Carnegie Mellon University
#47 Overall Influence#35 Desirability Rank

Carnegie Mellon University

Private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

About This School

How does this school stack up?

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

33k per 100k

Violent Crime

8k per 100k

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this school influential?

#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
#46 World Rank #41 USA Rank
#47 World Rank #25 USA Rank
#58 World Rank #23 USA Rank
#64 World Rank #24 USA Rank
#73 World Rank #40 USA Rank
#74 World Rank #50 USA Rank
#78 World Rank #38 USA Rank
#81 World Rank #28 USA Rank
#116 World Rank #75 USA Rank
Political Science
#131 World Rank #98 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#159 World Rank #69 USA Rank
#206 World Rank #72 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#206 World Rank #118 USA Rank
#219 World Rank #112 USA Rank
#264 World Rank #100 USA Rank
#415 World Rank #202 USA Rank
#554 World Rank #234 USA Rank
#918 World Rank #527 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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David Parnas
David Parnas

Canadian software engineer

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Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch

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

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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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