University of Pittsburgh


Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences



The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences is the oldest and largest academic unit within the University of Pittsburgh, with more than 10,000 students and over 600 faculty from around the world. The Dietrich School offers a competitive liberal arts education within the setting of a comprehensive research university and a dynamic urban setting.

The Dietrich School instructional programs provide a liberal arts curriculum designed to prepare students for the world of work, research, professional schools, and graduate programs. This education helps students cultivate the skills and knowledge that provide a foundation for lifelong learning, and educates students so that they can become perceptive, reflective, and intellectually self-conscious citizens of the world. The main elements of the Dietrich School general education are: an acquaintance with great works of art, literature, and philosophy; an understanding of basic social institutions and processes; a sense of history and familiarity with the richness and variety of human cultural achievements; an awareness of the main ideas of contemporary natural science and mathematics; and engagement with languages and cultures other than one's own.

The Dietrich School curriculum spans the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Students are encouraged to pursue a broad range of academic subjects. Through one-on-one academic advising, students may choose from over 55 majors, 30 minors, and 20 certificate programs, including dual degrees and pre-professional preparation. The broad range of academic programs includes areas that are unique and cutting-edge, such as the major in Mathematical

Biology or the Geographic Information Systems Certificate. Programs such as English writing and philosophy are nationally recognized as centers of excellence. With each academic program, the school’s faculty from across the disciplines consistently builds the Dietrich School curriculum to reflect current research, so that our students are poised to meet today’s expectations in their various academic pursuits.

In addition to the majors, minors, and certificates, Dietrich School students are encouraged to participate in enriching experiences outside the classroom. These opportunities include undergraduate research with top research faculty and participation in academic internships with reputable corporate and nonprofit institutions. Students may also pursue study abroad in approximately 45 countries, including summer study abroad with Dietrich School humanities and social sciences faculty. Leadership development is encouraged through participation in student organizations and governance, serving in honorary societies, and assisting a faculty member as an undergraduate teaching assistant.

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh
Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies
140 Thackeray Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Fax: 412-624-8265

Admission through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

The following students are admitted to Dietrich School by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. These students should see the Application for Admission section of this bulletin for general admissions information.

  • Freshmen (see Pittsburgh campus Freshman Admissions for general admissions information).
  • Transfer students who have previously enrolled at a college or university other than the University of Pittsburgh. These include former University of Pittsburgh students who have since earned college credits at another institution and now wish to return to the Dietrich School.
  • Continuing education students: Adults who wish to begin or continue to work toward an undergraduate degree by taking a full- or part-time load of day classes should apply as new or transfer students through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
  • Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree from an institution other than the University of Pittsburgh and now wish to earn a second undergraduate degree.
  • International students should refer to admission guidelines on the Web site for the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (

Admission through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

The following students must apply directly to the Dietrich School for admission:

Transfers from Other University of Pittsburgh Schools at the Pittsburgh campus

To transfer to the Dietrich School from another school at the Pittsburgh campus, students should request that the other Pittsburgh campus school send their records to the Dietrich School in 140 Thackeray Hall. The Dietrich School will review the student records and send letters of acceptance to students who are eligible to transfer into the Dietrich School. To qualify, students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 and have completed their basic skills requirements in composition and algebra according to Dietrich School guidelines. In addition, students enrolled in the College of General Studies (CGS) must earn at least 24 credits through CGS before applying for transfer to the Dietrich School.

Upon acceptance into the Dietrich School, students will receive evaluations of their previous course work, acknowledging the courses that have fulfilled Dietrich School skills and general education requirements. To graduate with a degree from the Dietrich School, students are required to earn their last 30 credits while enrolled in the Dietrich School and to earn at least half of the credits for their majors, minors, and certificates while enrolled in the Dietrich School.

Transfers from University of Pittsburgh Regional Campuses

  1. For students seeking guaranteed transfer relocation who have earned credits only from one of the regional campuses, the normal requirement is for completion of 45 credits at the specific regional campus, with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  2. For students seeking guaranteed transfer relocation who have earned 30 or more credits at the specific regional campus and a total of 60 credits overall, a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses is required.
  3. For students seeking transfer relocation who have between 15 and 30 credits at the specific regional campus and a total of 60 credits overall, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required in all courses and the normal requirements of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences for external transfer students must be met. For these students, relocation is not guaranteed. Students must complete at least 15 credits at the regional campus to transfer to the Pittsburgh campus.
  4. Students with a 3.0 GPA, who would have been directly admissible to the Pittsburgh campus as freshmen, may be considered for relocation with fewer than the above number of college credits.


Students Seeking a Second University of Pittsburgh Degree

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in any University of Pittsburgh school or campus and wish to earn a second undergraduate degree in the Dietrich School should apply directly to the Dietrich School. Applicants should note the following:

  • Course work for the second degree will continue to be recorded on the original University of Pittsburgh undergraduate transcript.
  • All appropriate course work from the first degree will apply to the second degree, up to a maximum of 90 credits. These credits will be indicated on the academic record during the student's first term of enrollment as a second-degree student. Students must earn a minimum of 30 new credits and at least half of the credits for the second major toward the second degree while enrolled in the Dietrich School.
  • The cumulative GPA and credit total will be based on all credits from the first degree and all new course work taken that applies to the second degree.

Students Seeking Reinstatement

The following students must apply for reinstatement through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in 140 Thackeray Hall:

  • Dietrich School students who have not enrolled for three consecutive terms (one calendar year);
  • Dietrich School students who have completed their suspension periods and wish to continue their studies; and
  • students who last attended another school at the Pittsburgh campus but have not enrolled in classes for three consecutive terms (one calendar year), have not attended another institution, and wish to be admitted to the Dietrich School.

*Students who are returning after completing their suspension period will be reinstated on probation.

The deadline for reinstatement is August 15 for the fall term, December 15 for the spring term, and one week before the beginning of classes in the summer term or sessions. An application fee of $45 is required. Students who last attended another University of Pittsburgh school on the Pittsburgh campus or who attended a regional campus must meet the admissions requirements for transfer to the Dietrich School. Students' academic standing upon reinstatement will be that attained at the end of their last term in residence.

Students who are reinstated for a particular term but do not enroll for that term must apply for reinstatement again if they wish to attend for a later term. Students who have been away from the University for two or more years will be subject to the requirements of the school and of their major in force at the time of their reinstatement, rather than those in force at the time of their last attendance.

Guest Students

Qualified degree-seeking students at other institutions may be admitted to the College of General Studies for the fall or spring term to earn credits for transfer to their home school for use toward graduation. Applicants must be in good academic standing at their home institution, with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA, and must certify that the home school will accept the courses for transfer. A one-time application fee of $45 is required, and admission is only valid for one term. Students desiring enrollment for subsequent terms must resubmit certification from the home school.

For summer guest student admission information, please visit

Post-baccalaureate Students

Students who have completed an undergraduate degree and wish to take additional undergraduate courses on a non degree-seeking basis may apply directly to the College of General Studies. Most post-baccalaureate students take courses in order to facilitate a career change, as prerequisites for a graduate program, or for personal enrichment. Students must submit proof of the undergraduate degree received (either a copy of the diploma or a transcript showing the degree and the date it was awarded). The application deadline is two weeks before the start of classes. A one-time application fee of $45 is required, and admission is valid for one calendar year.

Accelerated High School Students

Accelerated High School students are high school juniors and seniors, age 16 years or older, who take up to six regular undergraduate college credits on campus while continuing their high school programs. Qualified students become part-time, non-matriculated students in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. They attend regular on-campus classes with college undergraduates and are not identified in the classroom as high school students.

The Director of College in High School and Accelerated High School has the authority to set requirements for admission to Accelerated High School. The application includes permission sections that must be completed by parents or guardians and school officials and must be submitted with other application materials.

Applications must be submitted to the Accelerated High School office. The deadline is two weeks before the first day of classes. There is a one-time application fee of $35, and admission is valid for one term only. Students must resubmit certain specified application materials for subsequent terms. Depending on the course(s) selected, students may be required to take a placement test prior to registration. For more detailed information, contact Accelerated High School in 208B Thackeray Hall at 412-624-7428.


College in High School (CHS) Program

The College in High School Program offers qualified high school students throughout Pennsylvania the opportunity to earn University of Pittsburgh credits on their own high school campuses. Participating schools now offer approved University of Pittsburgh courses in chemistry, communications, computer science, French, German, Latin, mathematics, statistics, physics and political science. The courses are taught by experienced teachers who have been certified through the appropriate University of Pittsburgh departments. All University regulations governing course registration, withdrawal, resignation, and tuition payment are enforced.

The Director of College in High School and Accelerated High School has the authority to set requirements for admission to College in High School.

Students’ grades are based on their performance on University examinations and recorded on University transcripts. Although the CHS program cannot govern the transfer credit policies of other institutions, the vast majority of CHS students receive advanced standing, elective credits, or both as a result of their successful participation in the program. For more information, contact the College in High School office in 208B Thackeray Hall at 412-624-6828.

Academic Integrity

As members of the University of Pittsburgh community, Dietrich School students are expected to meet their obligation to exhibit honesty and to respect the ethical standards of the University community and of their chosen field of study in carrying out academic assignments. Dietrich School students are therefore expected to familiarize themselves with the published rules and regulations governing academic integrity. For specific information, see Student Rights and Responsibilities (

The Dietrich School maintains an Academic Integrity Board, consisting of both faculty and students, for adjudication of grievances from faculty about student behavior and from students about faculty behavior. For more information, contact the Dietrich School Academic Integrity office, 140 Thackeray Hall.

Grading Systems

The Student Records Office, located in the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in 140 Thackeray Hall, maintains the records of all Dietrich School undergraduates and oversees graduation, transfer credit, internal and external transfers, and Dean's List, and answers routine questions about a variety of matters including general education requirements, course withdrawal procedures, and grade options. Contact Student Records at 412-624-6776.

Letter Grade Option

The Dietrich School adheres to the following University letter grade system without exception:


A 4.00 Superior
A- 3.75  
B+ 3.25  
B 3.00 Meritorious
B- 2.75  
C+ 2.25  
C 2.00 Adequate
C- 1.75  
D+ 1.25  
D 1.00 Minimal
D- 0.75  
F 0.0 Failure


S/NC Grade Option

The Dietrich School offers both a standard letter-grade option and the Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) option for students enrolled in most Dietrich School courses. Under this option, a student who does satisfactory work (a grade of C or better) in a course receives the grade of S. If the student's work is not satisfactory (a grade of C- or lower), the grade of NC (for no credit) is given. Courses for which an S is earned are counted toward graduation but are not computed in the GPA. Courses in which an NC is earned are not counted toward graduation or the GPA, since the NC designates that no credit has been earned. In order to take a class for the S/NC grade, a student must select the S/NC option by the deadline by completing a Grade Option/Audit Request form in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office, 140 Thackeray Hall. Deadlines are printed each term on the Dietrich School undergraduate calendar ( and in the Time Schedule of Classes Guide (

Note: There are some formal limitations to a student's choice of grading systems; he or she should check with an academic advisor before deciding to take a course S/NC.

Audit (N Grade)

Students may choose to take a Dietrich School course on an audit basis and receive an N grade on their transcript rather than a letter grade. Students who wish to audit a course must register for the course as usual then process a Grade Option/Audit Request form in the Dietrich School Dean's Office by the deadline. Deadlines are printed on the Dietrich School undergraduate calendar ( Courses in which N grades are earned do not count toward graduation and are not included in a student's GPA.

G Grades

A G grade may be awarded when students who have been attending a course and making regular progress are prevented from completing the course due to extenuating personal circumstances. Students who are assigned a G grade are required to complete course requirements no later than one year after the term or session in which the course was taken. After that year, the G grade will remain on the record, and the student will be required to reregister for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation. The Dietrich School encourages students with G grades to work with their instructors to complete the requirements for the course by the end of the following term.

I Grades

An I grade indicates that the work of the course for which the grade is awarded has not been completed due to the nature of the course, clinical work, or incomplete research. An I grade is awarded only to students who have been doing the regular work of the course but who need more time than the term allows. That is, the extenuating circumstances ought to arise from the nature of the course work rather than from the student's personal difficulties (in which case a G grade is appropriate). The student should complete the course requirements within one calendar year after the I grade is given.

Academic Honors

Outstanding students in the Dietrich School are recognized for their academic achievement in several ways:

Dean’s List

Early each (fall and spring) term, Dietrich School students whose grades in the preceding term indicate outstanding academic achievement are recognized on the Dean’s List. To be placed on the Dean’s List, a student must have earned at least 12 letter grade credits (not including courses taken on the Satisfactory/No-Credit option) with a term GPA of at least 3.50 and no grade lower than a C.

Scholarships, Prizes, and Awards

Please check with your major advisor for information about departmental scholarships, prizes, and awards.

Graduation Honors

Those members of a Dietrich School graduating class who have attained an outstanding scholastic record and have taken at least 60 letter-graded credits while a resident in Arts and Sciences are graduated with honors. See Graduation with Honors section for other specific requirements.

Departmental Honors

Many departments offer an honors major. Successful completion of the honors major as well as normal graduation requirements leads to the awarding of the bachelor’s degree with departmental honors. For detailed information, contact individual departments or see the departmental academic program information in this bulletin.

Honors Societies

In addition to the following honors societies, Dietrich School departmental clubs and academic organizations offer opportunities for leadership, fellowship, service, and scholarship. For a complete listing of all clubs and academic organizations, please visit the online database of the Student Organization Resource Center at

National Society of Collegiate Scholars

The mission of National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is honoring and inspiring academic excellence and engaged citizenship for a lifetime. NSCS recognizes outstanding academic achievement and provides opportunities for members to enhance their collegiate experience. Benefits of membership include recognition, networking and career resources, the opportunity to apply for scholarships, leadership development, and social and service activities on campus.

Golden Key

Golden Key is an international academic honor society that recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence among college students from all academic disciplines. It provides campus and community service opportunities enabling personal growth and leadership development as well as interaction with university faculty and administrators to develop and maintain high standards of education. Golden Key rewards its members through different scholarship and award programs, and members access exclusive career opportunities and assistance through Golden Key's partnerships with businesses and graduate programs.

Phi Eta Sigma

The purpose of the Phi Eta Sigma honorary society is to promote a higher standard of learning and to encourage high scholastic attainment among freshmen in the University. Phi Eta Sigma members offer free, on-campus tutoring. Outstanding Dietrich School students are recognized for their academic achievement.


Probation, Suspension, Dismissal

The Dietrich School systematically monitors students’ academic progress. Students in the Dietrich School are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above for each term of enrollment. Any student who has a cumulative GPA below 2.00 will automatically be placed on academic probation. Students on probation who still have a cumulative GPA below 2.00 after their next term of enrollment will be subject to suspension or dismissal. After being suspended, students are not eligible to re-enroll for one calendar year. Following suspension, students are required to apply for reinstatement at the Dietrich School office in 140 Thackeray Hall. Students returning from academic suspension are reinstated on academic probation. Reinstated students are reviewed after each subsequent term of enrollment. If their cumulative GPA remains below 2.00, they will be subject to dismissal. Dismissed students are not eligible for reinstatement. Note: Probationary and suspended students are not eligible to earn credits at another institution toward a Dietrich School degree.

In addition to maintaining a GPA of 2.00 or above, students are required to fulfill their algebra and composition requirements within the first year of enrollment. Students who do not complete these courses on schedule will be subject to suspension or dismissal. See the section on Dietrich School Skills Requirements.

Probation and Eligibility for Financial Aid

The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA) monitors financial aid eligibility. Students on probation should contact OAFA in Alumni Hall at 412-624-7488 for more information.

Credit System

The following section details the Dietrich School's rules regarding allowable credits and courses for students earning a degree in Arts and Sciences:

Advanced Placement (AP) Credits

See Allowable Credits (Credit and Course Limitations).

Career Development and Noncredit Courses

Career development courses offered by the College of General Studies (numbered in the 6000s) and noncredit courses (numbered in the 4000s) may not be counted for credit toward a degree in the Dietrich School.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Testing

The Dietrich School does not accept CLEP general examination credits.

Courses Taken Elsewhere

Dietrich School students in good academic standing (cumulative GPA of at least 2.00) may attend a summer or special session of another accredited institution in order to supplement their program, provided they receive prior approval from the Dietrich School office. Students should fill out the summer approval form and bring the appropriate course descriptions to the Dietrich School Student Records Office in 140 Thackeray Hall. Students will not receive credit for courses taken without advance approval. Upper-class students (60 or more credits) may not take courses at two-year schools. Courses taken elsewhere are subject to the 18 non-Dietrich School credit limitation and may not be a repeat of any course taken (passed or failed) before. A maximum of two courses (no more than 8 credits) may be taken in a single period of enrollment elsewhere. Summer course approval forms are available in the Student Records Office in 140 Thackeray Hall.

Credit by Examination

Each test for credit by examination must be arranged with the department teaching the course for which credit is desired. The examination must be in a specific course offered by the Dietrich School. Departments set their own policies as to the specific courses for which students may request credit by examination, the time and type of examination, and the number of courses among those required for the major for which credit may be earned by examination. Normally, the examinations are administered during the first three weeks of the term.

Students wishing to earn credit by examination should first consult with the department in which the course is given and then obtain the requisite form from the associate dean's office in 140 Thackeray Hall. There is a $10 per credit fee payable to the Student Payment Center, to be submitted once the form is completed. This fee is nonrefundable. Credit by examination is open to all students. Questions should be directed to the departments which offer and administer the exams.

Departmental Credits

No more than 60 credits may be taken in one department, and normally no more than 40 in a single department are considered desirable in a well-balanced program.

Duplication of Course Content

With few exceptions, a Dietrich School course may be taken for credit only once, unless the student did not pass the course and the student takes the course again for a passing grade. Students may not earn graduation credit for courses that substantially duplicate the content of courses taken previously. For example, credit cannot be earned for the following:

  • Both a regular version of a course and an honors version of that course.
  • Courses that are cross listed with a course the student has already taken.
  • Courses taken under a new number if already taken under an old number.
  • Certain specific courses that duplicate material and for which additional credit cannot be earned. For example Math 0120 and Math 0220 or Statistics 0200 or Statistics 1000.

Students with questions about this policy should meet with their academic advisors.

English Language Institute Courses

The following courses from the English Language Institute do not count toward a Dietrich School degree: 0004, 0005, and 0006. LING 0007, 0008, and 0009 courses count toward the Arts and Sciences degree but are not counted toward a linguistics major.

Enrollment in Graduate Courses

Dietrich School students who demonstrate exemplary competencies and proficiencies may take advantage of the rich variety of graduate courses offered by the Dietrich School. Credits earned in graduate courses may count toward the Arts and Sciences degree. Students should consult with both their academic advisor and instructor of a course before registering.

Independent Study, Directed Research, Directed Reading, Internships, and Undergraduate Teaching

Dietrich School students may earn up to 24 credits of independent study, directed reading, directed research, undergraduate teaching, and internships as part of the 120 credits required for a degree. Ordinarily, no more than six credits may be earned in any term in a single directed reading, directed research, or internship. Under certain conditions, students in good standing may register for a block of 15 credits of independent study. These credits are to be earned for work done within one academic term. A student may register for a 15-credit independent study term only once during his or her college career. This needs to be approved by a dean prior to registration.

Learning Agreement forms for independent study, directed research, directed reading, and internships, as well as specific information about eligibility, procedures, and guidelines, are available from academic advisors and from the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity in 209 Thackeray Hall.

Paid (non-academic) internships may not count towards academic credit.

International Baccalaureate

The Dietrich School recognizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level Examinations and may grant advanced standing and/or credit for various fields for scores on the Higher-Level Examinations, which range from five to seven. Advanced standing is determined individually by subject according to departmental policy. Students should send the results of their IB examinations directly to the Student Records Office in 140 Thackeray Hall. No credit will be given for Subsidiary-Level Examinations.

Lower-Level Courses

Credit cannot be earned for courses taken after more advanced course work in the same field has been successfully passed with a C or higher if that advanced course work presumes the competence acquired in the more elementary courses. For example, credit cannot be earned for an algebra course taken after the successful completion of a calculus course.

Non-Dietrich School Courses

A student may take no more than 18 credits of the 120 required for graduation in other University of Pittsburgh schools, such as the College of General Studies. This rule does not apply to graduate courses offered in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Restrictions on non-Dietrich School courses apply also to courses taken by cross registration. The student who has doubts about the status of any course should check with their academic advisor before registering.

Normal Credit Load

A normal credit load is 12 to 17 credits per academic term (e.g. fall and spring). Any program in excess of 18 credits per term requires the recommendation of your academic advisor and dean's approval; please call 412-624-6480 to make an appointment to appeal to a dean. Students who enroll for more than 18 credits in an academic term will be charged additional tuition per credit.

Physical Education

Students are not required to take any courses in physical education, but they may do so. Up to four credits of courses offered by the School of Education's Department of Health, Physical, and Recreation Education may be counted toward a Dietrich School degree.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

Credits earned in aerospace science (Air Force ROTC), military science (Army ROTC), or naval science (Navy ROTC through cross registration at Carnegie Mellon University [CMU]) are not accepted toward a Dietrich School degree. The Dietrich School will grant up to four credits toward graduation for the following military science courses in lieu of physical education and recreation courses: AFROTC 0001, 0002, 0003, and 0004; MILSC 0012, 0022, 0032, and 0042. Any four credits of Navy ROTC courses from CMU will count in lieu of physical education and recreation courses.

Special Note about Transfer Students/Transfer Credits

Previous course work for transfer students is evaluated by the Dietrich School Student Records Office with respect to general education requirements. Before initial registration, transfer students receive an Undergraduate Degree Requirement Evaluation indicating which requirements they have satisfied and which ones must be completed in order to complete their degree in the Dietrich School. Transfer students may be required to complete one or more placement tests to determine if certain requirements have been met.

Courses from other colleges and universities are evaluated according to the following guidelines:

  • Courses must be passed with a grade of C or better and must be earned at an institution accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association. Courses that have reasonable counterparts in the Dietrich School curriculum are eligible for transfer. Non-Dietrich School credit is granted when there is no comparable course in the Dietrich School, but there is an equivalent course in another undergraduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Only 18 non-Dietrich School credits will count toward a Dietrich School degree. When requested, students are responsible for supplying descriptions for courses taken elsewhere.
  • A maximum of 60 credits can be accepted from accredited community colleges and two-year junior colleges. A maximum of 90 credits can be accepted from accredited four-year institutions. At least 50 percent of the credits required in a Dietrich School major must be earned while enrolled in the Dietrich School.
  • The number of credits granted for a given course cannot exceed the number awarded for the course on the transcript of the school where the course was taken or the number earned for the corresponding course in the Dietrich School. Credits earned on the quarter system will be converted into semester credits. A quarter credit is equal to two-thirds of a semester credit (e.g., five quarter-system credits equal three semester credits, and three quarter-system credits equal two semester credits).
  • The Dietrich School accepts credits, but not grades, for transfer. Consequently, any courses that are accepted for transfer will be used as credit toward graduation, but will not be calculated into the student’s GPA at the University of Pittsburgh.

Please contact the Dietrich School Student Records Office at 412-624-6776 for information about transfer credit evaluation. Please note: All transfer credits are subject to re-evaluation when a student transfers from one school to another within the University of Pittsburgh.

Statute of Limitations

All of the credits required for a degree, whether earned in residence or transferred from another institution, must have been earned within 12 years prior to the date on which the degree is awarded. However, when given evidence that the previous courses still provide adequate preparation for courses yet to be taken and still represent a reasonable part of the total academic program, this limitation may be waived. In such cases, the waiver is for a specific period during which the program must be completed.

PittOnline (formerly External Studies Program)

Dietrich School students may take a maximum of two PittOnline courses toward their degree. For more information about PittOnline courses, contact the College of General Studies

Adding and Dropping Courses

Generally, students enrolled in the Dietrich School are not required to have their academic advisor sign their add/drop forms. However, Student Support Services (SSS) students and student athletes must see their academic advisor before processing an add/drop. Additionally, all freshmen are strongly urged to consult their academic advisor before adding or dropping a course. See Adding and Dropping Courses for more information.

Withdrawal from Courses

Freshmen are required to see their academic advisor before withdrawing from any course. In addition, any student considering withdrawing from a basic skills course must first see an assistant dean. Withdrawing from a course or courses may impact s student's financial aid status. Please call 412-624-6480 to make an appointment to see an assistant dean. Withdrawal from a course should be done by the withdrawal deadline, posted in the Dietrich School calendar ( html) and on the Web site for the Office of the University Registrar (

Dietrich School Advising

Academic advising in the Dietrich School is divided roughly into two halves: the freshman/sophomore years and the junior/senior years. All freshmen and sophomores, including new transfer students, are assigned to an advisor in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall. Students in the Student Support Services program receive additional advisement in the Academic Resource Center. (See Academic Resource Center section for contact information.) All advisors have been specifically trained to work with beginning college students. They are familiar with and ready to discuss all Dietrich School requirements, regulations, procedures, and academic majors and programs, as well as University-wide sources of support and assistance. In addition to answering questions and discussing academic plans, options, opportunities, course selection, and academic-related problems/issues (e.g., whether or not to add, drop, or withdraw from a course), advisors must sign students' registration forms before they can be processed.

Dietrich School students who have not declared a major (generally speaking, freshmen and sophomores) must see an academic advisor at least twice each term by appointment: once to review their progress, to discuss their academic plans and concerns, and to begin thinking about the next term; and a second time to actually select and register for their next term's courses. The first of these two meetings is scheduled at group sessions held the third week of September and January. Each student is responsible for arranging meetings with his or her advisor each term. Arts and Sciences students traditionally declare their majors near the end of their sophomore year and are then assigned to an advisor in the department of their major. Departmental advisors have the necessary information and in-depth knowledge to advise students in the intricacies of their major and their post-graduation plans.

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh
Advising Center
201 Thackeray Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Fax: 412-624-3707

Bachelor Degree Program Goals

The goal of the Dietrich School is to provide liberal arts and pre-professional education for undergraduate students that is grounded in scholarly excellence and that gives students the knowledge, understanding, analytical tools, and communication skills that they need to become reflective citizens within a diverse and rapidly changing world.

The Dietrich School faculty believe that these educational goals for the students are best achieved through a process that involves two elements—the General Education Requirements offer an introduction to the broad range of subject matters and modes of thought and analysis found across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and this broad introduction is then complemented by in-depth studies in one or more major fields of disciplinary or interdisciplinary study, selected from amongst the programs of study devised, offered, and supervised by one of our department or interdisciplinary programs.

The General Education Curriculum is designed to allow students to pursue their own interests at the same time that they are introduced to contemporary and diverse views of a broad range of human cultures, modes of thought, and bodies of knowledge. It is also designed to ensure that as many of the General Education courses as feasible are truly courses within the disciplines (or at intellectually rich interdisciplinary interfaces) that draw on the unique resources of a research university. Courses taken in the first few years at the University also, however, have an important role in the development of skills needed for work in the major or for post-baccalaureate life, work, and study, and the curriculum begins with requirements that are primarily designed to ensure that each student acquires such skills.


Bachelor Degree Requirements

The following sections describe the general requirements for all majors offered by the Dietrich School:

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the Dietrich School, students must earn at least 120 degree credits with a minimum 2.00 GPA. In addition, students must achieve a 2.00 GPA both in the major and in the minor or related area. Within the 120 credits, students must fulfill the Dietrich School's curriculum requirements which are of three types: skills, general education, and requirements for a major and minor or related area (see Skills Requirements, General Education Requirements, and Requirements for Major sections below). Furthermore, students must earn at least half of the credits for their major(s), minor(s), and certificates(s) and the final 30 credits toward the Dietrich School degree while enrolled as a Dietrich School student.

Graduation Application

Students must file an application for graduation in the Students Records office, 140 Thackeray Hall, by a specified deadline prior to the term during which they expect to complete all requirements (i.e., a student who expects to graduate at the end of the spring term must apply before the end of the immediately preceding fall term; see the Dietrich School undergraduate calendar ( html) each term for application deadline dates). This permits student records to make a complete appraisal of the student's record before the student begins the work of the final term. Any deficiency discovered during the evaluation will be communicated to the student in writing, and should be promptly corrected either in conference with the major advisor at registration or during the add/drop period in the final term. The caps, gowns, and hoods for use in commencement exercises are purchased through the University of Pittsburgh Book Center.

Candidates for graduation are expected to appear in person at commencement exercises to receive their degrees; however, diplomas may be mailed.

Skills Requirements

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. Skills requirements are outlined below:

Composition Requirement

  • Students who earn 500 or above on SAT Verbal (Critical Reading) are placed into Seminar in Composition (or equivalent course).
  • Students who earn below 500 on SAT Verbal (Critical Reading) will be placed into a Workshop in Composition course.
  • Recommendations for ENGCMP 0201 or ENGCMP 0151 (tutorials) will be based on class diagnostic writing during add/drop period.
  • English as a Second Language students will be placed into appropriate courses based on English language proficiency.


Students must pass foundational composition courses with a grade of C– or better to fulfill the requirement, and students must complete the requirement by the end of their first two terms of full-time enrollment.


Writing-Designated Courses (W Courses)

After completion of a Seminar in Composition course, each student must complete two courses that are designated as writing intensive (W-courses) or one W-course and a second English composition course. W-courses are designed to promote writing within a discipline through the use of writing assignments spread over the course of a term. If this is done through a term paper the student will be required to produce a draft for discussion and revision no later than a month before the end of the course; all W-courses require a minimum of 20–24 pages of written work that has been through at least one cycle of revision. Each student must satisfy one element of those requirements within his or her major field of study.


The mathematical proficiency of all incoming students will be assessed. Students who need additional mathematical preparation will be required to complete the preparation by the end of the first two terms of full-time enrollment. Preparation includes, but is not limited to earning a grade of C– or better in a course in algebra. Students will be exempt from the mathematics proficiency test if:


  • they have achieved a satisfactory grade on the Advanced Placement examination in calculus in high school;
  • they have earned a C- or better in calculus through College in High School;
  • they have completed an approved equivalent of Algebra or another approved course; or
  • they have scored 600 or better on the Math SAT.


Quantitative and Formal Reasoning

Mathematics is well described as the queen of sciences, providing the universal language of measurement, quantitative analysis and quantitative reasoning, and providing that predictive power that is the base of our science and our technology. All students are required to take and pass with a grade of C– or better at least one course in university mathematics (other than trigonometry) for which algebra is a prerequisite, or an approved course in statistics or mathematical or formal logic in a department of the Dietrich School.

A student who has demonstrated proficiency in mathematics adequate for placement in an upper-level course in mathematics is exempt from this requirement.


Placement Tests

Placement tests are used primarily to determine skills requirements and to ensure that students are placed in appropriate courses. The tests are administered on campus during PittStart, and some are administered at various off-campus locations prior to orientation. Since most of the tests determine the number of skills courses students will need to take, students should review and prepare as much as possible. A sample placement exam in algebra is available at

Following are brief descriptions of School of Arts and Sciences placement tests taken by students:

Algebra Placement Exam

Students who have a 600 mathematical reasoning score on the SAT I are exempt from this exam. This exam is designed to determine whether students have acquired the algebraic skills considered by the Department of Mathematics to be sufficient preparation for college-level quantitative courses. Students are strongly urged to review for this exam by reviewing algebra textbooks. These exams takes about 90 minutes to complete.

Trigonometry Placement Exam

The Department of Mathematics requires a specific trigonometry score for placement into calculus and other courses requiring trigonometric functions. This exam takes about 25 minutes to complete.


Second language Placement Exam(s)

Second language placement exams are used to decide placement into second language courses for those students who have not satisfied the second language requirement while in high school or those who plan to continue study of a second language in their first term of enrollment in Arts and Sciences. The language departments encourage students to prepare for the exams by reviewing first- and second-year second language texts. These exams take about 60 minutes to complete.

Music Theory Exam

Students considering a major or minor in music should take this test. A sufficient score will exempt them from the required Preparation for Music Theory class. This exam takes about 60 minutes to complete.

General Education Requirements

All students graduating from Arts and Sciences must satisfy 14 general education requirements covering prominent areas in the liberal arts such as second language, literature, music, art, philosophy, social science, history, natural science, and foreign culture/international courses. In the process of satisfying these requirements, students select from a broad range of approved courses. Descriptions of the general education requirements are available in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

Requirements for the Major

Student preparing to graduate from the Dietrich School must fulfill particular requirements for an academic major of their choice. The Dietrich School offers over 55 majors in 31 departments. Some departments offer more than one major. Each department specifies the particular courses needed to fulfill its major(s). The requirements for each major are summarized below. Handouts are available in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall, and in the departments provide up-to-date and detailed information about each major.

Note: Transfer students receive an evaluation of their previous course work indicating the equivalent University of Pittsburgh courses for which advanced-standing credits have been awarded. Equivalent Dietrich School courses will meet requirements for the major where appropriate. Students who believe that a previous course not equivalent to a Dietrich School course should meet a requirement for a major may petition the department to review that course.

Related Area

Students must also earn at least 12 Dietrich School credits (with a minimum GPA of 2.00) in a related area specified by the department of their major. The major department may choose to approve these 12 credits in a single department, thematic cluster, geographic grouping, or some other combination. Completion of the requirements for a certificate program usually fulfills the Dietrich School requirements for a related area, at the discretion of the major department. The algebra and writing requirements may not be used as part of a related area. Students should check with their advisor for any approvals required to pursue a planned related area of study.


Dietrich School students may substitute an approved structured minor for the related area. Students must complete the minor with a 2.00 GPA and indicate the minor on the application for graduation. Students who complete an approved minor will have it listed on their transcript, provided that the minor is indicated on the application for graduation. Half of the credits earned for the minor must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh main campus.

For specific information about these minors, please contact the department offering the minor, the Advising Center in 201 Thackeray Hall, or check the individual minor listings in this bulletin.

Special Undergraduate Majors/Advanced Study Opportunities

In addition to the individual majors detailed under Major and Minor Descriptions by Department, Dietrich School students may choose to pursue a variety of academic programs leading to multiple majors, majors within more than one department, or majors that either prepare students for or offer advanced admission to graduate or professional programs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Double and Triple Majors

Students who meet the major requirements of two or three departments may declare, and have recorded on their transcript, a double or triple major, but they will earn only one degree. If one major leads to the BA degree and another to the BS degree, students must decide at graduation which degree they wish to receive. A maximum of six credits can overlap from one major to another.

Joint Departmental Majors

Several joint majors, constructed from the offerings of two departments, are available to qualified Dietrich School students. Current joint majors include:

  • Politics and philosophy, leading to a BA degree;
  • Mathematics and economics, leading to a BS degree;
  • Mathematics and philosophy, leading to a BS degree; and
  • Africana studies and English literature, leading to a BA degree.

For requirements, see Major and Minor Descriptions by Department.

Double Degrees

Dietrich School students may choose to simultaneously pursue more than one undergraduate degree, either within the Dietrich School (i.e., both a BA and a BS) or in another undergraduate school of the University. The Dietrich School also offers a joint degree program with the Swanson School of Engineering. In general, earning two degrees requires a minimum of 150 credits and completion of the curriculum requirements of both schools. Detailed information about these options is available in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

Combined Degree Options

Some students may qualify for a professional school option, in which students who have satisfied the following requirements may receive a bachelor’s degree from the Dietrich School upon successful completion of the first year of graduate study:

  • Completion of 90 or more credits in the Dietrich School,
  • Satisfaction of all skills and general education requirements, and
  • Acceptance to a graduate professional school at the University of Pittsburgh (such as the School of Dental Medicine).

Students going on to other graduate schools (such as the Graduate School of Public Health) who have earned 96 or more credits in the Dietrich School and have been accepted into a graduate program may receive a bachelor's degree upon completion of the specified amount of graduate study. Detailed information about these options is available in handouts in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences/College of Business Administration Dual Major Program

Qualified students may apply for admission to a dual Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences/College of Business Administration major.  This dual major permits students to pursue an undergraduate arts and sciences major and a business major simultaneously. Students may apply to the program after their first year at the University of Pittsburgh. Specific information about requirements and applications are available in the Advising Center (201 Thackeray Hall) and the College of Business Administration (2100 Sennott Square). See your academic advisor for more information.

Preparation for Professional Programs of Study

Students interested in spending their junior and senior years in the University of Pittsburgh's professional Schools of Social Work, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Information Sciences, or Pharmacy normally spend two years in the Dietrich School taking necessary prerequisite courses and electives in preparation for professional study. Although freshmen are accepted directly into the Schools of Engineering, Nursing, and the College of Business Administration (CBA), it is possible for students who begin in the Dietrich School to transfer into those schools after one or two years. Detailed information is available in handouts in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

Preparation for Graduate Professional Studies

Although the Dietrich School does not offer specific majors in prelaw, premedical, predental, or education, it is possible for students in the Dietrich School to complete all the necessary prerequisites for entry into these graduate professional schools while fulfilling their Arts and Sciences degree requirements. Details are available in handouts in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

Accelerated Law Admissions Program (ALAP)

The Accelerated Law Admissions Program (ALAP), open to any student enrolled in the Dietrich School grants admission to the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law to those students who meet the ALAP's requirements. Students who enter the program complete their undergraduate major in three years, applying for admission to the School of Law during their junior year, and then go on to law school for another three years.

Students interested in the program are encouraged to declare a major early at the end of the first year in order to allow them to complete their undergraduate Dietrich School major(s) by the end of their third year. Also, interested students are encouraged to take summer classes during their second year in order to reduce the credits to be completed in their third year. The requirements for the ALAP are as follows:

  • Students must complete 102 credits by the end of their junior year.
  • Students must take three writing-designated courses (rather than two) beyond the freshman writing requirement.
  • The Dietrich School requirement of 12 credits in a related area is waived for students in the ALAP.
  • Students must take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) by the fall of their junior year. This would include the June, October, or December test.

Acceptance into the program is competitive, and only those students with above-average grades and competitive LSAT scores should apply.

Five-Year Programs

  • BS in statistics and an MA or MS in applied statistics: This program is intended to give outstanding students interested in statistics the opportunity to progress quickly toward their educational objectives. Contact the Department of Statistics for details.
  • BS in computer science and an MS in computer science: Exceptional students can earn an MS in computer science in five years and also can participate in a variety of experiential educational activities. Contact the Department of Computer Science for details.