Welcome to the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University
We are extremely pleased that you have decided to become a member of our Department; we think it is a very special collection of faculty and students. If you have any questions, please send email to Diane Stidle.
Action Items & Fall 2021 Deadlines
Student Record Creation
PhD Graduate Student Data Sheet
Completing the PhD Graduate Student Data Sheet is the first step in letting us enter your information into the Student Information System. You should have already completed this form by April 30th.
Getting your CMU student ID Card
Instructions for submitting your photo
Health History Form
All incoming students must complete Health History and Immunization information. Please see the requirements on the Student Health Services website.
If you are not a U.S. Citizen you will receive the I-20 Form, which will allow you to obtain the F-1 student visa. Our Office of International Education helps with the documentation.
Photograph for MLD Website - Send by July 1st
While the photo for your ID card should be relatively formal, a more lively photograph is ideal for the Machine Learning PhD Students Page. The photograph should be of just yourself (not a group photo), but a picture with your hometown, favorite restaurant, or other interesting location as the backdrop would add personality. Send a large, uncropped photograph to Diane; she will edit it to the appropriate size (which is 800x800 pixels at the appropriate level of zoom).
Classes at Carnegie Mellon begin on August 30, 2021
(with the exception that some classes in the Computer Science Department begin one week later).
If applicable, I will register you for the following core courses:
10-715 Advanced Introduction to Machine Learning
36-705 Intermediate Statistics
10-920 Graduate Reading & Research
Classes fill up very quick so if you are on a waitlist for a course please send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information regarding registering for courses:
You must be registered for at least 36 units (at all times) to be considered full-time by the university.
1 unit is defined as requiring an average student to spend about 1 hour/week to earn an average grade in that course, implying that a 36-unit courseload should take about 36 hours/week of work. However, Machine Learning students must earn at least a B- for a course to count towards their degree, and most students aim to earn As, meaning that 36 hours/week is a low estimate. Because of this, and because it can take students time to acclimate to a new learning environment, we strongly encourage students to take only the courses listed above in their first semester.
You should spend 50% of your time with actual courses and 50% of your time in research so you should be registered for 10-920 Reading & Research each semester.
CMU Graduate Student Orientation
Graduate Student Orientation for all incoming Graduate Students, August 16-20, 2021.
The Office of International Education (OIE) will be holding International Graduate Student Orientation. Registration is required. Students can register for an orientation session by following the instructions on OIE's website. Students who arrive in Pittsburgh after the standard sessions must contact OIE upon arrival to be scheduled for a make-up orientation/immigration check-in. Please see the OIE website to register: https://app.joinhandshake.com/login
Registration for Fall orientation will begin this summer. An email with further details on how to register will be emailed to students at that time.
Language Support Orientation
The Language Support Orientation sessions, held in mid-August to mid-September, are designed to help students who are nonnative English speakers get a strong start to their academic work at CMU. The sessions offer guidance on and discussion of common language and cross-cultural issues experienced by international students. The Student Academic Success Center (SASC) is a valuable resource for nonnative English speakers.
Students who attend this 1-hour session will:
- Better understand the language challenges faced by many nonnative English speaking students and develop realistic expectations for their success at CMU and in their professional life,
- Learn how to interpret their own TOEFL speaking scores in order to more realistically assess their individual language issues,
- Be familiar with the ITA test requirement and know how to best prepare for the test,
- Be aware of the language support available on campus.
For more information and to see the schedule of sessions:
Your Andrew UserID is automatically assigned when you are entered into the Student Information System. The university Andrew network is needed to view your student account, register for courses, sign up for health insurance, etc.
For problems with your Andrew Account:
Computing Services <email@example.com>
MLD appreciates the efforts of its Graduate Students in obtaining outside support. As an incentive for actively soliciting and obtaining support from outside sources, ML provides supplement money. Students receiving outside support at the initiative of ML (with only a vitae - or less - from the student) are not entitled to the supplement. If you have received a Fellowship please contact Mary Stech to find out what information you need to supply to her and what your supplement money would be in your particular case.
All Carnegie Mellon students are required to have health insurance, and will be automatically enrolled and charged for Carnegie Mellon student health insurance through Aetna Insurance unless a waiver is requested and granted. Please visit the University Health Services website at https://www.cmu.edu/health-services/student-insurance/ for additional information.
Each student is required to take one of the following three actions:
- Enroll in the basic plan as charged,
- Upgrade the benefit plan by enrolling in the enhanced student health insurance options during the open enrollment period, or
- Apply for a waiver from the mandatory plan.
Students, especially those not covered by their parents' American health insurance plans, are strongly encouraged to enroll in the university's health insurance plan. The price and coverage are reasonable and it is easy to use at the student health clinic on campus. International students should be particularly cautious of scams targeting those who are not very knowledgable about the American medical system, since seemingly good deals can result in massive charges for those who do not fully understand the American system of deductibles, copayments, pre-approval, in-network and out-network services, yearly and lifetime payment caps, etc.
If you elect to enroll in the Carnegie Mellon University's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), the University will cover 50 percent of the premium cost for your individual coverage under SHIP. While you will have the opportunity to purchase partner, spouse or dependent coverage under the SHIP plan, the University's support will be limited to 50 percent of the individual coverage amount. Please note that if you wish to elect the required health insurance coverage under an alternate plan, you will not be eligible for the University support referenced here.
In order to be eligible for the financial support, you must enroll in the SHIP program no later than August 15th. For the balance of the premium not covered by the University, there is a payment plan available. More information about the payment plan can be found at: https://www.cmu.edu/sfs/billing/payments/monthly-plan/index.html
Please refer to the University Health Service's website for complete information.
Questions about health services can be directed to:
- General information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-268-2157
- Immunization information: email@example.com or 412-268-2157 (option 4)
- Insurance information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-268-2157 (option 3)
CMU does not have on-campus housing for graduate students, but it does have resources to help new students find off-campus housing. For information on housing and related issues, you may want to visit the CMU Housing Office (412-268-2139) website, which can be very helpful in locating suitable apartments or houses for new students. They can provide computerized listings of spaces available to match your specific needs.
The Machine Learning Department has an invite-only ML Housing Google Group that is restricted to members of the MLD community. You are welcome to use it to coordinate finding apartments and roommates.
CMU's Graduate Student Association has created a Graduate Student Housing Handbook [.pdf] with useful information about neighborhoods, common prices reported by actual CMU students, and questions to keep in mind. They also answer some Frequently Asked Questions about housing on their website.
There is an unofficial Facebook group that may be useful as well. (Note that this is NOT an official CMU resource and participants aren't necessarily from CMU.)
Most of the students live in the Squirrel Hill or Shadyside neighborhoods.
If you will be looking for an apartment before you arrive, the best times are either early May or mid-July. Most leases are for one year, ending in May or August. You can sign a lease any time if the space is available - but people don't always let the landlords know whether they'll be renewing until 30 - 45 days before the end of the lease. There is usually a little overlap in August -- old leases not over until the end of August, but you need a place by mid-August -- but it's often possible to "bunk in" with older students for a few days until your place becomes available. You can also look for short-term off-campus housing.
Important Dates for Fall 2021
|August 30||Classes begin (except a few CS classes)|
|September 6||Labor Day Holiday - no classes|
|October 14||Mid-Semester Break - no classes|
|October 15-17||PhD Student Retreat at Wisp Resort, Deep Creek, Maryland|
|November 24-26||Thanksgiving Holiday - no classes|
|December 3||Last Day of Fall Classes|
|December 6-14||Fall Final Exams|
|January 17||Spring Classes Begin|
If you are not a U.S. Citizen you will receive the I-20 Form, which will allow you to obtain the F-1 student visa. However, the I-20 CANNOT BE ISSUED until we receive a completed International Student Information Form from you. Please note that you are not required to provide any proof of financial support unless you have legal dependents (spouse and/or children). In that case you may be required to show that you have additional funds available to support the dependents.
Note that all students applying for the F-1 visa are required to pay a SEVIS fee in addition to any other required filing fees. We will not be paying this fee in advance, but you will be reimbursed once you arrive in the fall, IF you save your receipt and bring it to me. Also, you will have to pay to have the documents shipped to you, please save the receipt and give it to me with your SEVIS receipt and I can reimburse both.
If you are already in the U.S.; you will request a transfer through your Foreign Student Advisor rather than receiving a new I-20 form. For additional information regarding visas you may want to visit the Office of International Education website.
International students will also receive information with your I-20 Form regarding the International Student Orientation program sponsored by the Office of International Education. This program is mandatory. If you have a situation that does not allow you to attend, you will be required to attend an orientation session before the end of the first week of the semester in order for your enrollment to be complete, and to maintain your valid visa status. An important part of the orientation are instructions of how to obtain a social security number which you will need in order to receive your stipend.
It is common for students studying computer science to experience administrative processing delays when getting a visa. If there is anything you need to do, you will be contacted with information.
The Office of International Education provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
The Machine Learning Department Orientation will be on Friday, August 27, 2021
MLD Orientation (in-person attendance expected)
We introduce you to the Machine Learning Department and the School of Computer Science. Faculty will give presentations about the projects they are working on. The research presentations will give you an idea of the kind of research that goes on here in Machine Learning and throughout SCS. After ML Orientation, students are strongly encouraged to arrange individual meetings with potential faculty advisors.
Responsible Conduct of Research
CITI On-line RCR Education
To complete the CITI on-line education course go to CITI's website.
- Select Carnegie Mellon University as your "participating institution" and create an account. Please use your CMU Andrew e-mail account.
- Once your registration is complete, you will be directed to a list of courses. Choose the Responsible Conduct of Research module most appropriate to the type of research you conduct (physical sciences, social and behavioral, undergraduates, biomedial engineering or humanities).
- The course may take a few hours to complete but can be done over a period of time. When you complete the course, CITI will e-mail your completion record to the CMU Research Compliance Office.
- If you have done CITI education for another organization, add CMU to your CITI profile. You will be given credit for your previous courses to the extent they overlap with CMU's requirements.
Students must complete training for NSF and NIH grants. A copy of the certificate must be given to the MLD Associate Business Manager, Kelly Widmaier.
Your stipend has an anticipated begin date of August 16, 2021. Stipend payments are made twice each month. In order to get "on the payroll" you are required by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services to complete an I-9 Form, which documents your authorization to work in the United States. You will complete page 1 of the form via our HR/Payroll system, Workday. You will complete page 2 by taking your documents to the CMU Works Service Center at 4516 Henry Street (UTDC Building). Please see list below for acceptable documents to show at the Service Center. You may also sign up to have your payment directly deposited into your bank account. Please bring a blank check, marked VOID, to the Payroll Office. You will also need a Social Security Number before you will receive any payments.
List of Acceptable Documents
Citizens of the U.S. must show either a valid U.S. passport, or a state-issued driver's license PLUS an ORIGINAL Social Security Card or a birth certificate bearing a seal. Those who are not U.S. citizens must show their passport (with attached employment authorization Form I-9, which will be issued by the CMU Foreign Student Advisor during foreign student orientation.) Please be sure that you have these documents with you when you arrive.
If you have received external funding your contact person in CMU SCS will be Mary Stech (email@example.com or 412 268-9601). If you have any questions feel free to contact her directly.
If your spouse is unemployed, or earns less than $500 per month, you are entitled to a dependency allowance.A dependency allowance of 10% per month of the SCS base stipend amount for each eligible dependent is paid to a Ph.D. student provided that his or her spouse or qualifying domestic partner earns $500.00 or less per month.
In academic year 2021-2022, base stipend is $3,060.00 and the allowance per eligible dependent is $306.00.
Student ID Card
Your ID Card is your official Carnegie Mellon photo identification. It is your access to campus buildings, athletic facilities and the Port Authority Transit system. You must have an ID Card as a graduate student.
To obtain your card:
- Submit your photograph via the ID Photo Submission Application before July 31.
- You will receive your ID Card upon arrival. If you do not receive your ID Card from your department, visit The HUB, lower level of Warner Hall, during business hours to receive it.
- If you did not submit your photo online, visit The HUB with your own photo or to have your photo taken.
The department pays your student fees and also pays your tuition by dividing it up each month. You don't have to worry about tuition or the following student fees: Student Activities Fee, Transportation Fee or Technology Fee. You will have to pay the Health Insurance and any personal fees, as in Library fees. For more details, please see the HUB website: http://www.cmu.edu/hub/billing/departmental.html
Your student account information can be found at: