What does the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at the City College of New York specialize in?

By Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center | Updated on January 17, 2020

The High School for Math, Science, and Engineering (HSMSE) at the City College of New York is another of New York City’s most elite specialized high schools. The school provides students with an educational experience that not only provides comprehensive knowledge of many disciplines through traditional learning but also through research and hands-on experience. The school aims to engage students in inquiry, critical thinking, and expression. Students at HSMSE come from all over the city, and it is one of the most ethnically diverse schools in New York.

Most of the faculty members are researchers themselves, having gained doctorate degrees in engineering, business, and other STEM subfields. Students who go to HSMSE are extremely lucky as they are able to gain valuable knowledge from industry professionals. Furthermore, the small size of the school lends itself to small class sizes and more individualized attention for students. However, it isn’t easy to get into HSMSE – it requires effort and motivation as well as a strong work ethic. This guide will cover everything you need to know about HSMSE, including acceptance rate, concentrations, advanced courses, activities, performance and rankings. Keep reading to learn why so many students apply to HSMSE.

Acceptance Rate and Cutoff Scores

All a student technically has to do to get into the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering is do well on the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT). Past performance notwithstanding, students must simply study hard for the exam. For HSMSE, students are required to score about a 519 if they are taking the eighth grade exam and above the range of 549-559 if they are taking the ninth grade exam. These scores should serve as a guideline for how rigorously you should study if you want to attend the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering.

This cutoff score is mid-range compared to all of the other specialized high schools, but it is still nothing to laugh at. Every exam season, there are bout 30,000 eighth grade test takers, and yet HSMSE only has 100 available seats. This means that there is an acceptance rate of about 0.33% for eighth graders and an acceptance rate of about 0.1% for ninth graders. While these numbers might seem low, remember that with enough preparation and meticulous work, you will be able to become a student at this prestigious school which tirelessly prepares its students for college and beyond.


By attending HSMSE, you will be able to engage in the unique educational experience of concentrations. HSMSE is well connected with both City College and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, creating opportunities for students to be more engaged in their major concentrations than at other high schools. There are three concentrations available to students: Higher Mathematics, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine Biomedical Research Program, and Advanced Engineering.

Higher Mathematics

Students in the higher mathematics concentration are those who are concerned with the applications of complex math problems to the real world. HSMSE offers students the chance to take higher level math courses that are not typically available to other high school students. In addition, students will be able to take two-credit math courses at the City College of New York and gain a deeper understanding of the principles and intersection between engineering and mathematics. Course offerings include Advanced Topics in Mathematics, Maple programming, Linear Algebra and Calculus III with Differential Equations. Students are also required to compete on the HSMSE Varsity Math Team and attend various math research fairs.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine Biomedical Research Program

Students at HSMSE who hope to pursue the medical field or biomedical engineering are well suited for this concentration, which is connected to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. There is no other high school, specialized or not, that has this close relationship with such a prestigious medical school and can get its students research positions there. Doctors and scientists at Mt. Sinai specifically collaborated with HSMSE administration in order to create this major, which is made up of laboratory experience and an internship in cardiology, oncology, obstetrics, or autopsy medicine. Students learn skills used in the field of DNA and hybridoma technology, and take courses like Bioethics, Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Biomedical Research, and Microbiology. This major is perfect for potential future doctors and biomedical engineers.

Advanced Engineering

Students at HSMSE who have a deep passion for engineering principles may pursue this concentration. The advanced engineering concentration was created with one goal in mind: to produce more engineers nationwide. Students can enter a paid research internship at the renowned Grove School of Engineering over the course of the concentration and may even choose to remain there post-graduation.

Advanced Courses

Students at HSMSE undoubtedly have the opportunity to take many advanced courses given the relationship with CCNY and Mt. Sinai. Not only are there CTE programs in scientific research and engineering, but there are also courses like Design & Drafting, Digital Electronics, Principles of Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Architecture. There are also a number of Advanced Placement courses like Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, German, Statistics, and World History. There are also language courses available in German and Spanish.


Students at HSMSE are not only academically stimulated but also have many activities at school that they can choose from. There are a number of on-campus activities such as art, astronomy, band, cheerleading, chorus, math team, national honor society, photography, science research, yearbook, and much more. Furthermore, there is a variety of available PSAL sports. Girl’s teams include basketball, soccer, and football. Boy’s teams include baseball, basketball, cross country, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, and volleyball. There is also NCAA cleared table tennis available for students to play. With all of these activities available to them, students will have an endless number of opportunities to get involved on campus and supplement their academic experience with fun.


Students at the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering consistently perform exceptionally well. For starters, 99% of students graduate in four years and enroll in college and career programs within six months. This makes sense given the school’s dedication to college preparation. Furthermore, there is a 96% attendance rate. Student performance on the SAT and Regents exams are also consistently higher than most other New York City schools. It is true that only 500 students attend HSMSE, but you can be one of them and contribute to this excellent performance!


HSMSE performs very well, and this is reflected in its rankings. It is ranked fourth within New York State. It also has a national ranking of #48 and a ranking of #5 within the New York metropolitan area. 100% of students have taken at least one AP exam, and 100% reach proficiency in Math and Reading. Students also reached a 96.5/100 on the college readiness index.

To get into HSMSE and be able to take all of these opportunities by the horns, there is something you must first do: beast the SHSAT. To do this, you must meticulously prepare, and we have the tools to help you do that! For ten years, we at Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center have been helping students like you get into their dream specialized high schools. We have excellent preparatory books, comprehensive SHSAT classes, and wonderful private tutors. We know how to get students into HSMSE. Thousands of students have already gotten into schools like it after attending Mr. Tariq’s class. Join us today to start your SHSAT journey!
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