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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Special Academic Opportunities

The University of Pittsburgh makes many special academic opportunities available to all of the University’s undergraduate students. These opportunities provide students with ways to augment their education and experience with expanded study programs both on campus and off campus, in both University and professional settings.

Area of Concentration (Sub-Plan)

An area of concentration is an approved educational experience that results in concentrated training in or knowledge of a particular area within the discipline of a degree program. For more information about specific areas of concentration, see individual school sections.

Certificate Programs

Students may broaden their educational experience by electing to take an academic interdisciplinary certificate program in the areas listed below. The certificate may partially fulfill the degree requirements of the student’s school. The requirements for each certificate vary, and students should contact the certificate program director. For more information about these certificate programs, see their individual listings in the school or center section identified in parentheses.

  • Accounting (CGS)
  • African Studies (UCIS)
  • American Sign Language (A&S)
  • Asian Studies (UCIS)
  • Assistive Technology in Rehabilitation (SHRS)
  • Children’s Literature (A&S)
  • Civil Engineering and Architectural Studies (ENGR)
  • Communications (CGS)
  • Community Health Assessment (CGS)
  • Conceptual Foundations of Medicine (A&S)
  • Corporate/Community Relations (CGS)
  • Dental Hygiene (DEN)
  • Digital Media (CGS)
  • Emergency Medicine in Rehabilitation (SHRS)
  • English Writing (CGS)
  • European Union Studies (UCIS)
  • Fessenden Honors Engineering (ENGR)
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (A&S) (CGS)
  • Geographic Information Systems (A&S)
  • German Language (A&S)
  • Global Studies (UCIS)
  • Historic Preservation (A&S)
  • History and Philosophy of Science (A&S)
  • Information System Design (CGS)
  • International Business (CBA)
  • International Engineering Studies (ENGR)
  • Jewish Studies (A&S)
  • Latin American Studies (UCIS)
  • Leadership (A&S)
  • Leadership and Ethics (CBA)
  • Managing Health Services Programs and Projects (CGS)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies (A&S)
  • National Preparedness and Homeland Security (CGS)
  • Nonprofit Management (CGS)
  • Nuclear Engineering (ENGR)
  • Pathokinesiology in Rehabilitation (SHRS)
  • Photonics (A&S)
  • Product Realization (ENGR)
  • Psycho-Social Issues in Rehabilitation (SHRS)
  • Public and Professional Writing (A&S)
  • Russian and East European Studies (UCIS)
  • Sustainable Engineering (ENGR)
  • West European Studies (UCIS)
  • Writing for the Professions (CGS)

Abbreviations are as follows:

A&S = Arts and Sciences
CBA = College of Business Administration
DEN = School of Dental Medicine
CGS = College of General Studies
ENGR = Swanson School of Engineering
UCIS = University Center for International Studies

Cooperative Programs

The University has established some arrangements with industry that permit students to rotate four-month terms between the workplace and the classroom. These programs are administered by the Swanson School of Engineering and available to engineering, computer science, and engineering technology students. The experience normally starts in the sophomore or junior year. Call 412-624-9826 for more information or see

Cross Registration

Cross-college and cross-university registration is a program designed to provide enriched educational opportunities for undergraduates in any of the following participating Pittsburgh-area institutions: Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh. For requirements and limitations, see the Cross-Registration  section of this catalog or visit

Double And Joint Degrees

Students may simultaneously pursue more than one undergraduate degree (e.g., a BA and a BS within Arts and Sciences, or an undergraduate degree in the Swanson School of Engineering and in Arts and Sciences). Students must be admitted to both schools offering the degrees and fulfill the degree requirements of both schools. For the double degree (whether within or between schools), the student must complete not only the requirements for both degrees, but also a minimum of 30 credits beyond what is normally required for the primary degree (e.g., a student earning two A&S degrees would need at least 150 credits, rather than the usual 120; a student earning an A&S degree as the primary degree and a degree from another University of Pittsburgh school as the secondary degree would need at least 150 credits). Students must maintain a 2.00 GPA in all courses. Check with the individual school for other specific requirements that apply.

Graduate And Professional School Opportunities

Graduate school provides students with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and qualifications in areas of academic and professional interest. All students can take advantage of being at a major research and graduate institution by exploring the many possibilities for graduate study that exist at the University. For information about specific programs, see the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog.

University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students with sufficient preparation are permitted to enroll in certain graduate courses at the University 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 that will later apply toward a graduate degree. See the Graduate Catalog - Academic Regulations section “Enrollment in Graduate Courses as an Undergraduate”.

Some schools offer accelerated admission into certain graduate and professional schools through a combined program leading to both a bachelor’s and graduate or professional degree. The participating undergraduate schools and their early admissions graduate school partners are listed below:

  • Arts and Sciences (A&S)-Communication Science Program (speech, pathology, and audiology) within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS)
  • A&S-Physical Therapy Program within SHRS
  • A&S-School of Dental Medicine
  • BS in Computer Science and MA or MS in Computer Science, both from Arts and Sciences
  • BS in Statistics and MA or MS in Statistics, both from Arts and Sciences
  • BA from Arts and Sciences and JD from Law
  • BA or BS (unspecified major, but prerequisites required) from Pitt and MS or MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health, MS or MPH in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, MS in Human Genetics, MS or MPH in Biostatistics, or BCHS or MHPE in Health services Administration from Graduate School of Public Health
  • School of Nursing-RN-Option Program (RN-MSN option)
  • SHRS-Health Information Management Program
  • BA in Legal Studies from the College of General Studies and Masters of Law from Law
  • BSBA  from College of Business Administration and JD from Law

Honors College And Honors Courses

The University Honors College (UHC) seeks to meet the special academic and cocurricular needs of the University’s most able and motivated undergraduate students. The University Honors College offers a variety of carefully designed courses from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, along with special advising opportunities for an academic community of motivated students, and a special baccalaureate degree in any undergraduate school of the University. See the University Honors College  section of this catalog for more information. In addition, some schools and departments offer an honors major. Students should see their school for more information on this opportunity.


Some schools provide internship experiences appropriate to the student’s academic discipline. An internship is a supervised, work-related experience, either on a volunteer or compensated basis. It is intended to be a new experience, not an existing position in which the student is already working. Students will only get internship credit for a current employment situation that has been pre-approved as an internship by the relevant school or department.

Minors (Plans)

A minor provides an option for a student obtaining a degree in a particular discipline to attain knowledge of another discipline. Students may earn minors in schools other than the school in which they are enrolled. After the student lists the official minor on his or her graduation application, the minor appears on the student’s academic record and official transcript when the degree is awarded. (See the Academic Programs  section of this catalog for available minors.)

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

ROTC is an educational program designed to provide full-time students an opportunity to become military officers while completing a Bachelor’s or a graduate degree. Students may elect to participate in either the Air Force or Army ROTC program at the University of Pittsburgh or the Naval ROTC program at Carnegie Mellon University. Students in the Air Force program have the option of completing a two or a four-year program. Students in the Army ROTC Program and Naval ROTC programs have the option of completing a two, three, or four-year program. Completion of the Air Force ROTC program leads to a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Completion of the Army ROTC program leads to a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the Army National Guard, or the U.S. Army Reserve. Completion of the Navy ROTC program leads to a commission as an Officer in the Navy or Marine Corps. All three programs offer monthly stipends, a book allance and tuition scholarships. Call 412-624-6396 or see for more information on the Air Force ROTC program, 412-624-6197 or see for more information on the Army ROTC program, and 412-268-5109 or for more information on the Navy ROTC program.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to add an international dimension to their undergraduate education through study abroad. Programs of study exist in almost every corner of the world and will fulfill requirements for almost any field of study. Second language proficiency is not a requirement, as most programs offer courses taught in English. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Interested students should come to the Study Abroad Office in 802 William Pitt Union to discover their many options. Call 412-648-7413 to schedule an Essentials of Study Abroad Session or explore The Engineering Study Abroad Office is in B-80G Benedum, and the College of Business Administration Study Abroad Office is in 2514 Sennott Square.

Summer Sessions

The University offers a large selection of courses in a variety of compressed sessions throughout the summer. Current students can register through their school. Several summer sessions are offered, see the Academic Calendar .

During the summer term and summer sessions, most students are charged tuition on a per-credit basis regardless of the number of credits taken.  See Financial Information . Additional information is available through the Office of University Summer Sessions at 412-383-8600 or

Summer Edge

The University offers intensive summer programs that provide academic and experiential studies delivered in a small cohort. In summer 2017, these programs are the Edge in Public and Global Health and the Edge in Wyoming. All University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students are eligible to apply. A transcript notation stating completion of the specific program will appear on the student’s transcript. For more information including program costs, see

In the Edge in Public and Global Health (11-12 credits), students learn to analyze and tackle critical world health problems through the integrated application of biological, social, and quantitative sciences. Working individually or in pairs with Public Health faculty, students will have opportunities to experience laboratory, quantitative, policy, or social science research, or field work with community organizations or health agencies. The program is administered through the School of Public Health and is offered over the 12-week summer session.  

In the Edge in Wyoming (6 credits), students explore the history and politics of the American West, including issues related to environmental policy. While at the University of Wyoming, students will experience the West and its culture by interacting with local guest speakers and visiting relevant, regional sites. The program is administered through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and is offered during 4-week-2 summer session at the University of Wyoming.

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