Ph.D. Program Admissions
The application window for a Fall 2024 start is now closed. The application reopens in Fall 2024 with information for a 2025 start.
Graduate programs within the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science (SCS) utilize a common online application form. The SCS online application should be completed and submitted electronically as instructed by the deadline.
To apply for admission, read our application instructions carefully and make certain that you have met all requirements when you submit your online application.
The HCII strives toward fairness and equity in its admissions process. To this end, we review all applications with a sensitive awareness to the applicant’s personal experiences, background, and potential to add to the rich and dynamic culture of the department. We recognize the value of individual circumstances and consider the unique educational contexts and life experiences of all students. In reviewing materials, we consider diverse forms of evidence that applicants are likely to be successful at research based on their preparatory experiences, as described in the applicant’s statement of purpose, CV, and letters of recommendation from research mentors. This evidence might come in the form of publications or research presentations to which the applicant contributed, portfolios of work, open-source contributions, installations, etc.
It is your responsibility to make certain that your application is complete by the stated deadlines. Unfortunately, given the tight deadlines of our process, we cannot accept late applications and do not consider applicants outside of the stated application period.
Statement of Purpose
Prepare a Statement of Purpose providing a concise one- or two-page statement. While the format and content is ultimately up to you, consider including information relevant to the following:
- Your primary interests within HCI. Discuss your research interests, and any relevant experiences you have had that have informed and inspired those interests. Student interests tend to evolve as they are immersed in the environment of the HCII. The description provided here is not intended as a definitive statement of what you will do in your Ph.D., but is rather used to direct your application to most likely advisors and also to assess your ability to describe and motivate your research interests. You might consider including a discussion of the potential societal impact of the work (both positive and negative), as such considerations are core to how we think about our work and research at the HCII. You might find it useful to relate your work to existing research areas and projects in the HCI Institute, which are listed on the HCII research summary page. That said, the HCII is a large and dynamic place, and we know that they do not represent the entirity of work or interests of the many people in the department. Anyone with research interests related to HCI (broadly defined) are explicitly welcome.
- State your personal and/or professional objectives in pursuing a Ph.D., and why you are applying to Carnegie Mellon, and the HCII, specifically.
- Describe your background in fields related to your objective. List here any relevant industrial or commercial experience. Please note that we welcome students from diverse educational, cultural, and geographic backgrounds with a variety of strengths — strong technical skills, strong social science skills, strong design skills, and combinations of the above.
- The HCII values students who exhibit persistence and resilience in the face of challenge and adversity, demonstrate a commitment to ethics, and show concern for others and for their community. Describe how your background and your experiences attest to these personal attributes.
CV / Resume
Attach your current CV (resume), including a summary of research experience and a list of publications, presentations, and conferences/meetings attended.
Attach copies of up to three (3) publications (preferably in English) that you may have. Please note that having prior publications is not a prerequisite for application.
If appropriate to your background, you may include a link to your portfolio or other online representation of your (e.g., GitHub profile page).
Submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, even if no degree was granted. You must upload your transcript in either PDF, JPG, or PNG format. Any other format will not be accepted.
Letters of Recommendation
Submit three letters of recommendation online. Recommenders should know you relatively well and be able to evaluate the quality of previous work. At least two should be from faculty or recent employers. Recommenders should include information about how long and in what capacity they have known you, give specific and concrete examples of your work, and provide an assessment of relevant traits or accomplishments, such as your persistence and resilience in the face of a challenge, intellectual independence and originality, and commitment to ethics and social impact in your work. Letters are submitted electronically, using the online application. Letters are due at the time of the final deadline.
TOEFL, if required
Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and upload your scores directly to your online application. If you are not able to take the TOEFL exam, you may substitute the IELTS or Duolingo English proficiency test. It is a university requirement that all students whose native language is not English take one of these exams. This is true even if the student has an undergraduate or masters degree from an English-speaking college.
Application to the HCII Ph.D. program is usually accompanied by a non-refundable application fee. Many applicants will qualify for a waiver based on either membership in one of many predefined organizations or because of financial need. If you qualify, we invite you to please ask for an SCS Graduate Application Fee Waiver. (The application fee waiver is handled separately from admissions decisions.)
Tuition and Financial Aid
It is anticipated that students accepted into the HCII Ph.D. program will be awarded a graduate fellowship for the academic year covering full tuition and a living allowance. These fellowships renew for the duration of the program as long as the student maintains good standing. There is no separate financial aid form to be completed. Students are encouraged to apply for support from outside Carnegie Mellon (fellowships, foreign government grants, etc.). As an incentive to seek funding from other sources, a supplement is often provided to the stipend of any student who obtains outside support.
Remember that all items must be uploaded directly to your online application. Have you included the following?
- Application Fee (or a waiver)
- Publications (up to 3)
- Portfolio (optional)
- Transcripts from all schools attended
- TOEFL scores, if required
About Carnegie Mellon
Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate. Carnegie Mellon University is required not to discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or handicap in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or other federal, state, or local laws or executive orders.
In addition, Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs on the basis of religion, creed, ancestry, belief, age, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Carnegie Mellon does not discriminate in violation of federal, state, or local laws or executive orders.
Inquiries concerning application of these statements should be directed to the Provost, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, telephone 412-268-6684 or the Vice President for Campus Affairs, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, telephone 412-268-2056. Carnegie Mellon University publishes an annual campus security report describing the university’s security, alcohol and drug, and sexual assault policies and containing statistics about the number and type of crimes committed on the campus during the preceding three years. You can obtain a copy by contacting the Carnegie Mellon Police Department at 412-268-2323. The security report is also available online.
Obtain general information about Carnegie Mellon University by calling 412-268-2000. For consumer information about Carnegie Mellon, visit the HUB.