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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Dec 10, 2023
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

University Center for International Studies

The University Center for International Studies (UCIS) is the primary resource for initiating and managing international studies and global programs and support services while promoting the University’s reputation as a global leader in higher education.  A key goal of UCIS is to cultivate globally capable and engaged students toward lives of impact in their community and in the world.  Students become global ready through certificate programs, study abroad, and participation in co-curricular activities focused on regional/area/thematic expertise, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competency, and career and job readiness. UCIS offers 13 certificates and 2 related concentrations, which are academic credentials that attest to acquisition of international knowledge about a particular world region or global issue, cross-cultural understanding, and language proficiency relevant for international careers or for advanced degrees.  

Certificates are available in:

  • African Studies
  • Asian Studies 
  • Central European Studies
  • European Union Studies
  • Global Health
  • Global Studies
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Latin American Studies
  • Mediterranean Studies
  • Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies
  • Transatlantic Studies
  • Transnational Asia Studies
  • West European Studies

The certificates are administered through the Center for African Studies, Asian Studies Center, European Studies Center, Global Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.  All six centers are designated by the federal government as National Resource Centers and can also award the presitgious federal Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships.

UCIS certificates evidence language proficiency, regional knowledge and cultural competency that students find useful for international careers or for advanced degrees with a concentration in a particular world area or global theme.

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh
University Center for International Studies
4413 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Admission to Certificate Programs 

Formal admission to the UCIS certificate programs is accomplished by completing a simple application form. Interested students are encouraged to apply in their freshman or sophomore year. There are no special requirements for admission. All undergraduate certificate programs in UCIS (with the exception of the certificate programs in Global Studies, European Union Studies and Latin American Studies described below) require 15 credits/five courses in the applicable area, with three or more courses in at least two departments other than the major. Language requirements vary.

Certificate courses can be used simultaneously to fulfill the student’s general education and international/foreign culture requirements. Grades generally must be C or better to be accepted for the certificate program. Upon graduation, both the academic degree and the certificate are posted on the student’s transcript.

Global Distinction and myPittGlobal

Students who participate in global activities and experiences at home or abroad can combine those activities with globally-focused coursework and earn an official transcript recogniation called the Global Distinction. The Global Distinction demonstrates cross-cultural exposure and awareness to potential employers, while being accessible to students in programs without enough flexibility to complete a full certificate.  Participation in activities is tracked through myPittGlobal, a student platform which serves as your one-stop-shop to integrate the curricular achievements with study abroad, civic & global engagement, and professional development opportunities. The app will help you access all UCIS academic programs, study abroad, international events and activities, advisors and your peers. For more information, click here.


All UCIS certificate programs provide personalized advising services to students interested or registered in its programs in addition to those routinely offered by the students’ major advisors. Center advisors assist in selecting courses, language training, and arranging internships or study abroad to fit the students’ academic and personal interests. See the program descriptions below for contact information.

Special Academic Opportunities

In addition to the regular certificate programs, UCIS offers the following special academic opportunities:

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

FLAS fellowships are administered by the U.S. Department of Education through selected grantee institutions. The University of Pittsburgh has been selected as a grantee institution for FLAS Fellowships through its six area and global studies centers.  This presigious and competitive federal award allows eligible Pitt undergraduates to compete for fellowships that will allow them to devote greater attention to the study of a chosen modern forieng language and area studies specialty.  Academic year undergraduate fellowships provide up to $10,000 in tuition assistance and a $5,000 living allowance. Summer FLAS awards to support intensive summer language study provide funding up to $7,500.  For more information, including a list of supported world languages, please click here.

Asian Studies Scholarships and Fellowships

Students enrolled in the Asian Studies certificate program are eligible for a variety of fellowships and scholarships, including the Chinese Summer Language Study Abroad Scholarships, the Japanese Studies Undergraduate Scholarship, the Study-in-Japan Scholarship, and the Japanese Summer Language Study Scholarship. In addition, a new undergraduate scholarship program for students studying Chinese and Japanese languages is available for study abroad in an approved program. For more information on these funding opportunities, please click here.

European Studies Center Study Abroad Scholarships

The European Studies Center offers a variety of scholarships to help students defray the cost of studying abroad. Information about available opportunities can be found here.

Latin American Studies Undergraduate Seminar/Field Trip Program

The Undergraduate Seminar/Field Program is a unique component of the Latin American studies undergraduate certificate program. The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) firmly believes that all undergraduates should have the opportunity to experience Latin American culture firsthand. This objective is met through an annual field trip to a selected Latin American country for which about 10 - 14 students are chosen each year. CLAS subsidizes the majority of the cost of this program via scholarships to place it within the means of most students. Student participants register for a seminar in the spring term (January-April) that prepares them for the field experience through study of the culture, economics, geography, history, and politics of the area to be visited. Students also are introduced to research methodology and are guided through the development of a project which forms the basis for research they conduct while in the field. In the summer session (early May-late June), the students travel to Latin America, where they reside with host families and undertake their field projects under the direction of a CLAS faculty member. (In past years, groups have gone to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.)

Russian and East European Studies Summer Study Abroad and Internship Awards

The Center for Russian, East European Studies and Eurasian Studies (REEES) believes that study or work abroad is a key component of its certificate program. In an effort to encourage students to travel to the region, REES offers several scholarships each summer to students enrolled in the certificate program. In addition, REES offers several awards to its students annually to fund paid internships in Pittsburgh during the academic year in the field of Russian and East European studies.

Program Offerings

Global Distinction  


Other Courses

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