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Fill your spring schedule with these new academic programs

  • University News
  • Teaching & Learning

Enrollment is almost here, and whether you’re looking for a second major or to dig deeper in your field, Pittwire has you covered with a roundup of the latest academic offerings.

Several new courses, certificates and programs will debut in the spring 2023 semester, including a multidisciplinary course called Happiness and Human Flourishing (NURS 1014/ENGR 1711).

“In this class, we study a broad array of resources for flourishing even in the midst of suffering, from ancient religions and philosophies to recent empirical work on resilience. Students can learn from these traditions how to help themselves and the people they love,” said Ryan McDermott, associate professor of literature in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Though the course is launching during the Year of Emotional Well-Being, it was years in the making, said Grant Martsolf, professor in the School of Nursing.

“We were interested in bolstering students’ equanimity even before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martsolf said.

He, McDermott and David Sanchez, associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, will team-teach the class.

“Resilience is a main focus of the course,” said McDermott. “We assume that all of our students either have a friend with mental health struggles or have those struggles themselves.”

There are more novel interdisciplinary opportunities and educational offerings for students to explore in the list below. For additional information on Pitt programs and degrees, explore the Degree Finder, browse a list of University programs and search the course catalog.

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Check out the inaugural offerings in the Dietrich School, including a Disability Studies certificate examining disability as a facet of society, culture and an individual experience. Students will take 18 credits across multiple departments including English composition, rehabilitation sciences and film studies.

The Department of Africana Studies will accept its first PhD cohort in 2023. Candidates may choose between three concentrations: race and equity, migration and community transformation, and culture and creative production.

And don’t miss two new classes from the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program: Food Justice in Interdisciplinary Perspective (GSWS 1140) and Feminist Theory in Historical Perspective (GSWS 0510).


Pitt-Greensburg students have 10 new courses to choose from, including three classes focusing on contemporary and historical political affairs.

Hot-button issues in policy, media, business and politics will be explored in The Policy Practicum (SOCSCI 1905). Students will learn about policy development processes through real-world experiences by participating in an off-campus seminar and in-class symposiums, including a weeklong experience at the Washington Center in Washington, D.C.

Significant events and trends of the post-World War II era, including the war and its aftermath and issues in civil rights, will be examined in Contemporary U.S. History (HIST 1317).

Music for Social and Political Change (PS 0802) will cover music as an essential social and political mobilization factor and also look at specific issues such as class, race and civil rights, peace and anti-war movements and international political conditions.

School of Computing and Information

Now there’s a degree combining a core program of physics, computer science and quantum information and quantum computing courses. The Physics and Quantum Computing major is jointly offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Dietrich School and the Department of Computer Science.

School of Public Health

The School of Public Health is home to a smattering of new classes in areas as diverse as biostatistics, infectious diseases and hands-on data management.

One notable course offered next semester, Can Art Heal? An Introduction to the Arts in Health Research and Interventions (PUBHLT 0401), allows students to explore the arts as a powerful tool that benefits communities.

Also, be sure to check out The Aqueous Environment, Sustainability and Public Health (PUBHLT 0423), Improving Communication with Applied Improvisation Techniques (PUBHLT 044) and Ethical Issues in Public and Community Health (PUBHLT 0500).

School of Law

Two new programs incorporate flexibility into the law curriculum.

Students can work at their own pace to earn the Online International Business Law and Dispute Resolution Certificate over the course of 10 months. The curriculum focuses on key foundational topics in U.S. and international business law applied to business transactions and the resolution of cross border disputes through litigation, mediation and arbitration.

In the second new offering, lawyers outside the U.S. have a hybrid option to earn an LLM, an advanced law degree focusing on common legal tradition and the U.S. legal system, with the option to pursue a concentration in one of several areas relevant to the global practice of law. Enrollees will complete the first 12 months of the program from their home country followed by an additional four months at Pitt.

School of Nursing

For those interested in cutting-edge health care technologies and their related ethical issues, the School of Nursing’s Ethics of Biotechnology (NUR 1308/2308) course is the place to be.

Local and national experts, featured each week, will expound on topics such as stem cell research, CRISPR/gene editing, Big Data, neuroengineering and reproductive technologies.

Swanson School of Engineering

The Swanson School’s industrial engineering program is rolling out an Engineering Data Analytics Undergraduate Certificate. This opportunity, open to any undergraduate, will prepare students to take on new challenges of advancing engineering applications using the acquisition, management and analysis of data, including using new machine learning and artificial intelligence methods — highly marketable data science skills.

University Center for International Studies

The European Studies Center, the Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Center and the Department of History are launching a Central European Studies Certificate focused on the history, culture, economy and entanglements of central Europe — a region that historically, politically and culturally is the most diverse and dynamic in Europe since the 1800s.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? There’s more to explore: Learn about other Pitt programs during fall open house events.


— Nichole Faina, photography by Aimee Obidzinski