Applicant FAQ

Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Sciences: FAQ

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

Program Logistics and Requirements

How many students are currently in the program?
The cohort that begin in Fall 2023 has 29 METALS students.

What is the name of the degree?
The degree as stated is “Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Sciences”. This is equivalent to a M.S.

What is the difference between learning science and learning sciences?
Learning science is the study of how people learn, including the psychological, neurological, and sociological factors that influence learning. It is a broad field that encompasses many different disciplines and approaches.

On the other hand, the term “learning sciences” is used to refer to the interdisciplinary field that focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of learning environments and educational technologies. This field encompasses research from fields such as cognitive psychology, instructional design, computer science, and education, and it often focuses on the development of new technologies and methods for improving learning.

In short, learning science is a subfield of psychology and education that focuses on the study of learning, while the learning sciences is a broader, interdisciplinary field that focuses on the design and evaluation of learning environments and technologies.

What are my chances of getting in?
We plan to accept up to 30 students for the class starting in the fall semester each year. The chances of acceptance will depend on the number of qualified applicants.

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 will review your application with the next cohort and admission will not be guaranteed.

May I work on my METALS degree part-time?
Yes, if you are a United States citizen, or a green card holder. If you are attending on a student visa (F-1 visa), the visa requires that you are enrolled in the program full-time.

If you are eligible, 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.

What is the cost of attendance for this program?
For 2024-2025, the tuition for the three-semester option is $75,000 ($25,000/semester) plus living expenses and university fees.

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 are not offering an online version.

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 Institute 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++, Python, or Java, or Web development. 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 matriculate.

Will I need to have a good knowledge of programming to apply?
If admitted, you will be required to satisfactory complete a programming prerequisite or demonstrate equivalent knowledge prior to matriculating. Our free introductory programming course that will teach you the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is offered remotely the summer prior to matriculation; passing this satisfies the prerequisite.

Will I have to take a lot of programming courses?
Courses often include some programming component. For example, in the required course 05-840 Tools for Online Learning, which will require some programming as part of your degree requirements.

Will I need to have a good knowledge of statistics to apply?
You will be required to take a statistics prerequisite or demonstrate equivalent knowledge prior to matriculating.

I don’t meet the prerequisite requirements for METALS. May I still apply and be considered for admittance?
Yes. Students may be admitted to the program before satisfying one or more prerequisites courses. Prerequisite courses must be completed online prior to  matriculation into the METALS program. Not successfully completing these courses will prevent you from matriculating..

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.

Will I be able to take an internship or take advantage of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while I am in enrolled in the METALS program?
No. F-1 METALS students are not eligible for curricular practical training (CPT). However, at this writing, you will be eligible for optional practical training (OPT) after graduation.

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.

Anything I should know about Pittsburgh?
If you want to get to know the city a little better from an insider’s view see as well as the following two websites.

Completing the Application

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?
A portfolio is not required, but it is greatly appreciated. Typically portfolios enhance your application. 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 a contributor.

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 in December 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.

If I pay for and submit my application early, can I continue working on my application?
Yes. You can pay the application fee, submit your application and continue editing and making changes to your application until the final mid-December deadline.

I have not completed my undergraduate degree yet, does my transcript need to show classes that I am currently taking?
Yes. Your transcript should include all classes that you have taken with grades as well as all classes that you are currently taking. If admitted, we will need a transcript that shows that a degree was granted.

Test Scores: Required and Recommended

Do you superscore the GRE, TOEFL or any other test scores?
No. We do not superscore GRE, TOEFL, or any other test scores. You can submit a single test score for the GRE and if required, an English competency test (TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test) as your official scores. Some students also choose to upload pdf copies of their test scores for the submitted exam as well as for the other times that they have taken the exam. All information will be reviewed by the committee. We reserve the right to change this policy at anytime.

Do I have to submit GRE scores?
The GRE General Test is highly recommended. If GRE General Test scores are not submitted as part of your application, we strongly encourage you to submit a portfolio and other relevant materials (such as coursework) to demonstrate your abilities and readiness for the program’s rigor.

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 inclusion of the Analytical Writing Test, the practice of simply adding the GRE scores as a means of assessment is no longer viable.

Do you accept GMAT scores?
No. The METALS program does not accept GMAT scores.

What language tests do you accept to demonstrate my ability to communicate and work in American English?
If your native language (mother tongue) is NOT English, you are required to take one of the following American English tests: TOEFL iBT, TOEFL iBT Home, TOEFL Essentials, IELTS, IELTS Indicator, or DET (DuoLingo English Test). 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 English language test score.

Will you waive the TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo English Test requirement for me?
No. This program is very intense, and the program demands that students have excellent language skills in order to succeed. The TOEFL, IETLS, or DuoLingo English Test 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 English language test score. 

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 an English langauge test score?
Yes. If your test meets our requirements as stated below, you may upload an unofficial copy of your score report in your online application. Your application will NOT be considered COMPLETE without an English langauge test score.

Can I submit an expired TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo English test?
If your test meets our requirements as stated below, and you graduated this year or will graduate next year from an undergraduate university in an English speaking country, you may submit expired test scores up to five years old.

What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?
For the iBT, a minimum score of 25 in each of the subsections is strongly preferred although on occasion we will accept students with a speaking score of 23 or 24. If your speaking score is below 25, we may contact you for an interview via Zoom which will be recorded. 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.

What is the minimum IELTS requirement?
We use this website ( to compare IELTS scores to TOEFL scores to ensure that they meet our minimum TOEFL scores. The university is currently recommending the following as minimum IELTS subscores: Reading 7, Listening 7, Speaking 7.5, Writing 6.5. We will likely follow these recommendations.

What is the minimum DuoLingo English Test requirement?
While the minimum subscores have not been set, the university is currently recommending the following as minimum subscores: Literacy 115, Comprehension 125, Production 100, Conversation 105. We will likely follow these recommendations.

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 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.

How do I submit my IELTS score electronically?
Use the account name: Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. Our address is School of Computer Science, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, United States

My scores will not be available by the application date. Can I still apply?
Yes, METALS grants more leniency than the general test score deadlines specified in the application. Applicants to the METALS program whose GRE and/or English competency test scores are not available by the application deadline may still apply. However, the test scores should be emailed to us by the end of the December.  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 available slots before we receive the test scores.

When will my GRE scores, English Language scores or transcripts be marked as received in my application?
Given the number of applications and to streamline the process, we only verify test scores from applicants who have passed multiple rounds of review. At that time, if there is a problem with your test scores, we will contact you, and you will have the opportunity to correct it.

Finding Financial Aid

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. However, for the past several years, we have provided small merit scholarships for highly qualified students. We can not guarantee that we will continue into the future.

Is it possible to increase the amount of the merit scholarship that I was offered?
No. The merit scholarship is set on a formula (which varies from year to year) and is applied to all accepted applicants. Therefore, once the formula is set and applied, we are unable to change the merit scholarship amount for individuals.

Where can I find information on graduate student scholarships and financial aid?
Carnegie Mellon maintains a few pages for help on scholarships and financial aid. The Carnegie Mellon Fellowships and Scholarships Office is your primary portal for assistance. International students should check the appropriate tab on that page. Additional scholarships available from external sources can be found here. The HUB at Carnegie Mellon has more general information on graduate student financial assistance. Some graduate student fellowships for students in the School of Computer Science are listed here.

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 benefits 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

Are their stipend and scholarships available for United States Citizens?
DoD SMART scholarship is an opportunity for prospective METALS Masters students who are United States Citizens to receive full tuition, annual stipends, internships, and guaranteed employment with the DoD after graduation. The Deadline is December 1, so time is of the essence. To qualify, you will need to be pursuing a degree in one of the 21 STEM disciplines; METALS qualifies as one.

Carnegie Mellon University also offers the Rales Fellowship for qualified applicants. The CMU Rales Fellows Program is a distinctive and transformative program dedicated to developing a diverse community of exceptionally talented national STEM leaders from underrepresented or underresourced backgrounds by eliminating cost as a barrier to graduate education. Applications are due in mid-December approximately the same time as your METALS application.

Are their scholarships for women?
One site that lists scholarships for women is

Master Degree versus Ph.D.

I just finished my undergraduate work. Should I apply for the METALS program first as preparation for my Ph.D. work?
No. 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 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.

Job Placement , OPT, and CPT

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

What resources should I know about?
Yes. We have collected the essential resources for your success on the METALS Student Resources page.

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, and 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. Also lists positions available in startup companies.

Are there professional organizations that I should know about?
Yes. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) has more than 2400 members and focuses on improving instruction through technology. The QM Instructional Designers Association aims to enhance online education and student learning through effective instructional design practices. 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 and Professional Development Center (CPDC) is available for counseling services and any employment announcements we receive from outside sources are posted frequently. A great resource for your job search is

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.

Does the METALS program qualify for F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
No. METALS students do not qualify for F-1 Curricular Practical Training since curricular practical training is not a required nor an integral part of the METALS curriculum. “An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)].

After I graduate, when will I receive my diploma?
The diploma is mailed to your diploma address approximately two months after graduation whether you graduate in August or December.

Additional questions? Please email

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