The ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation has 13 chapters in the United States that provide scholarships to academically outstanding United States citizens studying to complete their degrees in science, medicine, and engineering, thereby contributing to the worldwide advancement of science and technology. The Pittsburgh Chapter of the ARCS Foundation formed in 2003 and began to provide ARCS Scholarships at Carnegie Mellon in the 2004-05 academic year. Following is a description of the form of an ARCS Scholarship and the expectations of each ARCS Scholar, who can be an ARCS Scholar, who can nominate an ARCS Scholar, and the procedure by which ARCS Scholars are nominated and selected.

In the Pittsburgh Chapter, an ARCS Scholar receives $5,000 of support per year for three years or until the completion of his or her doctoral degree, whichever is sooner. These funds are in addition to any existing stipend and tuition support. ARCS funds are intended to facilitate a student’s completion of graduate study and are, therefore, totally discretionary and may be used by the student for any purpose.


To be eligible to be nominated for and continue to receive an ARCS Scholarship, a student must:
  • be an applicant to a Ph.D. program within an eligible department (In some cases, an award may be given to a student currently in a Ph.D. program.)
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • have, at the time of nomination, and maintain throughout the three-year period, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5
  • be performing high-quality research in an engineering or scientific area
  • commit to participate in at least one meeting of the membership and/or the board of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the ARCS Foundation per year and make a presentation on her or his research, if requested
  • acknowledge the ARCS Foundation in any publication related to his/her research
  • maintain contact with the foundation beyond the scholarship years

Continuation of support over the three-year period is dependent on the student’s maintaining the academic standards listed above and satisfying the other commitments as specified. If an ARCS Scholar does not finish the school year or fails to satisfy the eligibility criteria, the remaining funds will be returned to the ARCS Foundation – Pittsburgh.

Nominating an ARCS Scholar

The Pittsburgh chapter of the ARCS Foundation has specified the following colleges at Carnegie Mellon as eligible for ARCS scholarships: College of Engineering, School of Computer Science, and Mellon College of Science. Only university departments approved by the National Board of ARCS as ranking in the top 50 of their national peer group are eligible.

The list of academic departments included is evaluated every year. Eligibility is based on requesting and receiving approval, on an annual basis, from the ARCS Foundation for each engineering/science-oriented department.

Candidates must be nominated by their departments by February 8 of each year. Each department that is eligible may nominate no more than one candidate in a given year. Nominations must be sent to the associate dean for graduate and faculty affairs in the College of Engineering, who supervises the ARCS Scholar selection process and chairs the selection committee. The ARCS Scholarship Selection Committee will make their decisions by February 15.

For questions about ARCS Scholars, please contact the Office of Faculty and Graduate Affairs at