Mellon College of Science

Rebecca W. Doerge, Dean

Maggie Braun, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs

Kenneth Hovis, Assistant Dean for Educational Initiatives

Location: Doherty Hall 1324

The Mellon College of Science (MCS) has provided the undergraduate training for many of today’s leading scientists. We have earned national recognition for our integration of undergraduate education and research from such organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Beckman Foundation.  MCS students gain a broad education in science, mathematics, and the liberal arts while using state-of-the-art computational approaches in their courses, laboratories, and research activities.  Our faculty members are committed to teaching as well as to a wide range of scientific research.  This combined emphasis on education and research brings special benefits to students, including increased awareness of current scientific developments that are incorporated in classroom instruction, and, most importantly, opportunities to participate with faculty, graduate students, and other research scientists in a variety of research projects.

In the context of rigorous training in each field, the MCS curriculum emphasizes problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills, and it teaches our students the value of hard work and discipline. Our students go on to highly successful careers in a broad range of fields like astrophysics, biotechnology, computer science, business management, environmental science, health care policy, investment banking, marketing analysis, medicine, patent law, and pharmaceuticals.  Our alumni credit their education in science for preparing them for a lifetime of learning and achievement; their employers attest to their ability to succeed and to continue learning in an ever-changing world.

The MCS Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences, and Physics each outline their degree programs and courses in the departmental sections.  Students select their major in the spring of the first year so that the sophomore year begins with a focus within a department.  Most of the courses required within a major are scheduled in the sophomore and junior years, leaving much of the senior year and part of the junior year open for electives.  This provides the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, explore interdisciplinary studies, study abroad, pursue additional majors or minors in other fields, or take other specialty courses oriented toward immediate job placement upon graduation or entry into graduate studies.

Science education in the 21st Century demands educational experiences that are much broader than the traditional preparation of a scholar in a chosen field of science.  We want our MCS graduates to be scholars who are deeply trained in their discipline(s), and also professionals adept at communicating to broad audiences, accustomed to working in diverse, multidisciplinary teams, and keenly aware of the global context of their work. We want them to be citizens who are actively involved and globally engaged, and to grow as persons with a sense of wellness and balance. 

With these ambitions in mind, we have set forth fifteen (15) outcomes that all MCS undergraduate students should complete in their time at Carnegie Mellon.  Upon graduation, MCS students should be able to:

  1. Apply foundational and advanced mathematical and scientific knowledge in a chosen field of study appropriately and fluently to solve complex problems, to integrate concepts across disciplines, and to adapt their knowledge to new situations.
  2. Critically assess their current state of knowledge and expertise and acquire new knowledge in pursuit of both specific scientific goals and new intellectual interests broadly throughout their lifetime.
  3. Communicate effectively via oral, visual, and written formats with an understanding of the perspectives and expectations of diverse audiences, including those within their chosen discipline, outside that discipline (but within STEM), and non-scientists.
  4. Participate effectively in multidisciplinary research and/or other teams pursuing a shared vision while optimizing team outcomes.
  5. Use the appropriate tools and required media literacy to acquire, assess, and analyze data and information from diverse sources.
  6. Recognize and explain the importance of at least one current research topic in a STEM field outside of their major.
  7. Recognize and explain the similarities and differences in analyzing/approaching problems, including in technical and non-technical fields other than their major.    
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  9. Recognize the interplay of science, society, public policy, business, and economics.    
  10. Identify global examples of the reciprocal relationships among science, technology, political forces, societal contexts, and environmental issues.
  11. Describe multiple similarities and differences between one’s own culture and that of others.
  12. Engage in recursive, reflective processes to assess their own levels of physical, emotional, and social wellness and then to choose activities that promote these aspects of wellness.
  13. Engage in recursive, reflective processes to balance multiple endeavors by setting priorities and managing time in academic, meta-curricular, and personal dimensions.
  14. Recognize ethical issues and appreciate the complexities of interrelationships among them, and the use of information in ethical and legal manners.
  15. Articulate how one’s own developing skills in science and technology can be increasingly used in constructive community service or engagement that recognizes the potential impact on local and global issues, including environmental impact and sustainability. 

Tailoring Your Education

The Mellon College of Science offers students tremendous opportunity for tailoring their education to meet individual professional objectives.  Whether you target your degree to a particular field in your discipline via departmental options and concentrations, add a secondary major, minor, or degree to your primary degree program, participate in honors programs, or pursue a master’s degree along with your bachelor’s degree, MCS has much to offer you.  Many of these opportunities are outlined below.

Departmental Concentrations

Each department in MCS offers degrees and programs that allow students to explore particular fields within a science discipline. These are outlined below — see the departmental sections for further details.

Biological Sciences
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Computational Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Colloids, Polymers, and Surfaces
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Management
  • Material Chemistry
  • Polymer Science
Mathematical Sciences
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Finance
  • Discrete Mathematics and Logic
  • Mathematics
  • Operations Research
  • Statistics
  • Applied Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Biological Physics
  • Chemical Physics
  • Computational Physics

Minors, Double Majors, and Double Degrees

As an MCS student, you can pursue additional majors and minors to complement your primary degree, not only within the science college, but also through the other colleges at Carnegie Mellon.  Carnegie Mellon offers many exciting interdisciplinary majors and minors, some of which are listed below.  In addition, every college and most departments have designed minors or second majors in their discipline so that you can gain expertise in their fields as well.

Some students choose to gain this expertise by following a double degree program.  This results in two distinct bachelor’s degrees. Please see the section on Undergraduate Academic Regulations for a more formal definition of these “Multiple Degree” programs.

Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors

Here is a sampling of just a few of the interdisciplinary minors and majors offered at Carnegie Mellon (not all are in MCS).  Please see the appropriate sections elsewhere in this catalog for specific descriptions and course requirements.

  • Biological Sciences and Psychology Major
  • Computer Science Minor
  • Engineering Studies Minor
  • Environmental and Sustainability Studies Additional Major or Minor
  • Environmental Policy Major
  • Health Care Policy and Management Minor
  • International Affairs Minor
  • Mathematics and Economics Major
  • Neuroscience Major and Minor
  • Operations Research Minor
  • Robotics Minor
  • Scientific Computing Minor
  • Technology and Policy Minor

For a complete list of the minors offered at Carnegie Mellon, please go to Undergraduate Options.

University Student-Defined Majors

With a well-thought proposal, you may be able to pursue a major you have designed to meet your particular interests and goals.  Please see the catalog section on Student-Defined Majors.

General Education Requirements

Students pursuing any MCS bachelor’s degree will fulfill the 15 Core Education outcomes through their primary MCS major and by completing the following technical and nontechnical breadth requirements prior to graduation.

Technical Breadth Requirements

As a 21st Century practicing scientist or mathematician, our graduates will work with others from a variety of technical backgrounds.  Therefore, all of our students will be broadly trained within the technical fields of science and math.  Students will fulfill this training by completing four (4) technical courses in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics (STEM) fields at Carnegie Mellon University.

A student must take at least 9 units, outside of their primary major department, from each of four categories listed below.  These may include prerequisite courses or courses required by their major Department but must be outside their home Department.  AP/IB/Cambridge credit may not be used to fulfill these requirements.  At least three of these courses must be taken in their first year.  The categories are:

A. Life Sciences

(Refer to your specific department for how this category should be fulfilled.  Some courses have prerequisites that can be satisfied by AP, IB, Cambridge A Level Exams.  Please check the prerequisites requirements as necessary.)

02-223Personalized Medicine: Understanding Your Own Genome9
02-250Introduction to Computational Biology12
or 03-250 Introduction to Computational Biology
02-261Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory9
03-116Phage Genomics Research6
03-117Frontiers, Analysis, and Discovery in Biological Sciences6
03-121Modern Biology9
03-151Honors Modern Biology10
03-124Modern Biology Laboratory9
03-127How Biological Experiments Work - A Project Course9
03-132Basic Science to Modern Medicine9
03-133Neurobiology of Disease9
03-135Structure and Function of the Human Body9
03-161Molecules to Mind9
03-231Honors Biochemistry9
or 03-232 Biochemistry I
42-101Introduction to Biomedical Engineering12
85-219Biological Foundations of Behavior9
B. Physical Sciences

(Refer to your specific department for how this category should be fulfilled.  Some courses have prerequisites that can be satisfied by AP, IB, Cambridge A Level Exams.  Please check the prerequisites requirements as necessary.)

09-105Introduction to Modern Chemistry I10
09-106Modern Chemistry II10
09-107Honors Chemistry: Fundamentals, Concepts and Applications10
09-111Nanolegos: Chemical Building Blocks9
09-214Physical Chemistry9
09-217Organic Chemistry I9
09-219Modern Organic Chemistry10
09-221Laboratory I: Introduction to Chemical Analysis12
09-225Climate Change: Chemistry, Physics and Planetary Science9
09-348Inorganic Chemistry10
33-121Physics I for Science Students12
33-122Physics II for Biological Sciences and Chemistry Students9
33-141Physics I for Engineering Students12
33-142Physics II for Engineering and Physics Students12
33-151Matter and Interactions I12
33-152Matter and Interactions II12
33-211Physics III: Modern Essentials10
33-224Stars, Galaxies and the Universe9
33-225Quantum Physics and Structure of Matter9
C. Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

(Refer to your specific department for how this category should be fulfilled.  Some courses have prerequisites that can be satisfied by AP, IB, Cambridge A Level Exams.  Please check the prerequisites requirements as necessary.)

02-201Programming for Scientists10
21-120Differential and Integral Calculus10
21-122Integration and Approximation10
21-124Calculus II for Biologists and Chemists10
21-127Concepts of Mathematics10
21-128Mathematical Concepts and Proofs12
21-228Discrete Mathematics9
21-241Matrices and Linear Transformations10
or 21-240 Matrix Algebra with Applications
or 21-242 Matrix Theory
21-259Calculus in Three Dimensions9
or 21-268 Multidimensional Calculus
or 21-269 Vector Analysis
21-260Differential Equations9
or 21-261 Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
36-200Reasoning with Data9
36-202Methods for Statistics & Data Science9
36-217Probability Theory and Random Processes9
36-220Engineering Statistics and Quality Control9
36-225Introduction to Probability Theory9
36-247Statistics for Lab Sciences9
36-309Experimental Design for Behavioral & Social Sciences9
15-110Principles of Computing10
15-112Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science12
15-122Principles of Imperative Computation10
15-150Principles of Functional Programming10
15-251Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science12
D. STEM Course
  • All of the above courses
  • Any introductory engineering course from CIT
  • A STEM course approved by an MCS advisor

Technical Breadth-Departmental Requirements

Some of the majors in MCS require certain courses from the technical breadth requirement that are necessary for either prerequisite knowledge in the major or scientific breadth.  For each of the four majors in MCS the Technical Breadth Requirement is completed as follows.  If these requirements are met by AP/IB/Cambridge A Level Exams, students can choose any course from the categories to fulfill the Technical Breadth Requirement. 

Biological Sciences
  1. Life Sciences:  any courses in this category except for the 03-XXX courses
  2. Physical Sciences:  09-105, 09-106, 33-121 and 33-122
  3. Math/CS/Stats:  21-120 and (21-122 or 21-124)
  4. STEM Elective:  will be filled by courses above or any STEM course from the approved list.
  1. Life Sciences:  03-121 or 03-231 or 03-232
  2. Physical Sciences:  33-121 and 33-122 
  3. Math/CS/Stats:  21-120 and (21-122 or 21-124)
  4. STEM Elective:  will be filled by courses above or any STEM course from the approved list.
Mathematical Sciences
  1. Life Sciences:  any courses in this category
  2. Physical Sciences:  any course in this category
  3. Math/CS/Stats:  any course in this category except for the 21-XXX courses, 36-200 Reasoning with Data, or 36-202
  4. STEM Elective:  any STEM course from the approved list.
  1. Life Sciences:  03-121 
  2. Physical Sciences:  09-105 or 09-111 Nanolegos: Chemical Building Blocks 
  3. Math/CS/Stats:  21-120, 21-122, 21-259
  4. STEM Elective: will be fulfilled by courses above or any STEM course from the approved list.

Nontechnical Breadth Requirements

MCS aspires for all of our undergraduates to leave our campus with a strong sense of personal integrity, social responsibility, ethics, working with diverse others, global engagement, and personal health and well-being.  The following nontechnical breadth requirements will require students to develop a personalized plan for their course selection and meta-curricular participation to maximize their CMU experience.  Our graduates will be well trained to be life-long and life-wide learners that will lead the scientific community and the world at large.

All candidates for MCS bachelor’s degrees must complete the following nontechnical breadth requirements:

A.  First Year Courses:

The following three courses must be taken in the first year:

38-101EUREKA!: Discovery and Its Impact6
76-101Interpretation and Argument A total of nine units must be completed in order to fulfill this requirement9
or 76-102 Advanced First Year Writing: Special Topics
or 76-106 Writing about Literature, Art and Culture
or 76-107 Writing about Data
or 76-108 Writing about Public Problems
99-101Computing @ Carnegie Mellon3
B.  Junior Seminar: 

38-304 Science Communication and Social Impact must be taken in the Spring of the junior year

or choose to take one of the pre-approved electives (not limited to spring semester of junior year, but must be completed no later than the penultimate semester).

C.  ENGAGE Courses:

The ENGAGE courses are self-directed learning opportunities (using the MyCORE online platform) designed to enhance students’ engagement with wellness, the arts and community service.  Please see the course description for information on when these courses should be taken:

38-110ENGAGE in Service1
38-220ENGAGE in the Arts2
38-230ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Inward1
38-330ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Outward1
38-430ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Forward1
D. Cultural/Global Understanding Course:

Cultural or global understanding course(s) may be taken at any time.  Nine (9) or more units from the following group of courses will fulfill this requirement.  Any student who finds an appropriate Carnegie Mellon course not on the list below that might fulfill this requirement should contact their academic advisor to review the course description to determine if it can be substituted.  Cultural and global understanding courses that are taken while studying abroad can be used to fulfill this category.  In addition, transfer courses will also be considered for this category.  However, this course requirement cannot be satisfied with AP/IB/Cambridge exam credit.

57-173Survey of Western Music History9
57-209The Beatles9
57-306World Music9
70-342Managing Across Cultures9
76-221Books You Should Have Read By Now9
76-232Introduction to Black Literature9
76-239Introduction to Film Studies9
76-241Introduction to Gender Studies9
76-386Language & Culture9
79-145Genocide and Weapons of Mass Destruction9
79-189History of Democracy: Thinking Beyond the Self9
79-201Introduction to Anthropology9
79-202Flesh and Spirit: Early Modern Europe, 1400-17509
79-20520th Century Europe9
79-208Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting9
79-210What is History?: How Historians Think About the Past6
79-211Modern Southeast Asia: Colonialism, Capitalism, and Cultural Exchange9
79-213The American Railroad: Decline and Renaissance in the Age of Deregulation6
79-216Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire3
79-217Entertainment and Popular Culture in the Roaring Twenties6
79-220Screening Mexico: Mexican Cinema, 1898 to Present6
79-222China and the Second World War6
79-223Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to the Drug War9
79-227Modern Africa: The Slave Trade to the End of Apartheid9
79-229The Origins of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 1880-19489
79-230Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 19489
79-232Arabian Peninsula Environmental History9
79-233The United States and the Middle East since 19459
79-234Technology and Society9
79-240Development of American Culture9
79-241African American History: Africa to the Civil War9
79-242African American History: Reconstruction to the Present9
79-244Women in American History9
79-245Capitalism and Individualism in American Culture9
79-255Politics, Religion, and Conflict in 19th and 20th Century Ireland6
79-261The Last Emperors: Chinese History and Society, 1600-19009
79-262Modern China: From the Birth of Mao ... to Now9
79-263Mao and the Chinese Cultural Revolution9
79-264Tibet and China: History and Propaganda6
79-265Russian History: Game of Thrones9
79-266Russian History and Revolutionary Socialism9
79-267The Soviet Union in World War II: Military, Political, and Social History9
79-275Introduction to Global Studies9
79-280Coffee and Capitalism9
79-283Hungry World: Food and Famine in Global Perspective9
79-307Religion and Politics in the Middle East9
79-343Education, Democracy, and Civil Rights9
79-345Roots of Rock & Roll9
79-349United States and the Holocaust6
79-350Early Christianity9
79-375Science & Religion6
79-377Food, Culture, and Power: A History of Eating9
80-100Introduction to Philosophy9
80-250Ancient Philosophy9
80-251Modern Philosophy9
80-253Continental Philosophy9
80-254Analytic Philosophy9
80-276Philosophy of Religion9
82-xxxAny course from Modern Languages
84-380US Grand Strategy9
85-350Psychology of Prejudice9
85-352Evolutionary Psychology9
99-3xxAny of the Country Today courses3
E.  Nontechnical Elective Courses

To fulfill this requirement, students must complete a minimum of four (4) nontechnical courses totaling at least 36 units in the College of Fine Arts, the Tepper School of Business, and/or the Dietrich College for Humanities and Social Sciences.  A maximum of 18 units of these units may be fulfilled via AP/IB/Cambridge exam credit.  Up to 36 units of these nontechnical elective units may be filled by transfer credit (with prior approval through the MCS transfer credit process). Courses counted toward the Cultural/Global Understanding requirement and the First-Year Writing requirement do not count toward this requirement.

Note: Check our web site for courses from DC, CFA, and Tepper that may NOT be used to satisfy this requirement because they are too technical in nature, plus a list of courses in other colleges (including SCS, CIT, and Heinz College) that do satisfy this requirement.

The following requirements apply to all MCS bachelor’s degrees:

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 360 units.
  2. The four courses required for the Technical Breadth category can be completed at Carnegie Mellon or via transfer credit.
  3. AP/IB/Cambridge exam credit cannot be used to fulfill the Cultural/Global Requirement.  Cultural and global understanding courses that are taken while studying abroad can be used to satisfy this requirement.  In addition, transfer courses will also be considered for this category.
  4. For the Nontechnical Electives requirement, students must complete a minimum of four courses totaling at least 36 units with a maximum of 18 units from AP/IB/Cambridge exam credit.  In addition, transfer courses will also be considered for this category.

Honors Degree Programs in MCS

Several of the departments in MCS offer students an opportunity to participate in a departmental honors degree program.  Some of these programs result in a master’s degree along with the bachelor’s degree (see next section on accelerated master’s programs). These programs are listed below; see the department’s section of the catalog for more details.

  • Honors Program in Research Biology
  • Departmental Honors in Chemistry
  • Honors B.S./M.S. Program in Chemistry
  • Honors B.S./M.S. Program in Mathematical Sciences

Accelerated Master’s Programs

Carnegie Mellon offers some accelerated master’s programs for motivated students, whereby students complete both the bachelor’s and the master’s degree in four or five years.  Some programs are in the student’s home department in MCS as part of an honors program, while others are offered through one of our graduate schools at Carnegie Mellon.  Below is a listing of the programs currently available to MCS students; please see the appropriate sections of the catalog for more details.

  • Honors B.S./M.S. Program in Chemistry
  • Honors B.S./M.S. Program in Mathematical Sciences
  • Accelerated Master’s Program in the Heinz College

Study Abroad

There are many programs for studying abroad, usually during your junior year.  Please see the catalog section on Undergraduate Options for more details, and talk with the Office of International Education to get information and advice specifically for you.

Pre-Professional Programs

Many students in the Mellon College of Science decide to pursue professional training such as medical school or law school after completing their undergraduate work.  Carnegie Mellon offers strong advising services to support these students.  Through these programs, students get help with everything from course selection to identification of important experiential opportunities to the application process itself.

Health Professions Program

Faculty Contact: Jason D'Antonio

Please see the Undergraduate Options section for details on the Health Professions Program.

Pre-Law Advising Program

Faculty Contact: Joseph Devine

Please see the Undergraduate Options section for details on the Pre-Law Advising Program.

Intercollege Programs

Bachelor of Science and Arts Degree Program (BSA)

Students in the Bachelor of Science and Arts Degree Program are jointly admitted to MCS and the College of Fine Arts (CFA).  This is a degree program for students who are naturally gifted in both the arts and the sciences, and allows for the combining of talents in these areas. 

Additional Major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies

The Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Mellon College of Science have joined together to establish the interdisciplinary Program in Environmental & Sustainability Studies offering a Minor or an Additional Major. Please see the Intercollege section of the catalog for requirements of these programs.

Science and Humanities Scholars Program (SHS)

Students who entered Carnegie Mellon prior to the fall of 2018 are eligible for this program and should see their entering year catalog for more information and the SHS general education requirements.

Applying Your Education Through Research

An important feature of education in MCS is the opportunity for undergraduate research experience.  This experience may be arranged as a course taken for credit or occasionally as a part-time job.   Our website offers a range of useful  information including links to faculty research areas, links to undergraduate research programs at other institutions, and ideas on how to get involved.  Because of the strong research base of MCS, undergraduate research positions offer an exciting opportunity to apply your theoretical training to participate in the discovery of new knowledge.

Students can earn MCS Research Honors for significant research accomplishments; see the policy outlined below for the requirements.

Mellon College of Science Research Honors

Undergraduates in the Mellon College of Science will be awarded MCS College Honors at the completion of their degree if they have met one of these requirements:

  1. Successfully completed the Honors BS/MS program in the Department of Chemistry or Department of Mathematical Sciences.
  2. Successfully completed the departmental honors program in the Department of Biological Sciences or the Department of Chemistry.
  3. Earned a cumulative grade point average of ≥3.20 (by their seventh semester or by the time of graduation) and carried out significant research. Typically, this would consist of an academic project carried out for at least two semesters.  However, a single project that spans a summer and a semester or that the research mentor deems to be significant and sustained, even if the student worked for pay rather than credit, will be allowed.  In addition, some form of public dissemination of this research, which has been approved by the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, such as a peer reviewed publication, research thesis, or presentation at an external scientific meeting is required.  The Meeting of the Minds by itself is not sufficient and participation in a pre-approved judged competition (eg. Sigma Xi, Math Department competition, or Psychology department competition) is necessary.

Final approval of nominations for MCS Honors will come from the Dean of MCS and the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs.

Research Centers

The Mellon College of Science is home to a number of innovative research centers.  These centers are particularly strong because of the interdisciplinary collaboration of their scientists.  This interdisciplinary research brings international prestige to the college.  Many students conduct undergraduate research with one of these centers.

The Bruce and Astrid McWilliams Center for Cosmology joins research efforts in astrophysics and particle physics and partners with computer science, statistics, and other disciplines to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

The Center of Atmospheric Particle Study’s goal is to be the world leader in science, engineering, and policy covering the full role of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere. Our goal in research is to advance the state of knowledge across this spectrum substantially, to provide both policy-relevant research, and to participate directly and actively in the evolution of environmental policy related to particulate matter.

The Center for Computational Finance’s mission is to improve the interaction between academic research and the finance industry.

The Center for Macromolecular Engineering’s goals are to enhance the benefits of polymer science to society by developing new methods to prepare advanced polymer materials, train and develop tomorrow’s scientists, and transfer technology to industry.

The Center of Nano-enabled Device and Energy Technologies’ mission is to work on real-world problems that can be solved potentially with appropriate nano-enabled technologies.

The Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition is a joint program between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. It synthesizes the disciplines of basic and clinical neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and computer science, combining neurobiological, behavioral, computational, and brain imaging methods.

The Center for Nonlinear Analysis was established in 1991. A special focus for applications emphasizes new and innovative methods to study contemporary issues in materials science. The center has created a vigorous environment for collaboration among mathematical and allied scientists.

The Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology is a community of Carnegie Mellon scientists and engineers unified by interests in the chemistry, biology, and physics of DNA, RNA, and PNA (peptide nucleic acid).

The Institute for Green Science has been established as a research, education, and development center in which a holistic approach to sustainability science is being developed.  The focus of the institute is in three areas: renewable energy technologies, chemical feedstocks, and benign alternatives to polluting technologies.

The Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center uses an interdisciplinary approach to develop reagents, microscopes, and imaging tools and applies them to the investigation of fundamental problems in biology and biotechnology.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center provides information on advanced scientific computing for engineering and research.

Academic Standards 

Academic Actions

MCS Dean’s List

Each semester MCS recognizes those students with outstanding academic records by naming them to the Dean’s List.  The criteria for such recognition are as follows:

Dean’s List

The student must earn a quality point average of at least 3.50 while completing a minimum of 36 factorable units and earning no incomplete grades.

Dean’s List High Honors

The student must earn a quality point average of at least 3.75 while completing a minimum of 36 factorable units and earning no incomplete grades.

Probation, Suspension, and Drop

In the first year, quality point averages below 1.75 in either semester invoke an academic action.  For all subsequent semesters an academic action will be taken if the semester QPA or the cumulative QPA (excluding the first year) is below 2.00.

The progression below between probation, suspension, and drop is typical.  However, in unusual circumstances, MCS College Council may choose to suspend or drop a student without prior probation.

Warning of probation

First-year students who earn between a 1.75 and 1.99 semester QPA will receive a Warning of Probation. This indicates that the student did not qualify for probation because they are a first-year student (see below for details of probation standards), but if their semester QPA is below 2.0 in subsequent semesters, it will result in academic probation.


The action of probation will be taken if:

  • One semester of the first year is below 1.75 QPA. 
  • The semester QPA of a student in good standing beyond the first year falls below 2.00.  
  • A student drops below full-time status (less than 36 units) after the 10th day of classes in a semester. The student would be on probation for the next semester (fall and spring only).

The term of probation is one semester as a full-time student. A student is occasionally continued on probation who has had one semester on probation and is not yet meeting minimum requirements but whose record indicates that the standards are likely to be met at the end of the next semester of study. First-year students are no longer on probation at the end of the second semester if their semester QPA is 1.75 or above.


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 the first two semesters is below 1.75.

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

The minimum period of suspension is one academic year (two semesters).  At the end of that period a student may return to school on probation by:

  • Receiving permission in writing from the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs.
  • Completing a Return from Leave form from Enrollment Services.
  • 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 to Carnegie Mellon unless prior approval has been granted by the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs.

Employment within the university in non-student jobs is possible for students on academic suspension, subject to the hiring criteria of the hiring department.  However, a student on academic suspension wishing to accept a job on campus must speak with the Associate Dean of the student’s college to ensure that the employment will not constitute a violation of the terms of suspension.  The Associate Dean will generally allow such employment, in consultation with the Dean of Student Affairs.  One employment benefit not available to students on academic suspension who accept a full-time job with the University is the option to take courses through tuition remission.  The option to take courses becomes available only after the academic suspension is over.


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

A student who has been academically dropped or academically suspended and who is not employed by the University must absent themselves from campus and is, for the term of the suspension, barred from all activities and affiliations that stem from one’s status as an enrolled student. These include registering or enrolling for courses, sitting in on classes, living in residence halls or Greek houses, membership and participation in student activities, and employment in student jobs.  (NOTE: Exceptions to the restriction from student jobs for students on academic suspension will in general be granted for summer employment if the position was accepted prior to the decision to drop.)

Transfer into MCS Departments

This section describes the variety of entry points into the Mellon College of Science for students already admitted to a university (Carnegie Mellon or another university). All prospective students should contact the Office of Admission for details about the application process for Carnegie Mellon University. 

Students entering MCS or already declared in MCS:

Entering undergraduate students admitted to MCS can choose to pursue any major within MCS. This choice must be made prior to the first semester of the sophomore year (normally during the second semester of the first year) and does not require approval by any department. 

Students who have declared a major in MCS and wish to transfer into another department within MCS must have approval from the new department (generally through the primary academic advisor in the new department) and from the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs. Students wishing to transfer into the Mathematical Sciences Department must have completed 21-127 Concepts of Mathematics or 21-128 Mathematical Concepts and Proofs AND 21-241 Matrices and Linear Transformations or 21-242 Matrix Theory with grades of B or better in both courses as well as an overall QPA of 3.5 or higher. 

MCS undergraduate students beyond the first year wishing to transfer into another MCS department may do so 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.

Students enrolled in another college at Carnegie Mellon:

Undergraduate students admitted to colleges other than MCS and wishing to transfer into an MCS department during their first year should consult with the MCS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs.  Students may submit an internal transfer request no earlier than the first day of their second semester. 

Potential transfer students into the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, or Physics must also have credit for 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus and, depending on major choice, should have completed one of the following courses at Carnegie Mellon:  03-121 Modern Biology09-105 Introduction to Modern Chemistry I, or 33-12133-121 Physics I for Science Students. Higher level courses will also be considered by the MCS Associate Dean as alternatives to these courses. Students wishing to transfer into the Mathematical Sciences Department must have completed 21-127 Concepts of Mathematics or 21-128 Mathematical Concepts and Proofs AND 21-241 Matrices and Linear Transformations or 21-242 Matrix Theory with grades of B or better in both courses as well as an overall QPA of 3.5 or higher. 

Undergraduate students not in MCS and wishing to transfer into a department in MCS beyond the first semester will be considered for transfer on a space available/academic performance basis. An MCS department may refuse a transfer to a non-MCS student if there are space restrictions and/or if the student’s chance for success is determined to be questionable based on past academic performance.

Students wishing to transfer from another university into an MCS department:

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 MCS 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 MCS department is determined to be questionable based on past academic performance.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to graduate, undergraduate students must complete all course requirements for their program with a cumulative Quality Point Average of at least 2.00 for all courses taken.  For undergraduate students who enrolled at Carnegie Mellon as freshmen and whose freshman grades cause the cumulative QPA to fall below 2.00, this requirement is modified to be a cumulative QPA of at least 2.00 for all courses taken after the freshman year.  Note, however, the cumulative QPA that appears on the student's final transcript will be calculated based on all grades in all courses taken, including freshman year.  Some programs may have additional QPA requirements in order to graduate.  Students are encouraged to confirm all graduation requirements with their academic advisor.

A minimum of 360 units must be completed.  This will include the MCS Core Courses (technical and nontechnical electives) and all departmental course requirements.

Students will be required to meet the residency requirement and to have met all financial obligations to the university before being awarded a degree.  The residency requirement is detailed in the Academic Regulations section of the catalog.  A student may seek permission to modify graduation requirements by petition to the MCS College Council.

Graduation Honors

There are two types of honors awarded at graduation.

University Honors

University Honors are automatically awarded to students who have earned a cumulative Q.P.A. of 3.5 or better after either seven semesters or by the time they are certified for graduation.

College Research Honors

Please see the section “Mellon College of Science Research Honors” for information on how to qualify for College Research Honors.


MAGGIE BRAUN, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs – Ph.D. ,

JASON D'ANTONIO, Director of Health Professions Program – Ph.D.,

KENNETH HOVIS, Assistant Dean for Educational Initiatives – Ph.D.,

MANFRED PAULINI, Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs – Ph.D.,

MICHAEL YOUNG, Associate Dean for Diversity – Ph.D.,


LAUREN HARDWIG, Senior Academic Coordinator, MCS

KRYSTALYN KOVACS, Programs Coordinator, HPP

TARA PRIMIERO, Senior Administrative Coordinator, MCS

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