Carnegie Mellon University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Research the degree programs offered at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Learn about its academics, and get admission and financial aid info to decide if this is the right school for you.

About Carnegie Mellon University

Founded in 1900 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University is a private not-for-profit research university situated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2012, the Times Higher Education ranked it 22nd among both North American and world universities. Other distinctions include an award-winning robotics program and over 118 research institutes. The school also encourages entrepreneurship through its Open Field Entrepreneurs fund and the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. Over 300 companies have been founded by CMU students, alumni and faculty in the last 15 years, according to the university's estimates.


Nearly 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students study at one of Carnegie Mellon University's seven colleges and schools. Its most popular degree programs are offered by the School of Computer Science; those programs were ranked number one by job recruiters in a 2010 Wall Street Journal poll. Additionally, the H. John Heinz III College was ranked ninth for its public affairs graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2012. Other schools include the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the Tepper School of Business and the Mellon College of Science, the latter of which offers research opportunities in such areas as cosmology and polymer science to over 70% of its undergraduate students.


Carnegie Mellon University admits undergraduate applicants based on their high school performance, extracurricular activities and standardized test scores. For Fall 2011, the university received over 16,000 undergraduate applications; only 30% of those students were accepted.

The application process costs $70. Applicants must submit the common application along with high school transcripts, standardized test scores, a teacher recommendation and a high school counselor evaluation. Applicants to many of the fine arts programs are also required to submit a portfolio or complete an audition.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition for Carnegie Mellon University's 2012-2013 academic year is nearly $45,000. This figure doesn't include the $11,500 charge for student housing and roughly $900 in additional fees. Books and other miscellaneous items are expected to cost another $2,400. Students must also pay for health insurance unless coverage is extended under a family plan.

To help meet these sizable costs, roughly 56% of Carnegie Mellon students received financial aid in 2011. The average size of the grant package for qualifying students was almost $24,000. First-time beginning undergraduates can pursue a Carnegie Scholarship. While the average awarded amount for recipients of the scholarship is about $6,400, only six percent of applicants in 2011 qualified. In addition, students can pursue federal loans and work-study opportunities.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, post-master's certificates and doctorates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Large city*
Student Body 6,178 undergraduate and 5,777 graduate students (Fall 2011)**
Student Housing Room and board available on campus for $11,500 per year**
Schools Seven schools and colleges**
Student-Faculty Ratio 12 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2011:
Bachelor's: Computer Science (168)
Master's: Information Technology (333)
Doctorates: Electrical and Electronics Engineering (36)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 67% in four years
84% in six years
87% in eight years (students beginning in Fall of 2003)*
Admission Rate 30% in Fall 2011*
Entering Class Size 1,436 in Fall 2011**
First-Year Retention Rates 96% for full-time students*
Average SAT Scores of Admitted Students 723 in math
678 in critical reading for Fall 2011**
Undergraduate Application Due Date November 1 or December 15 for early decision
January 1 for regular decision**
Decision Notification Date December 15 or January 15 for early decision
No later than April 15 for regular decision**
Tuition $44,880 for the 2012-2013 academic year**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Full-time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving it) In 2010-2011:
Federal grants (13%)
Pell grants (13%)
Institutional grants or scholarships (57%)
Federal loans (46%)*
Percent of Full-time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving Some Form of Aid 72% in 2010-2011*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **Carnegie Mellon University.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Undergraduate Admission, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • Phone: (412) 268-2082
  • Website:

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