The quality of education that graduate students receive is greatly enhanced with good academic advising at all stages of their program. Given the diversity of these needs, each school and program must determine the best way to provide these services. Each program should have a document describing its view of good graduate advising practices and a clear policy on how good graduate advising is assessed and rewarded. For more information on academic advising at the graduate level, see Elements of Good Academic Advising. Students are encouraged to consult with the individual school for school-specific advising services.
There are certain limitations on the credits that can be earned toward a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Those limitations are detailed below.
Acceptance of Transfer Credits
Students who have completed graduate courses in degree-granting graduate programs at other appropriately accredited institutions prior to admission to the University of Pittsburgh should submit official transcripts from those institutions at the time they apply so that the courses can be evaluated for transfer credit. In no case may the total number of credits transferred exceed the maximum number stated in the sections of this bulletin pertaining to advanced degree requirements. For more detail, see credit requirement information in the sections on Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees, Professional Master’s Degrees, or Doctoral Degrees as well as the relevant program information in Schools, Departments, and Programs. 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, courses delivered electronically, or those offered in the off-campus center of another institution unless those courses are approved for equivalent graduate degrees at that institution and the institution has an accredited program.
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 are responsible for providing any financial assistance to the graduate student.
Course Work Acceptable as Graduate Credit
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, and 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). Doctoral students must complete additional graduate-level courses as determined by their department or school. No lower-level undergraduate courses numbered 0001-0999 may be applied toward a graduate degree.
Credit by Course Examination
Some schools at the University offer credit by course examination. Each school authorized to offer graduate courses clearly specifies whether or not students may obtain credit toward a degree in this fashion and, if so, for which courses. A school granting graduate credit for life or work experience will do so only through the option of credit by examination.
Cross-registration provides students with the opportunity to enroll in courses at member institutions of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE). The designated colleges and universities at which undergraduate students may cross-register include Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, and Robert Morris University. Only full-time students may cross-register. Only full-time students may cross-register. Please note that students must maintain a full-time course load (at least 9 credits as a graduate student) at Pitt while cross-registered. Students who cross-register do not pay tuition to the host institution; however, they are responsible for any additional fees associated with the course such as laboratory fees, books, and the like. Students normally may register for only one course off campus in a given term. The grades and credits earned at the host institution are transferred to the home school. The academic policies of the host institution prevail.
Cross-registration is only available in the fall and spring terms. During the summer, students may attend one of the above colleges as guest students, but they must pay that institution’s tuition and fees. Students are discouraged from cross-registering during their term of graduation to avoid any delays in the receipt of course credit needed to graduate. Students should meet with their advisors or a school representative before they cross-register. For more information on cross-registration, visit pche-pa.org/.
Enrollment in Graduate Courses as an Undergraduate
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. 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.
Registering for Classes
After being admitted to a graduate program, students may register for classes during the enrollment period. The enrollment period for a term or session is published in the University’s Academic Calendar .
Students registering for the first time are advised to complete the enrollment process well before the beginning of the term. Typically, the first day of classes is the last day for students to enroll. Students who enroll after the first day of the term will be assessed a late registration fee.
Most students have the ability to utilize self-service enrollment tools available through the Student Portal or Pitt PS Mobile. Continuing students with the ability to utilize self-service enrollment will be assigned an enrollment appointment during the first two weeks of the enrollment period.
Once students have enrolled they may view their class schedules online via the Student Portal or Pitt PS Mobile.
Full-Time and Part-Time Study
Students must be officially admitted to the University to be eligible to register for classes. Graduate students who register for 9 to 15 credits in the fall or spring term are full-time students and are assessed the tuition rate for their school (for detail, see www.ir.pitt.edu/tuition). A school may require students enrolled in a degree program to register for more than 9 credits. Students who register for fewer than 9 credits are part-time students and are billed on a per-credit basis. During the summer term and summer sessions, most students are billed on a per-credit basis regardless of the number of credits taken. At the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, full-time MBA students are billed a flat rate in the summer term (since this is a one-year program, tuition is spread over three terms).
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 but are still responsible for paying the full-time computer and network, security/transportation, wellness, and activity fees. Students must consult with the dean’s office of their school for permission to register for full-time dissertation study.
Maximum Credits Per Term
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. Exceptions include the following:
- The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business allows its full-time MBA students to register for up to 18 credits in the fall and spring terms before additional per-credit tuition charges apply.
- The School of Law has no maximum number of credits in its first-professional programs for billing purposes, but permission of the associate dean is required to register for more than 15 credits per term.
- The Graduate School of Public Health allows students pursuing the Master of Health Administration or the Master of Public Health in environmental and occupational health to take up to 16 credits during their first year of study.
- The School of Social Work allows its students to register for 16 credits in the fall term before additional per-credit tuition charges apply.
Individual schools and departments may restrict the maximum credit load for programs of any or all of their graduate students.
Registration Status at Graduation
All graduate students must register for at least 1 credit or full-time dissertation study during the 12-month period preceding graduation (that is, must be on active status). Waivers may be requested by submitting a written request to the University Registrar from the dean of the school. The request should be based on 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. Waivers will not be granted to students who are inactive.
Students who have not registered for at least 1 credit or full-time dissertation study (eligible doctoral students) during a 12-month period are transferred to inactive status and must file an application for readmission to graduate study (application fee required) before being permitted to register again. Students on inactive status cannot apply to graduate or take preliminary or comprehensive examinations. Also, students on inactive status are not eligible to use University facilities and should not expect to receive counseling from the faculty or active supervision by their advisor and committee.
Adding and Dropping Courses
Students may add and drop courses only during the add/drop period. The dates for the add/drop period are listed in the University’s Academic Calendar . Students who no longer wish to remain enrolled in a course after the add/drop period has ended may withdraw from the course or resign from the University. See Monitored Withdrawal from a Course or Resigning from the University.
With the consent of the school and instructor, students may choose to audit a course. To audit a course, a student must register and pay tuition for the course. The audit grade (N) is not counted toward graduation or the GPA.
Registering for Two Independent Degree Programs Simultaneously
Students may pursue two independent graduate degrees simultaneously in two different schools within the University (joint degree) or two different departments within the same school (dual degree). Normally, such students should be enrolled for no more than a total of 15 credits per term. Special approvals and regulations apply before a student is allowed to register for courses in pursuit of two independent graduate degrees. See discussion in Special Academic Opportunities for further detail.
Registering for Cooperative, Dual-Degree, and Joint-Degree Programs
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. Before registering for courses in pursuit of a cooperative, dual-degree, or joint-degree program, a student must be admitted to both programs. See discussion in Special Academic Opportunities for further detail.
Monitored Withdrawal from a Course
After the add/drop period has ended, students may withdraw from a course that they no longer wish to attend by completing a Monitored Withdrawal Request form in the office of the school offering the course. Students must process the Monitored Withdrawal Request form within the first nine weeks of the term in the fall and spring. Because summer sessions vary in length, students should check the University’s Academic Calendar for those deadlines. Students should check with the school offering the course for the last day to submit a Monitored Withdrawal Request form. The grade W will appear on the student’s transcript. There is no financial adjustment to students’ tuition or fee obligations involved in withdrawing from courses, but withdrawing may jeopardize satisfactory academic progress, financial aid, and assistantships or fellowships.
Resigning from the University for a Specific Term
If students decide to drop all of their courses after the add/drop period has ended and before 60 percent of the term or session has been completed, they must resign from the University for that term. Official resignation from the University requires students to contact the Student Appeals Office. Students have several options. They may resign in person, by mail, or by calling 412-624-7585, where students may leave a message 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. An R grade will appear on the student’s academic transcript. Tuition is prorated from the date of the student’s notification to the Student Appeals Office of the student’s desire to resign, unless 60 percent of the term has been completed, in which case there is no refund.
After the 60 percent point of the term or session has passed, students who wish to terminate their registration may withdrawal from all classes only with the permission of their academic dean. If the reason for withdrawal is medical or psychological in nature, the academic dean may consult with the director of the Student Health Service prior to making a determination. There is no financial adjustment associated with this procedure, which results in the assignment of W grades for the courses.
Grading and Records
The Grade Point Average (GPA) is the numeric indication of a student’s academic achievement based on a 4.00 grade point scale. The value averages the total letter grades earned and is available by term or career. Some academic centers may also maintain degree and/or major/departmental GPA values.
An average of at least B (GPA=3.00) is required in the courses that make up the program for any graduate degree. Students with full graduate status are automatically placed on probation whenever their cumulative GPA falls below 3.00. Each school determines the restrictions placed on a student on probation. See Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal for further detail.
A student on provisional or special status or on probation is not eligible to take the PhD preliminary evaluation or the MA, MS, or PhD comprehensive examination, or to be graduated.
The University of Pittsburgh has a standard letter grade system (see Letter Grades below). Some additional grading options are available in some courses as determined by the school and the instructor (see sections below on University Grading Options and Other Grades). Students are subject to the grading system of the school in which they are taking the course.
University Grading Options
Individual schools may elect to offer one of the following grade options for its courses:
||Honors/High Satisfactory/Satisfactory/Low Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory*
||Satisfactory/No-Credit (Formerly the S/N Option)
|LG and H/S/U
||Letter Grade and Honors/Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory
|LG and S/NC
||Letter Grade and Satisfactory/No-Credit
*This option is available for professional students in the School of Medicine only.
From among the grading options approved by the school, each department identifies those it deems acceptable for its courses. Furthermore, course instructors may specify, within the grading options approved by the school and department, which grading options may be selected by students taking their course.
Students should choose a grading option from those listed with the course in the Class Search function within the University’s Student Information system. Grade Option/Audit Request forms for graduate courses are not required. Schools establish their own deadlines and procedures for processing grade option and audit requests.
Students receive the grade H or S for satisfactory work and U for unsatisfactory work. The grades H and S are counted toward graduation but not the student’s GPA. The grades NC and U are not counted toward graduation or the GPA. The S grade indicates adequate graduate attainment; in evaluating thesis or dissertation research, an instructor may only use the S/NC grading option.
Students may audit a course and receive an N grade with the consent of the instructor and school offering the course. However, to audit a course, a student must register and pay tuition for the course. The N grade is not counted toward graduation or the GPA.
The University’s letter grade system for graduate and professional courses is as follows:
||4.00 Superior Attainment
||3.00 Adequate graduate-level attainment
||2.00 Minimal graduate-level attainment
Courses in the first-professional programs in law, dental medicine, medicine, and pharmacy may use different attainment standards.
Other Grades: Incomplete, Withdraw, Resign
Upon a student’s completion of a course, one of the grades listed below may appear on the student’s transcript in lieu of one of the options selected by the student and/or instructor under University Grading Options. None of these grades carries quality points. Students should consult with their individual school for information on any school-specific regulations regarding these grades.
The G grade signifies unfinished course work due to extenuating personal circumstances. Students assigned G grades are required to complete course requirements no later than one year after the term in which the course was taken. After the deadline has passed, the G grade will remain on the record, and the student will be required to reregister for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation.
The I grade signifies incomplete course work due to nature of the course, clinical work, or incomplete research work in individual guidance courses or seminars.
The W grade signifies that a student withdrew from the course. See Monitored Withdrawal from a Course for more information.
The R grade indicates that a student has resigned from the University. See Resigning from the University for more information.
A student may repeat any course, except as noted below. No sequence course may be repeated for credit after a higher numbered course in that sequence has been passed with a C or higher grade. This also pertains to graduate and first professional students who have passed with a B or higher grade. No course may be repeated at any other institution and have that grade accepted as a replacement for the original grade earned at the University of Pittsburgh. The grade earned by repeating a course is used in lieu of the grade originally earned.
The following calculations apply to all students at the University of Pittsburgh:
- The original course and grade remain on the transcript and/or the academic record, however, the grade and credits originally earned are not counted in the calculation of the QPA (prior to Fall term 2005) or the GPA.
- The repeated course does not increase the number of credits counted toward meeting the degree requirements unless an F is replaced by a passing grade.
W, R, N, or NC grades reported for the repeated course will not be identified as a course repeat, thus the original grade earned will continue to be counted in the QPA (prior to Fall term 2005) or GPA. Incomplete (G or I) grades will not be identified as repeated courses until the course work is completed. Students may repeat a course no more than two times. Any grade earned in the repeated course will be posted to the academic record even if it is lower than the original grade. The repeated course must be the same in which the original grade was earned. In extenuating circumstances, a department chairman, with the dean’s approval, may substitute another course of similar content. Course repeat forms must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar to affect grade replacement.
The instructor of a course may change a student’s grade by submitting a Grade Change Request Form which can be found on the Faculty Portal. All grade changes require the authorization of the dean of the school from which the original grade was issued. Students can verify grade changes for the terms available online via Student Portal at my.pitt.edu or via Pitt PS Mobile.
An academic transcript serves as a permanent record of a student’s academic progress. The transcript is a cumulative record of the student’s GPA, as well as a record of the department, title, and grade for each course in which the student has enrolled and summary advanced standing information. Students may request an official transcript that bears the seal and signature of the University registrar. Upon graduation, the transcript reflects a student’s degree and date, major, minor, or certificate, and, if applicable, honors, area of concentration.
The academic record is not an official University transcript, but a document containing a student’s complete University of Pittsburgh academic history. In addition to the information provided on the transcript, the academic record may display additional course details, certain academic events and detailed advanced standing/placement/transfer credit information. Students can view a copy of their academic record in the Student Center at my.pitt.edu.
Students can access their grades online via the Student Center at my.pitt.edu or via Pitt PS Mobile. Grade submission deadlines can be found in the University’s Academic Calendar .
Schools and programs may recognize academic achievement by students through fellowships, scholarships, and other awards. Students should consult with their individual school and/or program for more information.
Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal
Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be subject to academic probation and/or suspension and dismissal. Students who have completed at least 9 quality point credits and whose GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation by the dean of their school. After a certain period of time on academic probation (the period is determined by the student’s school), a student is subject to academic suspension and restricted from registering for classes in that school. Details of the school’s probation system are available through that school. Students on probation are not eligible to take the PhD preliminary evaluation or the MA, MS, or PhD comprehensive examination, or to be graduated.
Effect on Financial Aid and Scholarships
Conditions for loan eligibility and many scholarships (including those for teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate student assistants, and graduate student researchers) usually require students to complete a specified number of credits each year and maintain a specified grade point average (GPA: credits counted toward the degree). Questions about the effect of unsatisfactory academic standing on loans should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid in Alumni Hall (4227 Fifth Avenue) at 412-624-7488. Questions about the effect of unsatisfactory academic standing on scholarships, including teaching and research assistantships, should be directed to the particular graduate school.
Editorial Assistance and Publication of Theses/Dissertations
All graduate students must follow University regulations regarding editorial assistance and publishing of theses and dissertations as detailed below.
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 the following rules are observed:
- The student receives the approval of the research advisor or professor of the course in which written work is being submitted.
- The student receives assistance only in use of language and not in the subject matter of the written work.
- The student acknowledges and describes all editorial assistance in the report.
Publication of Theses and Dissertations
Any thesis or dissertation may be published, either by the University or through an outside agency, provided due credit is given the University. No form of publication, however, will relieve the student of his or her responsibility to fulfill the University’s electronic theses or dissertation (ETD) requirements. Refer to the sections on Thesis Option or Dissertation and Abstract for specific requirements and to the ETD website at www.pitt.edu/~graduate/etd.
The doctoral candidate is required to execute an agreement with Proquest University Microfilms Inc. for the publication of the dissertation in the Proquest/UMI repository.
Advisors should exercise responsibility in approving research topics that will not endanger long-term research projects or the safety or welfare of informants. Dependent upon the circumstances and the research point at which the danger is recognized, the provost’s office may authorize a delay in publication of a dissertation for up to a maximum of one calendar year. Similarly, a publication may be withheld for a maximum of one year, if required, for filing a patent application.
Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees
The Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degree programs provide an introduction to scholarly activities and research and often serve as preparation for teaching careers. These degrees are awarded for the completion of a coherent program designed to assure the mastery of specified knowledge and skills, rather than a random accumulation of a certain number of courses. The overall form and content of the student’s program of study is the responsibility of the faculty of the department. To carry out this responsibility, each student must be assigned a major advisor, who, in consultation with the student, plans a program of study and research in accord with school and departmental guidelines.
MA and MS Requirements
The Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees normally require the satisfactory completion of approximately 30 credits of graduate study approved by the department or school. No Master of Arts or Master of Science degree program may require fewer than 24 course credits. No more than 6 credits may be granted toward the completion of the requirements for a master’s degree for work completed at another accredited graduate institution or for work previously completed at the University of Pittsburgh. See Acceptance of Transfer Credits section for further information.
At least four courses (12 credits) or one-half the master’s degree program, whichever is greater, must be at the graduate-level (the 2000 or 3000 series) and must be completed with an average grade of B (3.00). No course numbered below 1000 may be applied toward graduate degree requirements.
Some master’s programs may include approved areas of concentration or minors. Areas of concentration define and describe the student’s training and expertise within the broader discipline. Minors represent significant course work completed in an area related to the student’s specialty. Such areas of concentration or minors are added to the transcript upon the granting of the degree.
Master’s degrees are conferred only on those students who have completed all courses required for the degree with an average grade of B (i.e., a 3.00 GPA).
The requirement of proficiency in second languages is at the discretion of individual departments or schools.
Departments provide students with a copy of school and departmental regulations appropriate for their program and/or maintain current and accurate Web sites covering this information. Students are expected to become familiar with these and to satisfy all prescribed degree requirements.
MA or MS degrees are conferred only upon those students who, in one or more comprehensive examinations or the equivalent, show that they have mastered the general field of their graduate study. Each department or similar unit is responsible for specifying the content and procedure for administration of the comprehensive examination and will specify for each candidate the field of his or her examination, which may vary from student to student. When a program substitutes an equivalent requirement for the comprehensive examination, the department should notify the University Council on Graduate Study and describe the substitution.
Students on inactive, special, or provisional status or on probation are not eligible to take a comprehensive examination. These examinations must be taken at least one month prior to the last day of the term in which the degree is to be granted. The results must be reported promptly to the office of the dean but no later than the last day of the term in which the examination is administered. A student who is unable to complete all degree requirements within a two-year period after passing the comprehensive examination may be re-examined at the discretion of the department program director, or dean.
The requirement of a thesis or its equivalent is at the discretion of individual departments, programs, or schools. If a thesis is submitted, its form must be in accord with specifications stipulated in the ETD Format Guidelines. Each candidate must provide a suitable number of copies of the thesis for review and use as designated by the thesis examining committee, consisting of at least three members of the faculty recommended by the major advisor and approved by the department chair. The final oral examination in defense of the master’s thesis is conducted by the thesis committee, and a report of this examination signed by all members of the committee must be filed in the office of the dean. After the examination, the approved ETD must be deposited to the ETD Online System where it will be reviewed by the ETD Student Services Staff in the dean’s office of the student’s school and submitted for microfilming by Compucom and deposit in the University Library System. A receipt for the ETD processing/microfilming fees and any necessary paperwork must be submitted to the appropriate ETD Student Services Staff in the Office of the Dean.
It is typical for a program to require additional course work if a thesis is not required.
For the Master of Arts degree, students must acceptably describe, in writing, one or more substantial intellectual experiences or accomplishments. In programs in which a master’s thesis is optional, the student must satisfy this requirement by submitting a paper (or papers), as designated by the major department, and must demonstrate competence in using methods of scholarship.
For the Master of Science degree, a paper or research project is usually required.
Regulations Pertaining to Professional Master’s Degrees
The professional master’s degree programs are generally similar to those for the MA and MS except that they emphasize instruction in professional affairs and practice and serve as preparation for careers in the professions. The program of study is a coherent program designed to assure the mastery of specified knowledge and skills, rather than a random accumulation of a certain number of courses. The overall form and content of the student’s program of study is the responsibility of the student’s department or school. To carry out this responsibility, each student must be assigned a major advisor, who, in consultation with the student, plans a program of study and research in accord with school and departmental guidelines.
Professional Master’s Degree Requirements
Professional master’s degrees are conferred upon those students who demonstrate comprehensive mastery of their general field of study. The professional master’s degrees normally require the satisfactory completion of more than 30 credits of graduate study approved by the department. No professional master’s degree program may require fewer than 30 credits. No more than one-third of the total number of required credits may be granted to a student as transfer credit for work done at another accredited graduate institution. (See Acceptance of Transfer Credits section for further detail.) At least one-half of the credits earned in a master’s degree program must be at the graduate level (the 2000 or 3000 series). No courses numbered below 1000 may be applied toward graduate degree requirements. Master’s degrees are conferred only on those students who have completed all course requirements with at least a 3.00 GPA.
Most professional master’s degree programs provide opportunities for theoretical studies and practical applications. Students are expected to acquire professional skills through course work, projects, internships, practica, and/or research papers as part of demonstrating their comprehensive mastery of their field of study.
Requirements vary from school to school. Departments provide students with a copy of school and departmental regulations or maintain current and accurate Web sites appropriate for their programs. Students are expected to become familiar with these and to satisfy all prescribed degree requirements.
Professional master’s degrees are conferred upon those students who demonstrate comprehensive mastery of the general field of study. This includes: (a) satisfactory completion of all course requirements and (b) other performances that indicate comprehensive mastery such as examinations, internships, research projects, theses, and practica. These requirements vary from school to school; students should refer to the specific requirements of their program in the Schools, Departments, and Programs section of this bulletin.
Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees
While the regulations governing doctoral study in this section represent University-wide policy, students should check the Schools, Departments, and Programs section of this bulletin and with their advisor for any expansions of or exceptions to these rules.
Admission to Doctoral Study
In some doctoral programs, the requirements for admission to graduate study and for admission to doctoral study are identical, while other programs require the completion of a master’s degree or its equivalent as a prerequisite for admission to doctoral study. Admission to doctoral study does not include any implication concerning admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Normally, only one major department of graduate study is permitted for the PhD degree. However, a few formal interdisciplinary programs and, under some circumstances, some independently designed interdisciplinary doctoral programs are available (see Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programs section).
Programs of Study
PhD programs offered at the University of Pittsburgh provide a coherent series of courses, seminars, and discussions designed to develop in the student a mature understanding of the content, methods, theories, and values of a field of knowledge and its relation to other fields. Each program trains the student in the methods of independent research appropriate to the discipline and provides an advisor and a committee to guide the student in an extended investigation of an original and independent research project of significance in the field.
The overall form and content of each student’s program is the responsibility of the Graduate Faculty of the department or program. To carry out this responsibility, the departments or programs must ensure that each student has a major advisor who, in consultation with the student, plans a program of study and research in accord with school and departmental guidelines. The advisor may prescribe additional courses both within and outside the department that are essential and/or appropriate to the student’s program.
Some doctoral programs may include approved areas of concentration used to define and describe the student’s training and expertise within the broader discipline. Such an area of concentration is added to the transcript upon the granting of the degree.
Doctoral level courses are numbered in the 3000 series, but courses numbered in the 2000 series may also be appropriate for doctoral study. Normally, courses numbered below 2000 do not meet the minimum requirements for doctoral study, although they may be taken to supplement a doctoral program.
Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in courses to be eligible to take the preliminary and comprehensive examinations as well as to graduate.
The requirement of proficiency in the use of second languages or other tools of research is at the discretion of individual departments or schools.
Departments or programs provide students with a copy of school and departmental regulations appropriate for their program and/or maintain current and accurate Web sites covering this information. In turn, students are expected to become familiar with these and to satisfy all prescribed degree requirements.
The minimum 72-credit requirement for the PhD degree is met by six terms of registration as a graduate student for 12 or more credits per term or the equivalent number of credits taken in a reduced load over a longer period of time. If the school requires completion of its master’s degree program prior to admission into its doctoral program, at least four terms of registration for 12 or more credits per term or the equivalent number of credits in a reduced load are required as a minimum for the PhD degree. No more than 30 credits may be accepted for a master’s degree awarded by another institution to meet the minimum credit requirement; some schools have more stringent requirements, including the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health, both of which will accept only 24 credits for a master’s degree awarded by another institution.
In recognition of graduate study beyond the master’s degree successfully completed elsewhere, no more than 12 additional credits may be accepted at the time of admission to meet the minimum credit requirement. (See also Acceptance of Transfer Credits section.) No more than 30 credits may be accepted for a previously earned PhD degree in recognition of master’s degree work, though some schools have more stringent requirements.
Graduate students already enrolled may, when approved in advance by their department or program 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 all cases, at least three terms, or 36 credits, of full-time doctoral study or the equivalent in part-time study must be successfully completed at the University of Pittsburgh.
Students seeking the PhD degree are required to engage in a minimum of one term of full-time doctoral study, which excludes any other employment except as approved by their departments.
The preliminary evaluation should be designed to assess the breadth of the student’s knowledge of the discipline, the student’s achievement during the first year of graduate study, and the potential to apply research methods independently. The form and nature of the evaluation should be approved at the school level and described in the school bulletin. It should be conducted at approximately the end of the first year of full-time graduate study. The evaluation is used to identify those students who may be expected to complete a doctoral program successfully and also to reveal areas of weakness in the student’s preparation. Evaluation results must be reported promptly to the dean’s office, but no later than the last day of the term in which the evaluation occurs. A student on provisional, inactive, or special status or on probation is not eligible to take the preliminary evaluation.
The comprehensive examination should be designed to assess the student’s mastery of the general field of doctoral study, the student’s acquisition of both depth and breadth in the area of specialization within the general field, and the ability to use the research methods of the discipline. In some programs, the comprehensive examination is combined with the overview or prospectus meeting. It should be administered at approximately the time of the completion of the formal course requirements and should be passed at least eight months before the scheduling of the final oral examination and dissertation defense. In no case may the comprehensive examination be taken in the same term in which the student is to graduate. Examination results must be reported promptly to the dean’s office but no later than the last day of the term in which the examination is administered. A student who is unable to complete all degree requirements within a five-year period after passing the comprehensive examination may be re-examined at the discretion of the department or school. A student on provisional, inactive, or special status or on probation is not eligible to take the program comprehensive examination.
Before the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree, the student’s major advisor proposes, for the approval of the director of the school’s doctoral program and the dean, a committee of four or more persons, including at least one from another department in the University of Pittsburgh or from an appropriate graduate program at another academic institution, to serve as the doctoral committee. The majority of the committee, including the major advisor, must be full or adjunct members of the Graduate Faculty. This committee must review and approve the proposed research project before the student may be admitted to candidacy. A published Graduate Faculty Membership Roster is updated three times a year.
This doctoral committee has the responsibility to advise the student during the progress of the candidate’s research and has the authority to require high-quality research and/or the rewriting of any portion or all of the dissertation. It conducts the final oral examination and determines whether the dissertation meets accepted standards.
Meetings of the doctoral candidate and the dissertation committee must occur at least annually from the time the student gains admission to doctoral candidacy. During these meetings, the committee should assess the student’s progress toward the degree and discuss objectives for the following year and a timetable for completing degree requirements. It is the responsibility of the dean of each school to determine a mechanism for monitoring the occurrence of these annual reviews.
The membership of the doctoral committee may be changed whenever it is appropriate or necessary, subject to the approval of the department chair, or program director and the dean.
When a doctoral committee member leaves the University, the member must be replaced unless the dissertation is almost complete or the member has an essential role on the committee. In the latter case, the dean’s approval should be obtained. When the chair of a committee leaves and cannot be conveniently replaced, a cochair must be appointed from within the department, and the restructured committee requires the approval of the dean and either the department chair or the director of the school’s doctoral program. If the defense takes place within a few months of the chair’s departure, the requirement of the cochair is usually waived.
Retired faculty members may remain as members or chairs of committees if they are spending considerable time in Pittsburgh or the vicinity and are still professionally active. Retired faculty who meet these criteria may also be appointed as a member or as a cochair (but not chair) of a newly formed committee. Retired faculty who leave the Pittsburgh area and/or do not remain professionally active should be replaced on committees and the revised committee approved by the dean and either the department chair or the school’s director of doctoral programs.
Overview or Prospectus Meeting
Each student must prepare a dissertation proposal for presentation to the doctoral committee at a formal dissertation overview or prospectus meeting. The overview requires the student to carefully formulate a plan and permits the doctoral committee members to provide guidance in shaping the conceptualization and methodology of that plan. The doctoral committee must unanimously approve the dissertation topic and research plan before the student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Approval of the proposal does not imply either the acceptance of a dissertation; prepared in accord with the proposal or the restriction of the dissertation to this original proposal. The student is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate regulatory approvals are obtained for the proposed research. For example, if the research proposed in the overview or prospectus involves human subjects, that proposed research must be approved by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) before it may be carried out.
Admission to Candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to the research and the writing of the dissertation. To qualify for admission to candidacy, students must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be in full graduate status
- Have satisfied the requirement of the preliminary evaluation
- Have completed formal course work with a minimum grade point average of 3.00
- Have passed the comprehensive examination
- Have received approval of the proposed subject and plan of the dissertation from the doctoral committee following an overview or prospectus meeting of the committee
In some schools, admission to candidacy is a prerequisite to registration for dissertation credits. Students are informed of admission to candidacy by written notification from the dean, who also states the approved doctoral committee’s composition.
Registering for Full-Time Dissertation Study
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 but are still responsible for the full-time computer and network, security/transportation, student health, and activity fees. Students must consult with the dean’s office of their school for permission to register for full-time dissertation study.
Dissertation and Abstract
Each student must write a dissertation that presents the results of his or her research project. An appropriate research project involves a substantive piece of original and independent research grounded in an appropriate body of literature. The dissertation must be relevant to an identifiable field as it is currently practiced, present a hypothesis tested by data and analysis, and provide a significant contribution or advancement in that field. It is the responsibility of the student’s doctoral committee to evaluate the dissertation in these terms and to recommend the awarding of the doctoral degree only if the dissertation is judged to demonstrate these qualities.
A dissertation should demonstrate the following characteristics:
- The establishment of an historical context for the presentation of an innovative and creative approach to the problem, analysis, and solution
- A clear understanding of the problem area as revealed by analysis and synthesis of a broad literature base
- A well-defined research design
- Clarity in composition and careful documentation
- Results of sufficient merit to be published in refereed journals or to form the basis of a book or monograph
- Sufficient detail so that other scholars can build on it in subsequent work
- The preparation of the author to assume a position within the profession
If the dissertation is the result of a collaborative research effort, the project should be structured in such a way that the student’s dissertation results from one clearly identified piece of work in which the student has unquestionably supplied the major effort. The contributions of the student and the other collaborators must be clearly identified.
Published articles authored by the student and based on research conducted for the dissertation study may be included in the dissertation if the student’s department and school have a written policy that this is acceptable. In any case, the published work must be logically connected and integrated into the dissertation in a coherent manner, and sufficient detail must be presented to satisfy the characteristics of a dissertation. The student should be the sole or primary author of the published work. If the published articles were coauthored, the contribution of the student must be clearly delineated in the introduction so the committee can ascertain that the student’s own work satisfies the requirements of a dissertation. The ETD Format Guidelines gives instructions on incorporating articles into the dissertation.
Candidates for the doctoral degree must provide a suitable number of copies of the dissertation, as determined by the doctoral committee and school policy, for review and use during the final oral examination. The general format of the dissertation and the abstract is determined by the Office of the Provost and is set forth in the ETD Format Guidelines. Specific instructions should be available in the office of the dean of the school. After the final oral examination is successfully completed, the candidate must deposit the approved ETD to the ETD Online System where it will be reviewed by the ETD Student Services Staff in the dean’s office of the student’s school. At least two additional copies of the dissertation abstract, a receipt for payment of the dissertation processing/microfilm fees and any necessary paperwork must be submitted to the appropriate ETD Student Services Staff in the office of the dean of the student’s school. The candidate is also required to execute an agreement with Proquest Information and Learning for the publication of the dissertation on microform and in an electronic format and submit the Survey of Earned Doctorates (Forms are available in the dean’s office). Students should check with their school for any additional supporting documents and/or requirements.
Language of the Doctoral Dissertation
The language in which doctoral dissertations are written shall normally be English. Exceptions may be granted by the student’s dean with the approval of the dissertation advisor and committee, but only for sound reasons of scholarship. Permission shall never be granted on the grounds of the student’s inadequate command of English.
Final Oral Examination
The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and need not be confined to materials in and related to the dissertation. Any member of the Graduate Faculty of the University may attend and participate in the examination. The date, place, and time of the examination should be published well in advance in the University Times or the Pitt Chronicle. Other qualified individuals may be invited by the committee to participate in the examination. Only members of the doctoral committee may be present during the final deliberations and vote on the passing of the candidate. A report of this examination, signed by all the members of the doctoral committee, must be sent to the dean. If the decision of the committee is not unanimous, the case is referred to the dean for resolution. The chair of the doctoral committee should ensure that the dissertation is in final form before requesting signatures of the members of the committee.
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programs
A student may be admitted into one of two types of interdisciplinary doctoral programs, generic and individualized.
Generic programs are ongoing, formally structured, and approved doctoral programs. Admission to these programs follows the same procedures as those of departmental programs.
Individualized programs are specially designed to permit an exceptionally able student who has earned a master’s degree or the equivalent to pursue an interdisciplinary doctoral program structured to satisfy his or her unique goals. Such students should apply to the dean of the school if the departments involved in the proposed program are organized within one school or to the Provost if the departments are organized within more than one school. The student must satisfy the admission requirements of each of the departments or schools involved in the proposed program.
If the request is approved, the dean or the Provost, in consultation with the departments concerned, will designate five members from these departments to serve as an advisory committee. After these advisors meet with the student, a chief advisor is selected to assume responsibility for general guidance to the student. These advisors continue their responsibility until the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree and may, if it is appropriate, continue as the doctoral committee for this student.
Other Research Doctoral Degrees
The University of Pittsburgh, through its professional schools, offers the following doctoral degrees in professional fields of study: Doctor of Education and Doctor of Public Health.
These doctoral degree programs are similar to those for the PhD in the degree of rigor required; the minimum total credit requirements and permissible transfer credits; the requirements for the successful completion of a preliminary evaluation and a comprehensive examination; the admission to doctoral candidacy; the nomination of a doctoral committee; the preparation of the dissertation and abstract; the publication of the dissertation; and the successful completion of the final oral examination. These doctoral dissertations are usually based on an in-depth empirical research project by the student and are intended to permit the student to apply relevant theory and knowledge as well as to demonstrate skills in analysis of a major problem and to contribute to the improvement of practice in the student’s area of specialization.
Other Professional Doctoral Degrees
The University of Pittsburgh also offers professional doctoral degree programs for practitioners, including the JSD (Law), OTD (Occupational Therapy), DNP (Nursing), AuD (Audiology), DPT (Physical Therapy), PharmD (Pharmacy), and CScD (Clinical Science). These programs provide a coherent curriculum designed to impart the mastery of a substantial and complex body of knowledge that will serve as preparation for leadership and excellence in the practice of the profession. The curriculum should contain a research component to achieve the goal for the research competence of the graduate. Students should deliver a report based on research that demonstrates both mastery of their subject matter and a high level of communication skills. The curriculum should contain an internship, a practicum or a clinical component. Each experience should have associated with it clear goals and objective, a statement of what skills the student should master, at statement how those skills will be assessed objectively by the academic program, and what steps the program will take in response to those assessments. In addition, the program should have an objective way to evaluate the site where internships and/or clinical rotations take place and assure the expertise of those responsible for administering training and instruction. If the program is an accredited program, the standards of the accrediting body for a professional doctorate must be met.
To attain the depth of knowledge and experience required by someone earning a doctorate, a minimum nine semesters of full-time study is required. Of this no more than one-third should be internships or clinical work. A comprehensive examination will be used to assess the student’s mastery of a substantial and complex body of knowledge.
The minimum admission requirements must be the same as for all graduate programs at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, the student must have completed a defined set of prerequisites so that all students will enter with required basic knowledge. A student must attain a 3.00 GPA in order to maintain good standing and be graduated.
Statute of Limitations/Leaves of Absence
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 stringent, but not less, 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 professional master’s degrees, within 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 10 years, or within eight years if the student has received credit for a master’s degree appropriate to the field of study. A student who is unable to complete all degree requirements within a five-year period after passing the comprehensive examination may be re-examined at the discretion of the department or school. 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.
Requirements for Graduation
Graduation requirements for MA, MS, professional master’s, and doctoral degrees are described earlier in this bulletin under the relevant sections detailing the regulations pertaining to each degree. In order to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate student must be an active University of Pittsburgh student registered for at least 1 credit or full-time dissertation study within the past 12 months. See specific schools and programs for detailed information on degree and graduation requirements.
Application to Graduate
Students must file an application for graduation in the dean’s office of their school early in the term in which graduation is expected. Each school establishes its own deadline by which students must apply for graduation. Students should check with their dean’s office for the deadline. As noted above, students must be active. In exceptional circumstances, students who complete all the degree requirements at the end of a term but graduate in the next term may petition the dean of the school for a waiver of this registration requirement. The requirement that a student be on active status cannot be waived.
Prior to the end of the term in which they graduate, all doctoral candidates must submit to the dean’s office a completed Survey of Earned Doctorates.
Certification for Graduation
The Graduate Faculty of the department or program evaluates the performance of the student. If that performance is satisfactory, a report should be submitted to the dean certifying that the candidate has satisfactorily completed all departmental requirements for a graduate degree. The dean, after confirming that the overall school and University requirements have been met, certifies the candidate for graduation.
Candidates for graduation are encouraged to appear in person at the Annual Commencement Convocation, usually held the Sunday after the spring term ends. Although the degree is officially conferred at commencement, diplomas are mailed to graduates several weeks later.
Rights and Responsibilities
The University has a number of official policies affecting students. For complete and current text on all University policies, please see www.provost.pitt.edu/information-on/guidelines.html.
The information below summarizes several key University-wide policies affecting graduate students, but students are also responsible for being cognizant of those University, school, and departmental regulations relevant to their programs of study.
Academic Integrity Policy
Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These general procedures may be found in Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures at www.provost.pitt.edu. Individual schools have their own academic integrity policies, and students are encouraged to review these school-specific guidelines as well.
Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination Policy
The University of Pittsburgh, as an educational institution and as an employer, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. Accordingly, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. Further, the University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University’s mission. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs and activities. Additional information on this policy is available at http://cfo.pitt.edu/policies/documents/policy07-01-03web.pdf.
For information on University equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, please contact: University of Pittsburgh, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Cheryl Ruffin, Institutional Equity Manager, 4415 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor Webster Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (412) 648-7860.
Computing Use Policy
Every member of the University community has two basic rights regarding computing: privacy and a fair share of resources. It is unethical for another person to violate these rights. All users, in turn, are expected to exercise common sense and decency with regard to the campus computing resources. Please read Acceptable Computing Access and Use, available in campus computing labs or online at technology.pitt.edu/security/acceptable-computing-access-and-use for details.
Students should realize that any misuse of computing resources may result in the suspension of their computing privileges.
The University of Pittsburgh affirms that, except as specifically exempted by this policy, faculty, staff, and students are entitled to claim copyright ownership, including worldwide rights, in the following works authored by them: books, articles, educational course work, similar works that are intended to disseminate the results of academic research or scholarly study, popular fiction or nonfiction works, poems, musical compositions, and other works of artistic imagination.
The University has no proprietary interest in copyrightable materials produced by faculty, staff, or students under contract with entities external to the University (in which the faculty, staff, or students have no controlling or majority interest), except as specifically exempted by this policy.
Additional information on this policy is available at http://cfo.pitt.edu/policies/documents/policy11-02-02.pdf.
Drug-Free School and Workplace Policy
The University of Pittsburgh prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance on University property or as part of any University activity. Faculty, staff, and students of the University must also comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the possession and consumption of alcohol.
Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action within 30 days, including, but not limited to, a warning, written reprimand, suspension, dismissal, expulsion, and/or mandatory participation and successful completion of a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved by an appropriate health or law enforcement agency.
Any University employee paid from federally funded grants or contracts, or any students participating in any federally funded or Guaranteed Student Loan program, must notify the University of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring at the University or while engaged in University activities.
For complete text on this policy, see http://www.hr.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/DFW/DFW-FY2014.pdf.
E-mail Communication Policy
The University of Pittsburgh has established e-mail as an official means of communication with students. For more information, visit http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-10-01.html.
The University’s educational mission is promoted by professional relationships between faculty members and students. Relationships of an intimate nature (that is, sexual and/or romantic) compromise the integrity of a faculty-student relationship whenever the faculty member has a professional responsibility for the student. The University prohibits relationships between a faculty member and a student whose academic work, teaching, or research is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member.
If an intimate relationship should exist or develop between a faculty member and a student, the University requires the faculty member to remove himself or herself from all supervisory, evaluative, and/or formal advisory roles with respect to the student.
Definition Note: In this policy, the definition of “faculty member” refers to anyone appointed by the University as a teacher, researcher, or academic administrator, including graduate and undergraduate students so appointed. For complete text on this policy, see http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/02/02-04-03.html.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the University guarantees that students have the right to inspect all personally identifiable records maintained by the institution and may challenge the content and accuracy of those records through appropriate institutional procedures. It is further guaranteed by the University that student records containing personally identifiable information will not be released except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. See www.registrar.pitt.edu/ferpa.html for more information.
Statement of Compliance Regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for VA Educational Beneficiaries - 38 US Code Section 3675(b)
This policy applies to students who are VA beneficiaries and is intended to prevent the submission of VA-claims (“certifications”) for those students who are suspended. Specifically:
- In this instance, VA beneficiaries are defined as students receiving VA educational benefits under Chapter-30, Chapter-33, Chapter-35 and Chapter-1606, Title 38 U.S. Code.
- Students placed on academic probation at the end of the term may be certified for VA educational benefits for the subsequent term. If the student does not meet satisfactory academic progress in that subsequent term-defined as attaining a cumulative GPA at or above 2.00 for full-time students or attaining a cumulative GPA at or above 2.00 after attempting 12 additional credits for part-time students-the university will immediately suspend further VA certifications on behalf of the student.
- Students returning from one calendar year of suspension must re-apply for admission to the university. If accepted, those students may be certified for VA educational benefits.
Certification of Chapter-31 students will be at the discretion of the student’s VA vocational rehabilitation counselor.
Statement of Compliance Regarding VA Educational Beneficiaries - 38 US Code Section 3679(e)
As a matter of policy, the University of Pittsburgh allows students identified as covered individuals* to attend and participate in all course(s) of education for any given term in which the student has been certified for VA educational benefits. This policy includes those circumstances in which VA payment(s) for student tuition and fees is late or delayed for up to 90 days after date of certification. The University retains the right to impose late fees upon those students who incur or retain an outstanding balance beyond the amount of expected VA tuition & fee payment for the term.
It is school policy to request all beneficiaries of VA educational benefits-including covered individuals*-provide the following documentation as part of certification process:
- VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) or Statement of Benefits as printed from the VA.gov website
- Completion of a certification request form (in hard-copy or on-line), which includes biographical information necessary for submission in the VA’s IT system of record-VA-Once.
Failure to provide such documentation will result in the delay of any VA claim or certification.
* Note: VA defines a Covered Individual as any individual who is entitled to VA educational assistance under the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program (38 U.S. Code Chapter 31) or the VA’s Post-9/11 GI Bill® (38 U.S. Code Chapter 33).
(“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.)
Graduate Student Researcher Policy Statement
Graduate student researchers (GSRs) at the University of Pittsburgh are graduate students who are receiving financial support from research funds in return for duties performed to meet the goals for which the funds were awarded. The research performed is also normally an integral part of the student’s research practicum experience, thesis, or dissertation. A primary goal of the appointment, from the point of view of both the University and the student, is to provide financial support to the graduate student. For additional Graduate Student Researcher Policy information see www.pitt.edu/~graduate/gsr.html.
No University employee, student, or individual on University property may intentionally harass or abuse a person (physically or verbally) with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with such person’s work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.
The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the maintenance of a community free from all forms of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment violates University policy as well as state, federal, and local laws. It is neither permitted nor condoned.
It is also a violation of the University of Pittsburgh’s policy against sexual harassment for any employee or student at the University of Pittsburgh to attempt in any way to retaliate against a person who makes a claim of sexual harassment.
Any individual who, after thorough investigation and an informal or formal hearing, is found to have violated the University’s policy against sexual harassment, will be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, termination, or expulsion. Any disciplinary action taken will depend upon the severity of the offense. For more information, see http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/documents/policy06-05-01web.pdf.
Human Research Subjects: Institutional Review Board
The University of Pittsburgh is guided by the ethical principles regarding all research involving humans as subjects, as set forth in the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (entitled Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects for Research [the “Belmont Report”]).
All research at the University involving interventions or interactions with living individuals or the obtaining of their identifiable private information must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before the research will be allowed to proceed. For complete text of the IRB’s policies and practices, see www.irb.pitt.edu or contact the IRB at 412-578-3424.
A University student, during the student’s period of enrollment, may be responsible for new discoveries and inventions that could have commercial value and contribute to scientific, technological, social, and 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 Transfer and Intellectual Property at 200 Gardner Steel Conference Center and at http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/11/11-02-01.html.
The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. Excellence in scholarship requires all members of the University community to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity with regard to research, instruction, and evaluation. Research misconduct carries potential for serious harm to the University community, to the research of science, and to society as a whole. The University’s Research Integrity Policy is available online at http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/11/11-01-01.html.
Smoking is prohibited in all University-owned and leased facilities, including residence halls and off-campus housing facilities, and in all University vehicles, including motor pool vehicles, campus buses, and vans, with explicit limited exceptions described in http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/04/04-05-03.html.
Student Code of Conduct
The Student Code of Conduct is an outline of the non-academic rights and responsibilities of University students. The code defines offenses against students. A student or University official may file a complaint of violation of the Student Code of Conduct at the University Student Judicial System Office. For a copy of the code, please contact the Judicial System Office in 738 William Pitt Union at 412-648-7918 or see www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/studentconduct.
Student Code of Judicial Procedures
The Office of the University Student Judicial System coordinates the Campus Judicial Board. It also receives, previews, and acts upon complaints of violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Its purpose is to provide due process and fair treatment in adjudicating charges filed for violations of the code. All complaints should be filed here.
Judicial Affairs also conducts a Student Mediation Program and screens requests for contact of students.
Student Service Holds Policy
Access to many student services including registration and receipt of grades may be delayed for a number of reasons ranging from financial liability to missing data. Complete information on this policy is available online at http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-04-09.html.
Teaching Assistant/Teaching Fellow/Graduate Student Assistant Policy Statement
Teaching assistants (TAs), teaching fellows (TFs), and graduate student assistants (GSAs) at the University are graduate students who are receiving support in return for specified duties while gaining teaching and teaching-related experience under the guidance of faculty mentors. Their primary objective, from the standpoint of the University and the individual, is to make steady progress toward an advanced degree. TA/TF/GSA appointment status is dependent upon graduate student status. The complete policy statement for TA/TF/GSAs is available at www.pitt.edu/~graduate/tapolicyrev.htm.
Use of Alcohol Policy
The University of Pittsburgh prohibits use and dispensing of alcohol in compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/04/04-05-02.html.