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.

August 14-16:  CMU Graduate Student Orientation, attendance is optional for U.S. citizens, but we highly encourage you to attend!
August (multiple dates available):   CMU International Graduate Student Orientation, attendance is required by all International students
August 24th:  ISR PhD Orientation, attendance is required
August 28st:   Classes Begin

The official university academic calendar is located at

Please hold all dates listed above.

The Settling In Guide has been written to help our various international populations adjust and get to know Carnegie Mellon University; however, it is also very helpful to ALL new students!

Newly admitted students will need their admission ID number, as well as their Andrew userID and password to access all secure sites at Carnegie Mellon University. This includes Student Information Online (SIO) where students can access their electronic bills (E-­-Bills), account activity, course schedule, and grades (if applicable), as well as update their contact information.

Your academic department uses a unique, random number as your admission ID number.

Information and instructions useful for solving many common computing problems can be found at the following link:

Sorry, I cannot help you 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, visit HealthConnect for instructions on how to complete these forms. Students have until June 30 to submit this information.

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 has  have designated two buildings on campus for graduate student housing for 2015-2016: Shirley Apartments and Neville Apartments. We have single and double occupancy bedrooms. Students can apply once they have their AndrewID. Here’s more information on our website:

Also, we have a new community housing website for those looking for off-campus housing. We discovered that many graduate programs were giving out our old website, so we wanted to provide the new one:

If have any students have housing questions, you can certainly direct to email:

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.
In the meantime, if you need a letter stating that you are expected to enroll at Carnegie Mellon, please e-mail the details of your request to Note that requesting a proof of enrollment to continue on private insurance does not waive a student from the university's student insurance plan. See "University Health Services" above for details on how to request a waiver from the student insurance plan.

Your Andrew e-mail account is your conduit for official and important Carnegie Mellon communications. Please check it frequently over the summer and during your academic career. Official Carnegie Mellon notifications are sent to valid Andrew account users using the e-mail address (example: )If you choose to use an alternate e-mail address (i.e. @yahoo; @Gmail, etc), then you should forward your e-mail to your preferred/alternate e-mail address to ensure that you receive all official university communications

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. Those who are not U.S. citizens must show their passport (with attached employment authorization Form I-9, which will be issued by the CMU Foreign Student Advisor during foreign student orientation.) Please be sure that you have these documents with you when you arrive and Helen Higgins will help you work through the onboarding process with the CMUworks Service Center which will set you up in the WorkDay human capital management system

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 ISR (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 2015-2016, base stipend is $2,635 and the allowance per eligible depend is $263.00.

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. Three of those courses are listed below and I will register you for them.

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

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.As indicated above I will register you for the courses below for fall.  You will be responsible going forward starting with the spring semester for registering for all your courses.

 17-997 – SE Reading & Research – Section A (variable 1-48 Units)
17-791 –SE SSSG –Section A (3 Units)
17-808 –Software Engineering Research (6 Units) –STAR Requirement
**Please note you must always register for 17-997, and 17-791 while you are a student in the Software Engineering Ph.D. program and carry 48 units.

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.