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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Aug 17, 2018
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Information Science, BS

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Skills Requirements for IS majors

Skills requirements help ensure that all students attain appropriate levels of competence in writing, algebra, and quantitative and formal reasoning. Skills requirements must be completed within the first year of enrollment. Students are placed in or exempted from skills requirements based on certain achievement test scores, University of Pittsburgh Placement Test scores, or course work completed at other colleges and universities. Because these are completed before a student may apply to the School of Computing and Information, questions should be referred to the student’s initial academic advisor.

Skills requirements are outlined below:

Quantitative Requirements

All Information Science students must complete one of the following mathematics courses with a letter grade of C or better:

Language Requirements

All students are required to complete with a grade of C or better two terms of university-level study in a second language other than English. Exemptions will be granted to students who can demonstrate elementary proficiency in a second language through one of the following:

  • Having completed three years of high school study of a second language with a grade of B or better in each course;
  • Passing a special proficiency examination;
  • Transferring credits for two terms or more of approved university-level instruction in a second language with grades of C or better;
  • Having a native language other than English.
  • Two years of the same second language in high school completed with a grade of C or better each year.

If the second language requirement has not been satisfied by the time of admission, the student will be required to resolve this deficiency by the end of the second term at the School of Computing and Information.

In addition, all Information Science students are required to complete one of the following with a letter grade of C or better:

General Education Requirements for IS majors

All students are required to complete 9 credits in each of the three traditional divisions of A&S: the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. Students must earn a letter grade of C or better for each course.

  • A Literature course
  • A Music or Art course
  • A Communication course selected from the following:
  • Two Social Science courses
  • A History and Culture course
  • A Psychology course selected from the following:
  • Two sequenced Natural Science courses in biological sciences, neurosciences, chemistry, geology and planetary science, or physics and astronomy
  • An additional Natural Science course in a field different from the two-course sequence

A copy of the Information Science-approved list of courses may be obtained from the school’s Web site at

Major Requirements

The information science major requires 30 credits in information science courses as detailed below:

Specializations / Upper-level Electives

Students choose three upper-level electives. The school, in consultation with its industry advisory board, has clustered upper-level electives into specializations that are designed to help you define your skills and career options. The specializations (Information Systems, User-centered Design, and Networks and Security) and the courses for each were determined by our faculty and industry advisors to ensure that you’ll have the knowledge that employers need.

Self-designed path allows students to create the skill set, through course selections, that is needed for the specific career that the student wants to pursue. Students self-designing their path may combine elements from each of the specializations below, or think about adding courses that will broaden their area of expertise.

Information Systems

Information systems specialization enables students to use object-oriented design tools to design, build, implement, and test Web-based information systems.

Coursework might include:

User-centered Design

User-centered design specialization provides the visual and human-computer interaction skills needed to design and build prototypes of information systems interfaces as well as to perform usability testing of these systems.

Coursework might include:

Related Area

Five courses from any area in which a degree program is offered at the Pitt or an approved certificate program. The total number of credits must be at least 15.

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