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 and earn at least a B+.

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.

The curriculum for the 5th-year MS is the same as the standard MS. The exception to this is that one 9- or 12-unit elective at the 400- or 500-level may be used if it's taken as an undergraduate and if its requirements are identical to a cross-listed graduate-level version of the course. 10-601 may also be used as an elective if it's taken before 10-701/10-715. Along with the suggested master's electives, some of the minor electives may be of interest, although not all minor electives will count for this purpose.

Finally, 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 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: 10-702 Statistical Machine Learning + a Menu Core course + an Elective course.

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 let us know to use your midterm grade. If your program rounds to the nearest letter grade, so that B+ shows up as a B, please let us know in your application so that we can verify your unrounded grade. If you are unsure what your unrounded grade was, you can ask the course instructor.

To request that a 400- or 500-level course be allowed as an elective, provide documentation with your application that shows that it is identical to a cross-listed graduate-level course. Examples of proof include a syllabus that says the requirements are the same or an email from the course instructor. If possible, however, students considering the 5th-year MS are encouraged to register for the graduate-level version of electives.

Applicants should be aware that only 3 courses may double-count between the Bachelor's and Master's degree. Students will not be required to re-take courses, but may need to take additional electives if more than three core courses were taken before earning their Bachelor's degree.

Applicants should also be aware that no courses can be triple-counted, such as being used for a minor, major, and the master's.

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 Junior Spring.

The application materials are:

  • Application form (PDF)
  • Statement of Purpose (1 page)
  • Resume or CV
  • CMU transcript or unofficial academic record
  • Documentation supporting a 400- or 500-level elective (if applicable)
  • Two letters of recommendation, sent directly to the Program Coordinator

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 8001 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.