Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Acceptance Rate: How Hard Is It To Get In?

With top-ranked programs in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, and software engineering, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science is one of the most prestigious in the world. But its elite reputation comes with an extremely competitive admissions process.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: For the 2022-2023 application cycle, Carnegie Mellon accepted just 5% of applicants to its computer science programs, making it one of the toughest admissions rates in the country.

Carnegie Mellon CS Program Overview

Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science program is highly esteemed and renowned for its excellence in both undergraduate and graduate education. With a strong emphasis on tech innovation and research, it has consistently ranked among the top institutions for computer science education in the United States.

Ranked #1 grad CS program in U.S.

Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Computer Science program holds the prestigious distinction of being ranked as the number one program in the country. This recognition highlights the university’s commitment to providing an exceptional education in computer science at the graduate level.

The program boasts a rigorous curriculum, cutting-edge research opportunities, and a faculty composed of leading experts in various areas of computer science.

Undergrad also ranked top 5 nationally

Not only does Carnegie Mellon excel in its graduate Computer Science program, but its undergraduate program is also highly esteemed. Consistently ranked within the top five nationally, the undergraduate program offers a comprehensive and challenging curriculum that prepares students for successful careers in the field of computer science.

Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, industry partnerships, and a supportive community of peers and faculty.

Focus on tech innovation and research

Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science program places a strong emphasis on tech innovation and research. Students have the opportunity to work on groundbreaking projects and collaborate with renowned researchers in various areas of computer science.

This focus on innovation and research not only enhances the educational experience but also equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to make significant contributions to the field.

For more information about Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science program, you can visit their official website:

Admissions Statistics Snapshot

Around 4,000 apps for 125 CS grad spots

When it comes to Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science graduate program, the competition is fierce. With approximately 4,000 applications received each year for just 125 spots, it’s clear that the admissions process is highly selective.

The program attracts top talent from around the world, making it a coveted destination for aspiring computer scientists.

15,000+ apps for 400 CS undergrad seats

For undergraduate computer science programs at Carnegie Mellon, the numbers are even more staggering. With over 15,000 applications vying for approximately 400 seats, the acceptance rate for undergraduates is incredibly low.

This high demand is a testament to the reputation and quality of the program, as well as the opportunities it provides for students to engage in cutting-edge research and innovation.

Sub-10% acceptance rates

Both the graduate and undergraduate computer science programs at Carnegie Mellon boast acceptance rates that are below 10%. This means that the majority of applicants will unfortunately receive rejection letters.

However, it’s important to note that the acceptance rate alone does not define the quality of a program or an applicant’s potential for success. Many factors, including academic achievements, research experience, and personal statements, are taken into consideration during the admissions process.

For more information on Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science programs and the admissions process, you can visit their official website at There, you’ll find detailed information about the curriculum, faculty, and research opportunities that make Carnegie Mellon a top choice for computer science education.

Factors in the Admissions Decision

When it comes to securing a spot at Carnegie Mellon’s renowned Computer Science program, there are several factors that come into play in the admissions decision. These factors help the admissions committee identify applicants who show promise in excelling in the program and contributing to the field of computer science.

Academic excellence, especially in technical courses

One of the key factors that the admissions committee considers is academic excellence. Carnegie Mellon is known for its rigorous curriculum, and they look for applicants who have demonstrated a strong aptitude for technical courses.

This includes a solid foundation in math and science, as well as advanced coursework in computer science if available. A high GPA in these areas can greatly increase an applicant’s chances of acceptance.

High SAT/ACT scores for undergrad applicants

Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, are also important factors in the admissions decision. Carnegie Mellon values applicants who have performed well on these tests, as they serve as indicators of an applicant’s ability to handle the academic rigor of the program.

While there is no specific cutoff score, it is generally recommended to aim for scores in the upper percentile range to be competitive.

Strong letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation play a crucial role in the admissions process. Carnegie Mellon looks for letters that highlight an applicant’s academic abilities, personal qualities, and potential for success in the computer science program.

These letters should be written by individuals who can speak to the applicant’s skills, work ethic, and passion for computer science. It is important to choose recommenders who know the applicant well and can provide specific examples of their strengths.

Relevant extracurriculars like coding projects

While academic achievements are important, Carnegie Mellon also values applicants who have gone above and beyond in their extracurricular activities. In particular, involvement in coding projects or other relevant activities can demonstrate a genuine passion for computer science and a commitment to learning outside of the classroom.

These experiences can help set an applicant apart from others and show their potential to contribute to the field.

How to Stand Out as an Applicant

Applying to Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science program can be highly competitive, so it’s important to make your application stand out from the rest. Here are some tips on how to impress the admissions committee and increase your chances of acceptance:

Take the most rigorous high school CS courses available

One way to demonstrate your passion for computer science is by taking challenging courses in high school. Carnegie Mellon values applicants who have a strong foundation in computer science, so make sure to enroll in advanced placement (AP) or honors courses if they are available.

These courses will not only help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge but also show the admissions committee that you are willing to push yourself academically.

Showcase coding skills through internships and side projects

Coding skills are highly valued in the field of computer science, and Carnegie Mellon wants to see evidence of your abilities. To stand out, consider participating in internships or working on side projects that allow you to apply your coding skills in real-world settings.

These experiences will not only enhance your technical abilities but also demonstrate your commitment to the field.

Highlight research experience and publications

Carnegie Mellon is known for its cutting-edge research in computer science. To demonstrate your potential as a future researcher, highlight any research experience you have had during high school. This could include participating in science fairs, working with professors, or conducting independent research.

Additionally, if you have any publications or presentations related to your research, be sure to include them in your application.

Convey genuine interest in Carnegie Mellon’s programs

Carnegie Mellon wants to admit students who are genuinely interested in their programs and have a clear understanding of what the university has to offer. Take the time to research the computer science department, its faculty, and specific programs that interest you.

In your application, be sure to articulate why you believe Carnegie Mellon is the right fit for your academic and career goals. This will show the admissions committee that you have done your homework and are truly dedicated to becoming a part of the Carnegie Mellon community.

Admissions Tips Summary

Build an outstanding academic record

To increase your chances of getting accepted into Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science program, it is essential to build an outstanding academic record. This means excelling in your high school coursework, particularly in math and science.

Take advanced placement courses, if available, and challenge yourself academically. Maintaining a high GPA and achieving good grades will demonstrate your ability to handle the rigorous curriculum at Carnegie Mellon.

Demonstrate passion for computer science

Carnegie Mellon values students who are passionate about computer science. To stand out in the applicant pool, it is important to demonstrate your genuine interest in the field. Participate in coding competitions, join computer science clubs or organizations, and take on coding projects outside of the classroom.

Your extracurricular activities and personal projects will showcase your dedication and commitment to computer science.

Ace standardized test scores

Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, play a significant role in the admissions process. Aim for a score that is competitive with previous admitted students. Prepare for the tests by utilizing study materials and taking practice exams.

If you feel that your scores do not accurately represent your abilities, consider retaking the tests to improve your chances of acceptance.

Convey why Carnegie Mellon is a top choice

To make your application stand out, it is crucial to convey why Carnegie Mellon is your top choice for studying computer science. Research the program extensively and highlight specific aspects that align with your academic and career goals.

Showcase your knowledge of Carnegie Mellon’s renowned faculty, cutting-edge research opportunities, and strong industry connections. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the program and your commitment to contributing to the Carnegie Mellon community.

Remember, while these tips can increase your chances of acceptance, there are no guarantees in the college admissions process. It’s important to showcase your unique qualities and let your true passion for computer science shine through in your application.


With acceptance rates in the single digits, Carnegie Mellon sets a very high bar for computer science applicants. Standing out takes a stellar academic transcript, high test scores, relevant experience, and a persuasive statement of purpose.

However, for those able to gain admission, Carnegie Mellon offers unparalleled opportunities at the peak of technology research and innovation.

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