Carnegie Mellon University


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.


Information Summary

Ranks 3rd in Pennsylvania and 24th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 98.5
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $72,283
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 35 / 1550
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 11 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 97% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 14,029


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


College Building :: Carnegie Mellon University
posner hall :: Carnegie Mellon University


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 4027th 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.

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