Undergraduate Options

This section of the catalog introduces some of the options that undergraduate students can choose from to supplement their degree program, advance their career objectives, or focus on an interest that may be unrelated to their major. From IDeATe, which offers minors and courses in areas that merge technology and creativity like Game Design, to Student Defined Majors, which is designed for students whose academic goals cannot be adequately served by curricula of existing majors or minors, learn more about the additional options offered to CMU's undergraduate students. 

Additional Majors/Dual Degrees

Students interested in pursuing more than one area of study are encouraged to consider an additional major or dual degree. Students who complete an additional major will earn a single degree in two areas. Generally, it is possible to fulfill the requirements of both majors in four years by taking the course requirements of the second major in the elective spaces allowed by the first major.

Some majors are offered only as additional majors:

Dual Degree programs allow students to earn two degrees. Students who are interested in an additional major or dual degree are encouraged to review the specific possibilities with the relevant academic advisor.

Accelerated Master's Programs

Qualified undergraduates may apply to one of several programs to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years. For further details about these programs, please refer to the appropriate college or departmental sections.

College of Engineering

The five-year Integrated Master's/Bachelor's programs offered by the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering offers students superior technical preparation for careers in industry. The Departments of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering also offer fifth-year Accelerated Master's programs. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers a cooperative Industrial Internship Option in which students alternate coursework with practical experience in industry. Admission is highly competitive and leads to a Master of Science degree.

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Department of Philosophy offers two bachelor's/master's degree options: the Bachelor's in Logic and Computation and Master’s in Logic, Computation & Methodology degree as well as a Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Philosophy.  The Institute for Politics and Strategy offers an accelerated Master of Science degree in International Relations and Politics. The Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TOESL) is a fifth-year master's option for Modern Language students who are concentrating in English as a Second Language. Also, the Department of English offers an accelerated program for undergraduates to obtain a Master of Arts in Professional Writing.

Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

Heinz College's Accelerated Master's program allows qualified undergraduate students to earn a prestigious Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management. For students in the College of Fine Arts or the Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree program who are interested in careers in arts management, the program leads to a Master of Arts Management degree.

Mellon College of Science

The Honors Programs in the Departments of Chemistry and Mathematics are demanding, accelerated programs that give highly qualified students the opportunity to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in just four years. Admission is by invitation only.

Tepper School of Business

Students who are interested in business management may wish to consider the Tepper School of Business 3-2 program. Qualified undergraduate students may earn their Master of Business Administration in addition to their bachelor's degree.

Health Professions Program

Jason D'Antonio, PhD, Director
Location: Doherty Hall 1324
Phone: 412-268-8494


The Health Professions Program (HPP) at Carnegie Mellon University is an advising and resource center for all university students and alumni who are interested in one or more aspects of the health professions. This program complements a student's curricular advising and is meant to help students explore their interests, prepare for graduate programs in the health professions, and facilitate their application process. Students can enroll in the program at any time during their academic career, but the importance of early planning is communicated to interested first-year students. Once enrolled, students meet regularly with the director to discuss course requirements, medical exposure opportunities, and other aspects of preparing to be a competitive candidate.

Students in the HPP span all colleges of the university and have many diverse career interests including medicine, dentistry, optometry, biomedical research, medical physics, rehabilitation engineering, medical informatics, and health policy.

For students interested in medicine or dental medicine, regardless of a student's major, the basic course requirements outlined below must be completed prior to matriculation:

1. One year of Biology with one lab, plus Biochemistry.
This is typically fulfilled by the following Carnegie Mellon courses:
03-121Modern Biology9-10
or 03-151 Honors Modern Biology
03-135Structure and Function of the Human Body9
or 42-202 Physiology
or 03-220 Genetics
or 03-320 Cell Biology
03-124Modern Biology Laboratory9-12
or 03-343 Experimental Techniques in Molecular Biology
or 03-206 Biomedical Engineering Laboratory
or 02-261 Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory
03-231Honors Biochemistry9
or 03-232 Biochemistry I
2. One year of Inorganic Chemistry with one lab.
This is typically fulfilled by the following Carnegie Mellon courses:
09-105Introduction to Modern Chemistry I10
or 09-107 Honors Chemistry: Fundamentals, Concepts and Applications
09-106Modern Chemistry II10
09-207Techniques in Quantitative Analysis (non-Chem majors)9
or 09-221 Laboratory I: Introduction to Chemical Analysis
3. One year of Organic Chemistry with one lab.
This is typically fulfilled by the following Carnegie Mellon courses:
09-217Organic Chemistry I9-10
or 09-219 Modern Organic Chemistry
09-218Organic Chemistry II9-10
or 09-220 Modern Organic Chemistry II
09-208Techniques for Organic Synthesis and Analysis (non-Chem majors)9
or 09-222 Laboratory II: Organic Synthesis and Analysis
4. One year of Physics with one lab.
This is typically fulfilled by the following Carnegie Mellon courses:
33-121Physics I for Science Students12
or 33-141 Physics I for Engineering Students
33-122Physics II for Biological Sciences and Chemistry Students9
or 33-142 Physics II for Engineering and Physics Students
33-100Basic Experimental Physics6-9
or 33-104 Experimental Physics
5. One year of Math.
21-120Differential and Integral Calculus10
21-122Integration and Approximation10
or 21-124 Calculus II for Biologists and Chemists
or 36-200 Reasoning with Data
or 36-202 Methods for Statistics & Data Science
6. One year of English.
This is typically fulfilled by the following Carnegie Mellon courses:
76-101Interpretation and Argument (or any two of 76-106/7/8)9
76-xxxEnglish course of the student's choice, typically 200-level or higher

In addition to these general course requirements, recommended coursework includes statistics, behavioral sciences, ethics, and languages. Interdisciplinary studies are also strongly encouraged, and many students design an undergraduate curriculum that incorporates majors and/or minors in both the natural and social sciences.

Undergraduate research is a hallmark of the educational experience at Carnegie Mellon in many disciplines. Whether in the psychology lab studying the impact of breast cancer diagnosis on family social dynamics, in the NMR lab imaging metabolic function in the heart or brain, or in the surgery suite testing robotic devices, our students have made significant achievements in research, well beyond the more traditional guided experiments.

Our university policy is to train students to be first class scientists, engineers, artists, writers, managers, or whatever their passion may be. We do not train students to be “pre-med,” but if they choose to use their talents in a health profession, we offer many services to help them obtain their life goals. Regular advising, application workshops, health issue seminars and symposium, community outreach activities, and preceptor-ship/ internship experiences are all part of our programming. The student pre-health organizations on campus: Doctors of Carnegie Society (DOCS); Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS); Alpha Epsilon Delta; Global Medical Brigades; and Global Public Health Brigades, together with the HPP, provide students with many opportunities to learn, explore, and prepare for their chosen area of professional interest.

The HPP has been successful in helping students to define, prepare for, and obtain their professional goals. Our students are regularly accepted at top-level medical, dental and graduate programs, and our alumni continue to serve as outstanding ambassadors of Carnegie Mellon and the training and experience they received here.

IDeATe

The Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) network offers students the opportunity to become immersed in a collaborative community of faculty and peers who share expertise, experience, and passions at the intersection of arts and technology. Students will engage in active "learning by doing" in the IDeATe labs and classrooms based in Hunt Library. The program addresses current and emerging real-world challenges that require disciplinary expertise coupled with multidisciplinary perspectives and collaborative integrative approaches.

The IDeATe undergraduate curriculum consists of nine interrelated areas, all of which can be shaped into minors that students pursue alongside their primary majors. The themes of these areas integrate knowledge in technology and arts:

  • Game Design: Enhance your knowledge of key component areas of games such as dramatic narrative and character development, programming and engine development, game assessment and redesign. Create games for varied platforms from mobile devices to home entertainment systems and theme parks.
     
  • Animation & Special Effects: Explore the technical and artistic aspects of 3D and 2D animation in an integrated manner and within different application contexts (from film animation and special effects to interactive displays).
     
  • Media Design: Learn to design digitally mediated experiences across different platforms, from mobile apps to large-scale installations, and for varied applications (from media for daily living to mediated performances).
     
  • Design for Learning: Design effective new media systems for learning using new technologies, learning science principles and media arts knowledge. Produce engaging and effective experiences from games to tangible learning tool kits and remote systems.
     
  • Sonic Arts: Create experimental music or explore new, technology-enabled applications and markets for sound design, music creation, and performance.
     
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Work collaboratively in hands-on explorations of the complete 21st century innovation ecosystem. You will experience integrated models of innovation that increase the likelihood of home-run products and services that will captivate society and/or the marketplace.
     
  • Intelligent Environments: Develop spaces and devices that support efficiency and high quality of experience, in contexts like daily activity, built environment, making process (from laying plaster to robot development), and arts performance.
     
  • Physical Computing: Build interfaces and circuitry to embed in physical contexts, such as mobile environments and new creative practice instruments
  • Soft Technologies: Weave together a rich set of traditions and techniques to animate soft materials and matter.

Individuals who make significant contributions, academically and professionally, in these areas are solidly prepared in a related discipline. Their preparation is combined with the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams that span technology and the arts. IDeATe serves as a multidisciplinary collaborative learning addition to the education (and learning outcomes) that students receive through their disciplinary major rather than a standalone learning experience.

Innovation and advancement in the IDeATe areas, as in many complex areas of inquiry, is the result of collective inquiry and requires deep expertise in all contributing areas of knowledge (i.e., expert technologists and artists). Carnegie Mellon is the only university in the United States with highly ranked departments in key technological and artistic domains. With these resources, Carnegie Mellon is uniquely positioned to create faculty and student teams that contain all necessary, high-level expertise in tech-arts areas of inquiry.

Students who participate in IDeATe will be able to combine the unique experience of a "deep dive" in their chosen discipline while connecting to the diverse areas of knowledge and skill across the university. To help facilitate this experience, the educational objectives of the IDeATe are:

  • Students from any undergraduate major can integrate a tech-arts area of study into their curricular plan through the IDeATe minors, which enhance and synthesize the tech-arts ecosystem at CMU.
  • Students in IDeATe have the opportunity to:
    • Immerse themselves in a collaborative community of faculty and peers who share expertise, experience, and passions at the intersection of arts and technology
    • Engage in active "learning by doing" in shared labs and maker spaces
    • Address current and emerging real-world challenges that require disciplinary expertise coupled with multidisciplinary perspectives and integrative approaches.

Across the nine IDeATe areas, there are over 50 multi-disciplinary technology-arts courses that a student can choose from to customize their paths. Students are assisted in their choice of courses and minor by a dedicated IDeATe advisor who works in tandem with the advisor in their home department.

The IDeATe Portal Courses introduce students to the concepts and practices of knowledge areas beyond their discipline that contribute to the subject of each minor/concentration. After completing the portal courses, students should be able to (1) interpret cross-disciplinary communication from their collaborators (and use that interpretation productively in the collaborative work), (2) translate their own disciplinary expertise to describe ideas and outcomes in a way their cross-disciplinary collaborators can understand, and (3) develop interdisciplinary tech-arts prototypes (that include perspectives from multiple disciplines and enable further interdisciplinary communication and collaboration).

The remaining courses of IDeATe deepen exploration in a given area. Each course is focused on a key aspect of the area that it is categorized under. By taking these courses, the student can become familiar with many of the technical and creative issues in the area of the minor and the collaborative processes they entail. These courses are collaborative because they promote hands-on learning through making, critique, and iterative design and they promote learning from both the instructor and the interdisciplinary peer cohort. At the conclusion of each course a student should be in a position to collaboratively plan and implement an established outcome in the area within a limited amount of time and apply skills from both technology and arts disciplines to prototype ideas and leverage the diversity of perspectives to produce innovation in the field.

A completion of a minor should provide multidisciplinary training in the area of the concentration and furthermore enhance collaborative learning experience and skills of students: diversify the cohorts of the student, enhance collaboration skills, promote cognitive versatility, facilitate skill transfer across technology and the arts, and produce graduates that can innovate in 21st century creative industries.

For more information, please visit the IDeATe website.

Minors

In addition to a student's primary degree, they can choose a minor that is a secondary focus to the student's area of study, which can enhance a student's breadth of study and overall experience while not requiring the same amount of coursework as a second major or degree. The following list shows available minors. Unless otherwise indicated, minors are generally open to all university undergraduate students.

Intercollege:

College of Engineering:

The following engineering minors are open to all Carnegie Mellon students:
Designated Minors (open only to engineering students):

College of Fine Arts:

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences:

Mellon College of Science:

School of Computer Science:

Tepper School of Business:

Pre-Law Advising Program 

Director: Joseph Devine, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Dietrich College
Location: Dietrich College Dean's Office, Baker Hall 154
www.cmu.edu/pre-law


“Law School” is an objective that students frequently mention when asked about post-baccalaureate plans. It seems in its brevity to be a simple enough answer, but in reality it masks a host of complex and momentous personal decisions and strategic tasks.

First and foremost, seeking entry into law school implies an informed decision about the rigors of law school and the realities of professional life as an attorney, as well as a strong and mature commitment to achieving these objectives at significant cost and investment (financial, personal, and intellectual). Second, it implies an understanding of the prolonged sequence of steps involved in the process of selecting law schools to which to apply, actually applying, ultimately selecting a school to attend, financing a law school education, and succeeding in law school. Finally, it implies an understanding of this as one of many options that should be carefully considered before a choice is made that will so significantly influence the course of one’s personal and professional life.

To address these needs, the university offers a pre-law advising program for students and alumni who are contemplating or actively seeking to enter law school. The program consists of a range of support services, coordinated centrally, designed to assist these groups in engaging the complex questions associated with decisions about law school, and in successfully negotiating the sequence of tasks associated with selecting, applying and gaining admission to the best law schools possible.

The emphases of this program are:

  • early identification of pre-law candidates;
  • stimulation at early stages and throughout this process to consider the essential questions of personal suitability for law school and professional life as an attorney;
  • engagement with meaningful substantive issues rooted in the law that illustrate the intellectual complexities of our legal system and the corresponding intellectual acumen needed to enter and thrive in this profession;
  • timely direction in designing and executing a well-planned law school research, selection and application strategy;
  • gathering and using accurate data on university alumni entering law school and the legal profession.

The program proper consists of several components, organized and made available as an ongoing service to all students and graduates of the university. These components include periodic workshops and seminars, a pre-law website, a pre-law newsletter, and linkage with law school admissions offices, the Law School Admissions Council, and associations (both regional and national) of pre-law advisors. The program also works closely with the student Pre-law Society.

Student Defined Majors

Carnegie Mellon offers the opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue a Student Defined Major. Some colleges have specific processes for Student Defined Majors within their college (see relevant college section of the catalog).  For information and advice, interested students are encouraged to speak to the associate dean of their current home college or the college most relevant to the proposed course of study.

The requirements for successful completion of a Student Defined Major include a student proposal approved by an advisor, relevant college(s), the vice provost for education, and successful completion of the approved course of study.  In brief:

  • A student interested in pursuing a student-defined major must develop a proposal which outlines an intellectually coherent area of study (with degree title) and a plan of study (courses to be taken, pedagogical rationale, and proposed schedule). The proposal should include an explanation of why it is not appropriate or possible to pursue such a program through the curriculum of any one of the colleges. It should outline a program of study for both general education (for example, the core requirements of one of the most relevant colleges or equivalent general education plan) and major requirements. The proposal should designate one of the participating colleges as de facto “home college” for tracking and verification purposes.
  • Proposals must be approved at least one academic year prior to expected graduation. Students should therefore submit their proposals by the end of their fifth semester, to allow ample time for approval.
  • The student's proposal must be approved by a faculty advisor within a college who takes pedagogical responsibility for the program, by the de facto “home college” and by any other colleges involved in granting the degree. The signed proposal will be submitted to the Provost's Office for a final review and approval.
  • Once approved by the faculty advisor, colleges, and the Provost's Office, the student's major will be administered by the advisor and their progress tracked by the dean's office of the “home college.” The “home college” will be responsible for monitoring the student's progress and reminding any collateral colleges of the approval of the Student Defined Major so that these colleges may insure the student's ability to enroll in the necessary courses. Upon successful completion of the course of study, the “home college” will be responsible for contacting all the relevant colleges and verifying the completion of the degree.  Upon consultation with the “home college", students may receive their diploma in the most relevant department's ceremony.

Note: To distinguish Student Defined Majors from regularly offered majors at Carnegie Mellon, the phrase "(Student Defined Major)" will be added to the end of the major name. This notation will appear on all official documents (transcripts, verification letters, diplomas, etc.).

Student-Taught Courses (StuCo)

The Student College (StuCo) was established in 2001 to provide Carnegie Mellon students with the opportunity to share knowledge through educational, self-designed courses. Students can teach classes on any topic of their choice. However, the course cannot be available through regular university offerings. Courses typically meet once a week (for a full semester) and follow the current Carnegie Mellon academic calendar. Instructors and students receive credit (3 elective units - pass/no pass) for their work.

  • All CMU students are eligible to teach StuCo courses and to join the Executive Committee that governs StuCo.
  • All currently-enrolled CMU students, staff and community members are eligible to take StuCo courses.
  • StuCo classes are taught during the fall and spring semesters.

StuCo courses vary semester to semester. Current classes offered by StuCo for fall 2021 include:

98-012Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Fun with Robots3
98-025Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Roguelike Games3
98-038Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Anime From Astro Boy to Your Name3
98-097Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Intro to Character Design (Digital Art)3
98-127Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Game Creation for Ppl Who Want to Create Games3
98-128Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Fundamentals of Improv Comedy3
98-163Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Tetris3
98-166Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Great Ideas in Practical Games Development3
98-186Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Roller Coasters: Background and Design3
98-205Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Minecraft3
98-230Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra3
98-242Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Intro to Esoteric Programming Languages3
98-244Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Sign Language Through Pop Music3
98-262Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Intro to Boardgames3
98-269Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Intro to Sabermetrics & Exploring Baseball Data3
98-272Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Financial Literacy for Beginners3
98-288Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Star Wars: The Course Awakens3
98-291Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Android Development3
98-303Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Freestyle Rap3
98-309Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Build Your Own Startup3
98-317Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Hype for Types3
98-331Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Animation & Video Editing3
98-335Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Glowstringing/Poi3
98-359Student Taught Courses(StuCo): Survey of Horror in Media3
98-360Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden StuCo3
98-369Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Brooklyn Nine-Nine3
98-374Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Steep by Steep: Investeagation into Tea Culture3
98-375Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Meta-Learning3
98-377Student Taught Courses (StuCo): The Way We Live Now3
98-380Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Practical Economics3
98-387Student Taught Courses (StuCo): The Schitt's Creek StuCo3
98-388Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to English Syntax3
98-389Student Taught Courses (StuCo): Introduction to Nail Art3

For detailed information on the Student College, please visit the StuCo website.

Study Abroad Programs

Carnegie Mellon students from every major may be able to study in any part of the world for a semester, year or summer. Short-term programs during spring and winter break are also possible. A well planned study abroad program, in coordination with one's academic advisor, will allow a student to receive credit for study abroad and graduate on time. Most students study abroad during their junior year; however, a growing number of students are studying abroad during their sophomore and senior years.

The study abroad advising staff offers general information sessions as well as individual advising appointments to assist students in all stages of the study abroad process. The Office of International Education (OIE) has a large in-house library as well as useful web links to help students find the most appropriate study abroad program. In addition, OIE offers orientations to help with personal, academic and acculturation issues, before and after a study abroad experience.

Carnegie Mellon offers students a variety of payment options for study abroad to allow students to study abroad regardless of financial need. There are three categories of programs: Exchange Programs, Sponsored Programs, and External Programs. A description of each program follows.

More detailed information can be found at www.cmu.edu/studyabroad.

Exchange Programs 

Students who participate in exchange programs pay Carnegie Mellon tuition and receive their regular financial aid package. Students are responsible for room, board, travel and miscellaneous expenses.

University Exchanges

Carnegie Mellon University has university-wide exchange programs with institutions located in Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Departmental Exchanges

Architecture, Art, Chemical Engineering, Design, Drama, Electrical and Computer Engineering, English, Heinz College, Information Systems, Materials Science and Engineering, Modern Languages, Computer Science and Business offer departmental exchange programs. Students should contact their department or the study abroad website for additional information.

Sponsored Programs

The university has designated a few study abroad programs administered by other organizations or universities as sponsored programs. To participate in these programs students pay a university fee equivalent to current tuition, room and board, and retain their eligibility for all financial aid. Carnegie Mellon in turn pays the program costs to the study abroad sponsor. Where applicable, funds are distributed to the student for room, board, travel, and personal expenses.

Currently Carnegie Mellon has 38 sponsored programs available around the world. A full list can be found at www.cmu.edu/studyabroad or in consultation with a study abroad advisor.

External Programs

Students may also participate in a program sponsored by another university or study abroad organization if the student's home department approves the program and its course offerings. Students will pay the other organization or institution directly. Students who receive institutional aid from Carnegie Mellon will not be eligible for this aid while they are abroad. However, students with state and federal aid will still qualify. Students can learn more about external program options during study abroad advising appointments and by exploring the study abroad website and library.

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