Education - ISR - Carnegie Mellon University

Institute for Software Research Academic Programs

ISR is home to a wide range of degree programs and academic offerings spanning the spectrum from doctoral to undergraduate, with everything (including executive education) in between. The below overviews will link you directly to the home pages of our academic units.

Ph.D. Programs

Ph.D. Program in Software Engineering

The Ph.D. program in software engineering prepares students for academic and industry leadership positions in software engineering. Software has become an essential building material in nearly all sectors of the economy. Students build on experience in both research and in practice to identify and address the core challenges of software engineering practice. These challenges relate to diverse topics such as software architecture and design, software assurance and program analysis, measurement and tools, teams and organizations, end-user programming, and other topics. We also offer a Ph.D. program in software engineering as part of the Carnegie Mellon|Portugal Partnership.

Ph.D. Program in Computation, Organizations, and Society

The Ph.D. program in Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) recognizes that computers are dramatically changing the way we live, work, play and govern ourselves. A new scientific field is emerging to study the co-evolution of computers and society, to create and assess computational technology in service of society, and to simultaneously design and assess both socially transformational computer technologies and social, organizational, political, and economic processes and policies that transform computation. The Ph.D. program in Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) prepares students to be tomorrow's leaders in designing, constructing and assessing software that will transform and is accountable to society, business, policy, and law or can be used to computationally reason about these complex socio-computational transformations. 

ISR Masters Programs

Master of Software Engineering Program (MSE)

The Master of Software Engineering (MSE) program provides a unique environment for mastering the discipline of software engineering.  The goal of the program is to create the leaders of industrial software engineering practice: the future chief engineers, head designers, principal technical officers of their companies. Graduates of the MSE program not only understand and be able to apply the best of current practice, but are also able to act as agents of change to improve that practice as the field continues to evolve.

Embedded Software Engineering (MSIT-ESE)

The Master of Science in Information Technology – Embedded Software Engineering (MSIT-ESE) is a professional master's degree program drawing from the combined resources and strengths of the School of Computer Science's Institute for Software Research (ISR) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The professionally-oriented degree provides the foundations and skills in computer science, hardware and electrical engineering, and systems engineering necessary for effective embedded software engineering. The use of an application-based capstone Practicum project is a central component in the curriculum, and is particularly appropriate for students who intend to return to industry after receiving their degree.

Software Engineering Management (MSIT-SEM)

A collaborative effort between Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, the School of Computer Science, and the Software Engineering Institute, the MSIT-SEM is designed for mid-level managers currently working in information technology or software development positions who are eager to increase the breadth and depth of their knowledge. Applicants to the program are inclined to be those who strive to direct within software development organizations, or in the broader business sector that effectively acquires, integrates, and manages software. The program is ideal for working information technology managers, and is designed to be completed in three years of part-time study. Delivered mostly via distance education, the program culminates in a real-world capstone project.

Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) in eBusiness Technology

An increasing portion of all business is being conducted over the Internet.  Building eBusiness systems requires application of technology to real commercial situations.  The eBusiness Technology program is not lecture-based, but consists of 16 real-world team projects in eBusiness consulting in which students must solve realistic problems incorporating a spectrum of current eBusiness issues.  The final 9 weeks of the program are spent working on actual projects contributed by industrial sponsors.  By that time, students have not only absorbed new technologies, but have acquired job-critical skills such as time management, team organization and the ability to produce professional work product and deliver effective and persuasive presentations.

Master of Science in Information Technology - Privacy Engineering

The Master of Science in Information Technology - Privacy Engineering (MSIT-PE) degree is a one-year program designed for computer scientists and engineers who wish to pursue careers as privacy engineers or technical privacy managers. Designed in close collaboration with industry and government, this program is intended for students who aspire to play a critical role in building privacy into future products, services, and processes. The 12-month MSIT in Privacy program combines the best and most successful elements gleaned from Carnegie Mellon University’s long and distinguished history of professional masters programs. The program includes two semesters of courses taught by leading academic privacy and security experts. The program concludes with a summer-long learning-by-doing, capstone project, where students will be brought in as privacy consultants to work on client projects. Students who complete this program will be well prepared for jobs as privacy engineers and technical privacy managers.

Master of Science in Information Technology – Software Engineering

The Master of Science in Information Technology – Software Engineering (MSIT-SE) degree is designed for early-career professionals with less than two years of work experience. The program shares the same core courses as the MSE program, and results in a final real-world capstone project. Considerably smaller than the MSE Studio in scope and size, the MSIT-SE Practicum affords the student an opportunity to demonstrate what has been learned in the core and elective courses through its practical application in a realistic project setting.

Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS)

The Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS) program trains premier technologists to develop massive information systems. The program offers a mix of technology courses to provide students with an in-depth understanding of databases, information retrieval, data mining, security, privacy, and software engineering. The program includes an internship and a capstone project where students work in teams to construct a MCDS. Graduates typically go on to work as high level software engineers at core high technology companies (e.g., Microsoft, Google, Bank of America, etc.).

Distance Education in Software Engineering

Since June, 1996, ISR's Distance Education Program has been developing and delivering world-class software engineering courses at a distance. We began by offering a Certificate in Software Engineering, then as technology and demand progressed, we were able to offer the Master's of Software Engineering (MSE) and now the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) entirely at a distance.

MBA Track in Technology Leadership

A joint offering of the Tepper School of Business and the School of Computer Science, the Technology Leadership Track within the MBA program emphasizes strategic and management issues relevant to the development and application of cutting-edge software technologies. Graduates of this track are particularly well prepared to address the complex issues that lie at the intersection of business and technology. They are trained to lead their future organizations in developing and executing technology strategies and managing innovative technology projects. Specifically, the track prepares students who aspire to senior technology positions such as Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Vice-President of Research and Development. 

Executive and Professional Education

Our Executive and Professional Education office provides innovative and practical IT training to advance our goals by combining the best conceptual knowledge and academic theory with "practical real world" applications. Through the expertise of our leading faculty, custom programs are developed and delivered to support the needs of organizations and individuals.  This training can be provided through eLearning courses, on campus customized training, on site training or a mix of eLearning courses and a customized program.   

ISR Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate Minor in Software Engineering

The software engineering minor is designed to teach the fundamental tools, techniques, and processes of software engineering.  Through internships and a mentored project experience, students gain an understanding of the issues of scale and complexity that motivate software engineering tools and techniques.  The core curriculum includes material both on engineering the software product and on the process, teamwork, and management skills that are essential to successful engineering.  Graduates of the program should have the technical, process, and teamwork skills to be immediately productive in a mature engineering organization.

Statement of Assurance

Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, ancestry, belief, veteran status, or genetic information. Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon University does not discriminate and is required not to discriminate in violation of federal, state, or local laws or executive orders. Inquiries concerning the application of and compliance with this statement should be directed to the vice president for campus affairs, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, telephone 412-268-2056. Obtain general information about Carnegie Mellon University by calling 412-268-2000.

Important Note Regarding Distance Education

Residents of Certain States are Ineligible to Apply for Enrollment in Courses and Programs Delivered via Distance Education: For Carnegie Mellon courses and programs delivered via distance education only: Carnegie Mellon is not able to accept students who are residents of Alabama, Arkansas and Minnesota for enrollment in  courses and programs delivered via distance education because it has not applied for or received authorization from these states to deliver courses and programs via distance education to residents of these states. Carnegie Mellon has not currently applied for or received authorization from these states because Carnegie Mellon has determined that the administrative and other requirements to obtain and maintain authorization for its distance education courses and programs that would otherwise be delivered to residents of these states, including the fees charged by these states and the additional administrative costs associated with doing so, are disproportionately burdensome, excessive and/or prohibitive, at least at the present time.

ATTN Residents of AL, AR and MN: If you are a resident of Alabama, Arkansas or Minnesota, you are not eligible to apply for enrollment in Carnegie Mellon courses and programs delivered via distance education. Note, however that residents of Alabama, Arkansas and Minnesota are eligible to apply for enrollment in all other Carnegie Mellon courses and programs, including those offered at any of its various campus locations.

Inquiries regarding the above may be directed to: Director of Enrollment Services, Carnegie Mellon University, Warner Hall A19, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, Telephone: 412.268.5399, Email:

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