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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

University Center for International Studies

The University Center for International Studies (UCIS) is the primary resource for initiating and managing international programs, studies and support services while promoting the University’s reputation as a leader in global education.  A key goal of UCIS is to cultivate globally capable and engaged students toward lives of impact in their community and beyond.  In short, to prepare undergraduate students who are global ready.  This is achieved by certificate programs, study abroad, curriculum development, and seminars. UCIS offers 9 certificates and 3 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 
  • East European Studies
  • European Union Studies
  • Global Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Russian Studies 
  • Transatlantic Studies
  • West European Studies

The certificates are administered through the African Studies Program, Asian Studies Center, European Studies Center, Global Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies.  Four centers—European Studies Center, Global Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian and East European Studies—are designated by the federal government as National Resource Centers.

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
Dr. Belkys Torres, Associate DIrector for International Programs
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 from four to six terms.

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.


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:

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.

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 and East European Studies (REES) 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.

West European Studies Friedl E. Kessler Memorial Fellowship

To help defray the costs of studying abroad, the European Studies Center offers the Kessler Fellowship for study or research in Germany. This competitive award is offered every year in the amount of $1,000. Any student pursuing the Certificate in West European Studies who studies German and has at least a 3.0 GPA is eligible to apply.

Program Offerings

African Studies Certificate  
Asian Studies Certificate  
European Union Studies Certificate  
Global Studies Certificate  
International and Area Studies, BPHIL  
Latin American Studies Certificate and Related Concentration  
Russian and East European Studies Certificate  
Transatlantic Studies Certificate  
West European Studies Certificate  

Other Courses

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