Carnegie Mellon Engineering




Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions. If you still need help after reading the FAQ, talk to your faculty advisor or contact any of the resources listed on the Student Services page.  


Academics

Question

What are the minimum units necessary to maintain full-time status?

Answer

As stated in the student catalog, "Undergraduates who are registered as full-time students as of the 10th day of classes are expected to remain full-time for the duration of the semester. Full-time is defined by a minimum of 36 units. Permission to drop below the 36 unit minimum must be granted by the student's Associate Dean. Undergraduates who are registered as part-time are also subject to the same deadlines to drop or withdraw from a course. Students carrying a full-time course load as of the 10th regularly scheduled class day are not ordinarily permitted to drop below 36 units after that time. Exceptions must be authorized by the student's Associate Dean." Students in their last semester can drop below full-time status as long as they are still meeting all necessary graduation requirements. International students must seek approval from the Office of International Education as well.

   
Question

How many units do I have to take to graduate?

Answer

Each major and/or double major, has a different number of units required to graduate. Typically it ranges from 360 to 384. This information on the on-line version of the Undergraduate Catalog.

   
Question

What is the minimum QPA requirement in order to maintain good academic standing?

Answer

A student will be placed on academic probation if the QPA during one semester of the first year is below 1.75, or if the semester QPA of a student in good standing beyond the first year falls below 2.00. Students who are subsequently unable to maintain minimum QPA standards can receive further academic actions leading to continued probation, suspension, or being dropped from the program.

Get more information on Carnegie Mellon's grading policy.

   
Question

What is the minimum QPA required in order to graduate?

Answer

The College of Engineering requires that the cumulative QPA be 2.00 or higher for all courses taken after the first year. Your department has additional QPA requirements, so check with your advisor.


Get more information on Carnegie Mellon's grading policy.

   
Question

Do my first-year grades count towards my QPA?

Answer

First year grades are included in the calculation of your cumulative QPA and class ranking; however, the College of Engineering's’s 2.00 QPA requirement for graduation is based on courses taken after the freshmen year.

   
Question

What QPA do I need to be awarded Dean's List?

Answer

The criterion to make the College of Engineering Dean's List is a QPA of at least 3.75 while completing a minimum of 36 factorable units and earning no incomplete grades during a given semester.

   
Question

How can I be certain that I am completing all my degree requirements?

Answer

Read and understand the requirements for your major(s) and minor(s) as described in the Undergraduate Catalog and create an academic plan that will allow you to graduate on time. The On-Line Academic Audit on the Hub website is a helpful tool, but you should meet with your departmental academic advisor to make sure you are on track.

   
Question

Where can I find academic tutoring?

Answer

The Academic Development Office offers supplemental instruction, academic counseling, peer and walk-in tutoring, along with academic and skill development workshops.

   
Question

Can I retake a class in order to get a higher grade?

Answer

You may repeat a course in which you obtained a passing grade. However, the grades from both enrollments in the course will appear on the transcript; both will be used in calculating your total QPA; and both will be used in determining your class rank. The units will only be counted once. Therefore, if a course is taken more than once, the additional enrollments cannot be used to satisfy another curricular requirement, such as a free elective.


Get more information on Carnegie Mellon's grading policy.

   
Question

Where can I find additional academic advice if I need it?

Answer

The Carnegie Mellon Advising Resource Center (CMARC) is an advising and information center designed to assist undergraduate students of all majors in their academic and social development from their first year through graduation.

   
   
Question

Where else can I get additional writing skills help beyond 76-101?

Answer

The Open Learning Initiative is one resource. This short online course is intended to teach you how to design successful technical documents. You will learn how to establish effective visual hierarchy and groups of information by consistently using visual variables such as type size, type weight, and spacing.  Visit their website.

Suggested courses:

76-270: Writing for the Professions
70-340: Business Communications
70-341: Organizational Communication
70-343: Interpersonal Communication

 
 

Scheduling Courses

Question

What are the requirements to obtain a course overload?

Answer

Students with a cumulative QPA of 3.0 or higher (3.5 for ECE majors) may register for an overload of up to 12 units. Applicable students receive an increase in maximum units about a week after final grades for the semester are calculated. Overloads greater than 12 units or other exceptions must be approved by the College of Engineering Office of Undergraduate Studies. First semester freshmen are not permitted to overload and may enroll in no more than 47 units.

   
Question

Why do I get waitlisted when there seems to be space in the course?

Answer

Some courses have space reservation specifications for the College of Engineering, but even though the course isn’t completely full, you may not be able to get in. You can contact the department of the course in question to check on the status of the waitlist.

   
Question

What is the university's policy on dropping or withdrawing from a course?

Answer

You can drop a course on or before the current semester’s drop deadline, which can be found on the HUB’s Official Calendar. The course will be removed from your record, and it will not appear on your transcript. If you miss the deadline, you may still be able to drop a course but a “W” will appear on your official transcript. Remember if you are a full-time student and you decide to drop a class, you must maintain a course load of at least 36 units in order to maintain full-time student status. A "W" grade will have no affect on your QPA.

   
Question

Can I retake a class in order to get a higher grade?

Answer

You may repeat a course in which you obtained a passing grade. However, the grades from both enrollments in the course will appear on the transcript; both will be used in calculating your total QPA; and both will be used in determining your class rank. The units will only be counted once. Therefore, if a course is taken more than once, the additional enrollments cannot be used to satisfy another curricular requirement, such as a free elective.

Get more information on Carnegie Mellon's grading policy.

   
 
   

Double Majors & Minors

Question

What should I do to declare a minor offered within the College of Engineering?

Answer

Designated minors within the College of Engineering are described in the Undergraduate Catalog in the section Undergraduate Designated Minors in Carnegie Institute of Technology or go to the majors and minors page on this site. Once you are clear about what's available, talk with your academic advisor about how to move forward. Although students can generally complete a designated minor without increasing the number of units required for graduation, early planning is important.

   
Question

How do I declare a minor or double major in a college outside the College of Engineering?

Answer

The majority of colleges at Carnegie Mellon offer minor and/or double major options. You should contact the department in that interests you to inquire about admission, enrollment, and/or degree requirements. Your chosen minor/double major department will have to certify upon graduation that all requirements were completed. Often you will be assigned an additional academic advisor from that department who will work together with your College of Engineering advisor.

   
 
   

Research, Internships, & Studying Abroad

Question

When can I participate in research?

Answer

Students can opt to do research, starting their second semester of their first year, but most students start in their sophomore or junior year. Research is not required but can be a rewarding experience. Many students decide to focus on research later in their academic career, when they have more coursework knowledge, allowing them to secure research projects that provide in-depth experience in a subject of interest.

   
Question

Where can I seek assistance in locating research opportunities?

Answer

The Undergraduate Research Office (URO) supports student research in every field of study, with SURG grants to cover research expenses, Summer Fellowships for full-time summer research, and Presentation Awards to support students presenting at academic conferences. Students also locate research opportunities by talking and reviewing department faculty web pages regarding their research interests, projects, and/or topics. You should then contact the faculty member directly.

 

In addition, the Fellowships and Scholarships Office supports first-year students to post-doctoral students from all majors and disciplines.

   
Question

What is Honors Research?

Answer

Honors Research is offered to juniors with a QPA of 3.5 or higher. These students are invited to participate in research projects with faculty, at the same level as graduate students. Each year, faculty advisors post projects that have opportunities for Honors Research students. Students receive college credit for participation and have the opportunity to take an active role in an ongoing research effort.

   
Question

How do I conduct an internship search?

Answer

The Career Center has an entire section on finding internships. A College of Engineering Career Consultant is available to work with you on searching and securing an internship. In addition, the Career Center holds semester workshops regarding internships.

 

   
Question

Where can I locate information about study abroad opportunities?

Answer

Contact the Study Abroad Office within the Office of International Education. They maintain a listing of institutions with which Carnegie Mellon has experience in placing exchange students. The College of Engineering has formal exchange programs with several technical universities. The Study Abroad Office can provide you with information on those programs, or assist in designing an alternative exchange program, which you can receive academic credit at Carnegie Mellon. In addition, you should contact your academic advisor to construct an academic plan that will allow you to study abroad and still graduate on time.

   
Question

Who may study abroad?

Answer

Any undergraduate, with the exception of first-year students, with approval from their academic department can study abroad during the summer or for academic year. Many study abroad programs have a QPA requirement of at least 3.0.

   
 
   

Transfer Policy

Question

What is the College of Engineering's’s transfer credit policy regarding courses taken at other higher education institutions?

Answer

There is no comprehensive list of qualified universities or courses that the College of Engineering will accept for transfer. Each course is evaluated on an individual basis. Engineering courses are typically NOT transferable. Unless taken from an approved program such as ITESM or EPFL, though all such courses must be approved by the engineering department in question.

College courses and AP credit completed while in high school cannot be transferred AFTER your first year at Carnegie Mellon (barring SAMS and APEA programs).

If you are planning on taking courses at another university to transfer into Carnegie Mellon, you need to complete a Transfer Course Credit Approval Form. You should complete this form PRIOR to taking a course at another institution and will need to complete one form for each class you wish to take. You must also submit a detailed description (preferably an official catalog description) and/or syllabus from the course.

The Office of Undergraduate Studies will determine, upon consultation with the corresponding department at Carnegie Mellon, whether the request is approved. Courses taken during a period of suspension from Carnegie Mellon University cannot be transferred. Upon completion of the course(s) you MUST have an official transcript sent from that institution to:

Carnegie Mellon University
College of Engineering Dean's Office
Attn:: Kurt Larsen
Scaife Hall 110
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

A grade of "TR" will appear for earned transfer credit (similar to AP for Advanced Placement). These credits can work toward degree requirements but do not influence your overall QPA.

 
Question

What grade will I need to earn in order to have the course transferred?

Answer

The grade that you need to achieve in order to transfer the course is determined on a case-by-case basis. The Office of Undergraduate Studies will set a minimum grade requirement for the transfer course depending on the type of course and school that is requested.

   
Question

How many units will I receive for a transfer course?

Answer

The number of units that will be entered on your Carnegie Mellon transcript is determined on a case-by-case basis by the College of Engineering's Office of Undergraduate Studies. While many institutions use credits, we will convert those to units. Typically three (3) units are roughly equivalent to one (1) standard credit hour.

   
Question

How many courses can I transfer from other schools?

Answer

There is currently no restriction on the number of courses that you may transfer from other universities. There is, however, a residency requirement which states that you MUST complete at least 180 units and four semesters of coursework at Carnegie Mellon.

   
 
   

General Education Requirements

Question

What courses satisfy the College of Engineering's general education requirement?

Answer

Humanistic Studies = 9 units
Writing/Expression = 9 units
Cognition and Institutions = 9 units
Depth Sequence in Humanities, Social Science, or Fine Arts = 27 units
Non-technical Electives = 18 units

Review the General Education requirements and course options for the college. The requirements are also described in more detail in the Undergraduate Catalog, in the Carnegie Institute of Technology section, under the heading College of Engineering Introduction.

   
Question

Do the depth sequence courses have to taken within the same department?

Answer

Most students do opt to satisfy this requirement by taking courses offered in the same department, however, student may take “related” courses that are offered through different departments. These courses must address a common theme and it is important to seek prior approval from your academic advisor before you begin the sequence.

   
Question

Is it possible to take courses offered by the College of Fine Arts to satisfy the depth sequence?

Answer

Yes, courses from CFA can count towards the 27 unit depth sequence. One course has to be beyond the introductory level and a CFA performance sequence MUST include one course in theory or history of the subject.

   
Question

Can business administration courses satisfy general education depth sequence?

Answer

Courses from Tepper School of Business, the Heinz School, and/or Statistics department CANNOT be used to satisfy the College of Engineering depth requirement. However, Economics is an acceptable depth sequence.

Non-technical courses from Tepper School of Business and the Heinz School can be used to satisfy the 18 unit non-technical elective requirement. Though accounting, finance, management, production, and/or statistics courses are regarded as technical courses, and they CANNOT be used to satisfy the requirement.

   
Question

Can I take different languages to fulfill the GE depth sequence?

Answer

In order to be awarded credit for your general education depth sequence, a student MUST take three semester of the SAME language. So, for example, two courses in Spanish and one in German would NOT be acceptable.

   
 
   

Other Questions

Question

Where can I find University policies?

Answer

"The Word" is the undergraduate student handbook published annually by the Division of Student Affairs. It contains rules and regulations as well as in-depth information about campus life. You can also review policies in the Undergraduate Catalog.

   
Question

Can Engineering undergraduates participate in varsity sports?

Answer

Many engineers have successfully participated in varsity sports offered at Carnegie Mellon. As a Division III NCAA program, athletic participation is designed to be compatible with the rigorous academic requirements of the College of Engineering. Contact the Athletics Department for more information on how to get involved.

   
Question

Is it possible to reserve a classroom for a meeting or event?

Answer

SpaceQuest is an online application that allows you reserve a space on campus up to a year in advance. Your Andrew ID and password is required to use SpaceQuest, and requests for space are subject to review and approval.

   
Question

Who should I contact with questions regarding tuition billing or financial aid?

Answer

Questions regarding billing for tuition, fees and payment information, financial aid, student loans, and scholarships should be directed to:

Enrollment Services (HUB)
Telephone: 412.268.8186
Email: thehub@andrew.cmu.edu

   
Question

Where can I locate information about campus scheduled holidays and breaks?

Answer

Carnegie Mellon’s Academic Calendar located on the HUB web site has all of this information and more.