This is an archived copy of the 2011-2012 Catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Carnegie Institute of Technology

Carnegie Institute of Technology, the engineering college of the university, has three main activities - undergraduate education, graduate education, and research.  Its continuing goal has been to maintain excellence in all these activities.  The degree to which this goal has been achieved is attested to by the demand for its graduates, the success of its alumni, the quality of its students and faculty, the adoption elsewhere of its innovations, and the national and international recognition it receives in educational and research activities.

The college offers the degree of bachelor of science in chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering.  All of these programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology of ABET; 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012 telephone: (410) 347-7700;

An engineering student may also choose to pursue a minor in one of the CIT designated minor programs, or a double major in engineering and public policy or biomedical engineering, or to design minor, additional major or dual-degree programs with other non-engineering departments.


Educational Objectives

The overarching objective of our engineering curriculum is to provide our students an education that enables them to be productive and fulfilled professionals throughout their careers. Our more specific, measurable objectives for graduates of our engineering curriculum are the following:

  • Graduates recognize that they acquired a high quality, rigorous technical education from the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
  • Graduates, in addition to their technical knowledge, recognize that they have acquired a broader body of knowledge that allows them to understand the larger context of the problems that they must address during their career.
  • Graduates use their technical foundation and their broader base of knowledge to be successful in a diverse collection of individual careers inside and outside of the engineering profession.

From its earliest days, Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT) has considered undergraduate education to be the key element in the development of future leaders.  In this regard, CIT has adopted a plan for education that is designed to equip students with the capacity to learn and to continue the process of self-education throughout their lives. The present curriculum incorporates this philosophy by providing the opportunity for both breadth in a number of engineering, science, humanities and fine arts areas as well as depth in a major area of concentration. To achieve these goals, our flexible curriculum has been designed to allow students to customize their program to suit their needs and to help each student acquire:

  • A thorough and integrated understanding of fundamental knowledge in fields of a students’ major interest and the ability to use this knowledge;
  • Competence in the orderly way of thinking, which professionals and scientists have always used in reaching sound, creative conclusions, with the goal that after graduation the student can, by such thinking, reach decisions both as a professional and as a citizen;
  • An ability to learn independently with scholarly orderliness, so that after graduation the student will be able to grow in wisdom and keep abreast of the changing knowledge and problems of the profession and the society in which he or she participates;
  • The philosophical outlook, breadth of knowledge, and sense of values which will increase the student’s understanding and enjoyment of life and enable each student to recognize and deal effectively with the human, economic, ethical and social aspects of professional problems; and
  • The ability to communicate ideas to others in a comprehensive and understandable manner.

The curriculum encourages students to confront professional problems, accomplished through team and problem-oriented courses, as well as courses which emphasize design or individual projects. These classes stress creativity and independent thought and require the student to define the problem, propose a solution or a design in the presence of technical and socioeconomic constraints, to make judgments among alternative solutions, and to explore innovative alternatives to more conventional solutions.

First Year for Engineering Students

The Carnegie Mellon engineering education is based on engineering and science fundamentals that give students the skills to face new and challenging situations.  The first year in engineering provides a broad foundation upon which students build a curriculum in their eventual major.  Since students in CIT do not select a major until the end of the first year, all first year students share a common experience consisting of introductory courses in the engineering majors (one each semester), calculus, physics, other science courses which compliment specific introductory engineering courses, and courses in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (General Education). This curriculum helps make an informed decision about a final major. Below is an examples of a standard schedule for a first-year engineering student.

Introductory Engineering Elective 12
Restricted Technical Elective 9-12
Differential and Integral Calculus 10
General Education (5) 9
Computing @ Carnegie Mellon 3


Introductory Engineering Elective 12
Restricted Technical Elective 10
Integration, Differential Equations, Approximation 10
General Education Course (5) 9
  1. Each semester every CIT department offers its Introductory Engineering Elective.*  Every first year CIT student must select one such course each semester.
    * Except 19-101 , offered only in spring.
  2. Each Introductory Engineering Elective requires a specific Restricted Technical Elective (as a pre- or co-requisite) as given below:

    Introductory Engineering Course    Restricted Technical Elective

    Biomedical Engineering                       03-121

    Chemical Engineering                         09-105

    Civil & Environmental Engineering       33-106

    Electrical & Computer Engineering       15-110 or 15-121    

    Engineering & Public Policy                 33-106

    Mechanical Engineering                      33-106

    Materials Science and Engineering       33-106

  3. Restricted Technical Electives include the following courses:
    03-121 Modern Biology 9
    09-105 Introduction to Modern Chemistry I 10
    15-110 Principles of Computing 10
    or15-121 Principles of Computing (10 units)
    33-106 Physics I for Engineering Students 12


  4. 4. All students must complete 33-106 Physics I for Engineering Students by the end of the first year.  Therefore, if a student chooses to take Introduction to Chemical Engineering (with 09-105 as a co-requisite) during one semester and Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering (with 15-110 as a co-requisite), the student must take 33-106 in place of the General Education requirement in the Spring semester of the first year and take the General Education course in a subsequent semester. Alternatively, a student entering the university with AP credit in a required first year course may substitute 33-106 in its place.
  5. Interpretation and Argument, 76-101 , should be completed in the first year. Some students for whom English is not a native language, may have to take 76-100 first.


Program in General Education for CIT Students

27 UnitsBreadth Requirement

Humanistic Studies (Cultural Analysis)*9 units
Cognitions and Institutions*9 units
Writing/Expression **9 units

* A list of acceptable courses for Humanistic Studies and Cognitions and Institutions is available at in the General Education section.

** The Writing/Expression requirement consists of the following course: 76-101 Interpretation and Argument (9 units)

27 unitsDepth Sequence in Humanities, Social Science, or Fine Arts

A sequence of humanities, social science, or fine arts courses which provides depth in a specific area.  Usually, 27 units from a single department meet this requirement.  However, related courses from different departments may also satisfy this requirement.  At least 9 of these units should be beyond the introductory or elementary level and CFA performance courses, if chosen, must also include theory or history of the subject.  A depth sequence in language must include at least three nine-unit courses in the same language. Business Administration, Heinz College, and Statistics Department courses may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement. Although this requirement is typically satisfied by completing 3 courses of at least 9 units each, some acceptable courses are greater or less than 9 units (e.g. 6-unit Art courses).  While mini courses of fewer than 9 units may be combined to equal 9 unit courses, the excess units from courses greater 9 units may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement. For example, a 12 unit, 6 unit, 9 unit combination is not acceptable. A 6 unit, 3 unit, 9 unit, 9 unit combination is acceptable.

18 unitsNon-Technical Electives

Two unrestricted humanities, social science or fine arts courses. Non-technical courses from Business Administration, or the Heinz College may also satisfy this requirement. Accounting, finance, management, marketing, production, and statistics courses are regarded as technical courses and may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement. Although this requirement is typically satisfied by completing 2 courses of at least 9 units each, some acceptable courses are greater or less than 9 units (e.g. 6-unit Art courses). While mini courses of fewer than 9 units may be combined to equal 9 unit courses, the excess units from courses greater 9 units may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement. For example, a 12 unit, 6 unit combination is not acceptable. A 6 unit, 3 unit, 9 unit combination is acceptable.

Free Elective Courses

A free elective is any graded Carnegie Mellon course.  However, a maximum of nine units in the form of pass/fail or non-factorable courses (including physical education, StuCo and military science) may be taken as free electives in most CIT degree programs.


Additional Majors and Dual Degrees in CIT

A major is defined as a program that must be completed for the granting of a degree.  Additional majors comprise a single degree with majors in two separate areas; for example, the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and an additional major in English. Although the additional major requires the completion of two designated programs, they may have overlapping requirements that can be met simultaneously.  The general principle used to measure eligibility for a Carnegie Institute of Technology additional major is that the major (core) requirements of both departments must be completed.  Finally, although the student is formally enrolled as an undergraduate in one of the departments (the parent department, which is responsible for scheduling and other administrative actions for the student), the student should apply for the additional major through the second department and coordinate requirements with both departments.

The additional major is to be distinguished from a dual degree program, which results in two separate bachelor’s degrees; for example, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in English.  The dual degree, though, requires a minimum of 90 units of work in addition to the units required for the first degree. The second degree may be earned in Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree programs.

Requirements for students wishing to complete Additional Majors in CIT

Note: This applies to all students.

The student must satisfactorily pass all requirements of the regular and complete program (with the permissible exceptions) leading to a degree in CIT. The minimum number of units required for the additional major is the number required by the parent department or major.

The student takes and satisfactorily completes the courses specified by a second department, usually using elective space available in the first program.

The second department, on the basis of the specified number of courses plus the courses comprising the parent department’s regular degree requirements, then certifies that the student has completed the requirements for a major in the second department.

Equivalent technical electives may be substituted at the discretion of the departments/colleges.

Non-technical courses in the curricula can be used to meet the requirements of the second major. But if the second major is not an H&SS department, the program must include a minimum of 72 units of General Education courses to meet CIT requirements for graduation.


Designated Minors Offered by CIT

(for engineering students)

In addition to their regular majors for B. S. degrees, undergraduate students in the Carnegie Institute of Technology can elect to complete an interdisciplinary Designated Minor.  These minors have been added to the Carnegie Institute of Technology curriculum to promote flexibility and diversity among the college’s engineering students. Independent of major, a student is free, but not required, to pursue a selected designated minor from the following list:

  • Audio Engineering
  • Automation and Control
  • Biomedical Engineering*
  • Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces
  • Data Storage Systems Technology
  • Electronic Materials
  • Engineering Design
  • Environmental Engineering and Sustainability
  • International Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Material Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • Robotics*

* Also available for non-CIT students

Complete descriptions of the designated minors can be found at

To add a CIT Designated Minor, please contact the director listed for each minor.


Minors for Non-Engineering Students

Students in a non-engineering discipline can also declare certain CIT minors:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Engineering Studies
  • Technology and Policy
  • Robotics

A full listing of curriculum for these minors when taken by non-engineering students can be found at .


Academic Standards

Grading Practices

Undergraduate grading regulations can be found at

CIT Dean’s Honor List

Each semester, Carnegie Institute of Technology recognizes students who have earned outstanding academic records by naming them on the dean’s honor list. The criterion for such recognition is a semester quality point average of at least 3.75 while completing at least 36 factorable units and earning no incomplete grades.

Transfer into CIT Departments

Undergraduate students admitted to colleges other than CIT who wish to transfer into a CIT department during their first year should consult with the assistant dean of CIT. Students admitted to CIT but excluded from certain departments must also consult with the assistant dean if they wish to transfer into a restricted CIT department. First-year student will be considered for transfer after mid-semester grades for the Spring semester have been posted. At that time, a decision will be based on availability of space and the student’s academic performance.

CIT undergraduate students beyond the first year wishing to transfer into another CIT department may apply if they are not on academic probation and if there is room in the department of their choice. If the demand for any department exceeds the space available, then the department will admit students based on a comparative evaluation of all applicants at the end of each semester, up to the limit of available space.

Undergraduate students not in CIT who wish to transfer into a CIT department beyond the first year will be considered for transfer on a rolling space available/academic performance basis.
Procedure for transfer of students from another university into CIT departments: A student first applies through the Office of Admission. If the Office of Admission believes the applicant is acceptable, the student’s record is sent to the appropriate department for evaluation and a decision on acceptance. The CIT department head has the right to refuse to accept the student if there are space restrictions and/or if the student’s chance for success in the CIT department is determined to be questionable based on past academic performance.

Academic Actions

In the first year, a student’s quality point average below 1.75 in either semester invokes an academic action.  For all subsequent semesters, a student’s semester QPA or the cumulative QPA (excluding the first year) below 2.0 invokes an academic action.

The action of probation occurs in the following cases:

  • One semester QPA of the first year falls below 1.75.
  • The semester QPA of a student in good standing beyond the first year falls below 2.00.

The term of probation is one semester as a full-time student.  First year students are no longer on probation at the end of the semester if their semester QPA is 1.75 or above.  Students in the third or subsequent semester of study are no longer on probation at the end of one semester if the semester QPA AND cumulative QPA (excluding the first year) are 2.00 or above.

Probation Continued
A student who is currently on one semester of probation but whose record indicates that the standards are likely to be met by the end of the next semester may be continued on probation at the discretion of the associate dean.

A student who does not meet minimum standards at the end of one semester of probation will be suspended.

A first year student will be suspended if the QPA from each semester is below 1.75.

A student in the third or subsequent semester of study will be suspended if the semester QPA or the cumulative QPA (excluding the first year) is below 2.00 for two consecutive semesters.

The normal period of suspension is one academic year (two semes-ters).  At the end of that period a student may petition to return to school (on probation) by completing the following steps:

  1. Writing a formal petition requesting to return and receiving permission in writing from the assistant dean for undergraduate studies.
  2. Completing a Return from Leave of Absence form from Enrollment Services; and
  3. Providing transcripts and clearance forms if the student has been in a degree program at another college or university even though academic credit earned will not transfer back to Carnegie Mellon unless prior approval from the Assistant Dean is given.

Students who are suspended, take a leave of absence or withdraw are required to vacate the campus (including residence halls and Greek houses) within a maximum of two days after the action and to remain off the campus for the duration of the time specified.  This action includes debarment from part-time or summer courses at the university for the duration of the period of the action.

This is a permanent severance. A student is dropped when it seems clear that the student will never be able to meet minimum standards. A student who has been suspended and fails to meet minimum standards after returning to school is dropped.

If students are dropped, they are required to vacate campus (including dormitories and fraternity houses) within a maximum of two days after the action.  This action includes debarment from part-time or summer courses.

The relation indicated above between probation, suspension, and drop is normal, not binding.  In unusual circumstances, College Council may suspend or drop a student without prior probation.

Graduation Requirements

For graduation, students must complete the requirements for their specified degrees with a cumulative quality point average of 2.00 or higher for all courses taken after the freshman year.  In addition, a student is expected to achieve a cumulative quality point average of 2.00 in core departmental courses.

Students must be recommended for a degree by the faculty of CIT.

A candidate must meet the residence requirement of having completed at least 180 units at Carnegie Mellon University.

Students must meet all financial obligations to the university before being awarded a degree.

Modification of Graduation Requirements: A student may seek permission to modify graduation requirements by petition to the CIT College Council.

Other Regulations Affecting Student Status

Schedule Changes

Add/drop procedure information can be found at

Grading procedures for dropped courses can be found at

Course Add Deadline

The last date to ADD courses is stipulated for each semester on the university calendar - about two weeks after the beginning of a term. This applies to all courses with the following exception:  the final date to add half-semester mini-courses is the last class day of the first week of the course.

Course Drop/Withdraw Deadline

CIT undergraduate 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 in The HUB. 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, undergraduate 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 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.

CIT undergraduates who are registered as full time students as of the tenth class day are expected to remain full time for the duration of a semester. Full time is defined by being registered for a minimum of 36 factorable units. Students may not drop or withdraw from courses that will reduce their factorable units below 36 unless there are extenuating circumstances for which they obtain approval from the CIT College Council.  Undergraduates who are registered as part time (those carrying fewer than 36 factorable units) as of the 10th class day are also subject to the above deadlines to drop or withdraw from a course.

Exceptions to the regulations above will be granted only upon approval of a petition to the College Council.