Secondary Master's in Machine Learning

The Secondary Master's in Machine Learning allows current CMU PhD students, faculty, and staff to complete the MS program at their own pace and often with minimal financial burden.

Requirements for Consideration

  • Must be a current PhD student, faculty member, or staff member at CMU.
  • Must take 4 out of 5 Core Courses before applying:
    • 10-701 or 10-715 Introduction to Machine Learning (earn at least a B+)
    • 36-700 or 36-705 Statistics (earn at least a B+)
    • 2 other courses from the Set Core and/or Menu Core (all courses must be passed with at least a B- to count for the Master's in Machine Learning)
  • Must have the approval of their advisor (PhD students) or immediate supervisor (faculty and staff).

Differences Between the Standard and Secondary MS

Since Secondary MS students are already at CMU for another purpose, the Secondary MS is generally completed part-time.

For PhD students, the practicum may be fulfilled by Reading & Research taken in your home department, if such research contains significant machine learning content. Furthermore, if a course is counted towards your PhD degree, it may also be counted for the Secondary MS, so long as such double-counting is permitted by your PhD program. However, any course counted towards another master's-level or bachelor's-level degree may not be counted toward the Secondary MS.

The tuition and fees of the Secondary MS are same as with the standard MS. However, most PhD students have their full-time tuition paid by their home department and so are not charged anything extra for the Secondary MS. Similarly, most faculty and staff are eligible for tuition benefits and so can avoid significant tuition charges by completing the program at an appropriate rate. However, the Machine Learning Department does not provide financial assistance, and so Secondary MS students should be prepared to pay any tuition and fees that aren't covered by other sources.

International students should be aware that the Secondary MS does not qualify them for CPT/OPT.

Typical Schedule

  1. Before applying: 10-701 or 10-715 Introduction to Machine Learning, 36-700 or 36-705 Statistics, and 2 out of the remaining 3 Set and Menu Core courses.
  2. After admittance: Many Secondary MS students take 1 or 2 courses per semester and so finish the program in 1-2 years, but other schedules are possible.

Recommendations to Prospective Applicants

Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as they have completed 4 out of 5 Core Courses. Admittance to the Secondary MS grants priority access to Machine Learning Department courses, and some courses (like 10-718 Data Analysis) are open only to Machine Learning students.

How to Apply

The Fall application deadline is October 12 and the Spring application deadline is March 22.

The application materials are:

  • Application form (PDF)
  • Statement of Purpose (1 page)
  • Resume or CV
  • CMU transcript or Unofficial Academic Record
  • Test scores (GRE and TOEFL) from your prior CMU application, if applicable. These can usually be obtained from your home department if you no longer have a copy.
  • Approval from PhD advisor or immediate supervisor, sent directly to the Program Coordinator

The Statement of Purpose should include:

  1. Your objective in pursuing a Master's degree in Machine Learning
  2. Your background in fields particularly relevant to your objective, including any relevant academic or industrial experience
  3. Any additional information you wish to supply to the Admissions Committee

The approval statement from the advisor or supervisor may be as simple as, "I support [applicant]'s decision to pursue the Secondary MS in Machine Learning."

All materials must be received by the application deadline for consideration that semester. The Program Coordinator will store any materials submitted early until the application deadline.

The preferred method of submission is to email all materials to the Program Coordinator Dorothy Holland-Minkley at dfh@cs.cmu.edu. Mailing or delivering them to GHC 8001 is also acceptable if necessary.

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.

(Note: Office Hours are canceled on Friday, October 5, 2018.)