Carnegie Mellon University

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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.
  • 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.
  • U.S. residency while enrolled in the program.


Fall 2024 Application

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. An application without GRE scores is not at a disadvantage; however, applicants who have taken the GREs are encouraged to submit their scores. The GRE at Home Test is accepted. 
  7. Unofficial Language Exam Scores: If you will be studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, and English is not a native language for you (native language…meaning spoken at home and from birth), we are required to formally evaluate your English proficiency.

    We require applicants who will be studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, and for whom English is not a native language, to demonstrate English proficiency via one of these standardized tests: TOEFL (preferred), IELTS, or Duolingo. We discourage the use of the "TOEFL ITP Plus for China," since speaking is not scored. 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.

    We do not issue waivers for non-native speakers of English. In particular, we do not issue waivers based on previous study at a U.S. high school, college, or university.  We also do not issue waivers based on previous study at an English-language high school, college, or university outside of the United States.  No amount of educational experience in English, regardless of which country it occurred in, will result in a test waiver.

    Submit valid, recent scores:  If as described above you are required to submit proof of English proficiency, your TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo test scores will be considered valid as follows:
    • If you have not received a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., you will need to submit an English proficiency score no older than two years. (Scores from exams taken before Sept. 1, 2022, will not be accepted.)
    • If you are currently working on or have received a bachelor's and/or a master's degree in the U.S., you may submit an expired test score up to five years old. (Scores from exams taken before Sept. 1, 2019, will not be accepted.)
  8. Online Coding Assessment: Invitations will be sent out two days 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 14, 2024

Application Deadline

October 16, 2024

Coding Assessment Invitations Sent Out*

October 18, 2024

Letter of Recommendation Deadline

October 23, 2024

Coding Assessment Deadline

October 24, 2024

Admissions Decisions Released

November 2024

Fall Semester Begins

January 13, 2025

*Invitations are sent to the email listed on your application. If you applied but do not
receive a coding invitation on October 18th, please contact mse- 
as soon as possible. The deadline to submit a coding test is
October 24.

Carnegie Mellon considers applicants for the MSE programs without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, gender, race, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and any additional legally protected status.