Changing the Field of Graduate Study
Full Graduate Status
Provisional Graduate Status
Special Graduate Status
Admission of Students from Other Countries
English Language Proficiency
Full-time and Part-time Study
Maximum Programs of Study
Tuition, Fees and Other Charges
An inquiry from a prospective student concerning graduate study should receive from the department or school a prompt response that includes a description of the program(s), the necessary application forms or information about applying online, and instructions concerning the completion of all forms, including the Application Data form.
The applicant is expected to:
1. Complete the online application and submit the application fee through the online payment system. If the applicant submits a paper application, he or she should return to the department or school the completed application forms and a check (not cash) for the application fee payable to the University of Pittsburgh. This fee is required of all applicants and is non-refundable. It does not apply toward the payment of tuition.
2. Request the registrars of all undergraduate and any graduate schools attended to send official transcripts of their records to the department or school of intended graduate study.
3. Submit any additional material required by the department or school and, if available, other evidence of academic and personal qualifications for graduate study. These materials may include any or all of the following: scores achieved on standardized examinations such as the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test, letters of recommendation, term papers written during previous study, evidence of relevant work/life experience, evidence of motivation for graduate study, and a statement of career objectives.
4. Arrange for a personal interview if requested by the department or school.
No action should be taken on an application for admission to graduate study until the department or school has received: (1) the completed application form; (2) the application fee; (3) official transcripts of all work done in undergraduate and graduate schools; and (4) supporting materials as required by the department or school. (Under the Admission Status section, see Special Status for circumstances in which a student may be granted temporary admission.)
Each department or school has the responsibility to establish deadline dates both for receipt of application for admission and for application for fellowships, assistantships, or other forms of aid and to notify prospective applicants of these dates. A department or school may limit admission to a specific term only or may allow admission in any of the three terms. Each department or school is obligated both to act promptly on completed applications, if submitted before the established deadline date, and to give a thorough and fair review of each completed application. Decisions regarding admission should be based on an overall evaluation of all the credentials submitted by the candidate, and be in accord with the availability of faculty, facilities, and student support necessary to meet the applicant's expressed academic and research needs and interests. Applicants should be notified promptly of decisions concerning their applications. Many departments or programs have a limited number of places available. In cases where the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of places available, applicants should be judged competitively.
If a department or school so approves, a student may defer admission for one year without having to complete any additional applications. If approved, the student is sent a new admission letter. Additional course work taken during the deferred year and a new affidavit of financial support should also accompany any financial aid request. The deferral of admission is independent of financial aid.
Officially, admission may be granted or denied only by the dean of the school, and the issuance of visa documents may be granted or denied for non-academic reasons only by the Office of International Services. Registration is permitted only after admission is granted.
A student already admitted to graduate study and desiring to change a major department of graduate study must file an application for such a change in the office of the dean or the department of the school the student wishes to enter. The application for admission to the new department should be evaluated in the same manner as an application from a new student.
Acceptable students are admitted to graduate study in a specific department or school with "full", "provisional", or "special" graduate status depending on their qualifications and objectives. The qualifications described below represent the minimum standards of the University. These may be made more stringent or specific at the option of the department or school.
Full Graduate Status: For admission to full graduate status, an applicant must be a graduate of an accredited U.S. college or university and must be considered qualified for advanced study by the department or school. International applicants must meet the admissions guidelines described under “Admission of Students from Other Countries.” Qualification for advanced study normally is demonstrated by a B average (a grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better in the total undergraduate program. If students with less than a B average present alternative evidence (such as completion of an advanced degree or successful relevant work experience) of superior ability, they may be considered for full graduate status on the recommendation of the department of proposed graduate study. Only students with full graduate status may be considered for the award of an advanced degree.
Provisional Graduate Status: Applicants who are graduates of a recognized college or university but who do not qualify for admission to full graduate status because of deficiencies in either their undergraduate course program or their scholastic achievement may be considered for provisional graduate status if strong supporting evidence of their ability to complete a graduate program is provided. Courses taken to remove deficiencies do not contribute toward completion of graduate degree requirements. Transfer from provisional to full graduate status is initiated and recommended by the department, and is possible only after removal of deficiencies and other conditions noted at the time of admission and satisfactory progress in graduate work.
Special Status: Students may be granted temporary admission as "special status" under the following circumstances:
1. Individuals who are seeking advanced degrees but who are unable to meet the deadline for filing all required credentials for admission may be granted temporary admission provided they present acceptable evidence concerning their qualifications for graduate study. Regular admission must be accomplished within the first term of registration.
2. Individuals not seeking an advanced degree but with specific qualifications for one or more courses, including courses required for licensing or certification, may register for such courses subject to review by the department and the dean. Schools providing such an opportunity may specify the number of credits or courses for which an individual may enroll while in this status and should also clearly specify the limitations on transfer of such credits toward a graduate degree if the individual is subsequently admitted to a graduate degree program.
The University of Pittsburgh welcomes applications from students in other countries. An inquiry from a prospective student from abroad should receive from the department or school a prompt response that includes a description of the program(s), the necessary application forms, including the Application Data form and Supplemental Application for Foreign Students, and instructions concerning the completion of an application, including information about applying online.
When a department or school receives the completed application, including all academic records and letters of reference, it may request an admissions officer in the Office of International Services (OIS) to evaluate the duration of primary, secondary, and university education, the nature of the institution(s) attended, the system of grading in that institution, and to recommend admission or rejection of the candidate. Academic credentials must be originals written in the language in which credentials are normally issued. Certified translations must accompany credentials which are not in English.
Each foreign applicant must provide clear evidence of proficiency in English. (See English Language Proficiency.) In addition, each applicant must provide evidence of adequate financial resources for the estimated length of study at the University of Pittsburgh. The Office of International Services (OIS) will determine whether or not this requirement has been satisfied by the applicant.
When a department or school has completed its evaluation of the credentials of an applicant, it notifies the candidate that he or she is or is not academically qualified for admission. The letter to the applicant must state that the applicant will receive either a visa document or further instructions from the OIS. In all cases, a duplicate copy of the letter of admission and award of financial aid, if any, must be sent to OIS, as must copies of all rejection letters.
Upon satisfaction of all academic and non-academic requirements, the OIS will issue, as appropriate, the Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant "F-1" Student Status or Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor "J-1" Status. Along with visa documents, OIS will send information concerning arrival and orientation.
The University reserves the right, even after the arrival and enrollment of a student from another country, to require, at his or her own expense, individual curricular adjustments whenever particular deficiencies or needs are found. This could include enrollment without credit in additional course work in English as a foreign language or in courses prerequisite to his or her regular course of study. New students from abroad should be encouraged to use the services of OIS to help them in their adjustment to the United States and to facilitate their total educational experience.
Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to study without being hindered by language problems, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion. The determination that the applicant has sufficient proficiency is made by the admitting department or school, subject to University-wide minimum standards determined by the University Council on Graduate Study. The University’s full policy on Assessment for English Language Proficiency for Admission (Policy 09-02-01) can be found at http://www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-02-01.html. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Provost or Provost’s delegate after review of the entire record and consultation with the Office of International Services.
In keeping with the University policy on Certification of English Language Fluency for Teaching, students who are not native-speakers of English and are appointed as teaching assistants or teaching fellows are required to take a test of their spoken English upon arrival. Individuals are given non-teaching assignments and are required to take special course work until they attain passing scores. An unsatisfactory score at the time of reappointment is sufficient cause for nonrenewal.
A student who has not registered for at least one credit during a 12-month period will be transferred automatically to inactive status and must file an application for readmission to graduate study (and pay the application fee) before being permitted to register again. While on inactive status, a student is not eligible to use University facilities and should not expect to receive counseling by the faculty or active supervision by his/her adviser and committee. Readmission is not automatic nor does it necessarily reinstate the student in the academic status enjoyed prior to becoming inactive. When readmitted, the student must be prepared to demonstrate proper preparation to meet all current admission and degree requirements.
The Office of the Provost publishes the University of Pittsburgh Academic Calendar, which establishes the dates for registration. These dates also appear in the Schedule of Classes for each term, which is available online through the Office of the Registrar.
A student must be officially admitted, readmitted, or reinstated to the University before he or she may register for courses.
Faculty members are responsible for advising students concerning their programs and specific course selections each term. Students are required to follow the registration process outlined by their school, and they must adhere to registration deadlines in order to avoid the assessment of a late registration fee. Students pursuing two degrees or a degree and a certificate simultaneously must list one as the primary academic program and may list the other as a secondary academic program during the registration process. Students are billed at the tuition rate of the primary academic program. It is recommended that such students meet with advisers in both the primary and secondary academic programs. Generally, a certificate program should be listed as a secondary academic program.
Students registering for the first time should be advised to complete registration well before the beginning of the term. After the start of classes, registration is permitted for new and continuing students only with the written approval of the dean in unusual circumstances and with the payment of a late registration fee.
All graduate students are expected to be registered in accordance with the program of study they are carrying. No person should expect to receive guidance and direction from members of the Graduate Faculty unless he or she is so registered. Students must be registered in the term in which they take preliminary and comprehensive examinations.
All graduate students must register for at least one credit during the 12-month period preceding graduation and must be registered for the term in which they are graduated. Waivers may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Registrar from the dean of the school. The request should be based on very extenuating circumstances, e.g., inability of the student's dissertation committee to meet during the final term when a student has given reasonable notice or the student has completed all degree requirements in a previous term.
The Registrar will withhold registration and add/drop services from students who so warrant for financial, academic or disciplinary reasons. The University reserves the right to change registration procedures. Current registration procedures are published each term in the Schedule of Classes.
Graduate students who register for nine to fifteen credits in the fall or spring term are full-time students and are assessed the current tuition rate for their school. A school may require students enrolled in a degree program to register for more than nine credits. Students who register for fewer than nine credits are part-time students and billed on a per-credit basis. Admission procedures for part-time students are the same as those for full-time students.
Doctoral students who have completed all credit requirements for the degree, including any minimum dissertation credit requirements and are working full-time on their dissertations may register for "Full-time Dissertation Study," which carries no credits or letter grade but provides students full-time status. Students so enrolled are assessed a special tuition fee.
No student is permitted to register for more than 15 graduate credits without written permission from the dean of the academic center in which the student is pursuing a degree. Graduate students who register for more than 15 credits will be billed for each additional credit that exceeds their full-time tuition rate. Individual schools and departments may restrict the maximum program of any or all of their graduate students.
Through the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE), Carlow University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, La Roche College, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh offer graduate students the opportunity for cross-registration in graduate programs in the fall and spring terms. Credits earned by cross-registration in graduate courses, when approved in advance by the student's graduate adviser, are accepted as University of Pittsburgh credits for the purpose of the calculation of the grade point average and the completion of degree requirements. Each department at each institution retains the authority to establish the prerequisites for admission and the maximum enrollment in its own courses and to grant priority in registration to its own graduate students.
Students may add or drop courses before the end of the Add/Drop period. A student who wishes to withdraw from an individual course after the Add/Drop period but prior to the end of the ninth week of the term or the deadlines noted in the Schedule of Classes for the summer sessions, must complete a Monitored Withdrawal form available from the dean, obtain the signature of the instructor, and return the completed form to the dean's office of the school offering the course. A W grade will then be issued. After the official withdrawal deadline a student may withdraw from a course only in extraordinary circumstances and with the permission of the dean.
Students may terminate their registration in all classes by informing the Office of the Registrar of their intent to do so prior to the end of the Add/Drop period for the term. Students registered for courses scheduled to begin after the end of the Add/Drop period for the term may terminate their registration by informing the Registrar's Office of their intent to do so at any time prior to the first scheduled meeting day of the class.
An official resignation occurs when the student notifies the Office of Student Accounts of the intent to terminate registration for all classes after the end of the term's/sessions' Add/Drop period but no later than the 60th calendar day of the term or the deadlines noted in the Schedule of Classes for the summer sessions. The R grade will be assigned for each course for which the student registered.
A student may withdraw from all courses after the 60th calendar day of the term or by the deadlines noted in the Schedule of Classes for the summer sessions by processing their withdrawal through the office of the student's academic dean. There is no financial adjustment associated with this procedure, which results in the assignment of W grades for the courses.
A student who stops attending a course and does not initiate the withdrawal or resignation procedures may be assigned an F grade.
Students who plan to return to the University within one calendar year must indicate this when they provide notification of resignation. Students who do not advise the University of their intent to return to the University within one calendar year are classified as permanent resignations. Students who permanently resign and later decide to return to the University must apply for readmission and pay the appropriate fees. This includes cases when the readmission date is less than one year from the effective date of resignation.
Tuition rates, fees, and other charges paid by graduate students are established by the Board of Trustees in cooperation with the University Administration.
The University reserves the right to change registration procedures. Current registration procedures are published each term in the Schedule of Classes.