Carnegie Mellon University
  • EduScore 77 /100

Carnegie Mellon University: Quick Overview

  • Year founded1900
  • Number of students enrolled
  • Average cost (in total)
  • Acceptance rate22%
  • SAT/ACT1430/32
  • Application dateFebruary 15th

History and Mission

Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Technical Schools in 1900. An industrialist and philanthropist of Scottish heritage, Carnegie derived inspiration from the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute to set up the institution. Emerging from humble beginnings, Carnegie established the largest steel company as the 19th century drew to a close. Previously, he worked in a textile mill to support his education, relying on borrowed books for the most part.

He donated the money with a view to offering vocational training to children of the working-class residents of Pittsburgh. The institute underwent its first name change in 1912, rechristened as the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT). Moreover, they introduced four-year degree programs in the same year.

In 1912, the institute comprised of four schools, namely Fine and Applied Arts, Science and Technology, Apprentices and Journeymen, and the Margaret Morrison Carnegie School for Women.

In 1913, brothers Richard and Andrew Mellon founded the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Initially focusing on research and working for the government, they merged with the University of Pittsburgh as a separate department. By 1927, the Mellon Institute became an independent nonprofit organization, moving into a building on Fifth Avenue in 1938, which is its current location.

The merger of the two institutes took place in 1967, with Paul Mellon leading the initiative. The Carnegie Mellon University is the result of the merger. In 1973, the university shut down the women’s college, incorporating their programs with the main university.

The mission of the Carnegie Mellon University, defined in light of the merger, is to transform society. They seek to offer a transformative education experience to students, grooming them into leaders and role models.

The university works actively to attract the cream of the crop in terms of teaching talent, fostering a community that allows students to collaborate and share ideas. Students also have opportunities to research and innovate, exploring their creativity to the maximum. A stated mission of the university, which you can find here, is imbibing students with the skills required to become entrepreneurs.

The motto of the university is “My heart is in the work”, a famous quote from Andrew Carnegie. The university also laid out strategic plans it will follow to achieve its mission, addressing individual student needs, community building, and impact on society.

Areas of Study

Students can select from 90 different programs and majors at the Carnegie Mellon University. The University houses six undergraduate schools, with inter-college degree programs and minors also on offer. There is no dearth of post-bachelor degree opportunities for students, and while undergraduates make up a significant part of the student population, the university has a large number of graduate students. The schools operating under the University include the Tepper Business School, which is among the top 20 business schools in the United States.

College of Engineering

The oldest and largest college at Carnegie Mellon, the College of Engineering is ranked in the top 10 engineering institutes in the United States. The college has student strength of over 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students. With a 40% female student population, the College of Engineering is the foremost choice for women planning to study engineering.

Tepper School of Business

Built with a $55 million donation from David Tepper, the Tepper School of Business is among the top business schools in the world. Students can embark on lucrative careers after receiving a degree here.

College of Fine Arts

Carnegie Mellon has the distinction of setting up the first school for Fine Arts in the United States. Currently, the college operates five schools spanning various disciplines.

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a comprehensive, four-year general education curriculum, spanning five content areas. The college allows students to select from 60 majors and minors.

Information Systems

This program operates under the College of Humanities & Social Sciences but its inter-disciplinary nature provides exposure to other schools and colleges.

College of Science

The Mellon College of Science offers a number of programs and degrees in the natural and physical sciences.

School of Computer Science

The School of Computer Science (SCS) teaches students a constantly evolving curriculum, incorporating the latest trends and innovation in the world of computer science.

Online Program

Carnegie Mellon University has an online program covering 10-degree programs of the 315 the university offers. The purpose of allowing distance learning is to facilitate students in studying off campus. The university currently has over 1,300 online students, with the average cost for an online program around $53,000. Among the programs available via the online program are 2 doctorate programs, 7 Master’s, and 1 Post-graduate certificate.

How do I apply to Carnegie Mellon University?

Carnegie Mellon University uses Common Application exclusively. Students have to submit their applications online. The university requests students to review the admission requirements as well as the plans and deadlines before applying. Students receive a notification within 5 days of applying that their application has been received. The university has specific procedures for admission to certain schools, with the Schools of Drama and Music stating a different deadline than other colleges and schools.

You can track the status of your application directly from the university’s website, via the following link:

Acceptance rate

The acceptance rate at Carnegie Mellon University is 22.2%. The university is selective and getting in is difficult. Students have to meet the specific criteria set forth by the school they want to apply to, with GPA and SAT/ACT scores the main requirements. The rate of acceptance also varies from program to program. With an acceptance rate for undergraduates close to 22%, Carnegie Mellon is one of the toughest universities in the United States to be accepted in.

Student life at Carnegie Mellon University

At Carnegie Mellon, the viewpoint is that students should enjoy a life outside the classroom. There are plenty of opportunities for students to explore the sports and party scene on and off campus, as well as student organizations. On-campus students are facilitated by a round-the-clock support community, catering to their needs. The institution is known for their athletic prowess, with 17 varsity sports (9 women, 8 men), and 23 club sports, along with a host of intramural sporting events.

The nickname of Carnegie Mellon is the Tartan. The Tartans are among the founding members of the University Athletic Association of NCAA Division III. Before the Second World War, the college competed with NCAA Division I teams. The university has produced 9 national swimming champions, while the Men’s Soccer team won five UAA championships in a row at the start of the 21st century. In addition, the volleyball, men’s cross-country, and the men’s track and field teams have also won championships.

Most significantly, the women’s tennis team and the men’s tennis team have maintained national rankings for close to two decades. The sporting scene at the Carnegie Mellon University is vibrant, with the institution providing training and development facilities across a range of disciplines.

There are more than 225 student organizations at Carnegie Mellon, spanning several traditions unique to the institution. These organizations cover diverse areas, including Academic, Religious, Sport, Recreational, and Cultural, as well as offering Governance opportunities. The campus is also home to a number of art galleries, including the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery and the Frame, which is mainly student-run. The university conducts a variety of events featuring performance arts, facilitated by the university’s schools of Music and Drama. Students run a theatrical organization, Scotch’n’Soda.

Andrew Carnegie’s influence on the university is strong, and there is a distinct Scottish motif to many of the activities that take place on campus, such as the Ceilidh weekend. There is no dearth of parties and events for students to attend. With a sprawling 140-acre space, the campus offers a uniquely urban lifestyle for students. Students who prefer the fast-paced living of cities feel at home here.

Conventional housing options are available to students, enabling them to pick accommodation according to their preference, with dorms, apartments, and double rooms. The campus is home to 20 residential buildings, with five off-campus housing facilities located in the surrounding Oakland neighbourhood.

Carnegie Mellon Campus

The main campus of Carnegie Mellon is located on a 140-acre space in Pittsburgh. The student union of the university remained the hub for students till the mid-90s. Since then, a new spot, Cohon University Center, known as the University Center, serves as the student union, with full Wi-Fi capability. The architecture of the campus saw no discernible changes between the two World Wars. Grassy areas embank the university.

Costs of Studying at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon is an elite university. The cost of studying at the institute is high, though financial aid is accessible, with close to 40% of students receiving some form of aids, grants, and scholarships. For the 2019-20 academic year, the cost of attending Carnegie Mellon is $72,283 per year with $54,244 of that amount going towards tuition. The budget is relevant for students who are undergraduates, unmarried, dependent financially on parents, and are residents or commuters, and will attend university full-time.

The breakdown of the costs for the academic year 2019-20 is:

  • Tuition $54,244
  • Room and Board $14,418
  • Student Fees $1,221
  • Books and Supplies $2,400
  • Personal Expenses $680

Students living off-campus might have to set aside $680 for travel. The costs will vary between undergraduate and graduate programs. Students planning to study at Carnegie Mellon coming in from abroad should also enquire about the additional costs they might have to bear.


Carnegie Mellon University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a 140-acre main campus. The location is three miles away from the downtown, bordered by the Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill neighbourhoods. The University of Pittsburgh borders the institute on the west. More than 80 buildings in the surrounding areas fall under the auspices of the University. The university is currently developing a new office space structure along with a hotel and retail and dining establishments, with a view to attracting corporate partners.

Q: How much money will I make with a Carnegie Mellon degree?A: On average, graduates from the Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon make $119,402 a year. 80% of the students graduate with a job in hand. The salaries vary from program to program, and graduates from advanced degree programs make more than students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree.Q: How does the accreditation process work?A: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) accredits the Carnegie Mellon University. The University accepts students in graduate and undergraduate programs. Students interested in applying to a graduate program must or will have, at the time of enrolment, a college or university in the United States accredited by a regional accrediting association. Students seeking to join the university from abroad need an equivalent of a BS from an institution with recognized standing.Q: What is the weather like at Carnegie Mellon?A: Students attending Carnegie Mellon should prepare to deal with humid weather throughout the year. The weather can be muggy even during the summers, while the winters are cold, with plenty of snow. The area also receives considerable rainfall, while the location of Pittsburgh on the windward side of the Appalachian Mountains means the weather is unlikely to ever hit 100o.

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