What are the admissions criteria for this program? What are the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, and GPA scores? How competitive is the selection process?

The MSAII program is highly competitive, with a typical acceptance rate of about ten percent. Qualified applicants generally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Regardless of your undergraduate major, a strong background in computer science and mathematics is a prerequisite for acceptance.

English language competency is strongly correlated to success in the program. The minimum standard for acceptance is a total TOEFL iBT score of at least 100  or an IELTS score of at least 7.5.  These scores may be more than two years old if you have pursued or are pursuing a bachelor's or graduate degree in the United States. 

The degree program does not have a minimum GRE requirement. However, you must submit a GRE score.  The CMU School of Computer Science requires a minimum GPA of 3.0.  We find that previous academic performance is the strongest predictor of success in SCS graduate programs.

I have an undergraduate degree in a field outside of computer science. Am I eligible to apply to the MSAII program with this degree? Will a computer science undergraduate have an advantage over me?

Most of the MSAII courses require an undergraduate-level background in statistics or computer science. Thus, the applicant must show evidence of mastery of this material. This evidence is automatically available for students with an undergraduate degree in CS from top universities. Most students with non-CS degrees haven't taken a sufficient number of courses in computer science. But if you have, you should make this evidence explicitly clear in your application.

The application requires a statement of purpose (SOP). What makes a good SOP?

We are looking for significant, reliable evidence that you can succeed in the rigorous MSAII program.  In additional to strong academics, it is beneficial to show evidence that you can work as a contributing member of a team.  You may also take this opportunity to explain any apparent weaknesses in your application. Most important, your statement of purpose should be written solely by you and provide an accurate summary of your experiences, goals and reasons for applying to the MSAII program.

The application requires letters of recommendation. From whom should I solicit letters?

The strongest letters come from respected advisors and managers who know you well and have experience directly supervising your work. They often focus on your specific accomplishments while working under them, and what specific traits, skills or achievements make you remarkable. A letter from a professor who taught you in a class is acceptable, but often does not provide great depth of detail. Letters from people who know you only in a personal capacity and cannot comment on your academic or professional work are not appropriate.  Letter from high-ranking univeristy officials, such as deans, provosts and vice-presidents, but who have not observed your work should not be submitted.

The application process asks for publications. Are these required?

No, publications are not required, but they good evidence of your ability to innovate.  We do not require publications because the MSAII is not intended as a research degree.  Some of our admitted students have already published articles. Publications in lesser-known conferences are still valuable, although all publications should be easily verifiable if not directly linked in your application.

The application asks for work experience. Is this required?

No, work experience is not required. However, we value some types of work experience highly, particularly if it is similar to the type of work our graduates perform, or highly relevant to your interest in the program.  Work experience can demonstrate to us and prospective employers that you have the ability to function in a job setting instead of just an academic one.

I applied but I did not get in. Can you tell me why?

Unfortunately, the number of available slots in our program and the high volume of applicants mean that many qualified applicants will not be accepted. Due to the large number of applicants, we do not respond individually to applicants that were not accepted. The generic reason that an application is turned down is that we were able to fill the entering class with students who were believed to have a greater chance of success in the program.  Not being admitted is not a reflection on your qualifications or your preparations, but merely on how you ranked with respect to a large number of other aspirants.  Previous unsuccessful applicants are not prohibited from re-applying in future cycles.

I applied but did not get in, and I have new evidence for you. Will you reconsider my application?

No supporting documents or information can be submitted after the application deadline. If you feel that your qualifications have significantly improved in light of recent developments, you may choose to reapply in the next admissions cycle.

What is the difference between various CMU School of Computer Science Masters degrees?

For a description of the various Masters degrees offered in the School of Computer Science, view the school’s program’s page.

Can I continue to a PhD program after I graduate from the MSAII program?

It is not expected or intended that MSAII graduates will go on for a Ph.D., as the MSAII is a professional degree. However, successful completion of the MSAII program would likely strengthen your application to any PhD program in a related field, and it is expected that some of our graduates would enter highly competitive PhD programs.

What about internships?

All students are required to complete a company internship during the summer between their first and second years. Internships provide an opportunity for an industrial development or industrial experience before graduation. This experience is a vital component in learning to utilize the skills you develop in the program in real-world applications, while also providing valuable access to the company sponsoring the internship and generally improving your employment prospects.

How easy is it to get an internship?

CMU students are in high demand. Hundreds of companies (e.g., Apple, Amazon, Bank of America, Boeing, Booz Allen, Ebay, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, MITRE, Motorola, Oracle, Paypal, Salesforce.com, UBS, VMware, Yahoo, etc.) perform on-campus interviewing at CMU for internships, so with minimal effort a student can typically secure an internship with a Fortune 500 company or with a highly promising start-up.

What about elective courses?

The Curriculum page lists numerous approved elective courses for which no futher permission is required.  If you want to take a graduate-level course that is not listed, you must seek permission of the MSAII Director.  Permission will normally be given if the course is reasonably related to objecives of the MSAII program.

Can I take courses in other CMU schools, such as Heinz College and the Tepper School of Business?

Yes, with permission from the MSAII director. However getting into the course may be difficult, depending on demand. Each school always gives priority to its own students over students from other schools within the university.

Is there a comprehensive exam or graduation exam outside of regular coursework required for the program?

There are no comprehensive exams in the MSAII program. The students integrate their academic experience with practical applications via the Capstone project.

What is the relationship between the MSAII and the MSBIC programs?

The MSBIC program was highly successful, but its emphasis on biotechnology was seen as limiting in an era of expanding applications for AI.  The program was renamed as the MSAII and some of its requirements were changed.  For example, biotechnology courses are no longer required, but may be taken as electives.  Also, the curriculum was altered to include intrapreneurship as well as entrepreneurship.  No MSBIC applicants were admitted after 2017.  Students who want to concentrate in biotechnology are encouraged to apply to the M.S. in Computational Biology.  

What percentage of MSAII students complete the program?

Our selective admission process is designed to only admit students who can handle the high course load of the degree. 

What support do you provide for women in computing?

For decades, the School of Computer Scinec has worked hard, and succeeded, at creating an environment of opportunity and equality for women.  This is evidence by the high proportion of women students we have in comparison to other institutions.  The mission of Women@SCS is to create, encourage, and support women's academic, social and professional opportunities in the computer sciences and to promote the breadth of the field and its diverse community. The Women @ SCS Advisory Committee consists of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty within the School of Computer Science. 

Where can I find out more about graduate education at Carnegie Mellon University?

Visit the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate Education website.