Carnegie Mellon University

All aspects of the candidate's packet are given equal weight and consideration. No single admission criterion overshadows another; rather, it is the composite of all of the application materials that determines the admission decision. The ability to perform graduate-level work, a solid undergraduate background in computer science or related disciplines, software development maturity, and industry experience are several factors considered for admission. In some cases, excellence and promise can balance a lack of formal preparation. 

Application fee waivers are available for qualified participants of certain events, organizations, and programs, and to those for whom the application fee would be a financial hardship.

Admission Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree, preferably in Computer Science or other scientific or technical discipline.
  • Cumulative QPA higher than 2.5.
  • Two years or more of industry experience in at least one software development role, including the ability to describe specific tasks performed in those roles.
  • Knowledge — at least at the level of an undergraduate course — of discrete mathematics, algorithms and data structures, and programming languages.
  • Skills in programming-in-the-small, as well as competence in using imperative block-structured or objective-oriented languages such as Java, C++, and Python.


Fall 2023 Admission Application Materials 

The following materials are required with your online application:

  1. Statement of Purpose: Your statement should include (1) a reflection essay, in which you choose one of six key practice areas in software engineering, and describe a challenge you experienced at work, and what the preferred outcome was, or what you would like to have changed and (2) specifics about your professional goals.
  2. Resume/CV
  3. Letters of Recommendation: At least three letters of recommendation should be submitted on your behalf from academic and/or industry personnel who have worked closely with you recently. Letters are typically written by faculty and supervisors and provide specific examples of your maturity, leadership, and software development experience. It is encouraged that you contact your recommenders as soon as possible in order to allow them enough time to compose your letter. The deadline for recommenders to submit your letter is approximately one week after the application deadline.
  4. Video Essay: Prepare a personal video, no more than 3 minutes in length, that covers one of the following prompts from the guidelines which can be found here.
  5. Unofficial Transcripts: You are required to upload electronic transcripts from each college/university that you attended in which you completed coursework. Do not send official transcripts at this time.
  6. Unofficial GRE Scores (optional): GRE scores are optional; however, applicants who have taken the GREs are encouraged to submit their scores. If you have taken the GRE, do not send official scores at this time.
  7. Unofficial Language Exam Scores: If English is not your native language, you are required to submit unofficial language scores. Acceptable English-language proficiency exams include the TOEFL and IELTS. We prefer that you take the TOEFL, or IELTS, but if you are unable then we will accept scores from the Duolingo English Test. Should you choose to use Duolingo, we may reach out to you after you submit your application to set up a video interview as well. Do not send official score reports at this time.

    Please note: to keep parity across our applicant pool, there is no complete waiver for this requirement.
  8. Online Coding Assessment: Invitations will be sent out the day after the application deadline. Applicants have approximately one week to complete the assessment. Previously, there have been anywhere from 3-4 coding tests of varying levels of difficulty that candidates must complete. There is a time limit, but it is rare for an applicant to run out of time. Additionally, applicants may have the opportunity to complete a practice test. Tests may be submitted in any coding language. Instructions on how to access and complete the assessment will be included in the invitation.

    This test is only an assessment, students are accepted with both strong and weak programming ability. Any evidence of cheating will result in rejection of the application.

Admissions Timeline

Application Portal Opens

August 18, 2023

MSE Online Virtual Information Session


MSE Online Virtual Application Workshop


Application Deadline

October 18, 2023 at 3:00 pm ET

Coding Assessment Invitations Sent Out*

October 20, 2023

Letter of Recommendation Deadline

October 25, 2023

Coding Assessment Deadline

October 26, 2023

Admissions Decisions Released

November 2023

Fall Semester Begins

January 16, 2024

* Invitations are sent to the email listed on your application. If you submitted an application but do not receive a coding invitation on October 20th, please contact as soon as possible. The deadline to submit a coding test is October 26th.