Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Program in Software Engineering

Software-based systems have established themselves as essential parts of business and everyday living in the emerging global economy. As software becomes ubiquitous, the relation between end users and software development undergoes fundamental changes. No longer is software produced from scratch by a team of experts and delivered to clients. Increasingly,

  • The software is developed by adapting existing components and services;
  • The delivered systems are highly distributed and software-intensive but not purely software;
  • The systems must be designed and fielded under economic and legal constraints;
  • Clients are intimately involved in the development and configuration of the system;
  • and The requirements for the systems emerge as the clients understand better both the technology and the opportunities in their own settings.

Carnegie Mellon has established the Institute for Software Research (ISR) in the School of Computer Science (SCS) as a center of excellence for long-term interdisciplinary fundamental research, apprenticeship-based education and training, and international collaborations to address the challenge of designing, developing, integrating, validating, and maintaining practical, large-scale, high-quality software-intensive systems. The creation of the ISR is a natural extension of Carnegie Mellon's long-standing commitment to research in software systems.

ISR research activities include experimental prototyping, empirical modeling, codification of experience, formal analysis, creating design/development strategies for modern software, and developing public policy positions. The educational activities are tightly integrated with the research and demonstration projects.

ISR's Software Engineering PhD program infuses the research agenda with deep appreciation of the practical issues of developing product-quality software-intensive systems. 

The Software Engineering Ph.D. Program document (pdf) provides an overview of the program's requirements, policies, and procedures.

Dual Carnegie Mellon|Portugal Ph.D. Program in Software Engineering

The Institute for Software Research (ISR) in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University offers a dual degree PhD program in Software Engineering in cooperation with several Portuguese universities. This PhD program is part of the activities of the Information and Communication Technologies Institute (ICTI), resulting from a Portugal-Carnegie Mellon partnership agreement. For more information, please see the ICTI website.

Core Faculty

photo of jonathan aldrich
Jonathan Aldrich
Language Design, Program Verification, Object-oriented foundations, and Enforcement of software design constraints.
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Travis Breaux
Requirements engineering, Software design assumptions, Privacy and security, and Policy and legal compliance.
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David Garlan
Software architecture, Pervasive computing, Self-healing systems, and Applied formal methods.
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Jim Herbsleb
Software teams and organizations, Open source ecologies, Collaboration, coordination, congruence, and Global software development.
photo of christian kaestner
Christian Kästner
Variability and Reuse, Modularity, Program Analysis, and Program Comprehension.
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Claire LeGoues
Software quality and evolution, defect detection, program analysis, and automatic bug repair.
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Bill Scherlis
Software assurance and security, Software analysis, Safe concurrency, and Software development tools.
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Mary Shaw
Everyday software, Software architecture, Ultra-large-scale systems, and Appropriate dependability.
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Bogdan Vasilescu
Software analytics, social aspects, teams, collaboration, open source ecologies, and “big code”.