Carnegie Mellon University

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.  Paper documents should be scanned and submitted via the website. Your application must contain the following required items, please make certain that you have met all requirements before you submit your application.

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.


We will request transcripts from you only if you are offered admission into our program; please do not send them otherwise.  After receiving your offer, you may 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.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are optional, but applicants who have taken the GRE are encouraged to submit their scores.

Send your scores to the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University; Institute Code: 2074, Department Code: 0402.

English Language Aptitude Test Scores

TOEFL/IELTS Duolingo - If your native language (language spoken from birth) is not English, an official copy of an English proficiency score report is required. The English proficiency requirement cannot be waived for any reason. We strongly encourage applicants to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS.  In cases where these are not available it is acceptable to take the Duolingo test.  We discourage the use of the "TOEFL IPT Plus for China" since speaking is not scored. 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 (A Duolingo score of 120 is equivalent to a TOEFL iBT score of 97-10). Send your scores directly to Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science; Institutional Code: 4256; Departmental Code: 78.

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.

Application Fee

The application fee is $80 if you apply by the early deadline (November 29, 2022; $100 after that. 

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. These figures increase every academic year and new students should factor in an approximately 5% increase per year into any budget computation. For the 2020-2021 year, tuition was set at  $25,542 per semester plus fees for the entire three semester program.  Upon admission, students must submit a non-refundable $500 deposit to hold their space in the program.  Students are also expected to provide their own laptop computers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 22) or an IELTS score of at least 7.5.  A Duolingo score of 120 is equivalent to a TOEFL iBT score of 97-102. 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.

TOEFL/IELTS - If you are an international applicant and your native language (language spoken from birth) is not English, an official copy of your score report is required. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement cannot be waived for any reason. As you may be aware, the English proficiency testing situation worldwide continues to change rapidly. We currently strongly discourage the use of the "TOEFL iBT Plus for China", since speaking is not scored. Applicants currently in mainland China are encouraged to take the IELTS test. Your application will NOT be considered COMPLETE without the TOEFL or one of the other English proficiency tests mentioned.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.  The ACSA (Applied Computer Security Associates) offers scholarships for women studying information security.  Female applicants are eligible for this scholarship and the deadline for this is February 1.  For more information see SWSIS.

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 Societal ComputingEngineering and Public PolicyHuman Computer InteractionComputer ScienceElectrical and Computer Engineering, or Public Policy and Management.

Yes, a number of courses in other parts of the university are available to MSIT-PE students as general electives.

There are no comprehensive exams in the MSIT-PE program. The student integrates their academic experience with practical application via the capstone project.

Visit the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate Education website.