5th-Year Master's in Machine Learning

The 5th-Year Master's in Machine Learning allows CMU students to complete a MS in Machine Learning in one additional year by taking some of the required courses as an undergraduate. Interested students apply earlier in Senior year than the standard application deadline and receive the response earlier as well.

Requirements for Consideration

  • Must be graduating with a Bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Must take at least 3 of the MS courses during their undergraduate years. (These courses may also count towards the Bachelor's degree.)
  • Must take 10-701 or 10-715 no later than the semester they apply; or must have taken 10-315 followed by taking the 10-701 final exam. (See "Recommendations to Prospective Applicants" below.)

Differences Between the Standard and Fifth-Year MS

Since 5th-Year MS students have taken 3 courses for the MS during their undergraduate years, the 5th-year MS can be completed in 2 semesters instead of the standard 3 semesters.

5th-year MS students must complete the program as full-time students (at least 36 units/semester).

Typical Schedule

  1. Courses taken in undergraduate program: 10-701 or 10-715 Introduction to Machine Learning + 2 Menu Core or Elective courses.
  2. Summer between 4th and 5th years: Practicum (internship or research related to Machine Learning). 
  3. Fall semester: 36-700 or 36-705 Statistics + 10-718 Data Analysis + a Menu Core course.
  4. Spring semester: 10-716 Advanced Machine Learning: Theory and Methods + 2 Menu Core or Elective courses.

Recommendations to Prospective Applicants

Students can take 10-701 or 10-715 as late as the semester they apply, but should aim to take it during Junior year. If you are taking it in the semester you apply, please authorize us to check your midterm grade.

If a student has taken 10-315, it is possible to replace 10-701 with that course by doing well on 10-701's final exam. The student should contact the instructor of 10-701 and request to take the 10-701 final exam during the regularly scheduled 10-701 final exam time. (Note that the course will remain listed as 10-315 on the transcript.)

Applicants should be aware that only 3 courses may double-count between the Bachelor's and Master's degree. Additionally, no courses can be triple-counted, such as being used for a minor, major, and the master's. Students will not be required to re-take courses, but may need to take additional electives if more than three relevant courses were taken before earning their Bachelor's degree.

Applicants should also be aware that we continually review our program requirements and update them as necessary to ensure an appropriate and up-to-date curriculum.  Please note that the program requirements applicable to you would be those in effect when your admission offer is made, which are not necessarily those in effect today. Our curriculum was tightened in Spring 2019 (from this older curriculum to this newer curriculum). In this particular case, applicants should be aware that courses taken after Spring 2019 must come from the newer curriculum, while courses from the older curriculum may be included in the application if they were taken in Spring 2019 or earlier.

The 5th-year MS application does not require GRE scores or digital portfolios, and only requires two letters of recommendation instead of three. However, if a student is planning to apply to other graduate programs if not admitted to the 5th-year MS, it may be advisable to prepare for those other applications as normal.

The tuition and fees for the 5th-year MS are the same as the standard MS. 5th-Year MS students are also considered graduate students, not undergraduates, and so should contact Housing Services if they're living on-campus or their financial aid provider if they have one to learn what effects this may have.

How to Apply

The application deadline is October 12 of Senior Fall. Students who will be graduating a semester early can contact the Master's Programs Coordinator, Dorothy Holland-Minkley, to discuss the possibility of applying in March of Junior Spring.

The application materials are:

For the Statement of Purpose, type a one page concise statement including: your objective in pursuing a graduate degree in Machine Learning; your background in particularly relevant fields; any relevant academic or research experience; and any additional information you wish to supply to the Admissions Committee.

The letters of recommendation may be written by anyone who knows the applicant well. If you have done research with a faculty member, a letter of recommendation from them would be ideal. They should be emailed directly to Dorothy Holland-Minkley at dfh@cs.cmu.edu.

The applicant should email all other materials to Dorothy Holland-Minkley by October 12. Mailing or delivering them to GHC 8008 is also allowed, but email is preferred.

Additional Questions

For questions about the Machine Learning Master's Program that have not been answered on our webpages, please contact the Machine Learning Master's Programs Coordinator, Dorothy Holland-Minkley. During Fall and Spring, you can stop by her prospective student office hours on Fridays, 2 PM - 3 PM, in GHC 8008. You can also email her at any time at dfh@cs.cmu.edu.