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Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will I need to devote to my courses?
It all depends on the course and the program. At a minimum, you will need to set aside time each week to:

  • Attend (or watch) course lectures (2-3 hours)
  • Read the course's text and other required readings (4-6 hours)
  • Complete homework assignments or other course activities  (4-6 hours)
  • Attend the course chat room session, if appropriate (1 hour, distance education only)

In some courses, you will be asked to complete weekly assignments. If you have extensive experience in software development, you may find that you can complete course assignments in less time than students with less experience.  

In other courses, you will complete two or three major projects; the expectation is that you will work on these projects throughout the course.

If I take more than the required number of elective courses, do I pay more?
Full-time students pay a per-semester tuition rate. With that, there are no additional tuition fees for extra elective course that the student chooses to take. Know that the program's workload is rigorous and challenging, and that students are advised not to overload with supplemental elective work at the sacrifice of core and project effort.

Part-time students pay per registered course, and are advised to choose elective courses that not only fulfill their degree requirements, but serve to meet their personal and professional goals as well.  

What is your credit transfer policy?
If you have successfully completed graduate-level courses in software engineering (or related areas such as computer science, information technology, or management), you may petition to apply the credits to your elective requirements. Transfer requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. No more than two courses will be accepted for transfer, and all core and project courses must be completed through Carnegie Mellon.

What is the program's policy and process regarding cheating?
The majority of students in our programs don't cheat. Cheating is a choice. If you choose to cheat and are caught doing so, you can expect that the following things will happen:

  • You will be penalized on the assignment in question, and placed on probation.
  • If you are already on probation for any reason when the cheating incident is reported, you may be dismissed from the program. 
  • If the incident is the second time you’ve cheated, you may be dismissed from the program.
  • You may not be eligible to assume leadership positions (i.e., Studio Manager, MSELi) and you may not be eligible to serve as an MSE Teaching Assistant. 

All students should review and familiarize themselves with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. The policy can be found here.


Will completing a master's program help me gain admission to a Carnegie Mellon doctoral program?

Courses completed through any of the master's programs in software engineering may enhance a student's application to Carnegie Mellon doctoral programs, but will in no way assure admittance.

Will I have an academic advisor?
Each student in the program is assigned an academic advisor. On-campus students initially meet with their advisors during orientation week. Ongoing advising sessions enable students to discuss personal and professional career objectives, and to map out academic plans to meet those goals. Distance-education students typically correspond with their advisors via email.

I'm a distance education student. What if I need to withdraw during the semester?
Generally, students have two weeks from the start of classes to drop a course. The withdrawal deadlines listed in Carnegie Mellon's official academic calendar apply to all courses. Consult the schedule for exact dates.

If you wish to withdraw from a distance education class, please contact the Program Administrator at DE-registration@cs.cmu.edu.


Will I get an online account? When can I start using it?
All students are assigned a Carnegie Mellon andrew account when they enter the program. You will receive your user ID and temporary password prior to the start of your program.  


What equipment will I need?
All students must provide their own laptops or desktops for use while enrolled in the program. We will provide a list of recommended equipment and software.

Can I visit Carnegie Mellon before I make my admission decision?
Yes. Visiting campus is a great way to become more familiar with the program. An Information Session for interested applicants will be held in early December.  During this visit, you will have an opportunity to meet current students, faculty and program administrators.  We encourage you to attend this session if possible. 

If you are interested in joining us for this session, please contact Vaishali Gakhar, Student/Alumni and Corporate Relations Manager.

What about reimbursement if I choose to visit Carnegie Mellon after I decide to attend?

The decision about where to pursue your graduate study is an important one.  If you are admitted to one of our programs, you may want to visit prior to the final decision deadline on April 15th. 

A 2018 Admitted Students Open House will be hosted by the program at Carnegie Mellon Pittsburgh at the very end of March or early-April time frame.  We encourage you to attend this Open House if at all possbible.  If you choose to attend, the program will:

1.  reserve and pay for 3 nights' logding in a local hotel near the campus;

2.  reimburse local parking should you drive to Pittsburgh;

3.  reimburse meal expenses (not to exceed $30/day) for up to 3 days in Pittsburgh;

4.  reimburse the cost for local transportation (bus and/or airport shuttle), if appropriate.

Expenses that are not subject to reimbursement are:

1.  transportation from your home to Pittsburgh, and return;

2.  rental car transportation while in Pittsburgh;

3.  personal expenses such as laundry, movie rentals, additional visitors.

All receipts are required for reimbursement.

When does the program start?
Classes begin on Monday, August 27, 2018.

Will I have a workspace on campus? When can I move into it?
Yes. All full-time students are assigned a workspace in the program's student area. Space assignments and keys to lockable cabinets for personal belongings are distributed during the campus MSE/MSIT orientation. MSE students may move into their work spaces after receiving their seat assignments and keys.

Students collaborating on the large MSE Studio project are assigned seats in a cluster area. MSIT-SE and MSIT-ESE students working on a less-substantial MSIT Project are given access to a shared, common space located within in the student area.

Breakout rooms are available to all MSE and MSIT teams for client meetings, video conferencing, weekly mentoring sessiona, practice presentations, and collaborative brainstorming sessions. These rooms are routinely reserved with the Studio Manager.