actors, writers, artists, and scientists, more
than 5,800 alumni are presidents or vice-presidents of corporations, more than 200 teach as
professors at universities, and 100 are deans.
There is a large network of
graduates organized all over the world. This network
helps fellow alumni who decide to relocate or need
advice concerning a job. It is also an invaluable
resource for meeting people in your field. The one
thing that all alumni do have in common is the pride and tradition of being
part of this network. You could go anywhere in the world and be able to chat with alumni
about Spring Carnival or Schenley Park.
- Gais Charles, ’05, Actor
- Randy Pausch, ’88, Author
- Jack Klugman, ’48, Actor
- Andy Warhol, ’49, Artist
- Erroll Davis, Jr., ’65, Chairman,
President and CEO
- Iris Ranier Dart, ’66, Novelist
- Stephen Bochco, ’69, Producer,
- Ted Danson, ’72, Actor
- John Wells ’79, Executive Producer,
- Holly Hunter, ’80, Actress
- Rob Marshall, ’82, Choreographer
- Keith Lockhart, ’83, Music
- Zachary Quinto, ’99, Actor
Additional School Information
Any student here would tell you that this is a very computer-oriented
campus. Almost everything, from communicating with professors to signing up for
classes is done over the Internet. One of the first things students are taught when they come
here is how to use the campus network, Andrew. Every freshman is required to pass a class
called Computing at Carnegie Mellon, which covers everything from e-mail to ethics.
There are computer clusters in many of the dorms and in every academic building
including dormitories. This was the first university campus to offer wireless networking
in all administrative and academic buildings. Wireless Andrew, the largest installation
of its type anywhere, connects over 5,000 students, faculty, and staff across
campus—and that number is growing. The wireless network is now available in all administrative,
academic, and residential buildings across campus. The network is also accessible
from outdoor areas on campus due to wireless leakage around buildings and through access
points mounted on the exterior of some buildings.