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Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Title Logo

Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley is a branch campus of Carnegie Mellon University located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California. It was established in 2002 at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field.[1] The campus offers both part-time as well as full-time professional Masters and Ph.D. programs in Software Engineering and Software Management.[2] One key differentiator between programs in the traditional Pittsburgh campus and the new Silicon Valley campus is a new focus on project-centered learning by doing approach to education.[3]



After years of planning from the Pittsburgh campus, CMU Silicon Valley opened in September 2002 under the name "Carnegie Mellon University - West Campus" to an original class of 56 students.[1][4] James H. Morris, the Dean of the School of Computer Science at the Pittsburgh campus, was instrumental in establishing the West Coast initiative and served as the new campus' first Dean.[1] Raj Reddy, an Turing Award recipient and computer science professor at the Pittsburgh campus, was the school's first director.[1] In 2008, the university's name was changed to CMU Silicon Valley to better reflect the proximity and opportunity to Silicon Valley.


Front entrance of Building 23 of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley

CMU Silicon Valley is located on NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field. The campus (or in particular Moffett Field), is surrounded by high-tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, HP, and Lockheed Martin. CMU Silicon Valley currently occupies only building 23, though future plans are calling for an expansion of the campus to other buildings.


While CMU Silicon Valley has already phased out the long-distance capability to Pittsburgh's Tepper School of Business and has started offering a full-time program from fall 2008, the west campus is now mostly known for its part-time, two-year Masters programs in Software Engineering and Software Management[5]. The Software Engineering Masters are divided into a Technical Track, aimed at advancing software developers to senior positions and architect roles, and the Development Management Track, aimed at providing software developers with technical project management and development management skills. The Software Management Masters program, which was introduced in 2008, on the other hand, targets senior software developers and managers that wish to pursue senior management and executive careers.[4]

Starting with Fall 2008, the school also offers a Ph.D. degree program in mobility, security and networking.[6]

Learn by Doing

The programs differ from traditional software programs through their project and simulation-based curriculum.[1][4] Instead of attending classes and taking exams, students are expected to work in close teams along with team advisors and faculty in an environment that closely resembles the industry[7]. For instance, professors often act as the VP of Engineering/Marketing of a fictitious company, while students gather and negotiate requirements, plan software development cycles and deliver products throughout the course.

At the end of the two year (six semesters) program, students are then encouraged to apply their skills and knowledge to a practicum that involves a real project negotiated with high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. This practicum used to be a requirement, but is now an elective.

Student population

Approximately 200 students are enrolled in CMU Silicon Valley's program. With its strong technical support for long-distance learning, a significant portion of the student population reside outside of the Bay Area. However, with its unique location in Silicon Valley, many local students stem from prominent companies such as Yahoo, Google, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Boeing and Microsoft, providing a vibrant environment with many diverse corporate experiences.

Silicon Valley Events

Besides the educational programs, CMU Silicon Valley regularly also organizes software-related events in Silicon Valley, such as CMU's Tour de Silicon Valley, where selected CMU students from the Pittsburgh campus are flown to Silicon Valley for a week of networking at various software companies.[8]

The school is also organizing in association with the UC Berkeley, regular software conferences in the outlook of the software industry. Its first incarnation took place on April 30, 2007 at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus and focused on the The New Software Industry - Forces at Play, Business in Motion[9], while the second conference will take place on April 22, 2008 at Santa Clara Convention Center and focus on The Mobile Future - Technology Revolutionizing our Lives.[10]

The Fence

In August 2008, the graduating class of 2008 presented a gift to the university by installing their own Carnegie Mellon University fence on the west coast campus.[11] The fence is a CMU tradition on the main campus where different student organizations repaint a long fence in the middle of the campus to promote a cause or spread a certain message. Members of the class of 2008 collected money to hire a contractor to build and install a 10-foot fence, that was then subsequently painted with images symbolizing the west coast (like the Golden Gate Bridge, or NASA's Hangar One). The fence was dedicated to Randy Pausch who died in 2008 (the top of the fence reads "Dedicated to Randy Pausch"). The remaining money was also donated and gift-matched to a total of $1000 to the Randy Pausch Memorial Fund.[11]

External links

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "University to Offer Master's Degree Program at West Coast Campus This Fall". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  
  2. ^ "Part-time Programs". Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  3. ^ "Unique Program Features". Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  4. ^ a b c "Press Release: Carnegie Mellon West Launches Master’s Program for Software Management". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  
  5. ^ Jonathan Erickson. "CMU West Offers MS In Software Management". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  
  6. ^ "CMU Launches Mobility Research Center". Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  7. ^ "Unique Program Features". Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  8. ^ Amit Agarwal. "MU West offers tour de Silicon Valley". Retrieved 2008-07-28.  
  9. ^ "Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley Conference to Forecast Future of New Software Industry". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  
  10. ^ "The Mobile Future Conference 2008". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  
  11. ^ a b "Silicon Valley Fence". Retrieved 2008-08-18.  



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