Carnegie Mellon University
#46 Overall Influence#35 Desirability Rank

Carnegie Mellon University

Private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

By James Barham, PhD

In 1900, the Scottish-born industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, donated the funds to establish a vocational college called the Carnegie Technical Schools. In 1912, the Technical Schools’ name was changed to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT).

Carnegie based CIT in Pittsburgh, where he had worked as a messenger boy for the Ohio Telegraph Company not long after arriving with his family in the US. By the turn of the twentieth century, that thriving industrial city had become the main base of operations for Carnegie’s vast steel factories. CIT’s site was adjacent to that of the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

In 1913, the brothers, Andrew W. and Richard B. Mellon—scions of a wealthy Pittsburgh banking family (also of Scottish ancestry)—donated money to the University of Pittsburgh for the creation of a Department of Industrial Research. Andrew Mellon would go on to serve as US Secretary of the Treasury under President Warren G. Harding during the early 1920s.

In 1928, the Department of Industrial Research was reconstituted as a nonprofit corporation and renamed the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (MIIR). In 1937, MIIR moved into a new facility on the Pitt campus, across the street from the world-famous Cathedral of Learning.

In 1967, CIT and MIIR merged to create a new, technically oriented university called Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). CMU’s campus is physically adjacent to, and partially overlaps, the University of Pittsburgh campus.

A total of 20 CMU-related individuals have received the Nobel Prize, including:

  • John L. Hall & Otto Stern — physics
  • Ada Yonath & Paul Flory — chemistry
  • John F. Nash, Herbert A. Simon, Oliver Williamson & John Lucas — economics

Computer science is a special strength of CMU, as is shown by its large number of Turing Award–recipients—13 in all—including:

  • Alan J. Perlis
  • Ivan Sutherland
  • Allen Newell
  • Geoffrey Hinton
  • Edward Feigenbaum
  • Edward M. Clarke
  • Manuel Blum
  • Raj Reddy
  • Shafi Goldwasser
  • Herbert A. Simon (the only person to win both a Turing Award and a Nobel Prize)

Also, one might say that CMU is not unlike a startup accelerator, given the number of CMU-connected engineers and entrepreneurs who have gone on to found important IT companies, including, notably, Xerox PARC, Adobe Systems, Sun Microsystems, Lycos, Red Hat, and Nest.

Finally, among other CMU-connected individuals, we may mention:

  • Painters, Andy Warhol & Philip Pearlstein
  • Novelist, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Actors, Holly Hunter, Christopher Reeve, Ethan Hawke, Patrick Wilson, & Ted Danson
  • Java programming language inventor, James Gosling
  • Statistician and machine-learning pioneer, Andrew Ng
  • NASA astronauts, Edgar Mitchell & Judith Resnik


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

33 per 100k

Violent Crime

8 per 100k

What is Carnegie Mellon University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#5 World Rank #5 USA Rank
Computer Science
#14 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#17 World Rank #16 USA Rank
#33 World Rank #20 USA Rank
#57 World Rank #22 USA Rank
#63 World Rank #23 USA Rank
#47 World Rank #25 USA Rank
#81 World Rank #28 USA Rank
#79 World Rank #39 USA Rank
#74 World Rank #41 USA Rank
#46 World Rank #41 USA Rank
#71 World Rank #46 USA Rank
#158 World Rank #68 USA Rank
#116 World Rank #75 USA Rank
Political Science
#265 World Rank #101 USA Rank
#222 World Rank #113 USA Rank
#207 World Rank #119 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#132 World Rank #99 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#206 World Rank #72 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#424 World Rank #208 USA Rank
#558 World Rank #236 USA Rank
#926 World Rank #532 USA Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are Carnegie Mellon University's Most influential alumni?

Carnegie Mellon University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, and Business. Carnegie Mellon University’s most academically influential people include Kurt Vonnegut, Andy Warhol, and Michael Chabon.

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut

American writer

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Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol

American artist and film director and producer

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Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon

American novelist, short story writer, essayist

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Allen Newell
Allen Newell

American cognitive scientist

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Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch

American professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design

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David Parnas
David Parnas

Canadian software engineer

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Oliver E. Williamson
Oliver E. Williamson

American economist

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Ivan Sutherland
Ivan Sutherland

American computer scientist and Internet pioneer

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Edward C. Prescott
Edward C. Prescott

American economist

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Steven Bochco
Steven Bochco

Television producer and writer

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Edgar Mitchell
Edgar Mitchell

American astronaut

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George A. Romero
George A. Romero

American-Canadian film director, film producer, screenwriter and editor

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