Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 23, 2024
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

John A. Swanson School of Engineering

Graduate study in engineering at the Swanson School is designed for those professionals who wish to further develop the ability to apply engineering principles to the solution of modern society’s problems. The programs are flexible and can be used by those interested in research, design, management, and related technical positions in both the public and private sectors. PhD programs are also designed for those individuals interested in an academic or research career.

The Swanson School of Engineering offers graduate education leading to the Master of Science degree in bioengineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, and sustainable engineering. Swanson School of Engineering MS degree programs have two tracks: a professional track and a research track. The school offers PhD degrees in chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering as well as computational modeling and simulation. Also offered is a MD/PhD Program with the School of Medicine and several certificate programs.

Contact Information

The Swanson School of Engineering is housed in the Michael L. Benedum Hall of Engineering. Inquiries and correspondence concerning graduate study should be addressed to the graduate coordinator of the appropriate department or program. Inquiries of a general nature can be sent to:

University of Pittsburgh
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
152 Benedum Engineering Hall
Swanson School of Engineering

University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15261


All applicants will be judged on their own merits. For recent graduates of an ABET-accredited program, admission will be based primarily on the undergraduate academic record. Typically, a B average (cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better is required for admission.  GRE scores are not required for Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or Spring 2022 applications and admissions, but may be optionally submitted by students who want them included as part of their application package.*

Applicants from non-ABET accredited programs also are considered on an individual basis with emphasis given to academic achievement, area of study, career orientation, and work experience. Depending on the program, applicants who do not have an engineering degree may have to take certain prerequisite courses before beginning their graduate engineering degree program. Applicants may be admitted provisionally until specified prerequisites are completed and/or a 3.000 grade point average is achieved. Undergraduate courses cannot be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements.

Graduate Special Student - A student not currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh will be granted temporary admission typically only for one term but at most for a total of six credits. Students in this classification cannot earn credits toward the completion of degree requirements at the University of Pittsburgh with the following exception: Students who are unable to meet the deadline for filing an official application for admission may be granted temporary admission status by the appropriate graduate coordinator. Regular admission must be granted within the first term of registration as a Special Student. Graduate credits earned during temporary admission period can be applied toward the degree. Approval from the appropriate graduate coordinator is required.

*On 10/20/2020 this information was updated. In order to maintain accurate records this was updated in the published catalog on 11/6/2020.

Admissions Procedures

  1. U.S. citizens or permanent residents should:
    1. See the Swanson School of Engineering Web site for the online application.  A fee is associated with the application and is not refundable.  Exceptions may exist; please contact the graduate recruitment director if you have questions.
    2. Ask the registrars of all undergraduate and graduate schools attended to send transcripts of records to the University of Pittsburgh; Swanson School of Engineering Office of Administration; 151 Benedum Engineering Hall; Pittsburgh, PA 15261. An official transcript of the undergraduate record is required unless the applicant is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Once all application materials, including the application fee and complete transcripts, are received, the application will be reviewed.  As application deadlines vary by department, please review the information found here:  All applications for financial assistance should be received by February 1 for admission the following fall term.

Please see Graduate Admissions of International Students  in the front section of this bulletin for University regulations on admissions of international students.

  1. International Students: In addition to academic review by the Swanson School of Engineering, the admissions officer, Office of International Services (OIS) will also process international student applications for non-academic qualifications. The document needed to apply for a non-immigrant visa will be issued only after the applicant has been admitted and has provided evidence of adequate financial support and English language proficiency. The procedure for international applicants is as follows:
    1. Preliminary inquiries concerning graduate programs, research, and financial aid may be directed to the departmental graduate coordinator. Applications for graduate study are available from, the graduate coordinator, or the University of Pittsburgh, Swanson School of Engineering, Office of Administration, 151 Benedum Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. The non-refundable application fee for international students is $50.
    2. Following review (and acceptance) by the department based upon the applicant’s academic qualifications, the international student admissions officer will review the applicant’s financial and language qualifications to determine eligibility for a visa document.
    3. Prior to completion of registration, entering engineering graduate students with TOEFL scores of less than 100 on the iBT or 120 Duolingo English Test Scores (or equivalent) must take an additional test of English language proficiency administered by the English Language Institute (ELI). International students who are citizens of countries where English is the official language, international students who have completed degrees at regionally accredited institutions in the U.S., and international students who have results on the TOEFL above 100 on the iBT or 120 Duolingo English Test Scores (or equivalent) may be exempted from taking the additional test of English language proficiency by the student’s academic department.

This procedure applies also to international applicants who are already in the United States.

The University reserves the right, even after the arrival and enrollment of a student from another country, to require, at the student’s expense, individual curricular adjustments whenever particular deficiencies or needs are found. This may include enrollment without credit in English as a Foreign Language or other prerequisite courses. New international students are encouraged to use the services of OIS for help in adjusting to the United States and to facilitate their total educational experience.

Financial Aid

The Swanson School of Engineering provides a considerable amount of financial assistance to highly qualified, full-time graduate students. Applicants interested in being considered for financial assistance including teaching and research assistantships must also complete a graduate assistantship application available at and should check with the department of their choice for any additional information concerning applications for assistantships. All applications for financial assistance should be received by February 1 for admission the following fall term.

Financial aid includes:

  1. Fellowships awarded to students of outstanding ability, usually as an unrestricted grant.
  2. Traineeships awarded to students for training in selected areas.
  3. Teaching assistantships and teaching fellowships awarded to exceptionally well-prepared students in return for assistance in laboratories, recitation sections, and other instructional duties. Partial to full tuition scholarships are provided with these assistantships.
  4. Research assistantships awarded to students for assistance on research programs. Partial to full tuition scholarships are provided as part of the assistantship.


Three types of advisors are primarily responsible for guiding engineering students through their program:

Graduate Coordinator

The graduate coordinator is the faculty member responsible for the operation of the department’s graduate program. The coordinator supervises the operations of admissions, registration, course scheduling, assignment of advisors, graduation, and academic disciplinary procedures. The graduate coordinator generally is the best source of information and advice when questions arise or problems are encountered during graduate study.

Faculty Advisor

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor when admitted into a graduate program. This advisor assists the student in planning a course of study and is responsible for approving the student’s registration and all course changes. Once the student begins thesis or dissertation research, the duties of the faculty advisor are assumed by the student’s major research advisor.

Major Research Advisor(s)

The major research advisor (or advisors if joint advisors are designated) is the graduate faculty member who directs the student’s research and supervises the preparation of the thesis or dissertation. Generally, the major advisor also serves as the chair of the final oral examination (defense) committee for the student’s thesis or dissertation.

Responsibility for Academic Progress

It is the responsibility of students to check their academic progress by contacting either the departmental graduate coordinator or their faculty advisor. The student should also become familiar with the program degree requirements and pertinent academic regulations.

Academic Integrity and Code of Conduct*

The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of faculty and honest academic conduct on the part of students. Students are expected to conduct themselves with a high level of responsibility in the fulfillment of their course of study and their conduct in and out of the classroom. Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy can impact a student’s grade or status with the University as some serious or subsequent violations could lead to suspension or dismissal.  Academic Integrity violations can also affect a student’s eligibility for scholarships. It is the corresponding responsibility of faculty to make clear to students those standards by which they will be evaluated and the resources permissible for use by students during their course of study. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise that will involve professional judgment by faculty and may involve, without penalty, reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty. Consistent with these considerations (and without limiting their scope and application in their entirety to the academic programs of the University), faculty and students are directed to observe established University of Pittsburgh and Swanson School of Engineering guidelines on academic integrity and the University Code of Conduct. The Swanson School of Engineering and the University of Pittsburgh Guidelines on Academic Integrity are available to faculty and students in the departmental offices of the Swanson School of Engineering and is also available at Policy Guidelines - SSOE .  The University’s student Code of Conduct is available at:

*On 10/5/2020 the following information was updated in the published catalog. In an effort to provide accurate information the update was made on 10/20/2020.

Probation, Suspension and Dismissal

A graduate student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.000 will be placed on academic probation for the following term. If the student’s cumulative GPA remains below 3.000 for the next academic year term (i.e., the cumulative GPA is below 3.000 for two successive academy year terms), s/he will be dismissed. Students will normally be suspended for one calendar year; students who are dismissed will not be re-admitted to the Swanson School of Engineering. Students on probation are not eligible to take the PhD preliminary evaluation or the MS or PhD comprehensive examination, and will not be graduated.

Course Work for Graduate Credit

Only graduate courses will count for graduate credit (i.e., 2000 or 3000 level courses). Students may not use undergraduate courses taken at either the University of Pittsburgh, or another university to satisfy a graduate requirement.

Online courses:

Online courses are allowed with approval from the academic department graduate coordinator and the associate dean for academic affairs on a case by case basis.  These course must be:

  1. Offered by an appropriate academic graduate program.
  2. Suitable for the student’s academic program and typically not available on the University of Pittsburgh campus

Statute of Limitations Requirements

The Swanson School of Engineering adheres to the University of Pittsburgh statute of limitations for all MS, Professional MS (non-thesis), and PhD programs.

Master of Science Programs

All departments in the Swanson School of Engineering offer MS degree programs that have two tracks: a professional track and a research track. The differences are detailed below. Students may transfer no more than six credits of appropriate graduate course work from another graduate program at the discretion of the graduate coordinator in satisfying the course requirements of both the professional and research MS degrees.

Professional MS Track

The professional track consists of 30 credits (10 courses). The faculty of the degree-granting unit determines the actual course content and requirements. These programs typically have a set of required core courses. Students may have an opportunity for more in-depth study in a particular area of interest through a two- or three-course concentration. As a professional degree, while no thesis or comprehensive examination is required, the department may require a special projects course.

The professional MS programs are oriented toward full-time students seeking a career in industry, and part-time students currently working in industry. Certain programs may be offered off campus at industrial sites or online. Although students who have an undergraduate degree in a technical area (e.g., mathematics, physics, computer science, or chemistry) may be accepted, depending on the particular program, they may be required to take certain prerequisite courses. These undergraduate pre-requisite courses cannot be used to satisfy graduate course requirements. Interested students should contact the appropriate graduate coordinator for specific details.

Research MS Track

The research track is primarily for those students who wish to pursue the PhD. Students in this track will be advised to take courses best suited for a research degree. The MS research track requires a minimum of 24 course credits, depending on the selected option and six credits of thesis research. The department may also specify credit distribution requirements for courses in the major and related areas. The student should see his or her major advisor for detailed information. Students working under the MS research option are required to present a thesis that demonstrates marked attainment in some area of the student’s major subject, as well as acquisition of the methods and techniques of scientific investigation. Certain programs may permit a project to be completed in place of the thesis. A comprehensive examination or equivalent is required. Normally the final oral exam for the thesis meets the requirements of the MS comprehensive exam.

A graduate student may commence MS thesis work only after obtaining full graduate status.

A graduate student should initiate preliminary thesis and research work as early as possible. Once research and thesis work has begun, the student must register for thesis credits of research in each succeeding term until successful completion of the thesis and the final oral examination. Exceptions to this rule can be made only upon the recommendation of the student’s major advisor.

Only six credits of MS thesis may be used as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MS degree. Before completion of the thesis, the student will receive a grade of I (incomplete) at the end of each term. After successful completion of the thesis and the final oral examination, all I grades will be changed to S grades.

MS Thesis Oral Examination (Defense)

The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the student’s MS thesis and is part of the MS thesis requirements as specified by the program. For additional information on the thesis exam, see Thesis Option under Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees .

Residency and Statute of Limitations Requirements

A graduate student may complete all requirements for the MS degree on a part-time basis. All degree requirements for the MS degree, however, must be fulfilled within a period of four calendar years after the student’s first registration for graduate study.

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD)

All graduate students preparing a thesis or dissertation must complete an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation participation form. The signed participation form and the necessary payment receipt documentation are to be submitted to the Swanson School of Engineering Office of Administration. After receiving approval the student will go to the ETD Online System and follow the instructions in the Format Guidelines Manual for submission of an ETD. Questions and problems can be addressed by contacting the School of Engineering Office of Administration, 151 Benedum Hall.

Joint MBA/MS Degree Program

The Swanson School of Engineering and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business have established joint MBA/MS programs with each of the seven engineering graduate degree programs. These programs are designed to meet the clear and growing need felt by various industry sectors for managers with sophisticated business and engineering skills. In today’s environment, such cross-functional skills are essential in addressing multifaceted problems involving issues related to product development, quality, information systems, modeling and quantitative analysis, finance and accounting, international relations, and marketing.

Both full-time and part-time options are available. The full-time option can be completed in two academic years, whereas the part-time option may typically require a period of four to five years. The programs generally consist of 64.5 credits full time (or 69 credits part time). It is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in engineering and, in some cases, the physical sciences, preferably with industry work experience. Candidates must meet the admissions criteria of both the MBA program and the specific MS engineering program of interest.

Students accepted into the program will be expected to complete both degrees concurrently and pay full tuition. Courses will be scheduled in such a manner as to preclude students from receiving one degree before the other.

This program is only for those students seeking a professional MS engineering degree. Students interested in the research MS engineering degree track will not be admitted. Further, because of the high credit demand, students in the program will not be able to hold either research or teaching assistant positions. Students who enrolled in the joint degree program are expected to complete both degrees.

Full-time students will register for the program through the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business for four semesters at the one-year MBA tuition rate. For more information see

Doctor of Philosophy Programs

The general PhD requirements of the Swanson School of Engineering are listed below. Further information concerning degree requirements and options can be found under each  program’s description.

Entrance to the PhD Program

A graduate student who has received the Master of Science degree in one engineering program area or has equivalent preparation is eligible to enter a doctoral program in that same area. To be accepted for a doctoral program, a graduate student must have achieved a superior scholastic record and shown great promise for conducting independent research. A prospective doctoral student should have a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.00 in graduate course work. Evidence of research aptitude, including favorable recommendations, is required. Exceptionally well-qualified students may be permitted to enter the PhD program without an MS degree according to the established criteria and qualifications set by each department. Admission to a doctoral program does not include any implication concerning admission to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Course and Dissertation Credit Requirements

An objective of the PhD program is to attain a high degree of competence in the student’s chosen field of specialization. Completion of the PhD program requires a total of 72 credits, of which at least 18 must be for dissertation research. The graduate faculty determines the minimum course requirements for each PhD program. Typically each program has a core of well-coordinated courses followed by advanced course work in one or more specialty areas, with the number of course credits varying among programs. Additional course work may be prescribed in accord with the student’s specific needs. However, all PhD students must take a minimum of 24 credits of graduate level didactic coursework (2000 or 3000 level). A student may further attain the required degree of competence beyond these 24 credits by other means including independent study under faculty supervision. Regardless of how the required competence is obtained, it must be certified by passing the appropriate series of examinations.

Students who have been formally admitted to PhD candidacy may register for dissertation research (3999). Preliminary dissertation research can be done as part of an appropriate 3997 departmental course. The number of dissertation credits for which a student registers should be commensurate with the independent research effort to be undertaken during the term. Minimum registration is three credits per term. Of the minimum 18 credits of dissertation research, at least 12 credits must be for the program’s PhD dissertation research course (3999). These may be taken only after admission to candidacy; the other six credits may be in the department’s pre-candidacy PhD research course. Students will be given an I grade for all research courses until the dissertation is successfully defended and submitted.

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 (FTD), which carries no credits or letter grade but provides students full-time status. Students so enrolled are assessed a special tuition fee.

Once a student registers for dissertation research (3999), he or she must continue to register for dissertation research in successive terms (not including the summer term) until the final oral examination has been passed, unless the student is eligible to register for Full Time Dissertation credit. (In special cases the major advisor may request that this requirement be waived.) Upon successful completion of the final oral examination, all I grades will be changed to S grades.

Doctor of Philosophy Evaluation/Examinations

To complete the PhD program, students must pass the preliminary evaluation, comprehensive and final oral examinations. Students who have less than a 3.000 cumulative GPA for all courses that satisfy graduation requirements are considered to be on probation and will not be permitted to take any of these examinations.

Preliminary Evaluation (Qualifier)

See Preliminary Evaluation under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for an overview of the purpose of this examination, and then review the school-specific information below. This examination is usually taken within the first two to four terms of graduate study and is a first step towards the student’s formal admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Each program determines the exact format and content of this examination, which may consist of written and oral components. Qualifier examinations are usually given once a year at a time specified by the program.

Comprehensive Examination

See Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for an overview of the purpose and regulations regarding this examination, and then review the school-specific information below. The nature and timing of this examination is determined by the department; it may be combined with students’ formal presentation of their dissertation proposal. However, the Comprehensive Examination cannot be taken until at least one full term after successfully completing the Preliminary Examination. The formal thesis proposal should be scheduled as soon as the candidate is prepared to present his/her topic and research plan, since there must be at least two full terms between its successful completion and the Final Oral Examination.

Final Oral Examination (Defense)

See Final Oral Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for an overview of the purpose and regulations regarding this examination, and then review the school-specific information below. The final oral examination determines the acceptability of a student’s dissertation and his or her ability to comprehend, organize, and contribute to the chosen field of research. 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. Because a portion of the defense is open to the public, the student should ensure that the dissertation defense is formally announced on both the School’s webpages and its videos monitors, at least two weeks prior to the defense date. Further, this examination cannot occur sooner than two full terms following the formal thesis proposal.

Admission to PhD Candidacy

See Admission to Candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for the requirements for admission. An Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree must be filed after these requirements have been met.

In order to have the dissertation topic approved, the student must prepare, in consultation with the major advisor, a dissertation proposal. A formal dissertation proposal conference will then be held in which the members of the doctoral committee will review the proposal and either accept, revise, or reject it. Depending on the department’s procedure, this conference may be held in conjunction with the comprehensive examination. 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.

If the dissertation proposal is accepted by the doctoral committee, the student is formally admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Such admittance to PhD candidacy must be accomplished at least two terms before the student plans to graduate.

Doctoral Committee

See Doctoral Committee under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  for an overview of the committee’s make up and responsibilities. In addition, the following school-specific rules apply in the School of Engineering:

Faculty who hold a secondary appointment and actively participate in the department will be considered as internal rather than external members of the doctoral committee. Hence, they may serve as the major advisor. Faculty members whose secondary appointment within the department is viewed as a courtesy appointment may be considered as an external committee member, but cannot serve as the student’s sole committee chair (major advisor).

The composition of the Doctoral Committee must be approved by the department’s graduate coordinator and either the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Research prior to the presentation of the formal dissertation proposal. A committee must consist of four or more persons, including at least one from another department within the University of Pittsburgh or from an appropriate graduate program at another academic institution, government agency or industry. The majority of the committee, including the major adviser, must be full or adjunct members of the Graduate Faculty.  Typically the committee will consist of three internal (from the department) and one external members. In certain cases the graduate coordinator or associate dean may recommend one or more additional members of the committee if appropriate. Once the dissertation proposal is approved, the student is expected to meet at least annually with his/her Doctoral Committee.

If a committee member leaves the University, that member can continue to serve as an internal committee member provided that he/she has an adjunct appointment in the student’s home department. If the major advisor (committee chair) leaves the University, then a new major advisor must be appointed by the graduate coordinator and approved by the associate dean for academic affairs. The new major advisor will typically be selected from among the remaining committee members. The former major advisor may remain on the committee as a member, but only if he/she has an adjunct appointment. The graduate coordinator and School administration must be informed of any proposed committee changes in the term they occur.

A major advisor has an obligation to assist the student to the successful completion of his/her dissertation. In those rare cases where the major advisor no longer feels that he/she can adequately work with the student, then it is incumbent on the department chair and graduate coordinator to meet with the committee and, if it is decided that the student is able to complete the dissertation, then select a new major advisor, typically from among the remaining members of the committee, and a replacement committee member appointed.

PhD Dissertation

Each student must prepare a dissertation embodying an extended original, independent investigation of a problem of significance in the student’s field of specialization. The dissertation must add to the general store of knowledge or understanding of that field. Dissertations must be written in English. It is highly recommended that the student use a plagiarism-detection software (e.g., iThenticate) to ensure that no plagiarism, which is considered research misconduct, has been committed, either overtly or covertly.

A dissertation submitted to the Swanson School of Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree must be free from any restriction, other than the author’s copyright, concerning its publication by any agency outside the University. Any publication of a dissertation must be with appropriate acknowledgment to the University of Pittsburgh. After the dissertation has been prepared and approved by the major advisor, the final oral examination can be held.

Departmental Requirements

The policies enumerated above represent minimum requirements. In certain cases, individual departments may have stricter requirements. It is the ultimate responsibility of the student to understand the policies/requirements of his/her graduate program.

Computational Modeling and Simulation PhD Program

The Computational Modeling and Simulation (CMS) PhD Program at the University of Pittsburgh provides its graduate students with an integrated program of creative, independent research, course work, and teaching. Our students pursue research in diverse areas of engineering and sciences with concentration on numerical methods and computational schemes.  Coupled with the University Center for Research Computing (, this program offers an unparalleled opportunities for individualized training in high performance computing and physical modeling.  An extensive seminar series exposes students and faculty alike to the world’s leading scientists and their latest research. Pitt’s outstanding research and placement resources, coupled with the university’s commitment to being one of the top centers for computational research, uniquely positions us to help our PhD candidates to meet their objectives.  For a review of our PhD Program in CMS, and application to this program, please see: 

Joint MD/PhD Degree Program/Medical Scientist Training Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) offers exceptionally talented individuals the opportunity to undertake a physician-scientist training program tailored to their specific research interests. This program is funded partly by the Medical Scientist Training Program of the National Institutes of Health. For students who have a clearly-defined interest in biomedical research, the MSTP serves as a bridge between the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and 20 graduate programs in basic sciences or engineering at either the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University. During a period of seven to eight years, these individuals meet the degree requirements of both a graduate school and the medical school, thus acquiring the knowledge, skills, and experience to begin careers in some of the most exciting areas of medical research.  More information can be found here  or by contacting MD/PhD program at 5585 Scaife Hall, 412-648-2324 for further information.

Cooperative Education

With the renewed emphasis on professional master degree programs and the development of such initiatives as the MS/MBA, and 3+1+1 (first three years at a home institution, a fourth year at the SSoE to earn the BS degree, and a fifth year at the SSoE to earn an MS degree) programs, there is a strong need to provide graduate students, including international graduate students with a work opportunity that is an essential part of their education. This also includes PhD students who desire to take a term off in order to obtain industrial experience and perspective. Not only does the program provide them with needed experience, but it enables them to earn a reasonable amount of money over a 15 week work rotation. For more information, please visit

SSOE Diversity Initiatives

Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate - Transition to the Doctorate by Adaptable Engagement (PITT - STRIVE)

The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Transition to the Doctorate by Adaptable Engagement (PITT - STRIVE) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate-Knowledge Adoption and Translation (AGEP-KAT). 

The primary goals of PITT - STRIVE are to (a) significantly increase the number of underrepresented minorities (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders) obtaining graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and (b) enhance the preparation of underrepresented minorities for faculty positions in academia.

The overarching goals of PITT - STRIVE at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are to:

  1. Improve the transition of URM (African/Black American, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans) students, who are US citizens, into doctoral engineering programs at the University of Pittsburgh; and
  2. Create a systemic engineering culture and climate that ensures the success of URM transition to the doctorate through adoption/adaptation of evidence-based strategies for student and faculty engagement.

Student Objectives:

  • Adapt and implement evidence-based strategies with URM doctoral student participants in engineering, who are US citizens.
  • Enhance professional and educational skills of URM doctoral student participants in engineering, who are US citizens.
  • Increase the number of URM doctoral student participants, who are US citizens, to continue and maintain an interest in the engineering PhD program.

Faculty Objectives:

  • Improve faculty engagement with URM graduate students, who are US citizens in engineering.
  • Improve faculty awareness of the problems facing URM graduate students who are US citizens in engineering.
  • Develop a shared vision among vested faculty regarding the success of URM graduate students within the school of engineering.

Studies reveal that Black/African Americans (5.3%), Hispanic/Latinos (3.5%), Asian Americans (9.1%), and American Indians (1.4%) are significantly underrepresented in the professoriate compared to the university/college student populations. The primary goal of the PITT - STRIVE program is to improve the transitions of Underrepresented Minorities (URM), who are US citizens, into doctoral engineering programs at the University of Pittsburgh and to ensure their successful completion by employing evidence-based strategies for student and faculty engagement and fostering an inclusive academic climate for URM doctoral students.

The University of Pittsburgh PITT - STRIVE program is housed in and administered by the Swanson School of Engineering Office of Diversity. The Engineering Office of Diversity and the PITT - STRIVE leadership team will develop, coordinate, implement, and assess program activities and outcomes in the following focus areas:

  • Improving faculty engagement with URM students.
  • Improving faculty awareness of the problems facing URM students.
  • Developing a shared vision among vested faculty regarding the success of URM students within our School of Engineering.
  • Fostering an inclusive academic culture climate for the success of URM doctoral students.

Who is eligible to participate in PITT - STRIVE?

  • Member of an underrepresented minority group (Black/African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander).
  • US citizens (permanent residents and students with disability also eligible).
  • Graduated from an accredited STEM undergraduate program with a 3.3/4.0 GPA and show strong motivation for entering a PhD program at University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. All PITT - STRIVE Scholars must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.300 to maintain the award. Activities associated with PITT - STRIVE include a Mentor/Mentee Weekend Retreat; the Discover Graduate Recruitment Weekend; and the Faculty-Student Engagement Training.

PITT - STRIVE is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate-Knowledge Adoption and Translation (AGEP-KAT) program. PITT - STRIVE is part of the National Science Foundation’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP).

For more information on PITT - STRIVE please visit

Graduate Engineering Education Scholarship (GEES)

The Graduate Engineering Education Scholarship (GEES) program is a new initiative designed to create access to MS Degrees through Scholarships and to Create Bridge to Professional Career (BPC) through several three-semester thesis or project-based Master of Science degree programs in any of the engineering degree programs. The GEES program will provide partial scholarship to support eligible MS students with unmet financial needs, offer curriculum and co-curricular activities to enable the student to be successful in either the workforce or in their entrepreneurial pursuits.

GEES will provide partial scholarships up to $20,000 per scholar toward the completion of a MS degree program. The project will provide faculty-guided course selection to train engineering graduate workforce capable of performing as creative engineers. Other strategies include building capacity for research and innovation (CRI), mentoring students through faculty-structured apprenticeship, and providing graduate-student-centered community activities.

To be eligible, you must: 

  • Be a student with unmet financial needs.
  • Have an overall BS GPA of 3.0/4.0 or above in any STEM field.
  • Be interested or enrolled in thesis or project based MS degree in any engineering field.
  • Be US citizen or permanent resident.

Graduate Diversity Workshop

Graduate Diversity Workshop is considered mandatory for all graduate students in their first year of the program. It discusses principles of intercultural communication and acceptable classroom and research group behaviors.

For more information on PITT - STRIVE and GEES, please contact:

University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
Engineering Office of Diversity
PITT STRIVE Program Coordinator
129A Benedum Hall
3700 O’Hara Street
Pittsburgh PA 15261

Swanson School of Engineering Faculty

School of Engineering Faculty  

Contact information and research interests of faculty members can be found on the Swanson School of Engineering faculty page.

Program and Course Offerings

Other Courses

    Department of Bioengineering

    Go to information for Department of Bioengineering.

    Other Courses

      Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

      Go to information for Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

      Other Courses

        Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

        Go to information for Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.



        Joint Degree


        Other Courses

          Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

          Go to information for Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

          Other Courses

            Department of Industrial Engineering

            Go to information for Department of Industrial Engineering.

            Other Courses

              Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering

              Go to information for Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.

              Other Courses

              Catalog Navigation