Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

Graduate Application Instructions

To apply for admission to our master's and/or doctoral programs within the School of Computer Science, read the following instructions carefully and make certain that you have met all requirements when you submit your application.

Complete the online application form for admission to graduate programs within the School of Computer Science. With the online SCS application form, you may apply to up to three Ph.D. programs and any of the master's programs.

The online application must be completed, submitted, and paid for electronically as instructed by 12 p.m. EST on December 12, 2019. For a reduced application fee please submit by the early deadline.

Test Scores

All test scores must be uploaded (as a PDF) to your application.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • All applicants must take the GRE general test and submit scores. 
    • Note: For the Fall 2020 admissions season, the CompBio Ph.D. Program (CPCB) is no longer requiring a GRE score.
  • Please send scores via ETS using our SCS/CMU codes:
    • GRE Institution Code: 2074
    • GRE Department Code: 0402
  • GRE scores will not be accepted if they are more than five years old.
  • If you need to retake your GRE for this application then you must take the exam no later than November 22, 2019.
    • We will not accept any exam scores taken past the date of November 22, 2019 because the test scores will not be reportable until after our December 12, 2019 deadline.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • If you are an international applicant and your native language (language spoken from birth) is not English, an official copy of your TOEFL score report is required. 
  • The TOEFL requirement cannot be waived for any reason. 
  • Please send scores via ETS using our SCS/CMU codes:
    • TOEFL Institution Code: 4256
    • TOEFL Department Code: 78
  • If you are currently working on or have received a bachelor's and/or a master's degree in the U.S. and your native language is not English you may submit an expired test score up to five years old (TOEFL scores taken before August 20, 2014 will not be accepted.)
  • If you have not received a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., you will need to submit a TOEFL no older than two years (TOEFL scores taken before August 20, 2017 will not be accepted).
  • If you need to retake your TOEFL for this application then you must take the exam no later than November 22, 2019.
    • We will not accept any exam scores taken past the date of November 22, 2019 because the test scores will not be reportable until after our December 12, 2019 deadline.
  •  A successful applicant will normally have a total iBT score of at least 100.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • We prefer that you take the TOEFL, but we will accept the IELTS.
  • The same restrictions of expiration dates apply with an IELTS.
  • A TOEFL Score of 100 is equivalent to an IELTS score of 7.
  • IELTS scores cannot be sent through ETS and should be mailed to: 
Carnegie Mellon University
Attn: SCS Graduate Admissions Team
Gates and Hillman Center, 6010
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213   


  • All transcripts must be uploaded by the final deadline of December 12, 2019.
  • Since fall grades are not required, upload your transcripts as early as possible.
  • We do not require hard copies of your transcripts at the time of application. If you are accepted to a program, you will be given instructions to mail your transcripts at that time. 


  • Submit your current résumé, outlining your education, research experience, work experience, publications, scholarships awarded, prizes and honors received, society memberships, and any other extracurricular activities. 
  • You must upload your résumé in PDF format. Include your name and User ID on the essay.

Statement of Purpose

  • Submit a Statement of Purpose. Prepare a concise one or two page essay that describes your primary areas of interest in research, your related experiences, and your objective in pursuing a graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon.
  • Your essay should be specific in describing your interests and motivations. When describing your research interests, you should explain why you think they are important areas of study and why you are particularly well-suited to pursuing them.
  • You should describe any relevant education, research, commercial, government, or teaching experience.
  • If you are applying to more than one program, you may (but are not required to) submit a separate Statement of Purpose for each program.
  • If you choose to write more than one Statement of Purpose you need to combine the documents into one file.
  • You must upload your Statement of Purpose in PDF format. Include your name and User ID on the essay.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Submit three letters of recommendation. Recommenders should know you relatively well and be able to evaluate the quality of your previous work. At least two should be from faculty or recent employers.
  • With the online application, letters will be requested and submitted electronically. 
  • Paper recommendations will not be accepted.

Submitting the Application

  • After uploading all of your official transcripts and test scores to the application, submit the application and pay the nonrefundable application fee.
  • You may pay the fee by credit card. The credit card payment system is part of the online application, and instructions are given when you submit your application.
  • Requests from ETS that your GRE and TOEFL scores are sent at this time.
  • It is your responsibility to make certain that your application, supporting documents, and letters of recommendation are uploaded to your application by the final deadline of December 12, 2019 by 12:00 p.m. EST. You may check your submitted application to make certain that it is complete.

Notes for Specific Programs

    • MSIT in Privacy Engineering applicants: The Master of Science in Information Technology - Privacy Engineering degree is a 12- or 16-month program designed for computer scientists and engineers who wish to pursue careers as privacy engineers or technical privacy managers. MSIT-PE has a separate application process, please visit the MSIT-PE site to apply.
    • Master of Information Technology Strategy (MITS) applicants: For students interested in becoming leaders with the critical thinking skills and strategic perspective needed to solve challenges within the information and cybersecurity domains, MITS offers a multidisciplinary approach within which students obtain both breadth and depth. MITS has a separate application process, please visit the MITS site to apply.
    • Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) applicants : The MHCI program at Carnegie Mellon is the first program in the world dedicated to preparing professionals for careers related to human-computer interaction, user-experience design and user-centered research. MHCI has separate application process, please visit the MHCI site to apply.
    • Human-Computer Interaction applicants: Indicate your intended area of emphasis in the first paragraph of your Statement of Purpose. If appropriate to your background, you may include a link to your portfolio.
    • Software Engineering applicants: Describe any team-oriented software development experiences you have had (if there are numerous examples pick 2 or 3). Briefly describe the nature of the projects, the general technologies involved, how many engineers were on your team, and describe your role on the team. Describe your short-term goals (2-4 years) and long-term goals (5-7 years) upon graduation from this academic program. Feel free to explain your goals in terms ms any relevant roles, domains, organizational technologies, expertise, and so forth. Describe specifically how the program to which you are applying, and Carnegie Mellon University more generally, aligns with your professional objectives.
    • Societal Computing applicants: Indicate your intended area in the first paragraph of your Statement of Purpose along with the name of a possible advisor. For those with industrial or government experience, describe how this experience prepares you for graduate-level academic work. Submit this information in the Supplemental Information section under Experience (Research, Industry) in the online application. Applicants may also submit a short prior publication related to their research interests.
    • Master's in Robotic Systems Development applicants: Provide some background information on your academic/industrial career to date, and why/how that leads you to be interested in CMU's unique industry-oriented MRSD program.  It would be helpful for the committee to understand your career aspirations, how you imagine the mix of technical/management education from MRSD would assist you in achieving these, and what you see yourself doing five to ten years after graduation.
    • Master's in Computer Science applicants: Discuss your purpose in pursuing a master's degree in Computer Science. For example, you might explain how advanced study in Computer Science fits into your future career ambitions. There are no right answers, and you do not need to have worked out your future plans in detail. We just want to see that you have thought your purpose through. If your background is unusual, this is also the right place to explain it to us.
    • Machine Learning Joint Ph.D.: Students interested in a ML-Joint Ph.D. degree should first apply to the PhD program that best aligns with their research interests. Once you are enrolled in one of the participating Ph.D. programs ms have passed 10715, 10705 & 10716, there is a lightweight application to apply for a joint PhD in Machine Learning. 
    • MD/Ph.D. in Robotics or Computational Biology: Students must apply via the Medical Scientist Training Program. More information is available on the medical scientist training program website.
    • Interdisciplinary programs in the Neural Basis of Cognition: Students should apply to their primary Ph.D. program via the SCS Graduate Online Application, but must also apply to the CNBC Graduate Training Program. More information can be found on the CNBC Website.
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