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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Special Academic Opportunities

Special academic opportunities provide students with ways to augment their education and experience with expanded study programs both on and off campus, in both university and professional settings.

Area of Concentration (subplans) and Minors (plans)

Some graduate programs may include approved areas of concentration or minors. Areas of concentration define and describe the student’s training and expertise within the broader discipline. Minors represent significant course work completed in an area related to the student’s specialty. A graduate minor offered by the faculty at the Pittsburgh campus is available to any graduate student enrolled in an academic degree program on the campus provided that the school from which the student is graduating recognizes this minor. See the Schools, Departments, and Programs section of this bulletin for available areas of concentration and minors.

Certificate Programs

Students may enrich their educational experience by electing to take an academic interdisciplinary certificate program in the areas listed at the start of the Schools, Departments, and Programs section of this bulletin.

A certificate program at the graduate level is a coherent set of courses and related work in a particular area. Most certificate programs require a minimum of 15 credits, of which 12 credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. The certificate may appear on the transcript as a degree goal and will appear on the final transcript as an awarded certificate.

A student must be formally admitted into a certificate program. The requirements for each certificate vary and students should contact the certificate program director.


Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh offer graduate students the opportunity for cross-registration in graduate programs in the five institutions in the fall and spring terms. See Cross-Registration in the Registration section of this bulletin for further details.

Two Independent Degree Programs Simultaneously

Students may pursue two independent graduate degrees simultaneously in two different schools within the University (joint degree) or two different departments within the same school (dual degree). Students desiring to enroll in two degree programs must have approval from both program faculties and their respective deans, must be admitted into both programs, and must satisfy the degree requirements of both programs. Students are billed at the tuition rate of the primary academic program. Normally, such students should be enrolled for no more than a total of 15 credits per term.

The same examination, thesis, or dissertation cannot be used to fulfill requirements for two independent degrees, although a maximum of 6 credits of course work may be used in partial fulfillment of the requirements of both degrees. It is the responsibility of the dean or deans, if two schools are involved, to ensure that this regulation is enforced.

Cooperative, Dual-Degree, and Joint-Degree Programs

Dual- and joint-degree programs result in two degrees being awarded. Requirements for these programs include all or most of the requirements of two distinct academic degree programs. These programs may result in a student earning two separate master’s degrees, a master’s and a first-professional degree, or a master’s or first-professional degree and a doctoral degree, but never result in a student earning two separate doctoral degrees. Dual programs exist within a single school; joint programs exist between two or more schools; cooperative programs are administered by two or more institutions. The same course, examination, or thesis may be used to fulfill requirements only if so specified in the documents formally establishing the joint- or dual-degree program approved by the University.

Students must be admitted to both academic programs offering the dual or joint degrees being sought and must graduate from both degree programs at the same time. Students are advised to see the individual school for other specific requirements that apply.

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