Graduate programs in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) are designed to prepare students for careers in research and teaching in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences responsive to the evolving needs of the private and public sectors of society as well as to the particular interests of academia.
A&S Graduate Studies has final approval over all admissions to graduate study in A&S and overall student appointments as teaching assistants, teaching fellows, graduate student assistants, A&S fellows, and graduate student researchers, as well as responsibility for processing all related tuition scholarships. It reviews and records the academic progress of graduate students, including the passing of comprehensive examinations, admissions to doctoral candidacy, and final oral examinations. It verifies the completion of theses and dissertations and certifies all graduate degrees awarded in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
Questions regarding admissions, teaching and research appointments, and programs of study should be addressed first to the individual graduate department or program. Questions regarding registration, tuition scholarships for teaching or research assistants, and graduate status should be addressed to:
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences-Graduate Studies
5141 Sennott Square
A&S offers MA, MFA, and PhD degrees and certificate programs in the humanities; MA, MS, and PhD programs in the natural sciences; and MA and PhD programs in the social sciences. Several dual and joint degree programs are available.
Students applying for admission should proceed as follows:
Interested applicants are encouraged to go to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences graduate Web page at www.asgraduate.pitt.edu and to visit Web pages of their departments of interest. Students should complete the online application through the ApplyYourself Application Network from the departments’ Web pages. The online application is automatically sent to the appropriate department for processing.
Admission to graduate study is valid for the academic year. If a department approves, a student may defer admission for one year without having to complete any additional applications. If approved, the student is sent a new admission letter. Additional course work taken during the deferred year and a new affidavit of financial support should also accompany any financial aid request. The deferral of admission is independent of financial aid.
Transferring Between A&S Departments
A student desiring to change a major department of graduate study in A&S must file an application for admission in the department of intended graduate study. Applications for transfer will be evaluated in the same way as applications for admission to the designated department. An application fee is not required.
Admission of International Students
Before reading the A&S-specific details below, see the International Graduate Student Admission section under Application for Admission section for a complete overview of University admissions requirements, including TOEFL or IELTS scores, for students from other countries.
The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences minimum TOEFL score of 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading, and writing) will be required. The required minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections) will be required.
Students should apply online using the ApplyYourself Application Network available from the department’s Web site. The online application is automatically sent to the appropriate department for processing. All applicants should take note of specific departmental requirements, in addition to those required of all international students. A&S Graduate Studies, (in 5141 Sennott Square) will determine whether an applicant has sufficient proficiency in English.
International Student Application Deadlines and Application Fee
The deadlines for submitting a completed application and financial aid form are determined by the individual departments, but due to delays in the issuance of visas it is recommended that international students apply as early as possible, preferably at least six months prior to the start of the term of admittance, so that paperwork can be processed in a timely manner.
The application fee for all students is $50. The fee must be submitted in the form of a check or money order made payable to the University of Pittsburgh or may be paid using a credit card when applying online.
For an overview of the requirements for the three admission statuses-full, provisional, and special-see Admissions Status in the Application for Admission section of this catalog.
Full Graduate Status
Only students in full graduate status may undergo preliminary evaluations, take comprehensive examinations, be advanced to degree candidacy, or receive teaching assistantships or fellowships.
Provisional Graduate Status
Transfer from provisional to full graduate status is possible only upon formal recommendation of the student’s department and after:
- removal of deficiencies noted at the time of admission, with A or B grades, and/or
- completion of four courses (12 credits) for which graduate credit is earned with at least a 3.00 average.
A special status student who takes courses while not seeking an advanced degree may transfer up to four courses (12 credits) taken while on special status to a degree program if the student is subsequently admitted into one, and if the department recommends the transfer. A transferred course must carry a grade of B or better.
Those special status students who earn graduate credits while on temporary admission may apply those credits toward degree requirements.
Early Admission Program
Exceptionally able students in Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh (GPA of 3.50 or above) with strong letters of recommendation from faculty in the department to which they are applying may be admitted to full graduate status in a department in A&S. At the time of admission, students must have completed 96 credits toward the baccalaureate degree, the final 30 of which must have been taken in A&S, and must have satisfied the general education requirement, second language requirement (if any), and academic major requirements (as certified by A&S). For additional information regarding requirements for the completion of the baccalaureate degree, see the A&S section in the University of Pittsburgh Undergraduate Catalog.
For detailed information on what constitutes inactive registration status and requirements for readmission to active status, please see Readmission .
Applications for readmission to A&S should be received according to the following schedule:
- Fall term readmission applications by August 1
- Spring term readmission applications by December 1
- Summer term and/or sessions by April 1
Financial assistance for graduate students is provided in the form of teaching and research appointments, fellowships, traineeships, tuition scholarships, and loans. Application for financial aid should be made on the regular Application for Admission to Graduate Study form except in special cases as noted below. All applications for financial assistance are reviewed at the departmental level and awards are made to the extent of available funds. Admission to graduate study does not carry any implications concerning the award of financial aid. Only students with full graduate status are eligible for teaching assistantships and fellowships.
Information concerning nationally competitive grants and fellowships is available to University of Pittsburgh Students through the Office of Research Web site at http://www.research.pitt.edu/find-funding.
Teaching and Research Appointments
Each year about 665 graduate students receive teaching appointments and fellowships in departments offering graduate degrees in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences to assist in undergraduate instruction in Arts and Sciences and the College of General Studies. In addition to financial support and medical coverage, these appointments provide teaching experience and further professional development.
In recognition of academic merit, the University offers teaching assistants (TA), teaching fellows (TF), graduate student assistants (GSA), and graduate student researchers (GSR) full or partial tuition scholarships, and students are required to register for the number of credits proportional to their appointment. If appointed in the summer term, students should register for a minimum of 3 credits (or full-time dissertation study, if eligible), unless additional registration is needed for academic purposes.
Information regarding TA/TF/GSA/GSR policies is available at http://www.pitt.edu/~graduate/tapolicyrev.htm and at A&S Graduate Studies, in 5141 Sennott Square. For further information on these positions and general descriptions of each appointment’s job requirements, see the Financial Aid and Policies/Regulations sections in the above catalog.
Teaching Assistants (TA)
For completion of services requiring approximately 20 hours per week, a TA receives a salary for two terms. Two-term TAs who want to receive their salary spread out across three terms should contact their department immediately.
Teaching Fellows (TF)
For teaching services, requiring about 20 hours per week, a TF receives a salary for the term of their contract, either one or two terms. Two-term TFs who want to receive their salary spread out across three terms should contact their department immediately.
Graduate Student Assistants (GSA)
A few graduate student assistantships are available in A&S. A GSA usually assists a faculty member in library research, editorial duties, or similar academic tasks. For such services, requiring about 20 hours per week, a GSA receives a salary for the term of their contract, either one or two terms. Two-term GSAs who want to receive their salary spread out across three terms should contact their department immediately.
Graduate Student Researchers (GSR)
The GSRs work under the direct supervision of and are appointed by the principal investigator (or associate) of a funded research project. Their stipends are determined by the terms of the grant within guidelines set by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research.
Fellowships and Traineeships
Fellowships and traineeships available to students in the School of Arts and Sciences can be found at https://www.asgraduate.pitt.edu/financial-support.
In addition to those University-wide regulations and standards detailed in the section on General Regulations , each student in A&S is expected to be familiar with these school-specific regulations and academic standards:
Credits and Grade Points
Courses for which a G, I, N, R, or W grade is recorded and courses numbered below 1000 or lower (0-0999) do not contribute either credits or grade points toward graduation. When a course is repeated, only the last grade and credits are used to calculate the GPA.
Students must achieve the minimum GPA established by their departments, in no case less than 3.00, in order to be eligible to retain teaching assistantships or fellowships, to undergo the preliminary evaluations, to take comprehensive examinations, to be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree, and to graduate.
Independent study and individual thesis and dissertation research must be graded using the S/NC option (formerly the S/N option) and thus are not used in the calculation of the GPA required for continuation in good academic standing.
Academic Probation and Dismissal
A graduate student who fails to maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or to make satisfactory progress in a degree program is subject to dismissal from graduate study at the University. When the overall GPA of a student falls below 3.00, the student is automatically placed on academic probation; is not eligible for a teaching assistantship, fellowship, or participation in the department comprehensive examination; and is subject to dismissal at the end of the following term. The department should so warn the student in writing.
In addition, any student who is not making satisfactory progress toward the completion of an advanced degree (completion of an acceptable number of required courses and/or research each term or year) may be placed on academic probation by the department. The student must be informed in writing of this action by the department. Normally, one term will be granted in which to correct the deficiency.
A student whose performance on a preliminary or comprehensive examination is judged to be inadequate may be subject to dismissal at the end of the term.
Withdrawal from Courses
Students may add or drop courses before the end of the add/drop period. A student who wishes to withdraw from an individual course after the add/drop period must complete a Monitored Withdrawal form available from the Dean of the school offering the course, obtain the signature of the instructor, and return the completed form to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square. A W grade will then be issued.
Students may terminate their registration in all classes by informing the Office of the University Registrar of their intent to do so prior to the end of the add/drop period for the term. Students registered for courses scheduled to begin after the end of the add/drop period for the term may terminate their registration by informing the Office of the University Registrar of their intent to do so at any time prior to the first scheduled meeting day of the class. A student who stops attending a course and does not initiate the withdrawal or resignation procedures may be assigned an F grade.
Repetition of Courses
A student may repeat any course in which a grade of B- or lower is received if authorization is given by the student’s department. When a graduate student repeats a course in which the subject matter has not changed, only the last grade received is counted in computing the grade point average. A Course Repeat form must be filed with A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square, to initiate proper computing of the grade point average.
A grade given by an instructor for completed work will not be changed unless an error has been made in reporting or recording the grade. (Reexamination or extra work may not be used as a basis for a change of grade.) A Grade Change Request form must be filed with A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square, and approved by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies.
Students who are using University facilities to an extent greater than represented by their formal course load (and those students required by a fellowship or other appointment to be full-time students) are required to register for an appropriate number of additional credits of Independent Study to reflect their correct status. All graduate study not under the direct supervision of a specific faculty member is, by definition, Independent Study, course number 2990 in each program. This includes study for preliminary evaluations, comprehensive and overview examinations, the preparation of research proposals, etc. Only the S/NC Grade Option (formerly the S/N option) may be used in a 2990 course.
Registration for Directed Study is limited to students in good academic standing and normally beyond their first year of graduate study who wish to study or carry out a project in an area not available in a formal course. The work must be under the direct supervision of a faculty member who has approved the proposed work in advance of registration. A brief description of the work should be recorded in the student’s file in the department. Either a letter grade or the S/NC option (formerly the S/N option) may be used to evaluate the quality of work performed by the student, and both the credits and the grade points (if any) will be used in determining the academic standing of the student.
Students may transfer credits earned at another accredited institution in an approved degree-granting graduate program toward the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Students requesting advanced-standing credits by transfer should indicate this within the first year of graduate study and provide official transcripts. The department evaluates each applicant’s credentials and indicates to the student at the time of admission its recommendation to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies concerning advanced-standing credit. Credits for course work taken 10 or more years prior to admission for graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh are not automatically transferred for PhD students. For master’s students, credits for course work taken four or more years prior to admission for graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh are not automatically transferred. Departments must evaluate such coursework in terms of its currency of knowledge in the field when submitting transfer credit requests for approval by A&S. Students admitted with special or provisional status cannot transfer credits until full status has been granted. Graduate students already enrolled, when approved in advance by their department and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, may spend a term or more at another graduate institution to obtain training or experience not available at the University of Pittsburgh and may transfer those credits toward the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Pittsburgh.
A maximum of 6 credits may be accepted by transfer toward the requirements for the master’s degree. A maximum of 24 credits may be transferred toward the requirements for the PhD degree for course work at the master’s level earned in another approved graduate school. A student who transfers 24 credits due to completion of a master’s degree at another institution is not eligible to earn a master’s degree in that discipline at the University of Pittsburgh. If a student has completed relevant graduate work beyond the master’s level at another institution, up to 12 additional credits may be accepted for transfer. (No more than 36 credits can be accepted for transfer from all other graduate institutions.) Acceptance of credits by transfer from other graduate schools does not relieve the student from the requirement to register at the University of Pittsburgh and satisfactorily complete a minimum of 18 credits for a master’s degree and a minimum of 36 credits for a PhD degree.
For further detail on University requirements on transfer credits, see Acceptance of Transfer Credits under the General Regulations section of this catalog.
Registration of Undergraduate Students for Graduate Credit
University of Pittsburgh 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 in A&S may be permitted, during their final term, to register for one or two courses at the 2000 level for credit toward a graduate degree. Students must obtain written permission from an A&S department admissions officer that the course may count when and if they are admitted into the degree program. This privilege should not be granted if the proposed total course program exceeds a normal full-time load or if the courses are required for the undergraduate degree. When students register for graduate study at the University, these graduate credits and grades may be transferred to the graduate transcript upon recommendation of the department and approval by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. No more than 6 credits can be transferred in this manner.
Statute of Limitations and Leaves of Absence
All regulations regarding the statute of limitations for completion of degree requirements and leaves of absence are detailed under Statute of Limitations section under General Regulations . Variations and additions to those rules within A&S are as follows:
Requirements for the master’s degree should be completed within a period of four consecutive calendar years from the student’s initial registration for graduate study. Requirements for the PhD degree must be completed within a period of 10 years from the student’s initial registration, or within eight years if the student has received a previous master’s degree. Some departments may have a more stringent statute of limitations for completion of master’s or doctoral degrees. There is also a strictly enforced limit of four calendar years on the master’s comprehensive examination or its equivalent for students beginning or readmitted for graduate study in fall 2002 or later, and a seven-calendar-year limit on the PhD comprehensive examination for students entering graduate study programs in fall 1999 or later. (Ten-year limits on PhD comprehensive examinations apply for doctoral students enrolled prior to fall 1999.) If the student has not completed all requirements for the master’s or doctoral degrees within the time limits on comprehensive examinations for degrees as specified above, the comprehensive examination for the degree must be retaken in order to graduate.
Under exceptional circumstances a candidate for an advanced degree may apply for an extension of the statute of limitations. Applications are available in the department or in A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square. They must state the reason for the delay, provide evidence of continuing progress toward the completion of the degree, and include a detailed plan of study and proposed date for completion. The request must be approved by the Chair of the student’s doctoral or master’s committee and the department Chair or director of graduate studies and be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies for final action. Each student who requests an extension of the statute of limitations must be able to demonstrate proper preparation for the completion of all current degree requirements. There is no extension on the time limits for the master’s and doctoral comprehensive examinations.
Under special conditions, graduate students may be granted a leave of absence. Only one leave of absence can be obtained by students during their graduate career. Readmission following an approved leave of absence is a formality.
Advising and Placement
Advising and placement services in A&S graduate programs are conducted within the various departments and programs. Students should consult department handbooks, their departmental advisor, their departmental director of graduate studies, their departmental graduate administrator, and/or the Chair for details. The A&S Graduate Studies Office makes every effort to keep advising and placement in the forefront of departmental concerns. All departments are responsible, with A&S oversight, for implementing policies and practices consistent with the University’s in Elements of Good Academic Advising. Unresolved problems relating to the advising of graduate students at the department level can be taken to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and research in A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square
A&S Degree Requirements
The general requirements for the master’s degrees and doctoral degrees are detailed under Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees, Regulations Pertaining to Professional Master’s Degrees (including the MFA), and Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees. For further A&S-specific requirements, see below. Once the University-wide requirements and the A&S Degree Requirements below have been reviewed, see the relevant departmental description for more specific detail.
Requirements for the MA, MS, and MFA Degrees
The minimum requirement for the Master of Art and Master of Science degrees is 30 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. Furthermore, the MFA, as a professional degree, requires a minimum of 36 credits. Not 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. Most programs require more than this minimum.
In addition to the general credit requirements detailed under MA and MS Requirements at the front of this catalog, the following requirements must be satisfied:
- Completion of 12 credits from the 2000 or 3000 series with a grade of B or higher.
- All courses from the 2000 or 3000 series must be completed with an average grade of B (3.00)
- Registration for research, independent study, or directed study cannot be included among the minimum of 12 credits that must be taken from the 2000 or 3000 series with a grade of B or higher
- Independent study credits do not count towards the MA/MS/MFA degrees
Second Language Requirement
The requirement of proficiency in second languages is at the discretion of individual departments.
Whenever a program substitutes an equivalent requirement for the comprehensive examination, the department or program must obtain prior approval from the A&S Graduate Council and notify the University Council on Graduate Study and describe the situation. Students on inactive, special, or provisional status, or who have a GPA less than 3.00, are not eligible to take the comprehensive examination. See Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Master’s Degrees for further detail on requirements for comprehensive exams.
The requirement of a thesis or its equivalent is at the discretion of individual departments. If a thesis is submitted, its form must be in accord with specifications available from The ETD Format Guidelines Manual and approved by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. A report of the final oral examination in defense of the master’s thesis must be filed in 5141 Sennott Square. For further information on thesis requirements, including the make up of the thesis committee, see Thesis Option under Regulations Pertaining to Master’s Degrees .
Application for Graduation
Each candidate for graduation must file an official Application for Graduation in 5141 Sennott Square, early in the term in which graduation is expected. (See your graduate administrator for deadline dates.) See Application for Graduation under General Regulations for further details on graduation and graduation requirements.
The faculty of the department evaluates the performance in course work and on comprehensive examinations. If the candidate’s performance is satisfactory and all degree requirements have been met, a letter must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, on behalf of the department, certifying that the candidate has completed all requirements for a master’s degree and indicating whether or not the candidate is recommended to proceed to doctoral study.
Requirements for the PhD Degree
An overview of the University requirements for the PhD degree is presented in Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees . A&S-specific requirements are detailed below.
The minimum requirement for the PhD degree of 72 credits may be earned in formal course work, directed study, independent study, and/or thesis and dissertation research.
Students must achieve the minimum GPA established by their departments, in no case less than 3.00, to be eligible to undergo the preliminary examination, to take the comprehensive examination, to be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree, and to be graduated.
Second Language and/or Other Tools of Research
The requirement of proficiency in the use of second languages or other tools of research is at the discretion of individual departments. The second language departments have the capacity to evaluate second language proficiency and will be available to so certify.
The nature of the preliminary examination/evaluation and the time when it is conducted are determined by each department. In some programs, the preliminary doctoral exam/evaluation may be combined with a master’s comprehensive examination. See Preliminary Evaluation under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for further details on regulations pertaining to the exam. Students must be registered in the term they are completing the Preliminary Examination.
Comprehensive examination results must be reported promptly to A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square, and no later than the last day of the term in which the examination is administered. Students must be enrolled in the term in which they are completing the Comprehensive Examination. See Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for further detail on regulations regarding the exam
Doctoral dissertation committees are composed of four members, three of whom must be Graduate Faculty with either a primary appointment in the candidate’s department or a secondary/joint appointment in the candidate’s department and a primary/joint appointment in another relevant department within the University of Pittsburgh (“internal members”). The fourth member must be Graduate Faculty external to the candidate’s department within the University of Pittsburgh or a qualified scholar with an equivalent status at another accredited institution (“external member”). The Graduate Faculty Roster for the University of Pittsburgh can be viewed at the following website: https://ir.pitt.edu/graduate-faculty-roster/. Membership in the Graduate Faculty is not automatic and must be formally requested by the faculty member’s department and approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies before the faculty member can serve on a doctoral dissertation committee. The Chair of the committee must be a current (or recently departed) member of the University of Pittsburgh. Any member may serve as Co-Chair.
Notification of Committee Membership
The names of the committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office as part of the application for candidacy by the graduate student. All requests for subsequent changes to the committee should be submitted for approval to the Graduate Studies Office by the Graduate Administrator for the candidate’s department. Any changes to the committee membership, internal or external, after the dissertation proposal/prospectus/overview meeting must be approved by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies before the dissertation defense. Forms for admission to candidacy and committee changes can be obtained by the Graduate Administrator in the A&S Graduate Handbook.
Special Requirements for External
Faculty from outside the University of Pittsburgh may serve as external committee members, but the qualifications of the proposed committee member must be reviewed and their participation approved by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies before the dissertation proposal/prospectus/overview meeting or defense is scheduled. Such a request should be accompanied by the requested committee member’s current CV and a brief memo that explains the benefits for the student of the participation of this faculty member on the committee. CVs for external committee members who have been approved previously by the Assistant Dean for a particular department’s graduate students need only be resubmitted once every five years. In this case, however, the memo accompanying each request for an external member’s participation in a new committee must also note the date on which the CV was last submitted for this individual. If the date is not known, a new CV must be included. Requests for external members must be approved by the Assistant Dean in advance of the requested member’s participation on the doctoral committee. The Assistant Dean will review the material and either approve or reject the proposed external member.
Additional Committee Members
Additional members may be added to the doctoral committee in cases where additional expertise is needed. Such additional committee members are expected to have significant involvement with the graduate student and to attend both the proposal/prospectus/overview meeting and the defense unless prior approval has been received for remote attendance. For additional committee members only, the Graduate Faculty status (or the equivalent at another institution) requirement may be waived if prior approval from the Assistant Dean is requested and granted. Such a request should be accompanied by a brief memo that explains the benefits for the student of the participation of this faculty member on the committee and, in the case of a member who is not from the University of Pittsburgh, a current CV. The CV need only be provided every five years for committee members serving on multiple committees within the same department.
Committee Participation by Former Members of the University of Pittsburgh Faculty
Committee members who leave the University after a graduate student has been admitted to candidacy may stay on the committee in their original capacity, as long as they are willing and able to physically attend the defense (or have requested and received permission to attend remotely as described below), and providing that the defense is scheduled within 12 months of the faculty member’s departure. If the departed committee member is the Chair, and continues in this role, a Co-Chair from the department must be designated. The participation of any committee member in this category will not affect the maximum number of remote attendees permitted (two, one of whom must be external as described below).
Committee Participation by Retired Members of the University of Pittsburgh Faculty
Faculty who are retired from the University of Pittsburgh are eligible to serve as members on committees formed both before and after their retirement, as long as they are still active professionally in the academic community as reasonably determined by the Chair of the Department. Retired faculty may serve in any capacity including as Chair of the committee. The participation of any committee member in this category will not affect the maximum number of remote attendees permitted (two, one of whom must be external as described below).
Remote Participation by Candidate and Committee members
The candidate and the Committee Chair must attend in person both the dissertation proposal/prospectus/ overview meeting and the defense. All other committee members should also be physically present at both meetings. In exceptional circumstances, however, this requirement may be waived as described below.
External committee member only: Remote attendance may be requested from the Assistant Dean for both the dissertation proposal/prospectus/overview meeting and the defense for the external committee from a distant location if, and only if, remote attendance can be arranged according to the guidelines detailed below.
Other committee members. Remote attendance may also be requested from the Assistant Dean for no more than one of the other committee members. Where an external member from outside the University of Pittsburgh is already attending remotely, however, the request must also be accompanied by a memo from the department explaining the need for this second member to attend remotely. Such a request may not be granted by the Assistant Dean if the situation could easily be resolved by a shift in the meeting date of one month or less. A committee member who participated remotely in the overview meeting must attend the defense in person. It is the responsibility of the student to consult as early as possible with committee members about their availability such that remote attendance by more than one member is avoided if at all possible. Remote attendance by more than two committee members will not be permitted.
Remote Attendance Requirements
To satisfy the requirements of remote attendance, any remotely attending committee member must have full audiovisual interaction. The attendee must be visible to other committee members and the graduate student presenter and must be able to see the presenter as well as others in the room as necessary. The attendee must be able to hear and participate orally in all parts of the discussion and questioning. The candidate’s department is responsible for arranging the necessary technology to fulfill the remote attendance requirements and it is recommended that someone with technological expertise be present to resolve difficulties if they arise. The dissertation proposal/prospectus/overview meeting or the defense of the dissertation must be rescheduled (or finished at later time) if -
1. it is not technologically possible to accomplish the required level of audiovisual interaction at the time and place appointed; or
2. the video portion of the connection fails before the defense is 50% completed (reasonably determined by the Committee Chair) and cannot be reestablished; or
3. the audio portion connection fails before 90% of the meeting or defense is completed (reasonably determined by the Committee Chair) and cannot be reestablished.
Chair Certification of Compliance with Remote Participation Requirements
The Chair of a dissertation committee in which any members participate remotely will be required to complete a form (“Remote Attendance Certification”), in which the Chair attests that the requirements for remote attendance have been met. This form must be included with the results of the dissertation proposal/prospectus/overview meeting or defense in the submission to the Graduate Office. If the Chair of the committee signs the student’s paperwork in the name of the remotely attending member, a copy of the authorization for this signature (an email from the remotely attending member authorizing the signature is sufficient) must also be provided when the documentation is submitted.
The form is available at: Remote Attendance Certification
Admission to Candidacy for the PhD Degree
After completion of the overview, the student should, in consultation with the student’s major advisor, file the application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Students are informed of admission to candidacy by written notification from the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. When the topic has been accepted and the proposed doctoral committee has been approved by the Department Chair and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, the student will be informed of admission to candidacy and of the membership of the doctoral committee. Students must be enrolled in the term in which they are completing the overview for candidacy. For a listing of requirements for admission to candidacy, see Admission to Candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees .
Admission to candidacy must be at least eight months before the defense of the dissertation in order to provide an opportunity for the members of the doctoral committee to review, criticize, and monitor the proposed research.
Meetings of the doctoral candidate and the dissertation committee must occur at least annually from the time the student gains admission to doctoral candidacy. A record of such meetings must be maintained in the student’s file in the department.
See Dissertation and Abstract under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for an overview of requirements and form for the dissertation and abstract. In addition, students in A&S should note that photocopies of journal articles may be used only in the appendix and only if necessary.
Language of the Doctoral Dissertation
The language in which doctoral dissertations are written shall normally be English. Exceptions may be granted for graduate students in second language departments but only for sound reasons of scholarship. Permission shall never be granted on the grounds of inadequate command of English. Students who wish to write a dissertation in a second language shall apply formally to their Department Chair for permission. The
application must be approved by the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies prior to submission of the paperwork for admission to candidacy. For approval, the following requirements must have been met:
- The application must be recommended for approval by the department.
- All members of the doctoral committee must have an adequate command of the language.
- The student must have demonstrated full proficiency in English to the satisfaction of the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation abstracts shall in any case be in English. The final oral examination must be conducted in English.
Final Oral Examination
Students preparing to take their final oral examination in defense of their dissertation should refer to Final Oral Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for details on the examination. Expansions on and additions to that information are given below.
Candidates for a doctoral degree must provide a suitable number of copies of the dissertation, as designated by their doctoral committee, for review and use during the final oral examination.
One copy of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least two weeks before the date set for the final oral examination. All members of the doctoral committee must attend the examination; exceptions can be made only with the permission of the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. At least four weeks before the final examination, the Chair of the doctoral committee must provide the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies with a typewritten notice, listing the title of the dissertation and the time and place for its defense, for announcement in the University Times and Pitt Chronicle. A report of this examination and a report on approval of the dissertation, signed by all members of the doctoral committee, must be sent to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies for approval. The report on the approval of the dissertation may be signed concurrently with or subsequently to the report of the final oral examination. If the decision of the committee is not unanimous, the case is referred to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies for resolution.
When the examination is completed, the candidate must notify the Assistant Dean if they have uploaded an electronic dissertation and submit three copies of an abstract of the dissertation initialed by the dissertation advisor in the upper right-hand corner. These documents must have been prepared for publication in accordance with instructions furnished by A&S Graduate Studies, 5141 Sennott Square. Each candidate must execute an agreement for the publication of the dissertation on microfilm and for publication of the abstract in Dissertation Abstracts; respond to the Survey of Earned Doctorates; and present a Microfilm Processing Fee Receipt when the dissertation is deposited in 5141 Sennott Square. All graduation requirements are in the graduation packet available each term in 5141 Sennott Square.
Multiple Degree Options
Students in A&S have several options for dual and joint degrees that may be pursued as detailed below. Students also may pursue two independent degree programs simultaneously, either in two departments within A&S or in a department within A&S and a department in another school at the University. For information on pursuing two independent degrees simultaneously, see Two Independent Degree Programs Simultaneously under Special Academic Opportunities .
A&S dual-degree programs are available only in mathematics and computer science. For further details, contact one of those departments and see Cooperative, Dual-Degree, and Joint-Degree Programs under Special Academic Opportunities .
There are three joint-degree programs involving A&S:
- The MD/PhD program offers selected students an opportunity to earn MD and PhD degrees simultaneously from the School of Medicine and certain departments in A&S. Interested applicants should contact the MD/PhD program at M211 Scaife Hall, 412-648-2324 for further information.
- The MBA/MA in area studies program provides students who are admitted to the MBA program in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business an opportunity to earn a joint MA in area studies with foci in Asian studies, Latin American studies, Russian and East European Studies, or West European studies. Interested students should contact the International Business Center, 355 Mervis Hall, 412-648-1509 for further information.
- The JD/MA program offers selected students the opportunity to earn the JD and the interdisciplinary MA degree in Bioethics. Interested students should see the Bioethics section of this catalog or call the School of Law at 412-648-1415.
In both the dual- and joint-degree programs, students must be admitted to both academic programs offering the degrees and must be graduated from both degree programs at the same time. For further details, see Cooperative, Dual-Degree, and Joint-Degree Programs under Special Academic Opportunities .
A variety of interdisciplinary programs leading to completion of a certificate may be pursued by students working toward a master’s degree or doctorate in A&S.
Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy Certificate
Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy Certificate, MA
Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy Certificate, MFA
Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy Certificate, PhD
Cultural Studies, Doctoral Certificate
Cultural Studies, Master’s Certificate
Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Doctoral Certificate
Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Master’s Certificate
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Doctoral Certificate
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Master’s Certificate
Department and Program Descriptions
The minimal requirements established by the Graduate Faculty of the University, as described under General Academic Regulations, and any additional requirements of A&S Graduate Studies described under A&S Degree Requirements, should be read in conjunction with specific departmental and program requirements.
Courses numbered from 1000 to 1999, inclusive, are advanced undergraduate credits. They may not be taken for graduate credit. All courses numbered 2000 and above are open only to graduate students unless special permission is granted.
Descriptions of graduate courses offered in a particular term in departments of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences can be obtained by visiting the following Web site: www.courses.as.pitt.edu.
Arts and Sciences Administration and Staff
Arts and Sciences Faculty
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Faculty