Registration, grading, and credit policies

College of Engineering graduate students will work closely with department faculty in their chosen field. However, the college establishes standards for graduate education that apply across all programs. These standards are articulated in the college policies below.

Cross Registration

Cross-registration is available through neighboring institutions (e.g., the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University) and the grade earned for courses completed during the Fall or Spring semester will appear on the Carnegie Mellon transcript. Course and/or distribution credit may be granted by petition to the department for courses not used for a previous degree requirement.

Grading policy

The general grading policy used by the College of Engineering is described on the university grading policy page. The following are college-specific policies for graduate grading.

Project work may be given an S (Satisfactory) grade on a semester-by-semester basis, but a letter grade (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-,D+, D, or R) must be given in the final semester for a multi-semester project. The units with an S grade are counted toward degree requirements but are not included in computing the average grade.

Course work or graduate project units with a grade of C- or lower are not acceptable toward graduate degree requirements.

M.S. degree units

Most, but not all, College of Engineering M.S. programs require 96 units. For those that require 96 units, the average grade of 96 units applied to the degree shall be at least B, and the student may choose any 96 units of the first 120 units attempted to compute the grade average. Individual departments and programs may have specific requirements regarding grades in certain courses. For M.S. programs that require more than 96 units, such as the programs of the Information Networking Institute, the program-specific grading policies and degree requirements apply and should be consulted.

(policy revised 5/21/2009)

Course electives

Courses counted as electives toward MS degrees in the College of Engineering must be at the 300 level or above. Courses numbered as xx-299 or lower do not qualify as M.S. degree electives.

(policy revised 2/17/16)

Course drop and withdrawal

College of Engineering graduate students may drop a course on-line on or before the deadline published in the official university calendar. This deadline is two weeks after mid-semester grades are due. The deadline to drop a half-semester mini course is the last day of the fourth week of the mini course. When a course is dropped by the deadlines, the course is removed entirely and disappears from a student’s academic record. After the official university deadline to drop, graduate students may withdraw from a course on-line on or before the last day of classes, excluding final examinations. The deadline to withdraw from a half-semester mini course is the last class day of the mini course. When a College of Engineering graduate student withdraws from a course between the official university deadline to drop a course and the last day of classes, a “W” (Withdrawal) is assigned as a grade, which appears on the student’s academic record. This “W” grade does not affect a student’s QPA. A graduate student can petition the department head to remove a W grade from their transcript if there are extenuating circumstances.

(policy created 5/21/2009)

Double counting of course units for M.S. and Ph.D. degrees

No course that has been counted toward another degree can be counted toward fulfilling course requirements in graduate programs, unless explicitly authorized for a particular program as set forth in the specified requirements for the program, or by the department head(s) of the primary department(s) of the graduate student.

(policy created 4/14/2009)

Transfer credit & special students

Applicants with a degree of Bachelor of Science may be admitted as part-time special students with no intention of working toward a graduate degree. Some of them may wish to become degree candidates later. Even though the applicant may have been admitted as a non-degree student, courses taken at Carnegie Mellon with a grade of B or better will be counted toward the degree, provided that such courses fall within the requirements of the degree sought.

Up to 24 units (two courses) of graduate work completed at other universities, with a grade point average of 3.0 or better, may be given transfer credit, provided that such course work is part of the graduate program leading to the degree sought. These units cannot have been used toward a previous degree at another university. Such transfer credit is not granted prior to admission to the graduate program and must be approved by the department after the student has satisfactorily completed at least 36 units of graduate courses at Carnegie Mellon.

This policy is subject to change within the individual academic departments and programs. Download the graduate transfer credit request form.

Statute of limitations for master's degree students

All units required for a masters degree in the College of Engineering, whether earned in residence or transferred from another institution, must be recorded on the transcript within six years of the date on which the student enrolled in the program. This statutory period can be extended by the college's Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for special circumstances that do not make it possible for the student to complete the requirements within the statutory period. Any request for a waiver of the statute of limitations for masters degree studies must be approved by the head of the department or program offering the masters degree, and by the college's Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs. The waiver request must explain the exceptional circumstances that warrant an extension. For cases in which a waiver is granted, the waiver will cover specific courses and will specify a time period for completion of the program.

(policy created 2/26/2009)