Admissions-MSIT-Privacy Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Admissions - We are now accepting applications for the 2015 year

Get your application in before the January 30, 2015 early deadline!

Who should apply

The MSIT Privacy Engineering program is primarily intended for students who already have a technical degree (e.g. degree in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or equivalent) or have comparable work experience.

How to apply

Students should apply online to the CMU MSIT Privacy Engineering program via the CMU School of Computer Science application website. All applicants must use the online application website. The early application deadline  is January 30, 2015.  The final date applications will be accepted is April 3, 2015.  Paper documents should be scanned and submitted via the website. Read the following instructions carefully and make certain that you have met all requirements before you submit your application.

  • Prepare a Statement of Purpose. Type a concise one- or two-page statement in this format:
  • Part I: Briefly state your objective in pursuing the MSIT Privacy Engineering professional graduate degree. Tell us if you have a particular reason for applying to this degree.
  • Part II: Describe your background in fields particularly relevant to your objective. List here any relevant academic, industrial or commercial experience.
  • Part III: Include any additional information you wish to supply to the Admissions Committee.
  • Submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, even if no degree was granted. Transcripts should be in an official sealed envelope. The transcript may be mailed with your application or sent directly from the institution to the admissions coordinator address below.
  • Submit your current resume, including a summary of research and industrial experience and a list of publications (if any). Include copies of any peer-reviewed research publications (in English only) that you may have.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Send your scores to the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University; Institute Code: 2074, Department Code: 0402. GRE subject tests taken in December will arrive about the middle of January, in time for our review process. We encourage students to take a subject test if it is available to them, but the test is not required. Please ensure that your GRE scores reach us before the application deadline. No application will be considered complete until we have received these scores. If you have previously taken the GRE, your scores will be accepted if they are less than five years old. The GRE requirement is waived for CMU undergraduates.
  • A foreign language test. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required if your native language is not English. Send your scores directly to Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science; Institutional Code: 4256; Departmental Code: 78. We also accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). If you have previously taken the TOEFL or IELTS, your scores will be accepted if they are less than two years old. Your English language test score should indicate proficiency (TOEFL > 100).
  • Three letters of recommendation. The admissions committee prefers, but does not require, letters from both academia and industry. People who recommend you should know you relatively well and should be able to discuss the quality of your work.
  • An application fee (details on the online application website).
  • Submit the application online by the deadline.

Tuition and fees

The MSIT Privacy Engineering program is part of the CMU School of Computer Science. The program tuition rates are matched each year to rates of the School of Computer Science. Tuition rates are stated as a Fall/Spring per semester tuition, plus an additional summer semester tuition. See the tuition summary for an estimate for the current year. These figures increase every academic year. New students should factor in an approximately 5% increase per year into any budget computation. For the 2014-15 academic year, tuition is estimated to be $62,000 plus fees for the entire three-semester program. Students are also expected to provide their own laptop computers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admission criteria for this program? What are the minimum TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, and GPA scores for your program? How competitive is the selection process?
The MSIT Privacy Engineering program is very selective. We are looking for students with strong backgrounds in computer science or related fields, good communication skills, and a passion for privacy engineering.

English language competency is strongly correlated to academic and professional success. Thus the degree program has a minimum English competency score requirement. A successful applicant will normally have a total TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 (with no sub-score less than 25) or an IELTS score of at least 7.5. The degree program does not have a minimum GRE or GPA requirement. However, admitted students generally have GRE scores above the 90th percentile on the quantitative exam and above the 50th percentile on the verbal exam.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?
The TOEFL is required of all students whose native language is NOT English. It does not matter whether you have earned your undergraduate degree in the United States or in your native land. Your application will NOT be considered COMPLETE without the TOEFL test.  

The application requires a personal essay for the application. What makes a good essay?
We are looking for strong evidence that you can do well in our degree program. For example, a description of your research project experience, your involvement in the project, and the impact of the research is good evidence. A description of a large software project, your involvement in the project, and the impact of the project is good evidence. A historical essay that starts with your first use of computers at age five is not good evidence. Please write the essay yourself. Get help of course, but it should be substantially your own words.

The application require letters of recommendation. What makes a good letter?
The strongest letters come from respected advisors and managers who know your work and who write favorably about your work. A letter from a professor who taught you in a class provides fine but not great evidence. These people simply know your abilities less well than a research advisor or a manager.

The application process asks for research publications. Are these required?
No, publications are not required, but they are perhaps the best evidence that you can do high quality research. Not all admitted students will have them.

The application asks for work experience. Is this required?
No, work experience is not required. However, we value some types of work experience highly, particularly if the experience is close to the type of work our graduates perform. We also value summer internships and undergraduate research experiences.

Is scholarship funding available?
We are working on lining up some scholarships for the MSIT-PE program and expect to have more information available soon.  Get your application in by the deadline in order to be eligible.  Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships from outside organizations.  For example, US citizens may be eligible for the SMART Scholarship for Service Program (applications will close December 15, 2014).  The ACSA (Applied Computer Security Associates) offer scholarships for women studying information security.  Female applicants are eligible for this scholarship and applications for 2015-16 will re-open in the Spring.  For more information see SWSIS.

Can I continue to the Ph.D. degree after graduating from the MSIT Privacy Engineering program?
There is no Privacy Ph.D. degree and the MSIT-PE is a professional master’s degree program designed to prepare students who intend to work as privacy professionals in industry or government.  This being said successfully completing the degree with good grades could give a Ph.D. application in any program a big boost in several ways. Your MSIT-PE GPA would likely be viewed positively  in the evaluation of an application. In addition, performing research as part of the degree (e.g., course project, capstone project) could also increase your chances of success. Finally, admission into the MSIT-PE program is very selective. There are no guarantees, of course. Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon should instead consider directly applying to a PhD Program such as the PhD programs in Computation, Organizations and Society, Engineering and Public Policy, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, or Public Policy and Management.

Can I take courses in other parts of CMU (Heinz School of Public Policy, Tepper School of Business, etc.)?
Yes, a number of courses in other parts of the university are available to MSIT-PE students as general electives.

Do we have a comprehensive exam or graduation exam?
There are no comprehensive exams in the MSIT-PE program. The student integrates their academic experience with practical application via the capstone project.

Where do I find out more about graduate education at Carnegie Mellon University?
Visit the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate Education website.

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