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Hybrid Delivery of Classes in Fall 2020

We’re excited for you be a part of the Heinz College community!

In recent weeks, we have received inquiries from incoming students regarding options for attending classes in Pittsburgh this Fall. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide on update, as well as direct you to answers to some other frequently asked questions.

For the Fall 2020 semester, beginning August 31, CMU is planning to deliver a hybrid model, offering both in-person and online instruction, as needed. This was communicated by President Farnam Jahanian in his email dated May 14, which states:

"We are committing to this flexibility for the Pittsburgh campus, and potentially other campuses, because we recognize that some students, faculty and staff will not be able to return by the first day of class for a variety of reasons, including domestic and international travel restrictions, difficulty in obtaining visas, or individual health and safety concerns. We further recognize we may need to pivot to other modes of operation if conditions change."

You can read the full statement from President Jahanian here, which provides a great deal of additional context and detail. Over the next several weeks, we will provide additional information about how the hybrid model will help you achieve your learning objectives. In addition to the classroom experience, we will discuss our plan to support your professional growth through experiential learning, applied research, and engagement with leaders from our partner network. In addition, we will have a full slate of career services activities (résumé reviews, job fairs, training sessions, advisor meetings) regardless of whether you are attending classes on-campus or online.

There are numerous factors at play that will prevent many incoming students from being on campus in the Fall—it is our recommendation, if your circumstances allow, that you stay in your primary location for the Fall 2020 semester and take classes at a distance. You can then transition to Pittsburgh over the winter break to begin the Spring 2021 semester in January.

Regardless of modality, we are committed to delivering the highest quality academic and experiential opportunities that will prepare you for an impactful career.

Please see FAQs below for answers to other frequently asked questions, including information regarding logistics and academic policies, deferring admission, costs, summer onboarding activities, career services, internships, and more.

The health and safety of our community will always be our top priority, and we will continue to work closely with—and follow guidance from—state and local health officials. We are also continuing our work with partners in government and academia to be part of the solution. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs address the inquiries Heinz College has been receiving from our August 2020 matriculating students. Our responses reflect current local public health conditions as of the time of this posting, but may change. These policies only apply to Heinz College incoming students and not to other parts of CMU. We commit to sharing information with you on a regular basis and working with you to address any questions you may have to the best of our ability. We look forward to seeing you in person at CMU.

  1. With all of the uncertainties surrounding travel, social distancing, and public health measures, how can I be kept up to date on how the CMU/Heinz College Fall 2020 semester will roll-out?
    We are committed to keeping you informed throughout the summer in a timely, transparent, and accurate manner. We will be updating this webpage and others in the admitted student portal as we gain more information. Websites will be updated, emails will be sent, and webinars will be offered in a manner that supports participation from multiple time zones. You can also reach out to our admissions team and your individual program director with questions.
  2. What safety protocols are being implemented to make sure that students, faculty and staff are safe?
    The health and safety of our community remains our number one priority. In addition to following guidance from local and state health officials, CMU is:
    • Adhering to health and safety practices, including use of facial coverings, disinfection of surfaces, and testing and tracing protocols.
    • Reconfiguring classrooms, learning spaces, and common areas to support physical distancing.
    • Making arrangements to reduce density of in-person classes, including small class sizes and moving some courses, including larger lecture courses, to remote instruction only.
    • Striving for a consistently high quality experience across both in-person and remote learning environments.
    • Re-imagining countless other facets of our operations – across instruction and research, as well as student services.
  3. Can I defer my offer of admission to next year?
    Yes. Heinz College offers admitted students the option to defer their admission for one year. For 2020, this would mean you can choose to defer your offer of admission to the August 2021 intake. If you intend to defer, we ask that you make this decision and notify us via email by June 30, 2020. Your enrollment deposit will carryover as a credit on your student account for you to maintain this option and begin your studies in August 2021.

    Please note that, for a variety of reasons, the sequencing of our classes does not allow for a one-semester deferral to January 2021. Although a one-semester deferral is not an option, CMU and Heinz College will offer remote delivery of all of our classes for Fall 2020 for students unable or unwilling to study in-person beginning August 31, 2020. Your remote start would be followed by a second semester on-campus, beginning January 2021, conditions permitting. For our non-U.S. citizens, your OPT and CPT rights will not be impacted by studying remotely in your first semester.
  4. Can I get reduced tuition if I am taking classes remotely?
    The tuition is the same for all modes of delivery of the educational experience. While there are differences between on-site vs. distance learning, we are committed to more than just an online learning environment under the hybrid model. CMU is a world leader in teaching innovation and the science of learning. That campus-wide expertise—led by the Simon Initiative—enables us to maintain academic excellence no matter our mode of delivery.

    For our part, Heinz College has an established reputation in supporting remote learning in both graduate school and executive education contexts.
  5. Can I take summer classes this year prior to matriculating in the fall?
    We do not provide summer classes to incoming students nor have we in the past. However, we are offering a full slate of summer onboarding activities:
    • For students interested in a primer in Java, we will be offering a free online course in Java.
    • For students interested in a refresher in math and stats, we are offering access to our Quantitative Skills Summer Program (QSSP) in late July and August.
    • We are also making available—at no cost—a summer Python Bootcamp geared primarily toward students with little or no programming background.

    We have an exciting series of fun and informative virtual events planned for you this summer. These orientation activities and social events, delivered via our online platforms, will enable you to get to know each other before starting graduate school. More information on the onboarding activities, QSSP, and Python Bootcamp is coming soon.
  6. What are my alternatives if I want to start my studies with in-person classes in August 2020 but doing so at the Pittsburgh campus is unlikely?
    MISM students could consider spending their first year at our campus in Adelaide, Australia through the Global MISM program. Australia has opened ahead of the U.S. For over a decade, the Global MISM program has been the benchmark for the very best in bi-continental education. Global MISM enables students to spend the first year of their studies in Australia and the second year in Pittsburgh. International students get access to the U.S. labor market like all MISM students and qualify for the OPT program. If you are interested in discussing the Global MISM option, please contact the head of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, David Eber (, by June 30.
  7. Can we extend our term of education so that we graduate in the following semester than is established with our Heinz College masters’ program?
    For international students, current U.S. visa policies do not allow for you to extend your graduation date except under severe health or academic hardship. In those extreme cases, new immigration paperwork needs to be filled out and requires approval by relevant government authorities. For students with U.S. residency, you can extend your stay if you have not met graduation requirements and are able to pay another semester’s tuition. However, extension should not be counted on by international students and is not recommended for students with U.S. residency.
  8. For Global MISM Students only (1st year in Adelaide, Australia):
    Can the program be extended or modified in such a way that international students can participate in a U.S.-based internship?
    We have spoken extensively to our Office of International Education (OIE) on this matter and, unfortunately, the answer is no. The combination of the Global program’s design and current student visa regulations do not allow for international students without U.S. residency rights to perform their summer internship in the U.S. Fortunately, we have a long track record of students performing a non-U.S.-based internship, completing their 2nd year of study in Pittsburgh, and having fabulous U.S.-based career outcomes.
  9. For international students only:
    If I am unable to complete the immigration process, if there are travel restrictions, or, if I have concerns that prevent me from arriving in Pittsburgh by August 31, how will that impact my visa status and by ability to obtain a U.S.-based internship or full-time employment?
    CMU and Heinz College will offer remote delivery of all of our classes for Fall 2020 for students unable or unwilling to study in-person beginning August 31, 2020. Your remote start would be followed by a second semester on-campus, beginning January 2021. Please direct any questions pertaining to I20 and visa documents to David Eber at

    Note: for our non-U.S. citizens, your OPT and CPT rights will not be impacted by studying remotely in your first semester. You will be able to search for U.S.-based internships and full-time employment in keeping with current regulations.

    In addition, we will have a full slate of career services activities (resume reviews, job fairs, training sessions, advisor meetings) available to you regardless of modality.