Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry

Important Dates

Financial Support in August

Students who arrive by August 14 and participate in all activities and TA training will receive their first stipend by August 31, 2017.  

Graduate Program

Incoming Students

Congratulations on being accepted to the Ph.D. in Chemistry program at Carnegie Mellon University! We are very pleased that you are joining us this fall. Below are the steps you need to follow in order to enroll and make a smooth transition to your life as a graduate student in Pittsburgh.

In addition to the list below, please see the university's incoming graduate students guide.

May Checklist

  1. Academic Transcript of Grades and Degree: Recent graduates need to request that an official transcript be sent to us at this time with degree posted. All transcripts must be received prior to August 1. Transcripts should be sent to the following address:

    Carnegie Mellon University
    Department of Chemistry
    Office of Graduate Studies
    4400 Fifth Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA
    Attention: Valerie Bridge
  2. Follow the link in the email that you receive from Computing Services ( to receive your Andrew userID and set your initial password. Your Andrew email account is your source for official and important Carnegie Mellon communications — please check it frequently before you arrive on campus.
  3. Health History Form and Immunization Record: You are required to meet specific immunization requirements to be considered fully enrolled. Online forms are available at University Health Services. Please select the HealthConnect button to enter your health and immunization information. You will need your Andrew ID and password to access the site.
  4. Prepare for Attainment Exams: When you arrive on campus, the department will assess your knowledge of different areas of chemistry. Please study for the attainment exams, as this will partly determine how many classes and which classes you will have to take.
  5. International Students: Fill out the International Students Info Form & Affidavit of Support Form. Visit the Office of International Education (OIE) FAQ for more information.

June/July Checklist

  1. Health Insurance: All full-time students enrolled in a degree-seeking program are required to have health insurance. You will need to either sign up for the university's health insurance or submit a waiver if you have insurance coverage at the University Health Services website.
  2. Look for Housing:
    • You may start with CMU's graduate student housing webpage, where they have information about renting in general and links to local apartment listings.
    • Carnegie Mellon University Off-Campus Housing Service
      This service is only available to CMU affiliates. You will need your Andrew ID to access this site.
    • PadMapper
      Enter our zip code, 15213, to see what's available nearby. Padmapper aggregates rental information from a variety of sources, including Craigslist, and arranges them on a map.
    • Trulia
      Trulia has a lot of additional information, such as demographics, crime, and commute time.
  3. Transportation: Carnegie Mellon provides a variety of free transportation options including bus passes and a shuttle service to neighboring areas. If you plan to bring a car and want to explore getting a parking permit, please be aware that they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You will need your Andrew ID and password to apply for a Carnegie Mellon parking permit.
  4. Book Your Flight to Pittsburgh. Or just make your travel arrangements, if you are coming from close by.
  5. Financial Support: Graduate students in the Department of Chemistry are paid twice a month in non-hourly positions. Pay dates are in the middle and end of the month. Students who arrive by August 14 and participate in all activities and TA training will receive their first stipend by August 31, 2017. Your financial support will continue throughout the academic year (September 2017 through mid-May 2018). You are paid as a Teaching Assistant during this period. Your Teaching Assistant position appointment will end mid-May 2018. At that time, you are required to have chosen a Research Advisor to remain in the Ph.D. program. During the summer months (mid-May through mid-August), you will typically work as a Research Assistant and your chosen research advisor will support you under one of his/her research grants. You will continue to be paid twice a month.

    You are advised to review the following CMUWorks Service Center links for additional information: Our business manager, Tim Sager, processes payroll information and will discuss your paycheck in detail at the Department Orientation.
  6. Student ID Card (SMART card): The SMART card will allow you access to many university services, including the library, athletic facilities, and access to Mellon Institute, the location of the Department of Chemistry. New graduate students with an Andrew ID are encouraged to submit a photo by July 12 in advance of their arrival on campus.
  7. International Students, I-20 form: You will receive the form directly from the Office of International Education (OIE) according to the earlier instructions you received from Valerie Bridge. All I-20 forms are processed as quickly as possible and will be sent to you via express mail. You will be contacted by OIE if they have questions or require clarification on information submitted.
  8. Students who are nonnative English speakers and who plan on working as teaching assistants (note: if this is mandatory in your department, it is recommended that you inform applicants) will be required to take the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) test. This is a rigorous test of spoken academic fluency, and students may find that they will need language classes at the ICC in order to develop the fluency needed for the test. Visit the ICC website to better understand the test and the level of fluency needed.

August Checklist and Arrival in Pittsburgh

  1. Department Orientation. All new students are required to attend the department orientation. The orientation will provide you with an opportunity to meet faculty and fellow graduate students. An overview of program requirements will be presented by members of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC). Details regarding the orientation schedule will be sent to you later this summer.
  2. Attainment Examinations: Examinations will be administered in physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry. The exams will be scheduled during orientation week. Please review the suggestions on preparing for the exams.
  3. Course Registration: Following your attainment examinations, you will be scheduled to meet individually with members of the GPC to discuss the results of your exams and to advise you on courses. The schedule of individual appointments will be distributed during orientation week.
  4. TA Training: You will receive a TA assignment as either a recitation TA, laboratory TA or a course assistant when you arrive on campus. The department offers specific TA training for each of these types of positions and also organizes required general training for all Chemistry TAs. This training will take a substantial part of your first two weeks on campus. The schedule will be provided to you when it is available.
  5. Student ID Card: If you did not receive your ID Card at orientation, you will need to visit the Hub to get your card. The ID Card will allow you access to many university services, including the library, athletic facilities, and access to Mellon Institute, the location of the Department of Chemistry.
  6. I-9 Form: The U.S. Dept. of Labor Immigration Law requires that all new employees complete a form to verify their identity and support authorization to be paid. Graduate students are required to complete the necessary documentation promptly upon arrival. Please be sure that you have identification documents with you such as a US Passport, a Driver's License, school ID card with photograph, and a Social Security Account Number (if you already have one). There are a number of additional options and you will be given more information about this when you arrive on campus.
  7. International Students, Social Security Form: International students who will be employed in the U.S. are required to have a Social Security Number (SSN). A SSN is a type of national identification number that is required for employment in U.S. An SSN is not required for living in the U.S but is used by the U.S. government to withhold taxes from pay. You will receive the Social Security form in your orientation packet. You will then have the OIE Advisor sign this form at your Immigration Check-in. Students then take the form, in person, to the local Social Security Administration office to begin the application process. Take your passport, I-20/DS-2019, I-94 card (found in your passport) to apply.