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University of Pittsburgh    
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 03, 2023
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Informatics and Networked Systems

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The Department of Informatics and Networked Systems is dedicated to innovating in education and research at the junction of information, networks, and human behavior towards discovery and modeling of new social and technical phenomena. We envision empowering humans and society through modeling and designing systems that are accountable, resilient, trustworthy, sustainable, and ethical. We seek to synthesize and advance fundamental science in information, networks, and human behavior.

We offer Master’s degree programs that balance theoretical principles with hands-on learning experiences in all aspects of information systems, from storing and retrieving information to communicating information among systems. Our coursework and experiential learning opportunities enable students to explore and understand the interaction between people and information systems as well as the role of information systems and technologies in both business and society. The Bachelor and Master’s degree programs we offer will prepare you for exciting careers in virtually every industry ─ health care, law, finance, manufacturing government, higher education, and more.

Our PhD students will have amazing opportunities to learn from faculty engaged in cutting-edge research funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health, and more. As Pitt is one of the top 25 public research universities, our doctoral students have access to research projects and laboratories that will develop the next generation of information technologies. Students in both the Master’s and Doctoral programs are encouraged to participate in research opportunities. Moreover, since the University is situated within a major urban area, our students have a vast array of internship and employment opportunities with major US corporations.

Our students acquire more than technical expertise; they learn how to connect people with technologies that can enhance their lives. Our goal is to educate people who are efficient on the job from day one, while providing the foundation for them to prosper professionally as their careers progress. You’ll be able to build systems and manage information using today’s technology-you’ll also have the ability to design and master the technology of the future.

Academic Advising

Each student is assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to graduate study. These assignments are made primarily on the basis of the student’s background and interests as shown in the application. The student may at any time elect to change advisors: any such change requires the consent of the new advisor and must be reported to the Program. Forms for changing advisors are online through the School’s Current Students Web site.

At the time of initial registration or before the completion of the first term, the student is encouraged to discuss a plan of study with their advisor. A plan of study is a series of courses designed to meet the minimum exit competencies judged by the faculty to be necessary for employment as an information professional. This plan is outlined in and completion is tracked through the Academic Advisement Report (AAR). Students coming into the program without prior course work or work experience in the areas covered by the plan of studies should adhere fairly closely to the suggested plan. If there has been course work or experience in one or more of the content areas of the program, students may be permitted to substitute and take courses in an area in which additional background is needed. Substitutions and exceptions must have approval of the advisor and must be documented through the Records Office. Information regarding documenting exceptions is available on the School’s Current Students Web site.

Details regarding advising and resources for tracking your degree progress (the AAR) are available on the School’s Catalog page, under the Advising section .

Each student must ensure that the AAR meets all of the program requirements for graduation. At the completion of the program, the Records Office coordinates with the Department to certify all students for graduation. See the SCI Catalog page  for more details and regulations pertaining to graduation.

Stricter advising guidelines and regulations apply to the doctoral students. See the doctoral program regulations for details.

Policies for the Department of Informatics and Networked Systems

Beyond the School’s Grading and Credit policies, the department imposes stricter rules. Rules pertaining to DINS students are as follows.

Maintenance of a 3.0 GPA

Each student must maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) for all credits of graduate level coursework for either a degree or graduate certificate. Failure to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If the student does not raise the GPA to a 3.0 after the next nine credits, the student will be dismissed from the program in which he or she is enrolled. Students should refer to the Academic Standing and Dismissal section  of the SCI Catalog page for full definitions and explanations of the academic standing review.

Grades for Individual Courses

All students must earn satisfactory grades in each course taken. A grade of C-, D+, D, D-, F and Unsatisfactory are unacceptable for graduation credit. A course for which such an unsatisfactory grade is earned must be repeated if it is a course that is a degree requirement (e.g., INFSCI 2500). Courses may be repeated only once. Elective courses need not be repeated; another course may be taken to replace it. However, the original course remains on the transcript and a higher grade must be earned to maintain a 3.0 GPA. Full details regarding SCI Grade and Course Repeat policies  are available on the School’s Catalog page.

Declaring a Specialization

The MSIS program offers areas of concentration, commonly referred to as “specializations,” that appear on the student’s transcript. Students may change their specialization until the end of the term in which they earn 18 credits. To do so, they must complete the Graduate Academic Plan Change Form available on the SCI Current Students Web site. Please note that approval of the academic advisor is required.

After the term in which the student earns 18 credits, no changes in specialization will be permitted with one exception: students may change to the general Plan of Study up until their last term of study.  For example, a student will not be permitted to switch from the Geoinformatics specialization to the Big Data Specialization. But, they would be permitted to switch from the Big Data specialization to the General Plan of Study.

At the time of graduation, if a student has successfully earned the required number of credits for graduation but failed to meet a requirement of a specialization, the student will automatically be switched to graduate from the general program of study.

Satisfactory (S/NC) /Audit Grading System

Students are permitted to earn at most six credit hours with the grading option S as part of the credits required for the degree. An S grade is equated with a grade of B, B+, A-, A or A+. Course performance equivalent to a B- or lower will result in the assignment of an audit (N grade) and will not count towards graduation. A grade of satisfactory (S) has no quality points associated with it and is not used in calculating the GPA.

See the SCI Catalog  for information regarding the selection of an alternative grading option (S/NC or Audit).


    CertificateDoctoralGraduate CertificateMaster’s

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