Things Every Incoming PhD Student Needs to Know
Welcome to Carnegie Mellon and…
…We are glad you have accepted our offer of admission!
Welcome to Carnegie Mellon! We are very excited that you will be joining the Software Engineering PhD program and the CMU University Community. Before you arrive on campus, we want to bring to your attention several important items from a variety of departments. A great place to start is at our Welcome Graduate Student page.
Graduate Student Orientation
Orientation for all new graduate students will be held on August 13, 2012 thru August 16, 2012. Please note all international students are required to attend the Office of International Education's International Student Orientation being held on August 14th, 2012.
Additional information on the Graduate student orientation and registration can be found at Graduate Education. Additional Information regarding International Student Orientation can be found at the Office of International Education. These university orientation programs compliment the departmental orientation programs.
ISR will hold their Department Orientation on August 23rd, 2012, agenda and location will be send via email in early August. All ISR faculty will be present a brief overview of all research in their areas. In additional Departmental information will also be provided.
Please hold all dates listed above.
Once Connie has notified you of your completed Enrollment status in Carnegie Mellon, you will then be able to completed all of the information below as new student.
Your Andrew account is your key to accessing the university's computing services, such as the Carnegie Mellon Web Portal, Computing clusters and E-mail. You can learn what your account and e-mail address is by visiting the Carnegie Mellon directory webpage you may also set your password on the same link. Your password is the first 8 digits of your Student ID number. To retrieve your student ID number see below instructions under “Retrieval of Student ID Number.”
Information and instructions useful for solving many common computing problems can be found at the MyAndrew portal. Sorry, I cannot help you with Andrew computer accounts. Contact the Andrew Help Center for assistance.
For urgent problems, please contact the Computing Services Help Center directly at 412-268-HELP, Monday-Friday 9AM to 5PM. After 5PM Monday-Friday, and on weekends, please report systems outages and area-wide network problems to Computer Operations at 412-268-6688.
Retrieval of Student ID Number
Newly admitted students will need their student ID (SID) number (as entered into the SIS), as well as their Andrew userID and password to access all secure sites at Carnegie Mellon University. This includes Student Information Online (SIO) where students can access their electronic bills (E-‐Bills), account activity, course schedule, and grades (if applicable), as well as update their contact information.
Your academic department uses a unique, random number as your student ID number, To obtain your 8-digit student ID number you may get it two ways:
- Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and request it, or call your graduate department coordinator (Connie Herold, 412-268-4545) and receive it over the phone.
- You may also fax the completed, & signed “Student ID Request Form” available at the HUB (under Registration & Academic Records – “Student ID Number request form”) to the University Registrar’s office at 412-268-6651, and they will fax you your student ID number.
University Health Insurance Premiums and Payment Plan Options
All incoming students are required to submit health history and immunization information. After May 15, visit HealthConnect for instructions on how to complete these forms. Students have until June 30 to submit this information. Carnegie Mellon also has a medical insurance mandate. Students are default charged for medical insurance each year, and must either enroll in the plan or complete a waiver form certifying you are enrolled on an employer or government-based plan that meets certain coverage requirements. For details on the mandate, enrollment and waiver forms, visit Student Insurance.
You have until September 2 to make your insurance decision. Our online waiver program is accessible on the website now, and our online enrollment program will be available by June 1. If you intend to stay on your existing insurance plan (your parents, for example) you will need to complete our waiver form and the default charge will be removed.
Complete information about health insurance plans and coverage is available on-line at University Health Services you can find out the various plans, the costs, and enroll on-line from this site. Cost of the current plans range from $1,043 - $2,231 per year for individual policies. (The rates listed are subject to change). All full-time students are required to carry health insurance and will be assessed a charge for the individual basic mandatory plan offered through the university student health insurance program. The charge will appear on the invoice of the first semester of attendance in the academic cycle. The student is required to take one of the following three actions:
- Enroll in the basic plan as charged.
- Upgrade the benefit plan by enrolling in the enhanced student health insurance options during the open enrollment period.
- Apply for a waiver from the mandatory plan.
Enrollment does not offer payroll deduction as a means to pay for health insurance. Carnegie Mellon is pleased to extend the services of Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to help you afford the health insurance cost. The TMS Health Insurance Monthly Payment Option allows you to spread your health insurance premium over nine monthly installments for a $25 enrollment fee. The installments begin in September and end in May. Please see the information on this new payment option at the University Health Services web site.
While housing for graduate students is not available on campus, the Carnegie Mellon Housing Office provides several resources to assist graduate students in finding suitable housing in nearby neighborhoods. I have included the list of the name and email addresses of those who will be starting the program in the fall. Please feel free to use this list to contact some of the others especially if you are looking for a roommate. By seeking out housing early, you beat the undergraduate/graduate rush that tends to happen in the early part of August. The best place to start is by accessing the Housing Registry.
LOGIN: your Andrew id
Password: Your Andrew password (Is the first 8-digits of your student id#)
Student Informaion On-Line (SIO) & Registration for Courses
Newly Admitted Students will need their student ID (SID) number (as entered into the SIS), as well as their Andrew userID and password to access all secure sites at Carnegie Mellon University. This includes Student Information Online (SIO) where students can access their electronic bills (E-Bills), account activity, course schedule, and grades (if applicable), as well as update their contact information.
Student Information On-Line (SIO) is where students check their enrollment data, schedules classes, review account balances and grades. SIO is also where students can update their address information. Your current address information is important because information will be sent to your local address throughout the year. We also need accurate information in the event of an emergency. Please update this address information as soon as you have it. To view or update your address information, visit SIO and select the My Info tab. You can then update your information as necessary and click the submit button to save any changes. All address data is updated immediately within the system.
You may also order enrollment verifications on SIO. Enrollment verification is your proof of enrollment at Carnegie Mellon. This is often requested by insurance companies wanting to verify that you are enrolled or by scholarship committees wanting to know if you have maintained a certain QPA. This SIO feature cannot be used until you are registered for courses and enrolled for classes.
In the meantime, if you need a letter stating that you are expected to enroll at Carnegie Mellon, please e-mail the details of your request to email@example.com. Note that requesting a proof of enrollment to continue on private insurance does not waive a student from the university's student insurance plan. See "University Health Services" above for details on how to request a waiver from the student insurance plan.
University Registrar's Office
Your Andrew e-mail account is your conduit for official and important Carnegie Mellon communications. Please check it frequently over the summer and during your academic career. Official Carnegie Mellon notifications are sent to valid Andrew account users using the @andrew.cmu.edu e-mail address (example: firstname.lastname@example.org). If you choose to use an alternate e-mail address (i.e. @yahoo; @Gmail, etc), then you should forward your @andrew.cmu.edu e-mail to your preferred/alternate e-mail address to ensure that you receive all official university communications.
The Enrollment Services office will forward preliminary registration information to you during the summer, including an invoice showing the amount of your tuition for the fall semester. Please fill out the forms as requested and return them directly to Enrollment Services, indicating that tuition will be deducted from your monthly support payment from the SE PhD program. If all forms are filled out properly and returned on time, your registration will be completed by mail. If not, you will have an opportunity to complete "late enrollment" after you arrive.
For those receiving support paid through CMU, monthly support checks are distributed on the last working day of each month, beginning on September 30. In order to get "on the payroll" you are required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to complete an I-9 Form, showing that you are either a U.S. citizen, or have permission to be employed. Citizens of the U.S. must show either a valid U.S. passport, or a state-issued driver's license PLUS an ORIGINAL Social Security Card or a birth certificate bearing a seal. Those who are not U.S. citizens must show their passport (with attached employment authorization Form I-9, which will be issued by the CMU Foreign Student Advisor during foreign student orientation.) Please be sure that you have these documents with you when you arrive.
Take Home Pay
We cannot say exactly how much "take-home" pay a student will receive, since each individual case is different. However, we can tell you that:
- Your tuition will not be taxed on any level.
- Your stipend pay will not be taxed for social security.
- Your stipend pay will not be taxed for Pennsylvania.
- Your stipend pay will not be taxed for the city of Pittsburgh or any other municipality if your stipend stays solely for the advancement of your education, your work is closed supervised and primarily for your benefit and required of all students in your degree program, your stipend will not be subject to EIT(Earned Income Tax). Other employment, such for example as a second position grading papers, would be subject to EIT withholding. In any event, you must e-sign the PA Residency Certification form.
- Your stipend will be taxed federally, based on how you complete the form W4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate).
Therefore, an unemployed student who has no dependents, and will not be dependent on his/her parents will most likely have a W4 form showing 2 withholding allowances. If that is the case, using the IRS 2003 "Tables for Percentage Method of Withholding" (table 4), of the $2,075 gross stipend, federal tax would be approximately $157.00.
NOTE that this does not include a deduction for your health insurance. This cost must be paid separately.
FellowshipsIf you have been awarded any type of fellowship, external funding or was awarded any NSF or NDSEG fellowship, please contact Connie Herold, Ph.D. Student Programs Coordinator for ISR (412-268-4545) or email@example.com.
If your spouse is unemployed, or earns less than $200 per month, you are entitled to a dependency allowance. A dependency allowance of 10% per month of the SCS base stipend amount for each eligible dependent is paid to a Ph. D student provided that his or her spouse or qualifying domestic partner earns $200.00 or less per month. In Academic Year 2012-2013, base stipend is $2,424 and the allowance per eligible depend is $242.00.
For the recipient of an outside fellowship, the dependency allowance is added after the student's monthly stipend amount has been determined based on the "Stipend Supplement for External Support" policy.
If you are NOT a U.S. Citizen you will receive the I-20 Form, which will allow you to obtain the F-1 student visa. However, the I-20 cannot be issued until we receive a completed International Student Information Form from you. Please note that you are not required to provide any proof of financial support unless you have legal dependents (spouse and/or children). In that case you may be required to show that you have additional funds available to support the dependents. If you are already in the U.S., you will request a transfer through your Foreign Student Advisor rather than receiving a new I-20 form. For additional information regarding visas you may want to visit the Office of International Education web site.
International students will also receive information with your I-20 Form regarding the International Student Orientation program sponsored by the Office of International Education,. While this program is not mandatory, it is strongly suggested that you attend, especially if you have not previously resided in the US. If you are not able to attend during this period, you will be required to attend an orientation session before the end of the first week of the semester in order for your enrollment to be complete, and to maintain your valid visa status. An important part of the orientation are instructions of how to obtain a social security number which you will need in order to receive your monthly stipend.
Change of Address
Please notify Connie Herold or Helen Higgins of any address changes throughout your time here at Carnegie Mellon. Also update your address in the Student Information System.
Information Regarding Registration for Courses
For schedule of courses and to register go to The HUB. You should register for the following courses:
- 17-791 Software Research Seminar (SSSG) 3 Units
- 17-997 Graduate Reading and Research (units vary)
Settling In Guidelines
The Settling In Guide has been written to help our various international populations adjust and get to know Carnegie Mellon University; however, it is also very helpful to ALL new students!
Student ID Card & Bus Sticker
You will be able to obtain your student ID card the week of the Immigration Course. International students will receive their CMU ID cards during the International Student Orientation. You should also see on your ID card a PAT (Public Transportation) imprint that entitles you to free public transportation. You may also apply for your student card online prior to arriving at ID Card Services.
- August 13th-16th CMU Graduate Student Orientation. Attendance is optional for U.S. citizens, but we highly encourage your to attend – it will be fun!!!
- August 14th CMU International Graduate Student Orientation. Attendance by all International students is required
- August 23rd Software Engineering PhD Orientation, Attendance is required. An agenda will be sent in late July to early August
- August 27th Classes begin
- September 3rd Labor Day, No Classes
Also see the official university academic calendar.