MHCI Program Application Details

Ready to apply? We are excited that you are interested in the MHCI program. Our application opens each year in the fall. Below you will find everything you need to know about applying to our program and what is required in your application.

Do you have questions about the program? Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide, where we have assembled the most common questions we receive. 

Statement of Assurance
Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, ancestry, belief, veteran status, or genetic information.  Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate and is required not to discriminate in violation of federal, state, or local laws or executive orders. For more information about our Statement of Assurance, visit the Division of Student Affairs.

Preparing Your Application

Prerequisites to Apply

Prospective students applying to the MHCI program are expected to have a 4-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent from a foreign institution, by matriculation for fall term. We do not require specific degrees or backgrounds. We value an interdisciplinary cohort and have students joining us with backgrounds in design, social sciences, business, computer science and more. Students also enter with varying levels of industry experience.

Application Materials

For consideration of admission to the MHCI program, please submit the following application materials online by the application deadline.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendations are to be submitted online prior to the end of the application deadline. Recommenders should know you well and be able to evaluate the quality of your work. We strongly recommend that at least two of your letters be from faculty or recent employers.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure recommenders have uploaded letters through the online application by the due date. Letters received by post will not be considered with a student's application. After you have created a profile through the graduate student online application, you will be able to send instructions to your recommenders as well as track the status of your letters online. Your recommenders can upload a letter after you have submitted your application up until the 12:00 p.m. (noon) EST deadline.

Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

Applicants are required to complete a one-to-two page essay as part of their application to the MHCI program. Please include your name and application user ID on the essay and submit in PDF format.

This is an important component of the application, so please be concise and clearly address the following prompts:

  • Your objective in pursuing a Master of Human-Computer Interaction, including your career goals and your reasons for applying to Carnegie Mellon's MHCI program.
  • Your background in human-computer interaction or other fields relevant to your objective. Describe how your academic, industry or commercial experience prepares you for admission to the MHCI program.

Our review committee values applicants who display persistence and resilience in the face of challenge and adversity, demonstrate a commitment to ethics, show concern for others and for their community, and/or exhibit leadership in one or more endeavors

Current Resume

Applicants will include a copy of their current resume in PDF format and should outline their education, work experience, research experience, publications, scholarships and honors received as well as other relevant information.


Upload an official copy of your transcripts in English in PDF format. You should include transcripts for all undergraduate/graduate schools you have attended. A hard copy of your transcripts will not be required until students have been accepted into the program. Upon acceptance to the program, students will receive more information about this requirement.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are optional.

GRE scores are only valid and accepted for the past five years. Please upload your report if you have them. 

We do not require students to meet a minimum requirement for GRE scores. While your GRE is an important requirement, the admission committee takes a holistic approach in reviewing applications and considers all materials for each applicant.

English Language Proficiency Scores (as required)

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.

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:


  • Applicants will need to submit an English proficiency score no older than two years. (Scores from exams taken before Sept. 1, 2021, will not be accepted.)
    Institution code, 4256; Department code, 78.
  • For the Internet Based scores (preferred), applicants must score a minimum of 25 on each subsection. For the Paper Based Test, a minimum total score of 600 is required.


Note: we will also accept the IELTS scores in lieu of the TOEFL. The minimum band score is 8.5 overall with no sub scores less than 8.0.

Carnegie Mellon University does not require hard copies of test scores during applications.

Duolingo English Test

MHCI continues to accept the Duolingo English Test for the Admission application. The English proficiency requirement cannot be waived for any reason. 

We strongly encourage applicants to take either the TOEFL or IELTS. In cases where these are not available, it is acceptable to take the Duolingo test. 

Duolingo English Test Minimum Scores:

  • Conversation = 105
  • Production = 120 
  • Comprehension = 125
  • Literacy = 115

Be sure to use the same email address that you plan to use when you apply to the MHCI. Also, be sure that Duolingo scores are sent to "Carnegie Mellon University - Graduate Computer Science Programs."

Portfolio (Optional)

If applicable for your background, applicants may include a link to their portfolios. This is not a requirement and is optional for all applying.

Video Essay (Required)

'Prepare a 1 - 2 minute video that demonstrates your communication and presentation skills to the admission review committee. This video should allow the committee to know who you are and how you communication/present. You are required to be on camera. Talk about what you like, what you do outside of work and school, how you spend your free time, your professional and personal goals, or anything else not already shared in your Statement of Purpose. This will help the committee know you better and help us to evaluate your communication and presentation skills. The video (and audio) must be of the applicant (not a proxy). There should be only one person in the video.

Application Fee

Application Fee Waiver Application Deadline is January 12, 2024 to ensure timely submission and processing of requests. 

We expect all applicants to submit payment with their online application. However, please note that we do waive the required fee under certain circumstances.

Fees for the MHCI application can be waived for participants in certain pipeline programs. In addition, if you are unable to pay the application fee, the MHCI will consider a fee waiver request.

For information about the pipeline programs, please visit the SCS Fee Waivers web page.

Waivers related to financial hardship

If the application fee presents financial hardship to the applicant, we will consider a fee waiver request.

  • If you are living in the U.S. and feel that you are financially unable to pay, please obtain a letter from your Financial Aid Office explaining your inability to pay and their support of a waiver. Upon receipt of this letter, your fee will be waived.
  • If you are either living outside of the U.S., not a current student, or are unable to obtain a financial aid letter, include a brief description of your financial need and any documentation that supports your request (such as a tax return form, W2, etc.).
  • In your request you must also include the degree program on which you plan to apply.
  • All MHCI application fee waiver requests must be emailed to

Please allow up to 3-5 business days for your request to be processed. We will confirm your need, and provide a voucher code which can be used to waive the MHCI application fees.


CMU Winter Break

The MHCI Admission Office will be closed for Winter Break from December 22, 2023 - January 7, 2024.