Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently Asked Questions

The MSE for recent grads is intended for entry-level developers with less than two years of experience, or equivalent internship/project experience, and has two areas of focus to choose from: scalable or embedded systems. Both the MSE-SS and MSE-ES tracks are 16-months long, on-campus, full-time, and require a summer internship.

The MSE for professionals is more suited for experienced software developers with at least two years of full-time professional experience. The program is 16-months long if taken full-time, on-campus, does not require an internship, has a multi-semester long real-world development project, and has a part-time option.

Students enter into one of the two fields of study determined by their prior academic coursework or area of interest: 1) scalable systems, including large-scale, intelligent systems, or 2) embedded systems, including Internet-of-Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems.

Students will have a slightly different plan of study depending on the field they choose to study. For example, a student in the MSE-SS track will take a devops course, while a student in the MSE-ES track will take a distributed systems course. In addition, you can expect that your practicum work will reflect your field of interest.

It all depends on the course and the program. At a minimum, you will need to set aside time each week to:

  • Attend 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)

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.

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.

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.

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 will be dismissed from the program. 
  • If the incident is the second time you’ve cheated, you will 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.

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

Yes. Each student in the program is assigned an academic advisor. The initial meeting takes place during orientation week. Ongoing advising sessions at regular intervals enable students to discuss personal and professional career objectives, and to map out academic plans to meet those goals. 

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.
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 to admitted students.
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. 

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. 

If you choose to visit Pittsburgh before the decision deadline, the program will:

  • reserve and pay for 3 nights' lodging in a local hotel near the campus;
  • reimburse local parking should you drive to Pittsburgh;
  • reimburse meal expenses (not to exceed $30/day) for up to 3 days in Pittsburgh;
  • reimburse the cost for local transportation (bus and/or airport shuttle), if appropriate.

Expenses that are not subject to reimbursement are:

  • transportation from your home to Pittsburgh, and return;
  • rental car transportation while in Pittsburgh;
  • personal expenses such as laundry, movie rentals, additional visitors.

All receipts are required for reimbursement.

Please contact our Program Administrator — Marlana Pawlak — who will coordinate a schedule for your visit.

Classes begin on Monday, August 31, 2020.

Yes. All full-time students are welcome to work in a community study space within the department. Locked storage bins, in which you can keep your personal belongings, are assigned at the campus orientation. 

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