Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science: FAQ

We understand that you may have questions about the Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science Program at Carnegie Mellon. We have included the most common questions below.

Program Logistics

How many students are currently in the program?
The class that began in Fall 2016 has 17 METALS students.  The inaugural class in Fall 2013 had 5 students, all of whom are employed.

Is this program available online?
No.  Due to the collaborative nature of the program, it is currently only offered at the Carnegie Mellon Pittsburgh campus.  At this time, we do not have plans to offer an online version.

What are my chances of getting in?
We plan to accept up to 25 students for the class starting in Fall 2017. The chances of acceptance will depend on the number of qualified applicants.

The METALS program is in the School of Computer Science. However, I do not have a strong programming background. May I still apply?
Yes! This is an interdisciplinary program jointly taught by the Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science and the Department of Psychology in Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. We encourage you to apply without having a strong programming background. We welcome students from many disciplines outside of computer science (e.g., design, psychology, business, education etc.) and these disciplines do not necessarily include programming courses. However, students are expected to demonstrate a proficiency in programming that is normally met through an introductory course in C, C++, Pascal or Java. Your programming proficiency will be evaluated during the prerequisite review process and you may be required to take an additional programming course before you can continue in the program.

Will I have to take a lot of programming courses?
Once you have met the programming place-out, you will be expected to take 05-840 Tools for Online Learning, which will require some programming as part of your degree requirements.

I don’t have all the place-out courses. May I still apply and be considered for admittance?
Yes. Students may be admitted to the program before satisfying one or more place-outs. Place-out courses may be completed at Carnegie Mellon after matriculation, but doing so may extend the length of the program.

I have been out of school for some time. May I submit reference letters from my employers instead of from instructors?
Yes, you may send us letters from your employers.

Applications

Can I apply to more than one program within the School of Computer Science?
Yes. Each program has its own admissions committee, and applications are not typically shared across programs.

Can I apply to the MHCI program and the METALS program?
Yes. While these programs are both in HCII, each has its own admissions committee.

Do I need to include a link to my portfolio in my application?
While a portfolio is not required, if you have an online portfolio, please submit a link to it.  It will help us to have a better understanding of your capabilities.   The portfolio should include descriptions of  your role in projects that you have previously developed or for which you have been an contributor. Typically portfolios improve an application.

Does my statement of purpose need to be single or double spaced?
Either is acceptable as long as it’s legible.

Should I visit before I apply (and will that help my chances of being admitted)?
Visiting the department before you apply does not improve the chances of admission. The Institute receives numerous requests every year from prospective applicants for tours and visits of the department. While we certainly do not discourage prospective students from visiting the campus, we do not have the department resources to arrange individualized agendas and tours to accommodate such requests nor do we offer pre-admission assessments or interviews. Students who have been admitted will be invited to visit during the Spring Open House where they will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and current students.

May I apply for admission starting in the spring instead of the fall?
No. New cohorts begin with fall semester. Applications are due December 14 for admission in the fall term of the following year.

Do my chances of getting admitted increase if I submit my application early?
No. All applications are reviewed as a group once the application deadline has passed. Submitting early does not increase your chances of admittance.

Test Scores

Do I have to submit GRE scores?
Yes. Everyone who applies MUST have taken the GRE General Test. If necessary, unofficial scores can be accepted at the time of application, but the official score record must be supplied prior to final admission.  If your scores are more than five years old at the time of the application or you are unable to get an official copy of your scores from ETS, you must retake the GRE.

My scores will not be available by the application date.  Can I still apply?
Yes. Applicants to the METALS program whose GRE and/or TOEFL test scores are not available be the application deadline may still apply.  However, the test scores should be emailed to us no more than 30 days after the application deadline.   We start reviewing applications immediately after the deadline, and we will need the test scores before a final decision can be made on the application.  There is a risk that we could fill all slots before we receive the test scores.

Do I have to take the GRE Subject test?
No. Applicants to the METALS program are not required to take any GRE Subject tests.

How high do my GRE scores need to be?
There is no minimum GRE required, as each group of students varies year to year. With ETS’s inception of the new Analytical Writing Test, the practice of simply adding the GRE scores as a means of assessment may no longer be viable.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?
This program is very intense, and the program demands that students have excellent language skills in order to succeed. The TOEFL is required of all students whose native language (mother tongue) is NOT English. It does not matter whether you have earned your undergraduate or graduate degree in the United States or in your native land. Your application will be considered incomplete without the TOEFL test. Preference will be given to students who submit Internet Based Test scores (iBT).

What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?
For the iBT, a minimum score of 25 in each the subsections is strongly preferred although on occasion we will accept students with a speaking score of 22 or 23.  If your speaking score is below 25, we may contact you for a interview via Skype.  For the Computer Based Test (CBT), a minimum score of 250 is required. For the Paper Based Test (PBT), a minimum score of 600 is required.

My undergraduate degree is from a foreign institution. However, I have received a Masters degree from an institution in the US. Do I still need to submit a TOEFL score?
Yes. The TOEFL is still required. You may mail or fax a copy of your previous score report if it is less than two years old. You may also upload an unofficial copy of your score report in your online application. Your application will NOT be considered COMPLETE without the TOEFL test.

Do you accept the IELTS in place of the TOEFL?
Yes. We use this website (https://www.ets.org/toefl/institutions/scores/compare/) to compare IELTS scores to TOEFL scores to ensure that they meet our minimum TOEFL scores.

What are the GRE and TOEFL institution and department codes?
GRE: Institution code, 2074; Department code, 0402. TOEFL: Institution code, 4256; Department code, 78

Should I send you a copy of my GRE and TOEFL score reports?
You should also upload unofficial copies of your test score reports in your online application.  For formal admission, you MUST request an official copy of test scores from ETS to be submitted to Carnegie Mellon University using the codes specified above.  If you are admitted into the program and if you did not use the correct institution and department codes, we will require you to request official score reports from ETS be submitted to Carnegie Mellon University.

What if I have taken the GMAT?
The METALS program does not accept the GMAT scores at this time.

When will my GRE scores, TOEFL scores or transcripts be marked as received in my application?
Please be patient. We will not be reviewing the applications or checking if official scores and transcripts have been received until after the December 14th deadline.  At that time, if there is a problem we will contact you, and you will have the opportunity to correct it.

After Acceptance

If I am accepted, may I defer my enrollment?
Yes. You may defer your enrollment for one year.  You must inform the department in the writing of your request.  However, we may choose at our discretion to review your application with the next cohort and admission will not be guaranteed.

May I work on my METALS degree part-time?
Yes. Many students choose to work full-time while completing their program as part-time student. However, the METALS Project II course must be taken in the summer session after METALS Project I, and students must be enrolled full-time during that time.

Is financial aid available?
We do not provide financial aid but there may be fellowships and grants available to graduate students. It is up to the student to pursue these options on their own.

Where can I find information on graduate student scholarships and financial aid?
An excellent source for general information on financial aid can be found at FinAid. The Carnegie Mellon Fellowships and Scholarships Office is also available for assistance. The HUB at Carnegie Mellon has more general information on graduate student financial assistance. Many students have been able to obtain funding or financial assistance from their current employers. Employees of Carnegie Mellon University often receive tuition benefits as part of the benefit package. Please note: if you are employed while enrolled in the Masters program, the length of your program will be most likely extend beyond three (3) semesters. If you plan to be employed while enrolled in the program, please be sure to complete the “Employment Information” section on your application.

Another source of fellowships and grants can be found at http://www.pathwaystoscience.org/grad.aspx.

Ph.D. Concerns

I just finished my undergraduate work. Should I apply for the METALS program first as preparation for my Ph.D. work?
The METALS program is not intended to serve as preparation for our Ph.D. program. The METALS program is intended to teach the skills necessary for professional practice in various learning science related careers. The Ph.D. program on the other hand is designed to prepare you to be a learning science researcher. If you intend to apply to both programs, then you must submit two separate applications.

If I am not accepted for the HCII Ph.D. or Psychology Ph.D. program will I be automatically considered for admission to the METALS program instead?
No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, their admissions processes are separate and applications are not typically shared between the programs. As noted in the previous question, the programs are designed to address different goals.

May I apply to both the Masters and Ph.D. program?
Yes, you may apply to both programs, but students usually prefer one to the other. The programs have been designed to address different goals, as stated above.

After METALS

What have your placement rates been for METALS students?  
We are pleased to report that for the first two years of the program, we have had 100% placement.  We expect similar results in the third year as well.

What kind of jobs can I get with a METALS degree and who employs METALS graduates?
It is our expectation that graduates of the program will take key positions in corporations and private and public universities and schools; they will become designers, developers, and evaluators of educational technologies and learning environments as well as domain experts, learning technology policy-makers, or consultants.  Please visit our alumni page to see where our graduates are now.

Are there job boards where I can see what type of positions are available? 
Yes. See  https://www.edsurge.com/jobs, http://jobs.td.org/ and http://iste-jobs.careerwebsite.com/ for a sample list of jobs.  This just a very small sample; this is a growing field and demand is high.  Positions abound in most schools, colleges, and universities as well as in educational software companies and publishers.  Most large corporations also have large training departments that they staff internally.

Are there professional organizations that I should know about?
Yes.  The Instructional Designers Association has over 600 members.  Also the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) has more than 2400 members and focuses on improving instruction through technology.  The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)  encourages sharing of ideas and innovations among higher education professionals that lead to improvements in learning through technology.  Each of these organizations also has its own job board.

Does the department provide career counseling or job placement?
We do not provide job placement. However, students are encouraged to keep their resumes and/or websites current and are provided with opportunities to meet with prospective employers. Additionally, the Career Center is available for counseling services and any employment announcements we receive from outside sources are posted frequently.

Does the METALS program qualify for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
At this writing, it does. While we do not expect any changes, given that the visa process is controlled by the United States Government, we cannot guarantee it will in the future.

Does the METALS program qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension in addition to the 12-month OPT?
At this writing, it does. While we do not expect any changes, given that the visa process is controlled by the United States Government, we cannot guarantee it will in the future.

Additional questions? Please email mbett@cs.cmu.edu.