Carnegie Mellon University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Unible

Academics are challenging

Jacob

Good

Max

Generally the academics are excellent for what they are; as I said, in many fields they are fairly corporatized. Business and finance are full of vile, shallow men and women tripping over each other to become corporate drones. The humanities, arts and the hard sciences are really the most interesting department. Especially in undergrad, students are geared towards attaining jobs high in the corporate ladder. Grad students are far more into learning for learning's sake.

Cole

Classes are tough, but this isn't Harvard. I study quite a bit and work hard to maintain a high GPA, but if I simply didn't try I could graduate with a 3.0 easily. It all depends on what your major is. Professors at SMU know you by name and have a relationship with you. I am not known by my student ID at SMU. I could ask any professor I have had to write my a letter of recommendation tomorrow and they would have it done. I have not had a single teacher that tries to fail you. Every professor wants you to make an A in every one of their classes.

Aisha

Academics are of medium difficulty. The classes are not impossible or entirely challenging. The student body is not as rigorously focused on academics, but the professors are all very accomplished and really strive to change the student mindset. I was a psychology major and found to love every class in my major- the professors were wonderful, lots of research opportunities, and my professors helped me with grad school as wel

Hannah

The overall quality of the academics at Carnegie Mellon is quite prestigious and geared towards not only teaching the coursework but also expanding their students’ interests within their studies and well preparing them for future careers. The classroom style varies depending on the type and demand of the course, but in general even large lectures of 100+ students are broken down into smaller classroom-sized “recitations” of roughly 15-35 students (depending on the type of course) at least once a week so that students have to opportunities for group discussion and individual attention from a teacher or PHD student-teacher. The types of courses taught in large lectures are those in high demand such as general education requirements, computer/science/engineering courses, psychology courses, and more. Classroom/lecture size is made to suit the needs of the students to the best of the school’s ability. Access to teachers and counselors is fairly easy at Carnegie Mellon. All teachers, student teachers, and counselors have available office hours every week or can be contacted for an appointment via email. The faculty at CMU is very dedicated to the students’ welfare and education and is more than happy to provide help or advice for students that seek it. Teachers at CMU enjoy seeing their students approach them outside of the classroom whether it’s academic-related or just conversational. Courses at Carnegie Mellon are often very difficult so getting extra help is common and often advised if necessary. The benefits of the academics are shown to influence students outside of the classroom as well. CMU students often catch themselves talking about academics in regular conversation and beyond that even take their skills from class and apply them to extra curricular activities during their free time. However, expect to study often and have copious amounts of work if you plan on attending CMU. Possibly one of the biggest issues regarding academics on campus would be registering for classes for each semester. The severity of this issue depends very heavily on how popular/in demand your classes are. For example, it can be difficult to immediately get into some computer science courses because there are so many computer science students at CMU. Many students find themselves placed on waitlists at first until adjustments are made or people switch out of classes. If it is absolutely necessary for you to take that course immediately, contact your counselor and he/she will do the best they can to get you in. However, this difficulty is definitely not the case for all students. Higher priority goes to those who with seniority, have graduation requirements, and are declared for the major that the course applies to. As major within the English department, I’ve had very few difficulties getting into any of my courses and have been able to get into almost if not every class I’ve been waitlisted for both within and outside of the English department. Students are given times to register for classes for the upcoming semester several weeks before the current semester ends. Dates to register are based off of class seniority (Seniors first day, Juniors second day, Sophomores third day, Freshman last day), and times for students’ access to the registration page online are randomly selected and changed every semester to make it fair. There are several weeks in between when you register and when the new semester begins so that all issues can be resolved as best as they can.

Jule

Starting answering!In drama and writing, participation is critical at every class. Class sizes are kept small, at about 10 people (the smallest class I’ve been in has been a 5 person Theory of Translation class). Professors and students are often on first-name basis, and creative writing professor’s offices are right next to the lounge, so if you hang out there, you’ll see your teachers often and it’s easy to drop in on them. Usually professors are good about quickly responding to e-mail. I don’t often talk much with professors outside of class, but sometimes they make an effort to seek out students. One physics professor asked to talk to me because he felt I had a lot of potential in the field, for instance. Sciences will get more large lecture hall classes, and often have one smaller session a week with a teaching assistant. Occasionally, grad students teach beginning classes, but professors teach the majority. A few professors have been repetitive and distracted, or have given only surface comments on returned work, but in general they are helpful and they all seem to care. Students are able to teach courses, and these courses usually meet once a week for 2 hours. They give you a chance to dabble in topics like Scottish Highland Dance, Making Comics, or Wine Tasting. In my experience, if you want to get into a class, you can, but it may take effort. I’ve been able to take classes that are usually restricted to other majors, or to seniors, by showing an interest, writing to the professors, and visiting the first two days of class. If you care, professors want you. CMU does make humanities and social sciences majors take 5 general education courses as a freshman: world history, statistics, a seminar class, Interpretation and Argument (basic English), and computing. There are several other general education requirements, in the fields of Creating (arts, writing), Modeling (math, sciences, psych), Deciding (history, philosophy, psychology, statistics), Communication (Modern Languages, English), and Reflecting (English, arts, history, modern languages). On the one hand, this does make you aware of the variety of studies offered and makes you more well-rounded, on the other, it holds you back from diving straight into your major.

Tyler

Classes are personal, and are all taught by a professor whom you know is absolutely one of the best in his/her field. I am doubling as a Creative and Professional Writing major, a department that is rapidly emerging as one of the trademarks of CMU. As a writer, my favorite class has been Survey of Forms: Screenwriting, a course in which you are fully immersed for a semester in the craft of the screenplay. Participation in class is recommended, if not required, to receive the most out of your teacher's offerings as well as the course material. Students are extremely competitive, and exceptionally dedicated to their studies in and out of the class. As far as getting a job afterwards, I can speak from secondary experience as I had a brother recently graduate from CMU with a degree in Civil Engineering, and the opportunities he had in front of him were remarkable, as he was instantly successful in attaining a high-paying, progressive position for an expanding company in an increasingly popular industry.

Joshua

In a blanket statement: Carnegie Mellon University provides an outstanding but challenging academic environment to all of its students. On average, the class sizes range from 25-35 people, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. That being said, I've been in classes of close to 100 students (Intro. to Psychology, Biology), and I'm currently enrolled in a class of 6 students (Modern Poetry). It all really depends on the type of class (lecture classes vs. seminar classes). In my total experience, the professors are always invested in the students and--if you simply muster the courage to talk to them, they don't bite--they will do everything they can and even go out of their way to work with you and ensure your success. That being said, the academic programs here are Carnegie Mellon are extremely rigorous. It is not unusual for students to have to spend hours studying or doing homework. All of the professors here carry high expectations and hold their students to high standards. This, of course, is because CMU students work hard and have a drive to excel; and it wouldn't be entirely false to categorize a large section of the student population as competitive. However, this love of learning facilitates a challenging and innovative academic environment that is awesome to participate in. And most importantly, the hard work pays off. Carnegie Mellon has some of the highest job-placement rates in the nation. As far as my own beloved English department- both the students and the faculty create a challenging and intimate environment. I know and speak to many of my professors outside of class and on a personal level, and they are all very invested in my education and leading me to a successful career, as well as personal success and happiness. With other students in my department,there is frequently intellectual conversation, but also a lot of friendship-building and fun. And It is awesome, especially as a writer, to have the support of your peers.

Rebecca

If you never pulled an all-nighter in high school, be prepared to start pulling them here. Sleep is uncommon. A trip to the library can sometimes last for 24 hours. Students here must work extremely hard if they want to do well. Some students even spend the entirety of their time on schoolwork and still don't do well. Sometimes students need to skip class in order to have more time to do homework. Academia at Carnegie Mellon is not a joke. Everyone here is really smart, and the professors expect a lot from their students. Some classes are much more challenging than others, however. But the professors are usually willing to offer as much help as they can, and when you finally graduate, many employers will be interested in hiring you because they know how rigorous the curriculum is here.

Paul

The academics are top-notch. My professors really know what they are talking about, and enjoy their field of study. I've never had a problem getting in touch with professors outside of class to ask for help or clarification on something, and as long as I participate in class, my teachers learn my name. Students are fairly competitive, but in my experience, it is not an unhealthy competition. Students are more than willing to help each other on projects and study sessions outside of class. Class participation is very common, and I feel that education here is well-balanced between getting a job and learning for its own sake. My particular departments are English and philosophy. In both departments I have very good experiences. The professor's know each other and are easily accessible. I usually don't have to schedule appointments because they are very open to people dropping by their offices to ask a question.

Paul

The academics are top-notch. My professors really know what they are talking about, and enjoy their field of study. I've never had a problem getting in touch with professors outside of class to ask for help or clarification on something, and as long as I participate in class, my teachers learn my name. Students are fairly competitive, but in my experience, it is not an unhealthy competition. Students are more than willing to help each other on projects and study sessions outside of class. Class participation is very common, and I feel that education here is well-balanced between getting a job and learning for its own sake. My particular departments are English and philosophy. In both departments I have very good experiences. The professor's know each other and are easily accessible. I usually don't have to schedule appointments because they are very open to people dropping by their offices to ask a question.

Tahirah

For most intro classes the class size is pretty large, and it’s unlikely that you’ll establish much of a relationship with your professors. But as the courses get more advanced and more specific to your discipline you’ll find smaller class sizes and have stronger connections with instructors. Class participation is crucial- if you don’t participate you can get a C or worse even if you ace all the tests and papers. CMU is certainly career focused. It’s not just about learning. It’s about developing skills for the career you seek to pursue. In my creative writing classes, the challenge goes beyond producing well written pieces and onto creating art that satisfies not only yourself but will also appeal to an audience. You’re consistently tested to go beyond the limits and urged to ask questions. Don’t be shocked if you receive a paper back from a professor and around your thesis statement are a red circle with a comment of “So, What?” You have to constantly make certain your purpose is clear and more importantly relevant to our world today in whatever your studies are.

Anna

Carnegie Mellon University is known for its rigorous and demanding work load. On campus, the main university library, Hunt Library, is fondly referred to as "Club Hunt". Open 24 hours Monday through Thursday and open until midnight Friday and Saturday, Club Hunt is often the most poppin' place on campus. Late night at Hunt Library is a great place to run into friends and classmates as everyone desperately crams to get their work done. Good news: Club Hunt is open 24/7 during finals week with a cafe on the first floor so students never have to leave!

Caroline

Andrew Carnegie's infamous quote, "My heart is in the work" defines the rigorous academic nature of Carnegie Mellon. No matter what discipline you're in, you'll be assaulted by the workload. But if you've picked the right subject (or subjects! many people double major and minor), it will be rewarding work. Professors engage students inside the classroom, invite you to their house for dinner (true story), and attend student functions. Depending on which college you enroll in, the academic requirements vary greatly. I'll graduate in 3.5 years because of a semester's worth of AP credit that I brought to CMU. Additionally, I studied abroad in India for a semester, something that is easy to do as a humanities student (all my credits transferred) but more difficult as an engineering student. Carnegie Mellon's roots as technical school are still very much alive--the education is geared towards getting students into careers. Even without our liberal arts college, you'll find majors like Information Systems, Economics, Statistics, and Professional Writing.

Joshua

In a blanket statement: Carnegie Mellon University provides an outstanding but challenging academic environment to all of it's students. On average, the class sizes range from 25-35 people, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1. That being said, I've been in classes of close to 100 students (Intro. to Psychology, Biology), and I'm also currently enrolled in a class of 6 students (Modern Poetry). It all really depends on the type of class (lecture classes vs. seminar classes). In my total experience, the professors are always invested in the students and--if you simply muster the courage to talk to them, they don't bite--they will do everything they can and even go out of their way to work with you and ensure your success. That being said, the academic programs here are Carnegie Mellon are extremely rigorous. It is not unusual for students to have to spend hours studying or doing homework. All of the professors here carry high expectations and hold their students to high standards. This, of course, is because CMU students work hard and have a drive to excel; and it wouldn't be entirely false to categorize a large section of the student population as competitive. However, this love of learning facilitates a challenging and innovative academic environment that is awesome to participate in. And most importantly, the hard work pays off. Carnegie Mellon has some of the highest job-placement rates in the nation. As far as my own beloved English department- both the students and the faculty create a challenging and intimate environment. I know and speak to many of my professors outside of class and even on a more personal level, and they all are very invested in my education and leading me to a successful career, as well as personal success and happiness. With other students in my department,there is frequently intellectual conversation, but also a lot of friendship-building and fun. And It is awesome, especially as a writer, to have the support of your peers.

Daniel

Classes at CMU (in my experience) are geared towards finding your passion, and then diving as deep as you want into it and anything related (or unrelated, if you want). You can even create your own major if the course of study you want isn't offered. This can be anything from Nuclear Engineering to Bagpiping, and plenty in between. But keep in mind: Classes are intense. CMU is a highly-selective school with sky-high expectations for its students, and everyone there is incredibly skilled and intelligent in their field. It's in a student's best interest to take what they have a passion for, so they're willing to put in the time and effort to do well.

Cassie

Professors are usually very accessibly and interested in student's learning. There are, of course, exceptions, like at any college. Once you get to upper-level courses, no matter your major, you'll be in small, tight-knit classes where you start worrying less about your grades and more about living up to the expectations of your professor and peers with your research and work. Students are not cut-throat here. I've heard horror stories from other universities, but everyone's very collaborative, knowing that if you help someone, it'll come back around eventually. I am very happy with my own degree program (Professional Writing, in the English Department). It is rigorous but flexible, allowing me to take classes geared to my unique goal for after graduation.

L

Drama school is crazy-hard work. Class and then rehearsal from 10am - 10:30pm every day of the week. But we love what we do and want to be the best so it's all worth it. The teachers are incredible. Outside of drama classes are hit or miss. I take a lot of humanities classes, some are wonderful and some are fucking awful because some of the HSS kids are total idiots.

L

Drama school is crazy-hard work. Class and then rehearsal from 10am - 10:30pm every day of the week. But we love what we do and want to be the best so it's all worth it. The teachers are incredible. Outside of drama classes are hit or miss. I take a lot of humanities classes, some are wonderful and some are fucking awful because some of the HSS kids are total idiots.

David

Academic Life Some suggested topics: Do professors know your name? · Tell us about your favorite class. Least favorite? · How often do students study? · Is class participation common? · Do Carnegie students have intellectual conversations outside of class? · Are students competitive? · What's the most unique class you've taken? · Tell us about your major / department. · Do you spend time with professors outside of class? · How do you feel about Carnegie's academic requirements? · Is the education at Carnegie geared toward getting a job, or learning for its own sake?

Jesse

I know all of my design professors extremely well. They know my name, and I can email them about projects or questions whenever. The students in design are very talented and dedicated, but we aren't a cutthroat class. We don't sabotage each other's work or anything extreme like that. We all critique each others work and help each other succeed. We are actually all best friends which is the best.

Andy

In upper level classes, professors know your name. My favorite classes were Behavioral Decision Making and Acting for Non-Majors. My least favorite was freshman Calculus. The most unique class was Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems where the exam answers are weighted by probability on a logarithmic scale, which means that saying the right answer was 0% likely can get you a score of negative infinity on the question and thus the exam. The professors in my department were literally pioneers in the field. The two university (most senior) professors in my department both invited my to their homes to talk and give me advice. Students definitely get great jobs, but I think most of them learn for it's own sake. We are nerds, after all.

Chris

LOTS of work compared to high school, but definitely manageable if you stay on top of it. Just dont expect to party on weekdays too often or join 4 clubs. Classes are great. Lectures are amazing, teachers are brilliant, homework is interesting (but challenging), tons of resources to help you out like office hours and even tutoring. My best strategy is just make a friend in the class. Also, teachers really DO take the time to get to know you. I know all school's say this, but it's true here. Everytime I pass a teacher I had since freshman year we say hi and usually stop to talk for a little. It's really cool that they make such close relationships with all the students.

Ryan

Academics are hard; really, really hard. Don't let this scare you though; if you're a cmu'er at heart, you'll be kind of excited about this. We will challenge you to dig deeper, try harder, work faster, work better -- in every possible way. In particular, the Biology and Chemistry departments are know for their laboratory instruction, which consistently places us as some of the best trained undergraduates available to graduate schools and industry. You WILL have the opportunity to preform significant research, and you should. It will both cement your place in the academic culture of CMU and make you extremely competitive for the future. As for accessibility of professors and personal attention, I believe CMU can rival small liberal arts colleges. Professors are ALWAYS available, advising is superb, and you will never want for more support.

Jesse

# Academics at CMU Here you'll learn how to program faster, better, more efficiently, and get a hot date, all with the same code. Leave CMU with the knowledge that your code will be better written, more well understood, and more compact than most others. Professors will largely ignore you for the first few years. Inevitably, your brilliance will outshine them. Then, you will be suggested by your advisor to move past the intro classes. Spending time with professors out of class is purely nobody else's concerns. Wink wink.

Heather

The only reason why professors don't know my name is because I don't go to office hours that much; otherwise, I'm sure they would. My favorite class this past year was Calculus I because the teacher was funny and engaging. My least favorite class was Engineering Materials of the Future (27-100) because the teacher in the spring semester for that class, though very nice, is a horrible teacher. He talks very softly, so he's hard to hear, and he never gave us a very good idea of what we should study for exams. Some students study a great deal (over achievers), others are naturally very gifted, don't care terribly much about their GPAs, and get by without doing much work. Some students are competitive with themselves, but I have never felt that someone was competing with me.

Tristan

I like almost all Maths and Science classes. I do not like writing class. Most of humanity classes require active participation.

Alex

As far as academics, you can't ask for much more than CMU. The professors are amazing, very friendly and helpful. You will also probably end up doing research and working for your favorite professor in your major, which is an opportunity I don't think anyone should pass up. Learning inside the classroom is one thing, but actually seeing scientific phenomena occur in real life and using it in real life applications gives you a whole different kind of knowledge.

Amanda

The first day of orientation I met a business professor named Dr.Cofield who has not only taught me a class but has served as an advisor as well. He knows my name. He has met my parents and my boyfriend (a Maryland Terp) and sat down with a friend of mine from high school friend to talk about college. He tells me about his trips to Louisiana and I tell him about my spring break. He's more than a professor. This is what I love about CMU, especially the Tepper School of Business. I'm not just a number, not just one of thousands of students. I'm one of only 100 business students in my class year. It's a really unique program. A lot of work, but well worth it in the long run.

Alonzo

Here is CMU's selling point. Academics. They are great. You can learn as much as you want, almost any professor is willing to meet with you and discuss anything. You will learn useful skills that will help you get a job. They tend to focus on getting all students the hands on experience you would need to get "paid" as they say. If you want to really grow academically, this is the place to do it. The professors you will have are teaching because they want to prepare you for the real world. They have worked for Google, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, etc. These guys know whats up.

Laura

So most people wouldn't think of CMU as a place that would have a strong writing program. This simply isn't true. One of my professors last semester is an editor who pretty much discovered pulitzer prize winners. By the time you get to advanced writing workshops you're expected to have a large amount of high quality work and depending on the genre it may even be expected that you'll be sending some of that work to literary journals.

Alex

I am very close with a few professors, and have felt comfortable with attending office hours with about 75% of the professors that I've had. Some professors do seem more interested in their research at times. My favorite classes have been my upper economic electives, while my least favorite was 1st year World History. Group work is HUGE, atleast for the program that I'm in. You can learn so much from the people in your groups, but it's always important to set a standard of expectations for participation at the first group meeting. Students are competitive, but not in a cut-throat way. I've never felt uncomfortable about studying with my classmates (often, group work is encouraged), because there's always something I understand and they don't, and vice versa. We're all trying to do well here and get the best grades that we can in order to get that job that we want. I do feel that most of us are here to get a job, but I've found that I end up learning things outside of the classroom accidentally. Academic work is what I do to gain the expertise and knowledge to get a good job, but everything else (especially being an RA) is where I get to practice those skills.

Jake

Academics at CMU do not just simply take place in the class room. CMU is a university that strives to be the best at whatever it does. Both student and faculty take their time here very seriously. Students will often times be forced into late night study/work sessions that seem to happen at least every other day. The work load is not to be taken lightly and the course work is meant to bring out the best in every individual. However this does not mean Professors give the assignment and then disappear for the rest of the week. I have had many Professors that have set up study groups, had teaching assistants have extra hours and have had the Professors offer up their own time in order to make sure you got the help required. I've even had Professors hold study sessions in their own houses if they felt there was a need for it. This kind of hard working atmosphere is what makes CMU such a well respected school, but it also causes students to be thinking about new challenging ideas all the time. Often, you will find yourself and you classmates talking about the newest technologies or solutions to the complex problems that plague our world today.

Alex

nope don't really want to write about it

Lauren

In most classes, the professors do know your name. Most classes are small, approx. 30 students. Some are larger, between 60-100 and only very large introduction classes or widely taken classes are lecture sizes, 300-350 students. There are a hand full of classes that are required by each department and many of those liberal arts requriements over lap. Students are semi competitive but it varies from school to school. We currently have a grading system in which only a flat letter grade can be received (A, B, C, etc.).

Ryan

Tough work, but those who complain about it truly enjoy the dedication and learning experience.

Jason

The academics are definitely challenging. Professors give a lot of work and think nothing of it. Sometimes it seems they think you only take their class. But they are all very knowledgeable and generally good at conveying the information. Its not unusual to have classes that seem half full except on test day when it seems every seat is full. CMU students are very driven, mostly towards getting the best job possible. There are definitely a lot of people with a lot of experience in their subject outside of college, science fair geek types.

Cody

I think my favorite part of freshman orientation was meeting my calculus professor. I thought he was another student because he was so personable. In fact, this past orientation he crowd-surfed his way down to the front of the auditorium. Shockingly, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met and he ran one of the hardest classes. CMU professors are of different breeds. I have had friendly adn absentminded professors and cold and impersonable professors. There are those I will never forget and those that I wished would lose their tenure. It's really luck of the draw. fortunately, we do have FCEs (faculty Course Evaluations) so that you can check which professors grade easy, teach well, have good course materials, actually use their textbook, etc. Upperclassmen are pretty much always up for giving advice to underclassmen. Students are competitive but not ruthless. They will never turn off your alarm clock so that you miss your exam, but they will push themselves to do better. A few of our classes are curved but not that many that it makes a considerable difference. Also, as you get older and your classes get smaller, you have more power to talk to the professor and figure out how to ace the class. I'd say that CMU prepares you for the working world, but there are so many classes where the professor teaches something that he/she is passionate about that you will probably just want to take. for instance, I took Holocaust in Historical perspective for fun. It was the most amazing class I have had thus far. I am also planning to take Roots of Rock and Roll next year. Our acadmic requirements, depending on major, allow you to fulfill electives with classes like these and I highly suggest you take advantage of it.

Robin

Try to get a rockin' class for Interp/Arg. It can be a miserable class for writers (like World History can be for History majors). HSP is a great opportunity--you get your own fabulous Dean. You need to be active if you are getting a bad grade--most staff figure you can handle it yourself. I really enjoyed my HSP classes.

alex

Academics at CMU is is material focused. The material is clearly outlined, there is a large amount of it, and you are going to learn it quickly or struggle at CMU.

Mark

The class sizes here are actually pretty small, so it's easy to get to know professors and find them outside of class to talk or ask about homework or whatever. My favorite class was a freshman Physics seminar called "Science and Science Fiction." We would watch movies for 2 hours, and then the professor handed out a small packet and we would write one page for next week. At the end of the half-semester (it was only that long, sadly), we wrote a final 5-page paper. I think everyone in the class of about 10 got an A for just showing up and doing the work. It was only 3 units though. CMUs unit system is kind of weird. The class's unit values are about 3 times as high as at any other school, so instead of taking, say 17 units elsewhere, you have 50-53 units for the same classes. Every freshman has to take a writing class either first or second semester. Most of them suck, but you might luck out and get the professor I had. The first half of the class was based on The Simpsons. I got an A.

Andy

Professors totally know my name here. Favorite class was probably Phonetics and Phonology--the professor is the best in the whole world. Least favorite was freshman Analysis: never take freshman analysis unless you love abstract algebra taught in the most boring and unimaginative way ever! Intellectual conversations will most likely be had with drama and art majors over psychotropics like beer and sun and paint fumes... Unique classes, eh?--a century of soviet film. My major is brand new...maybe a future student will have more solid info. CMU has one downfall--education is way too focused on getting a job.

Alexa

I'm in CFA (the College of Fine Arts), so we're pretty exclusive, I'd say. I have very small classes... probably an average of ten students in each. The professors know us extremely well, and they're all brilliant so it's a good resource. I love the sizes of the classes because the amount of attention you get is amazing. At the same time, you're not suffocated. It's not like you're being watched constantly, but everyone knows what's going on on the faculty. They talk. We talk. There aren't many secrets. But, every undergraduate is kind of part of a big family, especially with the voice majors. It's a very special type of bond we have. Everyone is competitive, classes are extremely difficult and demanding. We are constantly working, and when we don't have work to do, we find something else to work on. It's a constant work environment because the music business does not slow down. They're preparing us for the real world in a respectful way. One problem with this set-up is the fact that each "college" within the university... for example, I'm a voice major, so I'm ALWAYS at CFA, the business students are ALWAYS at their school, Computer Science majors are ALWAYS in their building, etc. So, that is a bit of a set back because it's harder to get to know people outside of your field. But, then, we are very exquisite in every area that we teach at CMU... so there are many pros and cons.

Jennifer

I'm a music major so my classes are very different then most students at CMU. The music classes are small and each student gets a lot of personal attention, the best training possible, and a lot of career and personal guidance. I have made great connections with my professors and I think of them as friends as well as teachers. I have many friends outside of my major. I don't know how their classes are, but I do know that all of them are very intelligent. They explain what they are learning to me and I am in awe. Everyone is so smart, and while we do have intellectual conversations we know how to have fun too.

Paul

Every course is work, and work you will. Typical students take 36-45 units of classes (4-5 courses) per semester, where each unit is roughly equivalent to an hour of dedication per week (i.e. a 9-unit course expects total class time and weekly homework/study investment to be 9 hours). Professors are accessible and understanding, as long as you make an effort. Class participation reveals that not a lot of students make an effort in a lot of their classes. Ever had a moment where the teacher asks a question and the entire class stays stony silent because nobody did the reading? If you're one of the two-to-ten people who can regularly break that silence, you will not only do well in class, you'll be learning a ton. Outside of class, students regularly have intellectual conversations, but they are not often on topics they are taking classes on.

Becca

The amount of people on campus is just right and the class sizes are great. I love the art department because it nurtures ideas and supports different approaches to problem solving.

Lauren

It's really hard in a large lecture for professors to know your name so I suggest, as most websites and advisors tell you, to think of a question or two in the first couple of lectures and ask the professor after class. There may be a long line of students waiting in front of you to ask, but it's worth it. Favorite class is Social Psychology because it was really easy, not a lot of work, and interesting subject. Least favorite was Calculus (all of them) because I'm really bad at math. Students study a lot on average. Again, a lot of all-nighters, but I don't believe that is always necessary. If you plan ahead with your work, know when your deadlines and tests are, you won't need to be up late everynight. I haven't pulled an all-nighter in all 3 years I've been here. Students aren't competitive even though they might seem to be. If you want help or want to take the initiative to set up a study group with your class, you can access the whole class roster, e-mail everyone and set up times to review the material. It might be really helpful if you're struggling. Unique class was Roots of Rock and Roll. Highly recommended!! I didn't spend time with professors until my second or third year, once you start doing independent research with them, and even then it was still in a school environment. A lot of the General Education requirements are very annoying. Like having to take a "creating" course meant I had to sit through a boring poetry class, and I don't think a lot of the H&SS classes were necessary.

Danielle

Classes are relatively small and professors are always approachable. The Bio department seniors are known to spend Friday nights of their final year playing flip cup and sharing drinks with our faculty and advisors at Phi Bar, the grungey bar a block from campus. There are so many resources for help in classes, especially with bigger courses such as those in the sciences. We have Supplemental Instruction, Study Groups, Walk in tutoring, and free private one-on-one tutoring sessions at our disposal. The only limiting factor is the time you have to do all these things when theres always too much work to get done. The education is very focused. You're pretty much expected to know what direction youre going with your life (and ideally exactly what profession you want) when you enter. As a student in the college of science (MCS), I've had to take so many sience requirements that I've only been able to take about one elective a semester. Its virtually impossible to double major, and difficult to minor in something unless you want to use all you relectives towards the same field.

Jody

As far as academics go, CMU is truly a powerhouse. The classes at CMU are challenging, but in a good way. They push students to truly reach their full potentials, through a variety of ways. Engineering classes often have everything from homeworks, exams, midterms and finals, to lab work and lab reports. While professors vary, overall CMU professors seem to have a knack at getting students to participate during lectures (maybe to keep us awake, but either way it seems to work). And most make a point to learn every one of their student's names...even some of the larger lecturing professors (but those are fewer and farther between). Outside of class, students are known to be working on projects that can span across disciplines. However, it is far from uncommon to see students studying on campus -- both in- and outdoors. Students are even able to see meet with their professors outside of the classroom, although typically that depends on both the individual student and the individual professor. Overall, I'd say CMU is definitely a great academic school that prepares you for the "real world." It challenges you, but the rewards that you are able to reap because of the challenges CMU presents are able to be seen even before graduating.

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