The College of General Studies (CGS) provides adult and nontraditional students with a wide variety of learning options. Students who enroll in the College of General Studies can complete a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in career-oriented fields and in concentrations in the arts and sciences. In addition to a degree, students may prepare for transfer to any of the University’s upper-division and professional schools. The College also offers a wide range of certificate programs in specialized fields such as health services, accounting, and information sciences. For those students who already have a degree but desire career-related study or preparation for graduate study, the College of General Studies permits them to register in a non-degree program. The College of General Studies uses the same faculties as the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools of the University to provide instruction.
Professors and instructors teaching for the College of General Studies come from several undergraduate and professional schools across the University of Pittsburgh. CGS instructors include full-time faculty, regular part-time faculty, adjunct, graduate students, and professionals and leaders from throughout the greater Pittsburgh region. A list of CGS-affiliated instructors is available on the CGS Web site.
The College of General Studies targets its curriculum to adult and transfer students who have been out of high school at least two years. Most of the students attending the College have full-time work or family responsibilities and therefore take full advantage of the unique delivery systems available for instruction. Students may enroll in traditional day classes, evening classes, or Saturday classes; or they may enroll for CGS Online courses.
University of Pittsburgh
College of General Studies
Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies
140 Thackeray Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Admission through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Degree-seeking students are admitted to the College of General Studies by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA).
Those students who desire to complete a degree at the University of Pittsburgh, either in the College of General Studies or ultimately transferring elsewhere in the University, are required to apply as degree-seeking students through the University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA).
Students must meet a number of specific admissions criteria, depending on their previous experience. For details, refer to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid website.
Admission through the College of General Studies
Transfers from Other University of Pittsburgh Schools at the Pittsburgh Campus
To transfer to CGS from another school at the Pittsburgh campus, students should request that the other Pittsburgh campus school send their records to CGS. CGS will review the student records and send letters of acceptance to students who are eligible to transfer into CGS. To qualify, students must have:
- a minimum overall GPA of 2.0,
- at least 12 completed credits in their current program, and
- fulfilled the Mathematics and Seminar in Composition requirements.
Upon acceptance into CGS, students will receive evaluations of their previous course work, acknowledging the courses that have fulfilled CGS skills and general education requirements. To graduate with a degree from CGS, students are required to earn their last 30 credits while enrolled in CGS and to earn at least half of the credits for their majors, minors, and certificates while enrolled in the CGS.
Relocation from University of Pittsburgh Regional Campuses
- For students seeking guaranteed relocation who have earned credits only from one of the regional campuses, the normal requirement is for completion of 45 credits at the specific regional campus, with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
- For students seeking guaranteed relocation who have earned 30 or more credits at the specific regional campus and a total of 45 credits overall, a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all courses is required.
- Students with a 3.0 GPA, who would have been directly admissible to the Pittsburgh campus as freshmen, may be considered for relocation with fewer than the above number of college credits.
- You must have completed the Algebra and Seminar in Composition requirements with a grade of C- or better.
Students Seeking a Second University of Pittsburgh Degree
Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any University of Pittsburgh school or campus and wish to earn a second undergraduate degree in CGS should apply directly to CGS. Applicants should note the following.
- Course work for the second degree will continue to be recorded on the original University of Pittsburgh undergraduate transcript.
- All appropriate course work from the first degree will apply to the second degree.
- Students must earn a minimum of 30 new credits. No coursework repeated from the first degree will count toward the second degree.
- At least half of the credits for the second major toward the second degree must be earned while enrolled in CGS.
- The cumulative GPA and credit total will be based on all credits from the first degree and all new course work taken that applies to the second degree.
Students Seeking Reinstatement
The following students must apply for reinstatement through the College of General Studies.
- CGS students who have not enrolled for three consecutive terms (one calendar year);
- CGS students who have completed their suspension periods and wish to continue their studies; and
- Students who last attended another school at the Pittsburgh campus but have not enrolled in classes for three consecutive terms (one calendar year), have not attended another institution, and wish to be admitted to CGS.
Students who are returning after completing their suspension period will be reinstated on probation.
The deadline for reinstatement is August 15 for the fall term, December 15 for the spring term, and one week before the beginning of classes in the summer term or summer session. Students who last attended another University of Pittsburgh school on the Pittsburgh campus or who attended a regional campus must meet the admissions requirements for transfer to CGS. Students’ academic standing upon reinstatement will continue to be that attained at the end of their last term in residence.
Students who are reinstated for a particular term but do not enroll for that term must apply for reinstatement again if they wish to attend for a later term. Students who have been away from the University for two or more years will be subject to the requirements of the school and of their major at the time of their reinstatement, rather than those in place at the time of their last attendance.
Certificate Program Admission
Students looking to broaden their educational experience or seeking professional development may elect to enroll in an academic certificate program. Certificate programs offer a course concentration in a specific area of study and may partially fulfill the student’s degree requirements.
Students seeking admission to one of the certificate programs in the College of General Studies must meet CGS certificate admission criteria and complete the CGS online application. Students are required to provide transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Students must take at least one-half of the coursework for the certificate at the University of Pittsburgh and earn a 2.0 or better GPA in certificate courses. The certificates offered by CGS are as follows:
- Accounting (post-baccalaureate program)
- Community health assessment
- Corporate/community relations
- Digital media
- Gender, sexuality, and women’s studies
- Information system design
- Managing health services programs and projects
- National preparedness and homeland security
- Nonprofit management
- Writing for the professions
* Please note that the Leadership certificate must be earned in conjunction with a degree. To enter the Accounting certificate, students must already have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.75 GPA.
Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and desire to complete University course work as preparation for graduate study or for personal or professional interest, but do not desire to complete a second degree, may apply for admission as non-degree students. These students need to complete the CGS online application for admission and provide transcripts for all previous college work. Students who enroll under this program and later desire to earn a degree will be reviewed for admission under the normal admission criteria. Additional details are available at www.cgs.pitt.edu/admission.
Guest, Visiting, and Summer Visiting Students
Guest, Visiting, and Summer Visiting students are students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at another university who plan to take courses for credit at the University of Pittsburgh with the intention of transferring those courses back to their home institution. To be eligible for admission, students must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative or overall GPA. Additional details are available at www.cgs.pitt.edu/admission.
The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid handles all financial aid processing for College of General Studies students. Obtain information regarding the necessary forms and important deadline dates from the University’s financial aid Web site, https://FinancialAid.Pitt.edu or call 412-624-7488 (option 2).
Students who wish to be considered for supplemental financial aid may apply through the Office of the Associate Dean. Students must have a completed current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. CGS supplemental aid is awarded on a rolling basis and is need-based. The CGS supplemental financial aid application is available at www.cgs.pitt.edu/scholarships.
Academic and need-based scholarships are available through CGS. Information concerning these scholarships for enrolled CGS students is available at www.cgs.pitt.edu.
A CGS career consultant is available to assist students with the formulation of career objectives and preparation for the job search. Various seminars are offered throughout the year, and a variety of resource materials are available for student use. For more information on CGS career services, visit: www.cgs.pitt.edu/career-services.
Class Locations and Times
Students in the College of General Studies have an array of options for where and when to pursue their course work.
The full range of courses offered by the College of General Studies is available at the Pittsburgh campus. The 120-acre campus is located in Oakland.
CGS Online provides students with the opportunity to earn credit towards degrees and certificates through two course formats. All courses offered through CGS Online are Web-based, meaning that most course materials can be accessed through the University’s course learning management system. CGS Online courses are offered in the following formats:
- Web courses feature Web-based instruction and interaction. Students interact with their instructors and other students through the Learning Management System Web site. Students are required to participate in online discussions and activities. Students complete the course requirements within one term and move through the course materials as a cohort.
- Hybrid courses combine Web-based interaction and face-to-face or virtual, synchronous instruction. Students are required to attend scheduled workshops and participate in online discussions and activities. Students complete the course requirements within one term and move through the course materials as a cohort.
CGS Online courses meet the same standards for content excellence and expert instruction as our traditional classroom courses.
Saturday classes are offered on the Pittsburgh campus for students who find Saturday a convenient time to attend class.
Advanced Standing Policy
Applicants must submit official transcripts from each accredited college or university attended, whether or not it is intended that the courses be counted toward a degree. Grades for credits transferred are not used in computing a student’s grade point average (GPA). All credits eligible for transfer are subject to the following regulations:
- Only courses with C or better grades will be considered for transfer.
- Courses must correspond with those offered by the University in objectives and content.
- The number of credits granted for a given course cannot exceed the number on the transcript from the school where they were earned, nor can it exceed the number earned in the corresponding courses at the University of Pittsburgh.
- A maximum of 90 credits may be transferred from a four-year institution and 60 credits from a two-year institution, however no more than 90 credits can be transferred.
- All of the credits required for a degree, whether earned in residence or transferred from another institution, must have been earned within 12 years prior to the date on which the degree is awarded. However, when given evidence that the previous courses still provide adequate preparation for courses yet to be taken and still represent a reasonable part of the total academic program, the statute of limitation may be waived. In such cases, the waiver is for a specific period during which the program must be completed.
- Upper-class students (those who have earned 60 or more credits) may not take courses at two-year schools.
- All transfer credits may be subject to reevaluation if a student transfers from one school to another or from one major to another within the University of Pittsburgh or becomes inactive and is subsequently readmitted.
- If a course for which advanced standing is given is repeated at the University of Pittsburgh, the advanced-standing credit is cancelled.
Advanced Placement and Credit by Examination
Students in CGS may also earn advanced standing credits through the following means:
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
The CLEP program provides a way of earning college credits through testing. Specific regulations governing the awarding of CLEP general examination credits are available by calling 412-624-6480, from an academic advisor, or at www.cgs.pitt.edu/clep-exams.
Credit by Examination
In rare circumstances, credit by examination may be offered. Contact the Office of Student Records (firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-624-6480) with questions. Students may be given credit for successfully completing the advanced-standing tests of the College Entrance Examination Board.
Students who are majoring in administration of justice and who have successfully completed Pennsylvania Act 120 or state police cadet training can receive up to 15 credits of advanced standing. The credits are awarded for specific courses.
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Courses
Credits earned in aerospace science (Air Force ROTC), military science (Army ROTC), or naval science (Navy ROTC) through cross registration at Carnegie Mellon University are accepted toward a College of General Studies degree. CGS will grant up to four credits toward graduation for the following courses in lieu of or in combination with physical education courses: AFROTC 0001 , AFROTC 0002 , AFROTC 0003 , and AFROTC 0004 ; MILS 0011 , MILS 0012 , MILS 0021 , and MILS 0022 ; or first-year/sophomore level Navy ROTC courses from CMU.
Also, four junior and senior level courses from these three ROTC programs may be used as professional electives for the CGS degree program, if professional electives are permitted. These courses are AFROTC 1013 , AFROTC 1014 , AFROTC 1015 , and AFROTC 1016 (all 3-credit courses); MILS 1031 , MILS 1032 , MILS 1041 and MILS 1042 (all 1-credit courses); and similar courses from Navy ROTC.
An internship is a supervised, work-related experience, volunteer or paid, which is related to an academic discipline and is sponsored, evaluated, and graded by a University faculty member. The internship is a new experience and does not represent credit for past work or continuation of the current employment situation. A detailed outline of CGS internship requirements is available at www.cgs.pitt.edu/programs/internships.
PLEASE NOTE: Several CGS majors require that you complete an internship at a facility that may or will require a criminal background check, an ACT 33/34 clearance, and perhaps a drug screen to determine whether you are qualified to participate in the internship. Additionally, in order to become licensed or employed, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or a felonious or illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse.
College of General Studies students are encouraged to enhance their undergraduate education by including a study abroad experience. Credit may be earned toward a CGS degree through participation in either Pitt-sponsored, exchange, or Pitt-recognized programs. Students may study in virtually any part of the world in these programs or others offered by many American and international institutions. Some programs are of short duration to fit the schedules of students with extensive work, family and other commitments.
Approval for credit must be obtained before studying abroad. The study abroad advisor provides program approval and CGS Academic Affairs approves course selection and credits. You should have at least a 2.75 GPA before seeking permission to study abroad.
See www.cgs.pitt.edu/study-abroad for further details. Visit www.abroad.pitt.edu for additional information.
Students with a GPA of 3.5 or better planning to pursue graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh may want to consider the Early Admission Option for Graduate Study. This option allows students to use the first 24 credits of graduate work as the last 24 elective credits of their undergraduate program. The following graduate schools at Pitt allow this option in conjunction with the College of General Studies degree program: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), Graduate School of Public Health, and the School of Law.
Note: Students interested in the early admission option for graduate study should contact their CGS advisor as soon as possible to discuss their intention and the process that needs to be followed.
- Must be superior graduate school candidates and be admitted to the Pitt graduate program. Admissions requirements can be obtained from the graduate schools.
- Must have completed a minimum of ninety-six (96) credits toward the CGS degree, including all general education and major requirements (and no G grades), before the graduate program begins.
- At least, the last thirty (30) of the ninety-six (96) undergraduate credits should be taken while the student is in residence in CGS, and before acceptance as a graduate student. Satisfactory completion of these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the graduate program. This decision is made by the graduate program.
- All other regulations governing the completion of credits for a CGS degree also apply.
- The graduate program must include a minimum of twenty-four (24) credits of graduate-level coursework. Students must earn a B or better grade in all graduate coursework. (S or H grades in the MSL program)
- Twenty-four (24) credits is the maximum number of graduate credits that can be used to fulfill free elective requirements of the undergraduate degree. A student may seek to use fewer than twenty-four (24) graduate credits toward their free elective credits if they have already partially fulfilled their elective requirements.
- Students must apply for graduation from CGS after completion of the first twenty-four (24) credits in their graduate program with grades of B or better. Students must have earned a total of at least 120 credits.
Note: Students who choose this option must be aware that enrolling as a graduate student may affect their financial aid package. Students are responsible for contacting the Financial Aid Office regarding this issue.
The College of General Studies’ Guidelines on Academic Integrity outlines obligations of both students and instructors for maintaining academic integrity in CGS classes. An electronic copy of this publication, which lists the obligations, procedures, penalties, and remedies for maintaining such integrity, is available on the College of General Studies Web site.
- Students are required to make a graduation appointment with their advisor when registering for classes for their final term. During this appointment, students and their advisor review all the requirements and plan for their last term, as well as share details concerning commencement and graduation ceremonies at the University. Learn more at www.cgs.pitt.edu/advising
- Students must apply for graduation from CGS in the semester prior to their final term. Students must have minimum of 120 credits in order to graduate.
- Students receive a BA or BS degree depending upon the CGS major. The final undergraduate transcript will specify the major completed in CGS.
- The GPA for graduation from CGS will be calculated solely on the earned Pitt credits on the undergraduate transcript. The graduate program courses appear on the graduate transcript and the undergraduate transcript is noted: Baccalaureate degree awarded in conjunction with graduate degree.
- In order for CGS students to graduate with honors from the University, they must have at least 60 letter-graded University of Pittsburgh credits at the undergraduate level. Courses at the graduate level and undergraduate courses graded S or H are not included in this 60 credit requirement.
The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree will be awarded upon the fulfillment of the following conditions:
- Completion of at least 120 credits of University work in one of the prescribed curricular courses, by advanced standing, or by examinations.
- Completion of at least one-half of the major or 15 credits, whichever is greater, at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh campus.
- Completion of the senior year (30 credits) in the College of General Studies.
- Attainment of at least a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in courses taken at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Attainment of at least a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in the major.
- Satisfactory completion of all required CGS and major courses.
There are two grading options available to students registering for courses offered by the College of General Studies: the letter grade option and the satisfactory/no-credit (S/NC) option (formerly the S/N option).
Core requirement courses in the student’s major must be taken for the letter grade. Students can apply “S” grades only to internship, study abroad, experiential learning, and elective courses in the major. Students can take a maximum of six credits with the S/NC grade and have those credits applied to CGS major requirements.
Under the S/NC option, a student who does satisfactory work (a grade of C or better) in a course receives the grade of “S.” If the student’s work is not satisfactory (a grade of C- or lower), the grade of “NC” (for no credit) is given. Courses for which “S” grades are earned are counted toward graduation but are not computed in the GPA. Courses for which “NC” grades are earned are not counted toward graduation because the “NC” designates that no credit was earned. These courses cannot be applied toward university requirements.
For most courses, students who wish to take a course with the S/NC Grade Option will need to complete the S/NC Grade Option/Audit Request form (Registrar’s Office) and the CGS Grade Option Waiver form by the end of the fourth full week of classes during a term (second full week of classes during summer sessions 1 and 2). If the student does not fill out a Grade Option/Audit Request form for a course in which more than one grade option is available, the default option (generally a letter grade) will automatically be selected. There are some formal limitations to a student’s choice of grading systems (see below); Students should consult with their academic advisor before deciding to take a course S/NC. See also the CGS Advising page for details.
Limitations to the choice of the satisfactory/no-credit (S/NC) grade option in the College of General Studies:
- Students can take a maximum of 6 credits with the S/NC grade and have those credits applied to CGS major requirements. There is one exception to this policy: Students who study abroad and take courses that will be applied as S grades through transfer credit can apply up to nine credits to their major requirements. Students can only apply “S” grades to internship, experiential learning, and elective courses in the major. Core requirement courses must be taken for the letter grade
- Under certain circumstances, departments may declare a course available only for a letter grade or as satisfactory/no-credit. In such courses, students will not have a choice for the other grade option.
At the discretion of an instructor, a G grade may be awarded when students who have been attending a course and making regular progress are prevented from completing the course due to extenuating personal circumstances. Students who are assigned a G grade are required to complete course requirements no later than one year after the term or session in which the course was taken, including the summer term, or by an earlier deadline established by the instructor. After that year, the grade will automatically change to NG; an NG grade cannot be changed, and the credits will no longer appear as “in progress.” The student will be required to re-register for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation. The College of General Studies encourages students with G grades to work with their instructors to complete the requirements for the course as soon as possible. G and NG cannot be applied to graduation requirements.
At the time of requesting a G grade, the student should arrange with the instructor a plan and schedule for completing the course work. The instructor and student must also fill out the CGS G-grade Contract form. For additional information, visit www.cgs.pitt.edu/faculty-resources.
The College of General Studies is committed to the success of its students and has guidelines in place to connect students with the appropriate resources at the earliest sign of academic difficulty. A student’s academic standing is comprised of three factors: term GPA, cumulative GPA, and progress toward a degree. Students in the College of General Studies are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA and term GPA of 2.00 or above for each term of enrollment. In addition, full-time students are expected to successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits during each term of enrollment. Part-time students are expected to successfully complete a minimum of 3 credits during each term of enrollment.
Academic Alert is a marker designed to notify students who show signs, early on and throughout their academic career, of jeopardizing successful progress toward the completion of their undergraduate degree. This may be due to their inability to maintain a satisfactory GPA and/or failing to fulfill the algebra or composition requirement within the first two terms of full-time enrollment. Students who receive two consecutive Academic Alerts will be placed on Academic Probation.
Students are placed on Academic Probation after earning a GPA between a 1.50 and a 1.99 over two consecutive terms or have one semester at or below a 1.49 cumulative GPA. Students may also be placed on Academic Probation if they fail to make progress toward their degree (e.g. failing to earn any academic credits).
Students currently on Academic Probation who earn a term GPA below a 2.00 or fail to make progress toward their degree will be subject to Academic Suspension. After being suspended, students are not eligible to re-enroll for one calendar year. Following suspension, students are required to apply for reinstatement at the Undergraduate Dean’s Office. Students returning from academic suspension are reinstated on academic probation and are required to develop an academic success plan upon their return. These reinstated students’ records are reviewed after each subsequent term of enrollment.
Students who have been reinstated from Academic Suspension must earn at least a 2.00 GPA for each term that they enroll until they have achieved a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or above. If a student fails to earn a 2.00 term GPA, they are subject to Academic Dismissal from the University. Dismissed students are not eligible for reinstatement.
Following the fall and spring terms, full-time College of General Studies students whose grades in the preceding term indicate outstanding academic achievement are recognized on the Dean’s List. To be placed on the Dean’s List, a student must have earned at least 12 credits (not including courses taken on the Satisfactory/No-Credit option) with a term GPA of at least 3.50. Part-time students will be recognized following each spring term.
The baccalaureate degree, in addition to providing certain skills and broad exposure to the major bodies of knowledge, also allows the opportunity to specialize in a particular field, providing depth of experience essential for vocational competence or further graduate study. An outline of each major is available on the CGS Web site, www.cgs.pitt.edu.
Students admitted to CGS can choose from the following majors. Many majors are available by combining on-campus and online courses.
Bachelor of Arts:
- Administration of Justice - this major cannot be declared after fall 2021
- Health Services
- Law, Criminal Justice, and Society
- Legal Studies this major cannot be declared after fall 2021
- Media and Professional Communications
- Public Service
Bachelor of Science:
- Dental Hygiene
- Health Services
- Natural Sciences
Students who want a major in an arts and sciences field can begin in CGS and transfer to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences after completing 12 credits including the algebra and seminar in composition requirements. Admission is determined by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
Students who are interested in pursuing a second degree must complete all CGS degree and major requirements. These may be completed by combining CGS courses with transfer credits from previous academic course work.
For the second degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in CGS, including at least half of the credits required for the new major (15-18 credits depending on the major).
Double and Triple Majors and Credit Overlap
Students can declare a double or triple major, but will usually earn only one degree. If one major leads to the BA degree and another to the BS degree, students must decide when applying for graduation which degree they wish to receive.
College of General Studies students may choose to pursue more than one undergraduate degree simultaneously, either within CGS (i.e., both a BA and a BS) or in another undergraduate school of the University. In general, earning two degrees requires a minimum of 150 credits and the completion of the curriculum requirements of both schools.
- The College of General Studies (CGS) and the College of Business Administration (CBA) offer a Double Degree program in which students earn both the BA in Health Services through CGS and the BS in Business Administration (BSBA) through CBA. The double degree program is designed for students who are interested in the intersection of health care management and business administration.
Overlapping Courses Between Majors, Certificates, and Minors
This policy is effective for students who declare their CGS program(s)/plan(s) for Spring 2019 and beyond.
Overlapping Credits between CGS programs and programs in other schools
A maximum of two courses can overlap between a CGS major or certificate and any additional major in another school. No course overlaps are allowed between a CGS certificate and a certificate in another school. No course overlaps are allowed between a CGS minor and another minor, certificate, or major outside of CGS.
Overlapping Credits between majors, certificates and minors within CGS
Courses used for a minor cannot overlap with courses used for a major, minor, or a certificate. Students can overlap a maximum of six (6) credits between a CGS certificate and a CGS major and/or CGS certificate. The following exceptions apply:
* Students cannot receive a certificate in a program in which they are pursuing their major and/or area of concentration. These programs include: Public Service BA (all three tracks and corresponding certificates), Health Services BA (all two tracks and corresponding certificates), Media and Professional Communications BA (all three tracks and corresponding certificates). Note: Media and Professional Communications majors CAN pursue a certificate outside their area of concentration (major track), in which case they are only allowed to overlap core requirements between their major and a certificate.
Program and Course Offerings
Administration of Justice, BA
Dental Hygiene, BS
Health Services, BA
Health Services, BS
Law, Criminal Justice, and Society, BA
Legal Studies, BA
Media and Professional Communications, BA
Natural Sciences, BS
Public Service, BA
Social Sciences, BA