Carnegie Mellon University

Incoming PhD Student Info

Welcome to Carnegie Mellon! We are very excited that you will be joining the Software Engineering PhD program. Before you arrive on campus, we want to bring to your attention several important items from a variety of departments. A great place to start is at our Welcome Graduate Student page.

Information and instructions useful for solving many common computing problems can be found at the Computing Service website.

We cannot assist students with Andrew computer accounts. If you need to email to the Andrew Help Center, please send email to:

For urgent problems, please contact the Computing Services Help Center directly at 412-268-HELP, Monday-Friday 9AM to 5PM.  After 5PM Monday-Friday, and on weekends, please report systems outages and area-wide network problems to Computer Operations at 412-268-6688.

You will also receive a second account, a CS account, at orientation from our Department Systems Administrator (this usually happens the beginning of August). At that time, one account should be forwarded to the other and/or forwarded to other personal accounts.  Tom Pope our Systems Manager, will help you with your accounts and laptop questions at orientation.

All incoming students are required to submit health history and immunization information. After May 15, review our Graduate Student Health & Immunization Guide.

Carnegie Mellon also has a medical insurance mandate. Students are default charged for medical insurance each year, and must either enroll in the plan or complete a waiver form certifying you are enrolled on an employer or government-based plan that meets certain coverage requirements. For details on the mandate, enrollment and waiver forms, visit Student Insurance.

You have until September 1st to make your insurance decision. Our online waiver program is accessible on the website now, and our online enrollment program will be available by June 1st. If you intend to stay on your existing insurance plan (your parents, for example) you will need to complete our waiver form and the default charge will be removed.

Payment Options

Enrollment does not offer payroll deduction as a means to pay for health insurance. Carnegie Mellon is pleased to extend the services of Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to help you afford the health insurance cost. The TMS Health Insurance Monthly Payment Option allows you to spread your health insurance premium over nine monthly installments for a $25 enrollment fee. The installments begin in September and end in May. Please see the information on this new payment option at the University Health Services web site.

The Univeristy does not offer on-campus housing for graduate student. Instead, grad students are encouraged to explore their off-campus housing options through the Housing and Residential Education Website.

Student Information On-Line (SIO) is where students check their enrollment data, schedules classes, review account balances and grades.

SIO is also where students can update their address information. Your current address information is important because information will be sent to your local address throughout the year. We also need accurate information in the event of an emergency. Please update this address information as soon as you have it. To view or update your address information, visit SIO at and select the My Info tab. You can then update your information as necessary and click the submit button to save any changes.  All address data is updated immediately within the system.

You may also order enrollment verifications on SIO.  Enrollment verification is your proof of enrollment at Carnegie Mellon. This is often requested by insurance companies wanting to verify that you are enrolled or by scholarship committees wanting to know if you have maintained a certain QPA. This SIO feature cannot be used until you are registered for courses and enrolled for classes.

The Enrollment Services office will forward preliminary registration information to you during the summer, including an invoice showing the amount of your tuition for the fall semester. Please fill out the forms as requested and return them directly to Enrollment Services, indicating that tuition will be deducted from your monthly support payment from the SE PhD program. If all forms are filled out properly and returned on time, your registration will be completed by mail. If not, you will have an opportunity to complete "late enrollment" after you arrive.

For those receiving support paid through CMU, your stipend will be paid on a twice monthly basis on the 15th and 30th of the month, with 50% of your gross monthly stipend amount in each pay (less any applicable taxes). Stipends will be paid from August 16 - May 15. In order to get "on the payroll" you are required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to complete an I-9 Form, showing that you are either a U.S. citizen, or have permission to be employed. Citizens of the U.S. must show either a valid U.S. passport, or a state-issued driver's license PLUS an ORIGINAL Social Security Card or a birth certificate bearing a seal. Please be sure that you have these documents with you when you arrive and Helen Higgins assist you if you are having problems with the on-boarding process in Workday.

We cannot say exactly how much "take-home" pay a student will receive, since each individual case is different. However, in general your tuition is not subject to taxes and your stipend will generally not be subject to local, state, or Social Security taxes, although it will be taxed federally based on how you complete the form W4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certification) during the onboarding process. In particular, if your stipend stays solely for the advancement of your education, your work is closed supervised and primarily for your benefit and required of all students in your degree program, it will generally not be subject to local EIT (earned income taxes), which are imposed by the City of Pittsburgh and other municipalities. Other employment, such for example as a second position grading papers, would be subject to EIT withholding. In any event, you must also e-sign the PA Residency Certification form as part of the onboarding process. Questions about your specific tax situation may be reviewed with the CMUworks Service Center or your personal tax advisor.

Please note that the cost of your health insurance must be paid separately.

If you have been awarded any type of fellowship, external funding or was awarded any NSF or NDSEG fellowship, please contact Connie Herold, Ph.D. Student Programs Coordinator for S3D (412-268-4545) or

If your spouse is unemployed, or earns less than $200 per month, you are entitled to a dependency allowance. A dependency allowance of 10% per month of the SCS base stipend amount for each eligible dependent is paid to a Ph. D student provided that his or her spouse or qualifying domestic partner earns $200.00 or less per month. In Academic Year 2018-19, base stipend is $2,857 and the allowance per eligible depend is $285.

For the recipient of an outside fellowship, the dependency allowance is added after the student's monthly stipend amount has been determined based on the "Stipend Supplement for External Support" policy.

If you are NOT a U.S. Citizen you will receive the I-20 Form, which will allow you to obtain the F-1 student visa. However, the I-20 cannot be issued until we receive a completed International Student Information Form from you. Please note that you are not required to provide any proof of financial support unless you have legal dependents (spouse and/or children). In that case you may be required to show that you have additional funds available to support the dependents. If you are already in the U.S., you will request a transfer through your Foreign Student Advisor rather than receiving a new I-20 form. For additional information regarding visas you may want to visit the Office of International Education web site.

International students will also receive information with your I-20 Form regarding the International Student Orientation program sponsored by the Office of International Education.  If you are not able to attend during this period, you will be required to attend an orientation session before the end of the first week of the semester in order for your enrollment to be complete, and to maintain your valid visa status. An important part of the orientation are instructions of how to obtain a social security number which you will need in order to receive your monthly stipend.

Please notify Connie Herold ( or Helen Higgins ( of any address changes throughout your time here at Carnegie Mellon. Also update your address in the Student Information System.

What should you register for in the fall?

Typically first year students are registered for four (4) courses in the fall.

We ask that you review Software Engineering Program plan  for possible Star or Elective course choices.

Students can begin to register for courses at the beginning of registration week in April for the Fall semester. Please note: You must have you Andrew email set up prior to registering.

Software Engineering Courses you must register for Fall and going forward:


Software Engineering Research      12 Units      Fall - First year only     
17-791      Software Engineering Seminar 3 Units Every Semester
17-997 Graduate Reading & Research Variable Every Semester
XX-XXX Any Star or Elective if you choose to -- Check with your potential advisor or Jonathan Aldrich

If you need help, please consult with your advisor if you have chosen one, or any of the Software Engineering faculty you may be working with.  The most important consideration is choosing a course that closely relates to your research interests and plans; a second consideration is making progress on program requirements, particularly star courses.

To register for classes please click on the link below: (you will need your Andrew ID and Password prior to registering):

You will be able to obtain your student ID card the week of the Immigration Course. International students will receive their CMU ID cards during the International Student Orientation. You should also see on your ID card a PAT (Public Transportation) imprint that entitles you to free public transportation. You may also apply for your student card online prior to arriving at ID Card Services.