Statute of Limitations
Acceptance of Transfer Credits
Credit by Course Examination
Registration of Undergraduate Students for Graduate Courses
Early Admission Program
Course Work Acceptable as Graduate Credit
Two Independent Degree Programs Simultaneously
Dual and Joint Degree Programs
Graduate Programs Offered in Off-Campus Locations or via Electronic Communication
Publication of Theses and Dissertations
University Patent Policy
Application for Graduation
Certification for Graduation
A grade average of at least B (GPA = 3.00) is required in the courses which make up the program for any graduate degree.
A student with full graduate status is automatically placed on probation whenever his or her cumulative GPA falls below 3.00. Each school determines the restrictions placed on a student on probation. A student who remains on probation is subject to dismissal within a time period determined by the school, subject to review by the University Council on Graduate Study.
A student on provisional or special status or on probation is not eligible to take the Ph.D. preliminary evaluation, the MA/MS or Ph.D. comprehensive examination, or to be graduated.
The purpose of the statute of limitations is to ensure that a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh represents mastery of current knowledge in the field of study. Individual schools within the University may adopt policies that are more, but not less, stringent than those stated here.
All requirements for MA and MS degrees must be completed within a period of four consecutive calendar years from the student's initial registration for graduate study; all requirements for professional master's degrees, in five years. Dual degrees and joint degrees that require course work in excess of 50 credit hours may be granted a longer statute of limitations by the University Council on Graduate Study.
From the student's initial registration for graduate study, all requirements for the PhD degree must be completed within a period of ten years or eight years if the student has received credit for a master's degree appropriate to the field of study. Programs for professional doctoral degrees, for which the majority of candidates pursue part-time study while working full time within their chosen disciplines, may be granted a longer statute of limitations by the schools offering the degrees.
Under exceptional circumstances, a candidate for an advanced degree may apply for an extension of the statute of limitations. The request must be approved by the department or departmental committee (master's or doctoral) and submitted to the dean for final action. Requests for an extension of the statute of limitations must be accompanied by a departmental assessment of the work required of the student to complete the degree as well as documented evidence of the extenuating circumstances leading to the requested extension. Students who request an extension of the statute of limitations must demonstrate proper preparation for the completion of all current degree requirements.
Under special conditions, graduate students may be granted one leave of absence. A maximum leave of two years may be granted to doctoral students or one year to master's students. The length and rationale for the leave of absence must be stated in advance, recommended to the dean by the department, and approved by the dean. If approved, the time of the leave shall not count against the total time allowed for the degree being sought by the student. Readmission following an approved leave of absence is a formality.
The completion of requirements for advanced degrees must be satisfied through registration at the Pittsburgh campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Graduate students already enrolled may, when approved in advance by their department and the dean, spend a term or more at another graduate institution to obtain training or experience not available at the University of Pittsburgh and transfer those credits toward the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Pittsburgh. In such instances, neither the University nor any of its components is responsible for providing any financial assistance to the graduate student.
Official transcripts certifying graduate courses completed in a degree granting graduate program at another appropriately accredited institution prior to admission to the University of Pittsburgh should be submitted at the time of application and should be evaluated for acceptability as transfer credit early in the student's graduate career for acceptability as transfer credit subject to University policy, course equivalencies, and individual school requirements. In no case may the total number of credits transferred for completion of requirements for an advanced degree exceed the maximum number stated in the sections pertaining to advanced degree requirements. The Registrar, after notification by the dean, will enter the transfer (advanced standing) credits as block credits on the student's transcript. Grades (and grade points) are not recorded for credits accepted by transfer.
Transfer credits will not be accepted for courses in which a grade lower than B (GPA = 3.00) or its equivalent has been received. No credit will be granted toward an advanced degree for work completed in extension courses, correspondence courses, or in the off-campus center of another institution unless those credits are approved for equivalent graduate degrees at that institution and the institution has an accredited program.
Undergraduate students with sufficient preparation are permitted to enroll in graduate courses following procedures determined by each school. The graduate credits earned may be counted toward the undergraduate degree if approved by the student's school. These may not be counted as credits toward a graduate degree except as noted below. Undergraduate students who need fewer than 15 credits to complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree and who intend to continue study toward an advanced degree may be permitted during their final term to register for graduate courses which will later apply toward a graduate degree. The student must obtain written permission from the school of proposed graduate study that the courses may count when and if the student is admitted into the graduate degree program. This privilege should not be granted if the proposed total program exceeds a normal full-time load. Although these credits will appear on the undergraduate transcript, they will not count toward fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements. They will be posted as Advanced Standing credits on the graduate transcript.
Exceptionally able undergraduate University of Pittsburgh students may be admitted to full graduate status if their graduate and undergraduate schools have approved early admission as a permitted option, have established standards and procedures, and provided the student needs no more than 24 credits to complete the baccalaureate degree. Credits earned while enrolled in the graduate program may also be counted toward fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements.
A substantial proportion of courses acceptable toward a graduate degree should be designed explicitly for graduate students. Introductory graduate level (master's level) courses are numbered 2000-2999, those at an advanced graduate level (doctoral level) are numbered 3000-3999. To be eligible for a master's degree, a student must have completed at least four courses (12 credits) or one-half the total number of credits submitted for the degree, whichever is greater, at the graduate level (2000 or 3000 series) with at least an average grade of B (3.00). A doctoral student must complete additional graduate level courses as determined by his or her department or school. No lower level undergraduate course (numbered 0001-0999 or 7000-7999) may be applied toward a graduate degree.
Students may register for graduate courses at Carlow University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, La Roche College, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminar, Point Park University, and Robert Morris University under the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education cross-registration agreement. Such work, if approved in advance by the student's adviser, will not be considered as transfer credit and may be counted for credit toward a graduate degree; the grade earned will be used in computing the student's grade point average.
Students may pursue two independent graduate degrees simultaneously in two different schools within the University or two different departments within the same school. Students desiring to enroll in two degree programs must have approval from both program faculties and their respective deans, must be admitted into both programs, and must satisfy the degree requirements of both programs. Students are billed at the tuition rate of the primary academic program. Normally, such students should be enrolled for no more than a total of 15 credits per term.
The same examination, thesis, or dissertation cannot be used to fulfill requirements for two independent degrees, although a maximum of six credits of course work may be used in partial fulfillment of the requirements of both degrees. It is the responsibility of the dean or deans, if two schools are involved, to ensure that this regulation is enforced.
Dual and joint degree programs result in two degrees being awarded. Requirements for these programs include all or most of the requirements of two distinct academic degree programs. Dual programs exist within a single school; joint programs exist between two or more schools; cooperative programs are administered by two or more institutions. The same course, examination, or thesis may be used to fulfill requirements only if so specified in the documents formally establishing the dual or joint degree program as approved by the University. These programs may result in a student earning two separate masters' degrees, a master's and a first professional degree, or a master's or first professional degree and a doctoral degree, but never result in a student earning two separate doctoral degrees.
Students must be admitted to both academic programs offering the dual or joint degrees being sought and must be graduated from both degree programs at the same time.
A certificate program at the graduate level is a coherent set of courses and related work in a particular area. The minimum credit requirement for a certificate is 15 credits, of which 12 credits must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh. Normally, a certificate is an award granted at the graduate level only to persons receiving graduate degrees or persons who enter with graduate degrees and wish advanced training in some specific area. It is often an interdisciplinary program and may be entered by students pursuing different degree programs. If earned in conjunction with a degree program, a certificate must require additional work. In some professional schools a particular certificate program may be designed for students who are not pursuing a master's degree. In this case admission requirements must be equivalent to admission requirements for a master's degree. A student must be formally admitted into a certificate program; the certificate may appear on the transcript as a degree goal and will appear on the final transcript as an awarded certificate.
There are three types of certificate programs at the graduate level:
The academic standards set forth in the Regulations Governing Graduate Study apply to graduate programs offered in off-campus locations and offered via electronic communication. Admission criteria should be the same as those used by a school for its on-campus programs.
A student preparing a dissertation or other written work as part of academic requirements may, when appropriate, use the assistance of professional editors, provided that (1) he or she receives the approval of the research adviser or professor of the course in which written work is being submitted; (2) that editorial assistance provided be limited to use of language and not to subject matter, content or meaning; and (3) that all editorial assistance be described and acknowledged in the report.
All theses and dissertations submitted at the University of Pittsburgh must be submitted electronically. Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) are theses or dissertations prepared as text-based PDF files that can contain non-text elements such as multimedia, sound, video, and hypertext links.
All ETDs are made publicly available on the University Library System’s online catalog. Students may choose to restrict access to the ETD to University of Pittsburgh IP addresses for a maximum period of five years. After five years, the ETD will automatically become fully accessible. Full access to the ETD may be withheld for a maximum of one year if a patent application has been filed and the student receives appropriate approval from the Provost’s Office.
All doctoral candidates are required to execute an agreement with ProQuest/University Microfilms Inc. for the publication of the dissertation in the ProQuest/UMI repository.
Any thesis or dissertation may be published, either by the University or through an outside agency, provided due credit is given to the University. No form of publication, however, shall relieve the student of his or her responsibility for supplying the electronic thesis or dissertation to the University Library System.
During enrollment at the University, a student may be responsible for new discoveries and inventions that could have commercial value and contribute to scientific, technological, social, or cultural progress. Those accomplishments should be patented in the best interest of the student, the University, the public, and the government. The University's policy on patents determines the rights and obligations of the student and the University in any technology the student may invent while enrolled in the University. Details of this University policy are available from the Office of Technology Management.
Prior to the end of the term in which they are graduated, all doctoral candidates must submit to the office of the dean a completed Survey of Earned Doctorates Awarded in the United States.
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