While all CMU-Africa degrees have required courses, they also have elective courses that may be selected based on interest. Students interested in a specific area of knowledge or competence may choose elective courses that allow them to concentrate on their desired area. Beyond knowledge and skills, courses and project work in a concentration area serve as a signal to potential employers that a student has an in-depth skill set in that particular area.

  • Concentration areas are optional.
  • Concentration areas are open to all students regardless of degree.
  • Students do not need a concentration area to fulfill their degree requirements.
  • Concentration areas are not mentioned on diplomas, but students may choose to mention them on resumes or LinkedIn profiles.
  • Concentration areas are individually chosen by students, although they may seek advice from their faculty advisor or the Academic Advisor.

Students can further strengthen their concentration knowledge by selecting an internship, practicum, and/or research in the same area as their concentration. At least 48 units of coursework in a concentration area are suggested to achieve a level of specialization.

Possible concentrations areas


This concentration area provides students with the skills to understand how to design, develop, and document software components. This concentration also provides students who are already proficient at software development with systematic engineering approaches for the construction of large and complex software systems.


This concentration area enables students to reason about information systems from a security engineering perspective taking into account technical, economic, and policy factors. The concentration covers a broad set of topics including elementary cryptography, security policy, common vulnerabilities, penetration testing, and defensive security.

Applied Machine Learning

An explosion of data from surveys, sensors, satellites, mobile communications, transactions, and social media is enabling intelligent predictions and decision-making. This concentration area provides the skills to apply a range of machine learning and data science techniques to address real-world challenges.

Energy Systems

Modern energy access is transforming new delivery systems and traditional utilities to meet electrification and emissions goals. Smart grid technologies, Internet of Things, renewable sources, and off-grid systems are transforming what is possible. These courses equip students with the skills to shape this evolving infrastructure.

IT Entrepreneurship

IT Entrepreneurship prepares students to identify, select, and launch new IT innovations, products, and services, for enterprises in Africa in new and existing organizations. Students gain insight and experience in the state of the art in new company and product innovation, development, collaboration, piloting, roll out, scaling, and funding.

Network Technologies

Networking is driving economies at all levels from rural farming to the most advanced fourth industrial revolution technologies. The networking concentration area enables students to build hands-on skills with the key networking technologies of today.

Students can concentrate in other areas by selecting appropriate courses. See the CMU-Africa Course Catalog for available options.