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5 College Junior

Diversity: It's great to be surrounded by people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. There are always great events showcasing the different cultures, religions, and beliefs.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: Extremely diverse socially. Not so much economically, but getting better.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Diversity: The school is very diverse and extremely accepting of all people, but there still can be tendencies to form cliques based on national/ethnic background.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: We have almost half the students from out of the country, which introduces a wide mix of culture/belief/food/etc

2 people found this useful Report

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 17th
    Most Open-Minded Schools
  • 274th
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 1118th
    Most Conservative Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Raina Bradford-Jennings
Brookfield, CT
Professional Writing
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Carnegie Mellon is a unique campus in that Caucasian students aren't an obvious majority of the people on campus. In fact, during your first trip to CMU, your first reaction might be that there is a large number of Asian students. Students will tell you that the largest and most expansive cultural groups on campus are comprised of Koreans and Indians. While other Eastern and Southern Asian countries are represented by the student body, it’s probably the only place in Pittsburgh where you will see such high concentrations of Asian students. But that is regularly just their ethnic background. In fact, not many students are considered to be international. So while there are people of Asian, African, European, or South American descents, they are still American students.

Race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, etc., don’t really matter at CMU. Many campuses say this, but think of how rare it is to be able to step onto a campus and literally see how different each and every single student is. Because people come from all different economic and geographic backgrounds and major in pretty much every concentration under the sun, students expect to not have had an identical life with the others in their classes. From their first year on campus, students will learn so many random facts about cultures and religions that they might not have been exposed to. It is just par for the course at CMU to stop and say, "Well, that is something you don’t see every day."

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • California
  • Foreign countries
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 1%
18-19: 24%
20-21: 24%
22-24: 25%
25+: 25%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 2%
Asian American: 8%
Hispanic: 2%
International: 13%
Native American: 0%
White: 75%
Unknown: 0%
Gay Pride
This campus is very accepting of members of the LGBTQ community. Most would think that the gay community is centrally located in the College of Fine Arts, but that is a common misconception. There are LGBTQ people in a large variety of majors, including those in engineering, information systems, biological sciences, and more that are the opposite of fine arts. People of all sexual orientations are accepted with open arms, and you'll find it hard to gather evidence that says otherwise.
Political Activity
Students aren't afraid to voice their political opinions, but you won't hear them do so often-mostly because students are not as concerned with politics as they are with how many all-nighters they plan to spend at Hunt Library. There are student groups for Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans, but their involvement is not a major force. The only times when CMU students really get involved in politics are when foreign presidents and diplomats come to speak (as they tend to bring protesters along with them), or when the University Center offers tables where students can register to vote.
Economic Status
Students come from a variety of backgrounds, but most would identify as middle class or upper-middle class (which in this day and age, equates to high class). This is because of the high numbers of students who come from international backgrounds. Those that mainly live outside of the United States don't receive financial aid, so to finance CMU's $50,000-plus tuition and fees would take a pretty rich family. Some of these "rich kids" aren't necessarily international, but again, their parents can afford to foot the lofty invoice that comes with a world-renowned education. While these students certainly exist, a majority of the student population is middle class and relies on some form of financial aid-whether it be loans, scholarships, or work-study.
Most Common Religions
Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims-the list goes on and on. At CMU, there is no established religion, and there are both student groups and University-sponsored events for those of all religions (or lack of religion). For example, during Homecoming weekend, the campus celebrates Diwali for all of the Indian students, even though it means something different for each religion that observes it. There is a Jewish fraternity and a Jewish university center, Hillel, where students can elect to eat if the meal plan doesn't satisfy their diet. There are prayer rooms for all religions on the first and lower levels of the University Center, and students of all races and religions come together to form their own small Bible studies or prayer groups.
Minority Clubs on Campus
The most notable minority clubs are Spirit for African Americans, ASA (Asian Student Association), and Mayur (the Indian student association). However, the list doesn't stop there. The 50-plus multicultural student organizations contribute to a large portion of the events on campus. Spirit Fashion Show takes place each spring during the Sleeping Bag Weekend for newly admitted minority students. Mayur hosts one of the most prominent bhangra competitions in the East ("Bhangra in the Burgh") each fall. Whether you are looking for entertainment, service opportunities, or some cheap, home-cooked food, the minority clubs host dozens of events each semester and are a force to be reckoned with on campus.
Did You Know?
Carnegie Mellon University has a campus in Qatar that specializes in biological sciences, business administration, computer science, computational biology, and information systems. Aspiring undergraduates can apply directly to Qatar, or apply to Pittsburgh and choose to study in Qatar for a semester.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 60 responses

  • 18% Libertarian
  • 8% Not sure
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 7% Conservative
  • 35% Moderate
  • 17% Liberal
  • 15% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 59 responses

  • 3% Libertarian
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 2% Conservative
  • 36% Moderate
  • 19% Not sure
  • 37% Liberal
  • 3% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 61 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 60 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 60 responses

  • 0% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 3% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 13% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 83% Very accepting.
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