Ph.D. Application Process

To apply for admission, read the following instructions carefully, make certain that you have met all requirements, and then complete the online application.

Prepare a Statement of Purpose providing a concise one- or two-page statement in the following format:

Part I. Briefly state your primary interest of study within HCI. Be as specific as possible in describing your interests. Existing research areas and projects in the HCI Institute are listed on the HCII research summary page. Other HCI research interests are also welcome.

Part II. State your objective in pursuing a PhD and why you are applying to Carnegie Mellon.

Part III. Describe your background in fields related to your objective. List here any relevant industrial or commercial experience. Please note that we welcome students from all backgrounds with a variety of strengths — strong technical skills, strong social science skills, strong design skills, and combinations of the above.

Part IV. Include any additional information you wish to supply to the admissions committee, including any HCII faculty you might have been in contact with about coming to CMU as a doctoral student.

Attach your current resume, including a summary of research experience and a list of publications. Attach copies of any publications (in English only) that you may have.

If appropriate to your background, you may include a link to your portfolio.

Please note, we have made a big change for Fall 2017 Admissions! We no longer require mailed, hard copy versions of transcripts or test scores at the time of application. Do not mail anything to the admissions office. If you are accepted to a program, you will be given instructions to then mail your materials.

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 GIF format. Any other format will not be accepted.

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. Letters are submitted electronically, using the online application.

Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and upload your scores directly to your online application. All applicants must take the general tests. Applicants are not required to submit a GRE advanced subject exam score. Please refer to the GRE testing schedule to determine available test dates. No application will be considered complete until we have received these scores. GRE scores will not be accepted if more than five years old.

Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and upload your scores directly to your online application. All students whose native language is not English must either take this examination.

A non-refundable application fee is required. You may pay the fee by credit card. The credit card payment system is part of the online application, and instructions are given when you submit your application. If you do not want to pay by credit card with the online application, you may pay by check or money order drawn on a US bank, made payable to Carnegie Mellon University.

It is your responsibility to make certain that your application is complete by the stated deadlines.

Application Fee

Application to the HCII Ph.D. program must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

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 are normally renewable for the duration of the program, so 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.

Final Checklist

Remember that the application deadline is December 14. Remember that all items must be uploaded directly to your online application. Have you included the following?

  • Application Fee: If submitted by November 30, $75 US (add $50 US for each application to each additional SCS program). If submitted between November 30 and December 14, $125 US. (Add $75 for each application to each additional SCS program.)
  • Publications
  • Portfolio (optional)
  • Resume
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores, if required

Application for Fall 2019 start

Application is OPEN for Fall 2019 start: Ph.D. Program

Applications for Fall 2019 start are due December 10, 2018 at noon EST. The early deadline is November 30, 2018 noon EST.  Applications are submitted via the School of Computer Science common online application. If you have any questions, please email hciiphd [at]


Ph.D. Program Information

Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891