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5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
p. 412-268-2000
w. www.cmu.edu/

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University Rating: 3.7/5 (39 votes)

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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 their students.


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.

Financial Aid

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

Ranks 1407th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.


The Campus

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.

Off Campus

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.

Spring Carnival

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.

Prominent Grads

  • 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, Writer
  • Ted Danson, ’72, Actor
  • John Wells ’79, Executive Producer, Writer
  • Holly Hunter, ’80, Actress
  • Rob Marshall, ’82, Choreographer
  • Keith Lockhart, ’83, Music Conductor
  • 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.

Information Summary

Ranks 4th in Pennsylvania and 26th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 2 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 4 0.03
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson 1 0.01
Burglary 21 0.18
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 5 0.04

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 1,239 0.40
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 44 0.01
Forcible Rape 67 0.02
Robbery 1,126 0.36
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 2,686 0.87
Larceny 6,897 2.23
Vehicle theft 480 0.16

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Surrounding communityLarge city (inside urban area, pop. over 250,000)
Total Population28,320 (28,320 urban / N/A rural)
Households10,501 (1.85 people per house)
Median Household Income$18,473
Families2,849 (2.66 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Research Universities (very high research activity)
UndergraduateBalanced arts & sciences/professions, high graduate coexistence
GraduateComprehensive doctoral (no medical/veterinary)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, more selective, lower transfer-in
EnrollmentMajority undergraduate
Size & SettingLarge four-year, highly residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringDoctoral degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District4214

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 20th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $46,670 $46,670 $46,670
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $972 $972 $972
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $648 $648 $648
FT Graduate Tuition $38,828 $38,828 $38,828
FT Graduate Required Fees $688 $688 $688
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $540 $540 $540
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $62,032 $62,032 $62,032
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $61,222 $61,222 $61,222
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $50,042 $50,042 $50,042

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $44,010 $45,760 $44,010 $45,760 $44,010 $45,760
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,000(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $11,110 $11,550
On-Campus – Other Expenses $1,400(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $10,300 $10,740
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $1,400(N/C)
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $2,080(N/C)

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$75
Graduate Application FeeN/A
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 18,884 (11,880 male / 7,004 female)
Admitted 4,813 (2,521 male / 2,292 female)
Admission rate 25%
First-time Enrollment 1,442 (800 male / 642 female)
FT Enrollment 1,442 (800 male / 642 female)
PT Enrollment N/A (N/A male / N/A female)
Total Enrollment12,367

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /  N/A / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demo
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference University Athletic Association
NCAA Basketball Conference University Athletic Association
NCAA Track & Field Conference University Athletic Association

ACT Test Admission

20th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 34%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 30 / 34
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 30 / 34
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 30 / 34

SAT Test Admission

23rd for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 90%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 640 / 740
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 700 / 790
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 1340 / 1530

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity4,069
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$7,070
Board Fee$4,920

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 1,434 153 144 529 5 1,227 258 3,809
Actuarial Science 58 1 10 7 76
Applied Mathematics, General
Applied Mathematics, Other
Applied and Professional Ethics 2 2 5 9
Architecture 4 7 24 7 42
Architecture and Related Services, Other 11 1 4 3 19
Art/Art Studies, General 4 1 3 27 36
Artificial Intelligence 17 2 3 5 2 29
Arts, Entertainment,and Media Management, General 9 1 1 3 21 2 38
Astrophysics 1 1
Behavioral Sciences 3 3
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 16 1 2 2 6 8 36
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 4 2 18 13 39
Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, Other 1 1 2
Biometry/Biometrics 4 4 4 12
Biophysics 1 3 4
Biopsychology 1 8 5 2 16
Biotechnology 5 3 1 9
Business Administration and Management, General 65 18 12 45 142 9 296
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other
Business/Managerial Economics 2 1 3
Chemical Engineering 27 2 3 23 38 4 98
Chemical Physics 1 1
Chemistry, General 3 6 2 5 1 9 2 29
Chemistry, Other
Chinese Language and Literature 2 1 1 1 5
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning 2 2 4
Civil Engineering, General 39 7 12 19 28 9 115
Civil Engineering, Other
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
Cognitive Science 1 1 2 1 5
Computational Mathematics 4 2 3 1 10
Computer Engineering, Other
Computer Graphics 58 1 2 10 13 8 92
Computer Science 33 6 8 39 76 5 173
Computer Software Engineering 47 1 1 26 19 4 100
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other
Computer and Information Sciences, Other 1 2 4
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance 46 4 3 1 21 1 76
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other
Conducting 1 1
Construction Engineering 2 1 3
Costume Design 2 2 1 5
Creative Writing 2 1 13 3 19
Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis 1 1
Design and Applied Arts, Other 3 3 6
Design and Visual Communications, General 2 3 7 2 14
Digital Arts 1
Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
Directing and Theatrical Production 1 1 2
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 2 4 4 1 38 49
Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other 1 1 1 5 3 11
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics 4 7 9 2 24
Economics, General 7 1 1 9 9 1 28
Economics, Other 1
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 150 5 10 63 1 74 18 324
Engineering Design 8 1 1 4 5 19
Engineering Mechanics 2 2
Engineering Physics/Applied Physics
Engineering Science 17 1 1 20
Engineering Technology, General 12 3 3 2 20
Engineering, General 2 2 4
Engineering, Other 5 1 1 7
English Language and Literature, General 1 1 2
English Language and Literature/Letters, Other 2 2 3 12 19
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations, Other 1 1
Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies 1 1
Environmental Design/Architecture
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering 2 1 3
Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other
European Studies/Civilization
Film/Cinema/Video Studies
Finance, General 7 3 1 14 11 5 41
Financial Mathematics 2 1 1 4
Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other 1 1
Fine and Studio Arts Management
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other 3 1 4
French Language and Literature
Game and Interactive Media Design
German Language and Literature
Graphic Design 4 1 1 3 9
Health and Medical Administrative Services, Other
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 3 3 5 22 4 38
History, General 2 1 10 2 15
History, Other
Industrial Engineering
Industrial and Product Design 4 1 6 9 2 22
Information Resources Management 2 2
Information Science/Studies 46 1 1 1 49
Information Technology 334 3 2 18 55 21 436
Information Technology Project Management 5 5
International Business/Trade/Commerce 1 1
International Economics
International Relations and Affairs 2 1 2 7 9 1 22
International/Global Studies 2 2 2 3 8 1 19
Investments and Securities 15 1 4 1 21
Japanese Language and Literature
Jazz/Jazz Studies
Journalism, Other
Keyboard Instruments
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 4 29 3 36
Linguistics 1 3 1 6
Logic 2 1 2 1 6
Management Information Systems and Services, Other
Management Information Systems, General 1 1 2 9 2 15
Management Science
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 4 4 1 10
Materials Science 31 1 5 18 35 1 93
Mathematical Statistics and Probability 1 1
Mathematics and Statistics, Other 7 2 8 7 1 26
Mathematics, General 6 1 1 7 14 1 30
Mathematics, Other 1 1
Mechanical Engineering 75 15 16 25 1 62 13 209
Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering 35 1 2 14 5 57
Multicultural Education
Music Pedagogy
Music Performance, General 19 2 1 25 10 57
Music Technology 2 2 4
Music Theory and Composition 2 4 6
Music, General
Music, Other 2 1 1 4
Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Natural Resources Management and Policy
Network and System Administration/Administrator
Neurobiology and Anatomy 1 1
Neuroscience 1 2 6 9
Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management
Operations Management and Supervision 3 1 3 1 8
Operations Research 1 2 3
Organizational Behavior Studies 2 2
Philosophy 2 1 3 2 8
Physical Sciences
Physical Sciences, Other
Physics, General 4 2 2 22 6 36
Physics, Other
Physiological Psychology/Psychobiology
Playwriting and Screenwriting 2 2 2 6
Political Science and Government, General
Polymer Chemistry
Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing 1 4 4 16 3 30
Psychology, General 8 4 4 6 22 2 46
Psychology, Other
Public Administration 8 9 1 26 3 47
Public Policy Analysis, General 78 22 9 15 61 10 200
Rhetoric and Composition 2 1 6 2 12
Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
Russian Language and Literature
Russian Studies
Russian, Central European, East European and Eurasian Studies
Science, Technology and Society
Social Sciences, Other
Spanish Language and Literature 2 1 3
Statistics, General 21 2 1 5 3 34
Statistics, Other
Stringed Instruments 2 1 1 2 8 7 23
Systems Science and Theory 13 6 5 26 25 5 84
Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology 3 1 4
Theatre/Theatre Arts Management 5 3 5 7 2 23
Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 1 1 2
Visual and Performing Arts, Other
Voice and Opera 1 1 1 6 9

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 148th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $106,331 ($112,252 male / $98,401 female)
Number of FT Faculty 1,104 (795 male / 309 female)
Number of PT Faculty 1,407
FT Faculty Ratio 0.8 : 1
Total Benefits $46,333,611

Justine Ventimiglia+

Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.

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