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Carnegie Mellon University - Africa Campus

A private, global research university, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) stands among the world's most renowned educational institutions. Carnegie Mellon University has been a birthplace of innovation since its founding in 1900. Today, CMU is a global leader bringing groundbreaking ideas to market and creating successful startup businesses. Its award-winning faculty are renowned for working closely with students to solve major scientific, technological and societal challenges. CMU puts a strong emphasis on creating things — from art to robots, and has become a model for economic development in forming partnerships with companies such as Uber, Google and Disney.

Carnegie Mellon University offers two postgraduate degree programs in their Africa campus (CMU-Africa), based in Kigali, Rwanda. These programs are the same as those offered in the main campus in the USA, which is ranked #1 in Computer Science, and #5 in postgraduate engineering as ranked by the US News and World Report.

CMU-Africa graduates have on average over 900+ hours of hands on industry experience by the time they graduate. This is achieved by working directly with different companies such as IBM, Thomson Reuters and KCB through practicums and internships. Full and partial scholarships are available to all students who are admitted at CMU-Africa.


1. Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MSECE)

The 10-16 month MSECE program is for students who are interested in creating technology solutions not only for today, but for the future. Students are prepared to become engineering leaders through fundamental and hands-on courses in wireless networks, machine learning, data analytics, robotics, energy systems, internet of things, and software engineering.

Those pursuing a degree in MSECE from CMU-Africa must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete 96 units of coursework

  • Maintain a cumulative quality point average (CQPA) of 3.0

  • Take no longer than 3 semesters to complete the program

CMU-Africa is a branch of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University which allows CMU-Africa students to take semesters at CMU’s Silicon Valley campus and/or Pittsburgh campus in the USA, in addition to the one required semester in Kigali, Rwanda.

Students in the Professional M.S. and IMB Programs may apply to the Ph.D. program. These students must be enrolled for two academic semesters in the Professional M.S. or IMB programs before they can matriculate into the Ph.D. Program.

2. Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)

The 16-20 month MSIT program strikes a fine balance between technology, business and innovation, preparing the next generation of ICT leaders in Africa. This program is for students interested in an interdisciplinary curriculum that covers key topics in data science, cyber security, software engineering and telecommunications among others.

On average, a student spends over 900 hours interfacing with industry through the master's practicum and corporate internship, which are prerequisites for degree completion. There are two tracks from which students may choose, the professional track or the academic track.

The professional track is for:

  • Students who are interested in becoming IT professionals

  • Students looking to develop a career in existing businesses

  • Students who wish to start their own business

The academic track is for:

  • Those interested in pursuing a research career and/or Ph.D. after their MSIT. A faculty research advisor must first approve students based on their skills and interest in the faculty’s work. Students will then work closely with that professor, who will guide and supervise their research.

Students in the MSIT program also can choose two of six optional concentrations. The concentrations are meant to help students who are interested in a specific skill by giving them guidance when they select courses. The six concentrations are:

  1. Cyber security: Become a security expert by learning to regulate and operate networks, storage systems, software and web-based systems.

  2. Data Science: Learn how to collect and analyze data and develop statistics that can help businesses make informed decisions or be used for research.

  3. Software Engineering: Study and apply engineering to designing, developing and maintaining software.

  4. Information Technology (IT) Entrepreneurship: Learn the business aspects of information technology while also using information and communication technology to help underserved communities.

  5. Telecommunications and Networking: Learn to design, maintain and operate telecommunication systems and networks.

  6. Energy Systems: Learn to find effective solutions to today’s energy problems by gaining technical depth in energy and grid technology, and analytical skill in project development, energy analysis, and infrastructure planning.


  1. Online application - you will need to submit your unofficial transcript, statement of purpose essay, an up to date CV, recommendations from three individuals, and a valid ID. The application deadline is 15 December 2018.

  2. Competency tests - once the admission team has evaluated your application, they may require you to take the duolingo test and a technical test, both which are taken online

  3. Oral interviews - If you pass the competency tests, the admissions team will invite you to an interview with CMU-Africa faculty online via skype. This is an opportunity for us to learn more about your aspirations and why you want to join CMU-Africa.

  4. GRE and TOEFL/IELTS tests - You will need to complete both the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS tests and submit your scores by May 1st. If you submit your application by December 15 and successfully complete steps one-three, CMU-Africa will pay the registration fees for these tests and provide you with practice materials to prepare. GRE: You will need to upload your test scores and transcript from ETS when you receive them, to your application. Most of our students scored a total of 300 and above for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections. TOEFL/IELTS: You may take either the TOEFL or IELTS test. You will need to upload your test scores and transcript when you receive them, to your application. While there are no minimum requirements, most of our students score more than 90 in TOEFL and 6.5 in IELTS. If you have taken the tests before applying to CMU-Africa, upload the scores and transcripts as you apply, and we will advise on whether you need to take the tests again.

  5. Admission Decision - The CMU-Africa admission team makes the admission decision based on a holistic approach, based on all aspects of your application.


If you are an African national enrolled at the Kigali location, the cost of tuition is $16,000 per year through a combined financial aid package from CMU and the Government of Rwanda. Tuition includes:

  • All courses offered by faculty in Kigali

  • All courses available via distance learning, or at the Pittsburgh or Silicon Valley (MSECE program only) campus

  • Personal laptop for each student

  • All textbooks

  • Access to online libraries

  • Social events during the year

  • Potential to spend a semester studying abroad in Pittsburgh

CMU-Africa realizes the cost of graduate education is a significant investment, and offers several forms of financial aid to students enrolled in the CMU-Africa programs. To be considered for any form of financial aid, you must first obtain admission to one of CMU-Africa's graduate programs. These are sources of financial aid offered by CMU-Africa and its partners:

  1. Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program - Eligible students must be a citizen of an African country, have an exceptional academic record, come from a disadvantaged background, have demonstrated leadership potential, have demonstrated commitment to give back to their community, and have demonstrated commitment to transforming Africa.

  2. The Smart Africa Scholarship Fund - Eligible students must be a citizen of one of the Smart Africa member states, and have an exceptional academic record.

  3. Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) - Eligible students must be a citizen of an African country and reside in any African country, have obtained at least 70% in each subject/course in the last two completed years of study, and demonstrated leadership potential.

  4. Innovators Forward Fellowship Fund (IFFF) - Eligible students must be a citizen of any African country, have an exceptional academic record, and demonstrated leadership potential.

There are no financial aid applications before admission. All admitted students will be considered for financial aid, though not all students will receive it. The sponsoring institution, director of CMU-Africa or the scholarships selection committee will decide on the duration and amount of the scholarships.

Since the CMU-Africa pool of funding is limited, CMU-Africa cannot offer aid to all students.

You are encouraged to be proactive in looking for other sources of financial support, such as: employer support, private financing through local banks, international scholarships and contacting their local Ministry of Education, or similar authorities for financial support. CMU-Africa will provide documents to support you in these endeavors.


Visit the CMU-African website and apply on and send all application enquiries to

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