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General Academic Regulations (continued)


Requirements for Graduation

Graduation requirements for MA, MS, professional master's, and doctoral degrees are described earlier in this bulletin under the relevant sections detailing the regulations pertaining to each degree. In order to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate student must be an active University of Pittsburgh student registered for at least 1 credit or full-time dissertation study within the past 12 months. See specific schools and programs for detailed information on degree and graduation requirements.

Application to Graduate

Students must file an application for graduation in the dean's office of their school early in the term in which graduation is expected. Each school establishes its own deadline by which students must apply for graduation. Students should check with their dean's office for the deadline. As noted above, students must be active. In exceptional circumstances, students who complete all the degree requirements at the end of a term but graduate in the next term may petition the dean of the school for a waiver of this registration requirement. The requirement that a student be on active status cannot be waived.

Prior to the end of the term in which they graduate, all doctoral candidates must submit to the dean's office a completed Survey of Earned Doctorates.

Certification for Graduation

The Graduate Faculty of the department or program evaluates the performance of the student. If that performance is satisfactory, a report should be submitted to the dean certifying that the candidate has satisfactorily completed all departmental requirements for a graduate degree. The dean, after confirming that the overall school and University requirements have been met, certifies the candidate for graduation.


Candidates for graduation are encouraged to appear in person at the Annual Commencement Convocation, usually held the Sunday after the spring term ends. Although the degree is officially conferred at commencement, diplomas are mailed to graduates several weeks later.

Rights and Responsibilities

The University has a number of official policies affecting students. For complete and current text on all University policies, please see http://

The information below summarizes several key University-wide policies affecting graduate students, but students are also responsible for being cognizant of those University, school, and departmental regulations relevant to their programs of study.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These general procedures may be found in Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures at Individual schools have their own academic integrity policies, and students are encouraged to review these school-specific guidelines as well.

Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination Policy

The University of Pittsburgh, as an educational institution and as an employer, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. Accordingly, as fully explained in Policy 07-01-03, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, or status as a veteran. The University also prohibits and will not engage in retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. Further, the University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University's mission. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs and activities. This is a commitment made by the University and is in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

For information on University equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, please contact:
University of Pittsburgh, Office of Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion, Pamela W. Connelly, Associate Vice Chancellor, 500 Craig Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (412) 648-7860.

For complete details on the University's Nondiscrimination Policy, please refer to Policy 07-01-03. For information on how to file a complaint under this policy, please refer to Procedure 07-01-03.

Computing Use Policy

Every member of the University community has two basic rights regarding computing: privacy and a fair share of resources. It is unethical for another person to violate these rights. All users, in turn, are expected to exercise common sense and decency with regard to the campus computing resources. Please read Computing Ethical Guidelines, available in campus computing labs and other related policies at

Students should realize that any misuse of computing resources may result in the suspension of their computing privileges.

Copyright Policy

The University of Pittsburgh affirms that, except as specifically exempted by this policy, faculty, staff, and students are entitled to claim copyright ownership, including worldwide rights, in the following works authored by them: books, articles, educational course work, similar works that are intended to disseminate the results of academic research or scholarly study, popular fiction or nonfiction works, poems, musical compositions, and other works of artistic imagination.

The University has no proprietary interest in copyrightable materials produced by faculty, staff, or students under contract with entities external to the University (in which the faculty, staff, or students have no controlling or majority interest), except as specifically exempted by this policy. Additional information on this policy is available at

Drug-Free School and Workplace Policy

The University of Pittsburgh prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance on University property or as part of any University activity. Faculty, staff, and students of the University must also comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the possession and consumption of alcohol.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action within 30 days, including, but not limited to, a warning, written reprimand, suspension, dismissal, expulsion, and/or mandatory participation and successful completion of a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved by an appropriate health or law enforcement agency.

Any University employee paid from federally funded grants or contracts, or any students participating in any federally funded or Guaranteed Student Loan program, must notify the University of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring at the University or while engaged in University activities.

For complete text on this policy, see

E-mail Communication Policy

The University of Pittsburgh has established e-mail as an official means of communication with students. For more information, visit

Faculty-Student Relationships

The University's educational mission is promoted by professional relationships between faculty members and students. Relationships of an intimate nature (that is, sexual and/or romantic) compromise the integrity of a faculty-student relationship whenever the faculty member has a professional responsibility for the student. The University prohibits relationships between a faculty member and a student whose academic work, teaching, or research is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member.

If an intimate relationship should exist or develop between a faculty member and a student, the University requires the faculty member to remove himself or herself from all supervisory, evaluative, and/or formal advisory roles with respect to the student.

Definition Note: In this policy, the definition of "faculty member" refers to anyone appointed by the University as a teacher, researcher, or academic administrator, including graduate and undergraduate students so appointed. For complete text on this policy, see

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly referred to as the Buckley Amendment, the University guarantees that students have the right to inspect all personally identifiable records maintained by the institution and may challenge the content and accuracy of those records through appropriate institutional procedures. It is further guaranteed by the University that student records containing personally identifiable information will not be released except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. See for more information on FERPA.

Graduate Student Researcher Policy Statement

Graduate student researchers (GSRs) at the University of Pittsburgh are graduate students who are receiving financial support from research funds in return for duties performed to meet the goals for which the funds were awarded. The research performed is also normally an integral part of the student's research practicum experience, thesis, or dissertation. A primary goal of the appointment, from the point of view of both the University and the student, is to provide financial support to the graduate student. For additional Graduate Student Researcher Policy information see

Harassment Policies


No University employee, student, or individual on University property may intentionally harass or abuse a person (physically or verbally) with the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with such person's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Sexual Harassment

The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the maintenance of a community free from all forms of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment violates University policy as well as state, federal, and local laws. It is neither permitted nor condoned.

It is also a violation of the University of Pittsburgh's policy against sexual harassment for any employee or student at the University of Pittsburgh to attempt in any way to retaliate against a person who makes a claim of sexual harassment.

Any individual who, after thorough investigation and an informal or formal hearing, is found to have violated the University's policy against sexual harassment, will be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, termination, or expulsion. Any disciplinary action taken will depend upon the severity of the offense. For more information, see

Human Research Subjects: Institutional Review Board

The University of Pittsburgh is guided by the ethical principles regarding all research involving humans as subjects, as set forth in the report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (entitled Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects for Research [the "Belmont Report"]).

All research at the University involving interventions or interactions with living individuals or the obtaining of their identifiable private information must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before the research will be allowed to proceed. For complete text of the IRB's policies and practices, see or contact the IRB at 412-578-3424.

Patent Policy

A University student, during the student's period of enrollment, may be responsible for new discoveries and inventions that could have commercial value and contribute to scientific, technological, social, and cultural progress. Those accomplishments should be patented in the best interest of the student, the University, the public, and the government. The University's policy on patents determines the rights and obligations of the student and the University in any technology the student may invent while enrolled in the University. Details of this University policy are available from the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property at 200 Gardner Steel Conference Center and at

Research Integrity

The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. Excellence in scholarship requires all members of the University community to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity with regard to research, instruction, and evaluation. Research misconduct carries potential for serious harm to the University community, to the research of science, and to society as a whole. The University's Research Integrity Policy is available online at

Smoking Policy

Smoking is prohibited in all University-owned and leased facilities, including residence halls and off-campus housing facilities, and in all University vehicles, including motor pool vehicles, campus buses, and vans, with explicit limited exceptions described in

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct is an outline of the non-academic rights and responsibilities of University students. The code defines offenses against students. A student or University official may file a complaint of violation of the Student Code of Conduct at the University Student Judicial System Office. For a copy of the code, please contact the Judicial System Office in 738 William Pitt Union at 412-648-7918 or see

Student Code of Judicial Procedures

The Office of the University Student Judicial System coordinates the Campus Judicial Board. It also receives, previews, and acts upon complaints of violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Its purpose is to provide due process and fair treatment in adjudicating charges filed for violations of the code. All complaints should be filed here.

Judicial Affairs also conducts a Student Mediation Program and screens requests for contact of students.

Student Service Holds Policy

Access to many student services including registration and receipt of grades may be delayed for a number of reasons ranging from financial liability to missing data. Complete information on this policy is available online at

Teaching Assistant/Teaching Fellow/Graduate Student Assistant Policy Statement

Teaching assistants (TAs), teaching fellows (TFs), and graduate student assistants (GSAs) at the University are graduate students who are receiving support in return for specified duties while gaining teaching and teaching-related experience under the guidance of faculty mentors. Their primary objective, from the standpoint of the University and the individual, is to make steady progress toward an advanced degree. TA/TF/GSA appointment status is dependent upon graduate student status. The complete policy statement for TA/TF/GSAs is available at .

Use of Alcohol Policy

The University of Pittsburgh prohibits use and dispensing of alcohol in compliance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit

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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