HCII Calendar

  • Ph.D. Thesis Proposal: Eliane Stampfer Wiese
    NSH 3305
    April 25, 2014 at 12:30pm
  • CMU Commencement

    May 18, 2014 at all day

PhD Program Application

Overview | Requirements | Emphasis Areas | Application | Contact Info


Applications for admission to the HCI doctoral program must be received no later than December 16th (applications are not accepted at other times of the year).

There is a common online application form available for admission to graduate programs within the School of Computer Science. With the SCS graduate online application form, you may apply to two Ph.D. programs, and/or some of the SCS Masters Programs. The online application should be completed and submitted electronically as instructed by December 4 (this is for the early deadline, at noon 12:00 p.m. EST) with a final deadline of December 16 (noon, 12:00 p.m. EST).

  • Applications and all supporting documents, including letters of recommendation, for the Doctoral Program in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute must be received by the final deadline December 16. You may submit your application by December 4 to avoid higher application fees.
  • If you submit your application by December 4, the application fee is $75 for one program and $50 for each additional program. The early deadline does not imply an early decision. Between 12:01 am ETS on December 4 and 11:59 pm on December 16 the application fee increases to $125 for one program and $75 for each additional program.

If you are in another time zone, it is your responsibility to recalculate your deadline to reflect Eastern Standard Time (EST).

  • All transcripts are due December 4, regardless of whether you submit your application by noon on December 4 or noon on December 16. Since Fall grades are not required, please send your transcripts as early as possible. They will be held until you submit your application. Please note that transcripts or test scores are not updated as received until you submit your application. Test score reports and letters of recommendation are due December 16.

To apply for admission, read the following instructions carefully and make certain that you have met all requirements when you submit your application, then complete the on-line application.

Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate and 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. However, in the judgment of the Carnegie Mellon Human Relations Commission, the Presidential Executive Order directing the Department of Defense to follow a policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” excludes openly gay, lesbian and bisexual students from receiving ROTC scholarships or serving in the military. Nevertheless, all ROTC classes at Carnegie Mellon University are available to all students.

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.


Applications for admission to the HCI doctoral program must be received no later than December 16th (applications are not accepted at other times of the year).

To apply for admission, read the following instructions carefully and make certain that you have met all requirements when you submit your application, then complete the on-line 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.

Part IV. Include any additional information you wish to supply to the admissions committee.

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.

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. Any other format will not be accepted. Mail one copy of each official transcript (in an official sealed envelope) to

Martha Clarke, Admissions Coordinator
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891 USA

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 a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank, made payable to Carnegie Mellon University.

Submit online three letters of recommendation. 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.

Note: The final deadline for online letters of recommendation is December 16.

Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have scores sent directly to Carnegie Mellon University (Institutional Code 2074, Departmental Code 0402). 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. It is strongly suggested that you plan to take all required tests (GRE and TOEFL) before December. Scores from tests taken in December may not arrive in time for the review process. Scores from tests taken in January or later will not be considered. Please plan accordingly, and make sure to use the correct codes.

Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have your score sent directly to Carnegie Mellon University (Institutional Code 4256, Departmental Code 78). All students whose native language is not English must take this examination.

It is your responsibility to make certain that your application, supporting documents, and letters of recommendation reach the Admissions Committee by the above stated deadlines. You may check your submitted online application to make certain that it is complete.

Application Fee

Application to the HCI PhD program must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

Tuition and Financial Aid

It is anticipated that students accepted into the HCI PhD 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.

The Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research is one such graduate fellowship program provided within Carnegie Mellon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have GRE scores? Everyone who applies MUST have taken the GRE General Test. If necessary, unofficial scores can be accepted at the time of application, but the official score record must be supplied prior to final admission.

Do I have to take the GRE Subject test? Applicants are not required to submit a GRE Advanced subject exam score.

Do I have to take the TOEFL? The TOEFL is required of students whose native language is NOT English. We can not guarantee that your application will be considered without it.

What is the recommended TOEFL score?
A successful applicant will normally have a total iBT score of at least 100 with no sub-score less than 25. Applicants may be admitted with slightly lower scores in exceptional circumstances.

How high do my GRE scores need to be? Most of our students have GRE scores near the 90 percentiles, and in general that is what we expect to see among our students. However, we do not preclude people based on low GRE scores. If there is a good explanation and/or we have other reliable data to indicate that it does not matter, then we can, (and have), ignored poor scores. For example, there are historical cases with scores under 60 percentile (but not many).

I’m just applying to the HCII at Carnegie Mellon University. Is that a good idea? If you are serious about doing PhD level research in HCI you should not apply only to our program. You should also apply to other good HCI programs (see HCIBIB.org) because our resources are limited and we are forced to turn away some very good students each year.

What are my chances of getting in? For the Fall 2002 term, we admitted just over 5% of the applicants and we estimate being even more selective in the years ahead.

I don’t have a strong programming background. May I still apply?

Will I have to take a lot of programming courses? We expect and encourage applicants from a wide range of HCI-related backgrounds. While it is important for HCI researchers to have some understanding of the technical aspects of their work, and some technical courses will be needed in your program of study, we do not expect all our applicants to have strong programming or other technical skills.

Should I visit before I apply (and will that help my chances of being admitted)? Typically no. We normally do not encourage people to visit before they apply since it does not generally improve one’s chances of admission. However, we invite all students who have been admitted to visit at our expense during our Open House in March. The Open House provides the opportunity to meet with faculty and and current students and to explore the university environment.

Can I apply for admission starting in the spring instead of the fall? No. We only process admissions once a year. Applications are accepted in January for admission the next fall.

Can I work on my PhD in HCI part time? No. We expect all our students to work full time on their PhD studies for the duration of their time with us.

Is financial aid available? Yes. Exact details of our financial aid package will be spelled out at the time of admission. However, it is our intent to provide full support (including tuition and a stipend) for all of our students so long as they remain in good standing within the program.

Do I need to fill out an application for financial aid? No. All students admitted to our program receive aid without applying.

Should I apply for externally funded fellowships (such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship?) Yes. You are strongly encouraged to apply for any fellowships for which you are eligible. Many of our existing students have fellowships from nationally competitive programs. Students interested in learning science and technology should consider applying to the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research.

I just finished my undergraduate work. Should I apply for the Masters of HCI program first as preparation for my PhD work? The MHCI program is not intended to serve as preparation for our PhD program (or generally to prepare you to be a researcher). It is intended to teach the skills necessary for professional practice in various HCI related careers. The PhD program on the other hand, is designed to prepare you to be an HCI researcher. Because of the different emphasis of each program, applying to the MHCI program with intention to later move the PhD program is normally not a good idea.

If I am not accepted for the HCII PhD program will I be automatically considered for admission to the Masters of HCI program instead? No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, their admissions processes are separate, and people are not moved from one to the other. As noted in the previous question, the two programs are designed to address different goals. Therefore, we normally don’t expect students to apply to both the MHCI and PhD programs.

How many students are currently in the program? Approximately 35–45 students.

Questions?

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the applyweb (online application) website, send inquiries to hciiphd [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] edu.

Final Checklist

Remember that the application deadline is December 16th. Have you enclosed these items?

  • Application Fee: If submitted by December 4, $75 US (add $50 US for each application to each additional SCS program). At 12:01 p.m. EST on December 4 to 12:00 p.m.noon EST on December 16, the application fee increases to $125 US (add $75 for each application to each additional SCS program). No applications will be accepted after noon (12:00 p.m.) EST December 16.
  • Publications
  • Portfolio (optional)
  • Resume
  • Transcripts—from all schools attended

Have you requested that these items be mailed directly?

  • Graduate Record Examination Scores—general tests
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Scores—if required