Carnegie Mellon University

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#30, overall score 67.17/100

Fun Fact:

Carnegie Mellon is the only university in the United States that offers a major in bagpipe.

Why should Jewish students attend CMU? The Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh is a uniquely warm and welcoming environment. We provide students with the opportunity to explore their Jewish identity in a vibrant, meaningful and fun environment. Our Hillel is large enough to offer a diverse array of student communities and opportunities (from Israel, social justice, leadership, Shabbat, arts & culture, learning, travel, networking and more) while still having a family atmosphere where every student feels personally connected. - Dan Marcus, executive director, Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh


  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Campus type: Big city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,673
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 400
  • Jewish population share: 6%
  • Student origin: 15% in-state / 85% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Tartan
  • NCAA Division: III
  • NCAA team: Tartans
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Mr. Yuk / Money Mellons

What Students Say:

“Your best friend can be a vocal performance major while you do engineering, you can watch future Broadway stars (check out which school has the most Tony awards) in the building next to the top computer science department, and you are incredibly free to just be yourself here.“…“People get so involved in the craziest things and devote so much effort into them.”

COST & AID Score: 7.5/15

  • Score: 7.5/15
  • Tuition: $53,910
  • Room & board costs: $13,784
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $41,167
  • Average loan debt: $31,077
  • Starting median salary: $70,900
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: No

ACADEMICS Score: 16.67/20

  • Score: 16.67/20
  • Acceptance rate: 22%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Median SAT range: 1430-1560
  • Jewish Studies program: No
  • Jewish Studies major: No
  • Hebrew major: No

What Students Say:

“It’s an academically rigorous school. Students pride themselves in constantly being very busy and there can seem to be no end to your work. That being said, it can be very rewarding to work so hard on things together with other people. The school’s challenges certainly pay off.”

ISRAEL Score: 12.67/20

  • Score: 12.67/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 40
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: Tartans 4 Israel
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: Yes
  • BDS vote in last four years: Never introduced

SAFETY Score: 8.67/11

  • Score: 8.67/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 0
  • Campus crime rate: 3.7/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 40.45/1,000 people (medium high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 21.67/34

  • Score: 21.67/34
  • Hillel: Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
  • Chabad: Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Other Jewish outreach group: Aish
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 25
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 110
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 12 (6 Orthodox, 2 Conservative, 4 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Josh Gad
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: The Jewish Futurism student group meets regularly with Hillel’s Senior Jewish Educator to discuss where technology, science, and Judaism intersect, drawing on halakhic literature, science fiction, philosophy, and presentations from experts who all seek answers to questions like: If Jews lived on Mars, when would Shabbat start? Or, When artificial intellectuals become part of everyday society, could they convert to Judaism?
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: CMU’s Middle Eastern dining station, The Pomegranate, located in the Tartans Pavilion of Resnik House, serves freshly-made falafel and hand-carved shawarma in pita or laffa, homemade hummus, salads, and vegetarian/vegan options under the supervision of the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Pittsburgh. In addition, Entropy+, CMU’s on-campus convenient store located in the University Center, offers a large variety of to-go options as prepared by a local Vaad-supervised restaurant. Other kosher options near to campus are also available, including all Hillel-sponsored events, and various options in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

What Students Say:

“If you are interested in Judaism being a part of your lives, you will join a group of students who truly enjoy spending time together and helping each other succeed personally and academically. It’s also growing. We host ‘Shabbat On Campus,’ where more and more students are able to attend a Shabbat dinner because we bring it closer, to a large room on campus, that is easier to get to on a Friday evening and more approachable for a first-time student.”…“We need more students who actively want Judaism to be in their lives and the thing that they devote their time to. It’s hard to get students to sacrifice time from work at CMU to attend Jewish-related events, so the events themselves must be innovative.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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