Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Program in Machine Learning

Carnegie Mellon University's doctoral program in Machine Learning is designed to train students to become tomorrow's leaders through a combination of interdisciplinary coursework, hands-on applications, and cutting-edge research. Graduates of the Ph.D. program in Machine Learning will be uniquely positioned to pioneer new developments in the field, and to be leaders in both industry and academia.

Understanding the most effective ways of using the vast amounts of data that are now being stored is a significant challenge to society, and therefore to science and technology, as it seeks to obtain a return on the huge investment that is being made in computerization and data collection. Advances in the development of automated techniques for data analysis and decision making requires interdisciplinary work in areas such as machine learning algorithms and foundations, statistics, complexity theory, optimization, data mining, etc.

The Ph.D. Program in Machine Learning is for students who are interested in research in Machine Learning. For questions and concerns, please contact us.

Financial Support
It will be our responsibility, not yours, to worry about your tuition and stipend while you are in our program.  We are committed to providing your full tuition and stipend support for the coming academic year.  We intend to continue this support as long as you continue to make satisfactory progress in our program.  Students who do not have external financial support will be funded via graduate assistantships, awarded for a nine-month period from September to May, which would normally come from their advisor’s grants.  Because of that, specific research opportunities may be constrained by funding availability.  Students who have partial external financial support will be supplemented to bring them to the full level of support, and often receive an additional supplement on top of that.  If you have dependents, we will also pay you a dependency allowance that is 10% of the MLD monthly base stipend per eligible dependent, unless you have a spouse or qualifying domestic partner who earns more than $500 per month.

PhD Program Requirements

Application Information
For Fall 2023 applications, GRE Scores are REQUIRED. The committee uses GRE scores to gauge quantitative skills, and to a lesser extent, also verbal skills.

If you are an international applicant and your native language (language spoken from birth) is not English, an official copy of an English proficiency score report is required. The English proficiency requirement cannot be waived for any reason. We strongly encourage applicants to take either the TOEFL or IELTS. In cases where these are not available it is acceptable to take the Duolingo test. We discourage the use of the "TOEFL ITP Plus for China", since speaking is not scored. Additional details are provided on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

We recommend a combined TOEFL score of 100, with no subscore below 25, although we will make exceptions to this cutoff in exceptional cases.  Unofficially, we recommend a high level of comfort with math (particularly linear algebra, probability, and proofs) and computer programming (at the level of an undergraduate degree in computer science, although many of our applicants get the necessary experience without majoring in CS).  It is possible to fill in some of this background on the fly, but you will be working hard to do so! In addition, the program is very competitive, so successful applications always stand out in some way from their peers -- for example grades, research experience, or recommendation letters.