Skip to content

CMU Acceptance Rate Computer Science

Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Fola Shade

Carnegie Mellon University, or CMU for short, is steeped in technological innovation, theatrical performance, and design. But the university has plenty else to offer as well, including a highly selective undergraduate business program.

With a beautiful campus situated just outside of downtown Pittsburgh, CMU thrums with inventive energy. The university’s world-renowned School of Computer Science has produced some of the most eminent academics and business leaders in the world, facilitating the formation of burgeoning tech companies like DuoLingo. Its extensive graduate research programs often create opportunities for undergraduates to engage in sophisticated projects they’d be unlikely to find anywhere else.

Cohon University Center of the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Photo by Dllu, link, under CC license

The entrepreneurial spirit also influences the business program, with hotbeds like the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship renowned for bringing together future CIO and CEO teams. And though the university has a reputation for being intensely academic, CMU students are proud of their quirks and happy to throw themselves into unique traditions like Buggy. The Tartans pride themselves on both unabashed geekiness and intense collaboration.

But just how hard is it to gain entry to the crown jewel of Pittsburgh? Well, it’s extremely hard. For the Class of 2025, just 17.5% of students were admitted out of an applicant pool of 26,189. And these admitted students had astonishingly strong academic track records nearly across the board. Fortunately, Carnegie Mellon is all about the data—so there’s plenty to share

About Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a global research universitythat challenges its students to deliver work that matters in top-rankedprograms from engineering, computer science, robotics and business to publicpolicy, fine arts, science and the humanities. 

The university’s award-winning faculty is renowned forworking closely with students to create solutions for real-world problemsthrough a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach.  New methods in learning support an educationthat is both deep and inspiring.

Since its founding in 1900, Carnegie Mellon has been thebirthplace of innovation. Its groundbreaking research yields new discoveries,and Its creativity shapes the fine arts from Broadway to Hollywood.

Carnegie Mellon is widely recognized for its unique standingat the nexus of technology and society, where it produces, harnesses andleverages technological advances to improve the human condition.

Carnegie Mellongraduates are highly sought after for their talent and problem-solving skills.Alumni have earned top honors in fields across the spectrum, from Nobel Prizesto Academy Awards.

The university comprises seven schools and colleges: — the Collegeof Engineering, the College of Fine Arts, the Dietrich College of Humanitiesand Social Sciences, the Heinz College of Information Systems and PublicPolicy, the Mellon College of Science, the School of Computer Science and theTepper School of Business. Its robust intercollege degree programs give students the freedom to individualize theireducational experience by promoting integration and balance in the sciences,engineering, humanities and the arts.

Carnegie Mellon’s main campus is in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, with more than a dozen degree-granting programs around the world,including satellite campuses in Africa, Australia, Silicon Valley and Qatar.

Today, more than 100,000 alumni live and work around theglobe, embodying founder Andrew Carnegie’s famous words, “My heart is inthe work.”

What is Carnegie Mellon looking for?

Carnegie Mellon really wants students who really want to be at Carnegie Mellon. What does this mean, though? Don’t all schools want this?

Yes, but CMU has a particular position. They are not in a highly sought-after location, yet they are competing with institutions in Boston and the SF Bay. Many students don’t have a chance to visit campus. Many applicants apply because they know of the STEM opportunities, or other offerings, but don’t have a specific motivation for studying at CMU versus another university in the same echelon.

Thus, though CMU is particularly keen to find students oriented toward teamwork and intellectual eccentricity, they are also analyzing each application for convincing signs of Fit. And Fit, for them, is not only about the character of the student, but about how much the student really understands the impact they could have at CMU and how the college will help them get where they want to go after they graduate.

To maximize your chances of admission, dive deep into research on the school’s opportunities. Look at where CMU is investing its resources: labs, projects, new faculty hires. Speak to current students about life in Pittsburgh. Envision yourself in a rapidly rebounding Rust Belt city. Consume the university’s YouTube videos, social media posts, news stories, and more. Then, connect every exciting detail to your own desires, or principles, or talents.

CMU values demonstrated interest highly, and puts emphasis on recommendation letters. That said, though the university gives the option to submit three recommendation letters, the committee will only take two of these into consideration in their review. For more details on how CMu assesses applications, check out the university’s page on Admissions Consideration

Whatever your individual angle might be, show that you will be proactive in launching new projects with new partners while on campus. Whether they are in business, engineering, design, drama, or another field entirely, CMU seeks students who have an intense drive to pursue answers to big questions or solutions to influential problems alongside their classmates.

Computer Science Degrees at Carnegie Mellon University

The Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Computer Science has a wide selection of technical degree programs from the bachelor’s to doctoral level. For the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, along with general education requirements, students take a series of eight required classes including Principles of Imperative Computation, Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science, and Algorithm Design and Analysis. After these, students have many options when it comes to choosing electives but must take at least one class from the categories of Algorithms and Complexity, Logic and Languages, Software Systems, and Applications. Students can also choose a more specialized major like computational biology, robotics, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. An interdisciplinary option, the B.S. in Computer Science and the Arts, combines a minimum of 12 computer science classes along with a concentration track in art, architecture, drama, or music. All students are encouraged to get involved with research early in their time at Carnegie Mellon, and the Institute for Software Research, the Robotics Institute, and the Language Technologies Institute are just some of the many state-of-the-art facilities on campus.

There are seven departments within the School of Computer Science that offer a total of at 22 master’s degrees and 18 doctorate degrees. Some of these programs, like the Master of Science in Computer Science, allow students to design their own curriculum as long as they pass at least 96 units including at least one course each in artificial intelligence, theoretical foundations, and systems, maintaining a ‘B’ average or higher. Other programs have a preset core curriculum like the Master of Information Technology Strategy which has a 48-hour core after which students choose one of the following concentrations, Data Analytics, Politics and Strategy, Information Security, and Software and Networked Systems. For students pursuing both their undergraduate and graduate degrees at Carnegie Mellon, many computer science programs offer a 5th-year master’s option where students take graduate classes during their fourth year of undergraduate work and then can finish both degrees in 5 years. Online courses are another way CMU helps make its programs accessible. While undergraduates must attend courses on campus, some master’s degree programs can be completed online like the M.S. in Information Technology.

Doctoral students have a great deal of leeway when choosing which courses to take. Research is the primary focus of these programs, and students are encouraged to design their own projects and collaborate with their peers and professors. The large size and diversity of the School of Computer Science are two of the benefits of attending Carnegie Mellon because all student can tailor their programs to their specific research interests.

Ranking of Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University was ranked 77th in the world by U.S. News & World Report in 2017–2018. According to US News & World Report, ARWU ranks 80th, Times Higher Education ranks 24th, and QS World University Rankings ranks 47th. In 2018, Carnegie Mellon was ranked tied for 25th among American research universities by U.S. News & World Report. 

In 2016, Carnegie Mellon was ranked first for graduate studies in computer science, tied for fifth for graduate studies in engineering, sixth for graduate studies in fine arts, fourteenth for graduate studies in public affairs, eighth for graduate studies in statistics, twentieth for graduate studies in economics, nineteenth for graduate studies in business, and seventeenth for graduate studies in psychology by U.S. News and World Report.

The undergraduate business program is ranked second in management information systems, second in production/operations and quantitative analysis, eighth in supply chain management, and tied for sixth overall. In 2017, the undergraduate engineering program at colleges that offer students studying at Carnegie Mellon University a doctorate as the highest degree was tied for eighth overall, fifth for computer engineering, ninth for environmental engineering, and eleventh for mechanical and electrical, and civil engineering.

According to job recruiters, Carnegie Mellon was ranked first in computer science, fourth in finance, tenth overall, and twenty-first in engineering by the Wall Street Journal in 2010. According to PayScale’s 2016–17 study, Carnegie Mellon University is ranked thirteenth among the “Best Colleges By Salary Potential (Bachelor’s Only)” in the United States. The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon was ranked 15th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual ranking of US business schools in 2016.

Despite this, The Hollywood Reporter ranked the School of Drama as the third-best undergraduate drama school in the world in 2016. The MFA program at the School of Drama was ranked fifth in the world by the same publication in 2015. Carnegie Mellon University was named the best information technology school in the country in 2015. Carnegie Mellon is one of the Association of American Universities’ 62 elected members and one of the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum’s 25 members (one of 12 American members).

Carnegie Mellon: Early Decision Acceptance Rate – Class of 2023

Carnegie Mellon accepted 19% of ED applicants into the Class of 2023 versus 15% of regular decision applicants. This represents less of an advantage than at many other elite institutions where rates can be 2-3 times higher for ED applicants. The deadline for early decision at CMU is November 1 and decisions are made by December 15.

Carnegie Mellon Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024

Out of 42,962 applications (from 27,000+ applicants—as some submit separate applications to various colleges) submitted for a place in the 2020-21 freshman class; just 17% were accepted. This is a bit more favorable than the 15% acceptance rate for the Class of 2023. Results by school/program were as follows:

CollegeAcceptance Rate
College of Fine Arts·         Architecture: 34%·         Art: 23%·         Design: 11%·         Drama: 4%·         Music: 31%
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences26%
Engineering20%
Information Systems24%
Mellon College of Science22%
School of Computer Science7%
Tepper School of Business23%

Carnegie Mellon Admissions – SAT, ACT, and GPA

The SAT and ACT middle-50% ranges as well as average GPA, by college, for the Class of 2024 are as follows:

CollegeSAT-ERWSAT-MACT GPA
College of Fine Arts700-740730-78033-343.77
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences740-770790-80034-353.87
Engineering740-770790-800353.91
Information Systems740-760780-800353.89
Mellon College of Science740-77080035-363.92
School of Computer Science770-780800363.95
Tepper School of Business730-760790-800353.88

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • The Class of 2024 included 9% first-generation college students.
  • 14% of the Class of 2024 were Pell Grant recipients.
  • The average financial aid package for freshmen entering in 2020-21 was $47,171.
  • The College of Engineering received the greatest number of applications with 8,329.
  • The two most competitive programs remain the School of Computer Science and the School of Drama with the College of Fine Arts.

Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Ranking

 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh United States 

  • QS World University Rankings=53
  • StatusPrivate
  • Research OutputVery High
  • Student/Faculty Ratio9
  • ScholarshipsYes
  • International Students5,739
  • SizeL
  • Total Faculty1,534