University of Pittsburgh


Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences


Special Academic Opportunities/Programs

The following special programs are available to Arts and Sciences students:

Academic Resource Center

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) seeks to increase the admission, retention, and graduation of undergraduate students in the Arts and Sciences by providing counseling, academic advising, University orientation course, study skills, tutoring, peer mentoring, and monitoring of student performance. The ARC offers the following services:

  • Tutoring is available for introductory calculus and statistics courses through both individual and group programs.
  • The ARC offers Study Skills Workshops, Individualized Study Skills, and various Study Skills Mini-Workshops for students who want to develop more efficient and effective ways of studying. Topics include suggestions for improving textbook reading, lecture note taking, memory, time management, and test-taking skills.
  • Student Support Services (SSS) provides a holistic approach to student development and academic achievement. SSS counselors assist students with financial aid and registration procedures and academic and career planning. SSS offers tutoring by faculty and upper class students in mathematics and science, and 1-credit courses to help students maximize their learning potential. SSS is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information on the Academic Resource Center, please call 412-648-7920 or visit

In addition to the services offered by the ARC, the departments of English and Mathematics host resource centers - the Writing Center and the Math Assistance Center (MAC), both located in the O'Hara Student Center.  For more information, visit their Web sites at:

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Office of Freshman Programs  
Introduction to the Arts and Sciences (FP 0001)

This one-credit course provides incoming freshmen in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences an extended orientation to academic life and its relation to life goals by exploring the nature and value of a liberal arts and sciences education. The small class size enables the students, instructor, and undergraduate teaching assistant to discuss many of the issues that will have an impact on a successful college experience, such as negotiating the transition from high school to college, learning and study skills, academic integrity, computer-system use and library orientation, and educational and career goals. Students often participate as a class in University and citywide cultural events, which gives students the opportunity to socialize beyond the classroom in a way that is valuable to their overall academic experience. For more information about Freshman Programs, visit

Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity is a clearinghouse for students interested in earning academic credit for undergraduate research. While classroom and academic components are necessities to earning a college degree, experiential learning helps students to apply what they have been learning in school to real-world situations. By diversifying their education through experiential learning, students maximize their opportunities for the future. For further information, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research in 209 Thackeray Hall or at

Study Abroad

Arts and Sciences students are encouraged to add an international dimension to their undergraduate education through study abroad. Credit may be earned toward the Arts and Sciences degree through participation in one of several University of Pittsburgh programs or consortia-sponsored programs including Konan Year in Japan, the Denmark International Studies Program, and studies at the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico, or the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex in England, to name a few. Students may study in virtually any part of the world in these programs or others sponsored by most American or international institutions.

Before study abroad is undertaken, approval for credit must be obtained. The study abroad advisor provides program approval, and the Arts and Sciences advisor in the department in which credit is sought and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center must approve the course selections and credits. Students should have at least a 2.75 GPA before seeking permission from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center to study abroad. In most cases, registration must be completed in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall. Call the Study Abroad Office in Room 802 William Pitt Union at 412-648-7413 or see for more information.

Arts and Sciences Certificate Programs

Certificates are earned in addition to a major and may be used to satisfy the related area requirement, depending upon the major department chosen. Certificates typically require 18–24 credits. See below for summary information about certificate programs available to students through A&S. Other undergraduate certificate programs are available through the Swanson School of Engineering and the University Center for International Studies (UCIS); Arts and Sciences students are encouraged to consider those certificates, too. Detailed descriptions of these programs are available in handouts in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall.

American Sign Language Certificate

The Department of Linguistics offers an undergraduate Certificate in American Sign Language (ASL). This certificate program should lead students to: a high degree of proficiency in ASL; an understanding of the structure of ASL as a visual/gestural language; and an understanding of important issues in deaf culture and education.

This certificate program could conveniently accompany various undergraduate majors including, but not limited to, linguistics, communication science, and various undergraduate disciplines that serve as the basis for graduate-level degrees and certificates in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. The program draws on the academic strengths and resources of the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Instruction and Learning in the School of Education.

Currently, there is a limit of 20 students per academic year who can enroll in the ASL certificate program. For this reason, each applicant will be required to go through an evaluation process. Applications are accepted early during the spring term of each academic year, and students will be notified of their acceptance or non-acceptance into the program before registering for fall classes. Please contact the Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Center, CL G-47, for application packets or more information (, 412-624-5512).


Requirements for Certificate in American Sign Language Prerequisites
  • LING 0471 American Sign Language 1 (B or higher)
  • LING 0472 American Sign Language 2 (B or higher)
  • Successful performance on skills and knowledge evaluations
Required courses (18 credits)

Category 1:

  • LING 0473 American Sign Language 3
  • LING 0474 American Sign Language 4

Category 2:

  • LING 1722 Deaf Culture

Category 3:

  • LING 1000 Introduction to Linguistics

Category 4:

  • LING 1720 Structure of Sign Language

Category 5 (one of the following):

  • LING 1721 Sociolinguistics of Sign Language
  • LING 1723 Analyses of ASL Literature
Children’s Literature Certificate

Books written for children are among the best-loved and best-remembered of all works of literature. They also provide some of the most important early learning experiences. In recent years, books written for children have attracted increasing interest from scholars and students as well as parents, educators, publishers, and journalists. What kinds of stories do we consider appropriate for children, and why? How have our opinions about this topic changed over time and across different cultures? And how is literacy changing, now that children are exposed not only to books, films, and television, but also to video games and the world wide web?

The interdisciplinary Certificate in Children’s Literature offers undergraduates the opportunity to bring together studies across a broad range of subjects as they contemplate these and other questions pertaining to youth literature and culture. Founded in 1981, the program is designed to meet the individual student’s interests and strengths and fulfills the Arts and Sciences requirement for a related area. The Children’s Literature Certificate provides a useful background for many areas of professional work and study. Many of our students pursue careers in elementary, secondary, and special education, or in information science, child care, or social work. Others students have gone to graduate school in the humanities (English, History, Film Studies) or social sciences (Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology). Recent graduates of our new “Writing Youth Literature” course have gone to internships at Sesame Street Productions and the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in New York City. For more information on the study of children’s literature at the University, see

Requirements for Certificate in Children’s Literature

The certificate is a planned interdisciplinary sequence of at least 18 credits. The program director must also be consulted about the design of the student’s individual course of study. The three required core courses for the certificate are:

  • ENGLIT 0560 Children and Culture
  • ENGLIT 0562 Childhood’s Books or ENGLIT 0655 Representing Adolescence
  • ENGLIT 1645 Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature*

Students are encouraged to take all four of the above courses, since either ENGLIT 0562 or ENGLIT 0655 may be taken as a Category 1 elective. Of these two courses, the course not taken as an elective must be taken as a core course.

In addition to the three core courses, students should design their own course of study to complete the remaining credits, in consultation with the program director. Courses must be selected from an approved list of courses, available from the program director.

*ENGLIT 1645 Critical Approaches to Children's Literature is the capstone course for the Children's Literature program and must be taken last.

Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate

The Department of History & Philosophy of Science’s undergraduate certificate program in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine offers a group of related courses in medical ethics, in the nature of explanation and evidence in the biomedical sciences, and in social problems such as assessments of alternative forms of healthcare delivery. The program is likely to be of particular interest to premedical students and others interested in health-related professions, but it is intended to appeal to all students interested in social and philosophical problems in the biomedical sciences. Completion of the certificate program fulfills the Arts and Sciences requirement for a related area, although students should check with their major department. Students who complete the program receive a Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, which is printed on the transcript. For more information, see

Requirements for Certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine

The certificate requires 18 credits. It is expected that enrolled students will achieve at least a C grade in each of the required courses and at least a C+ GPA in the overall certificate requirements. Students should apply to the program as early in their course work as possible. Normally, satisfactory completion of one course in the two-term core sequence HPS 0612 and 0613 is required for admission. These courses form the introductory sequence for the certificate. They may be taken in either order. The following states the course requirements for the certificate:

  • HPS 0612 Mind and Medicine
  • HPS 0613 Morality and Medicine.
  • A two-term college-level course in biology, such as BIOSC 0150 and 0160 Foundations of Biology I and II.
  • Two additional approved courses in two different departments dealing with social and conceptual issues in the biomedical sciences. A list of such approved courses is distributed by the Department of History and Philosophy of Science prior to registration each term. Courses are approved on a term-by-term basis.

HPS 0612 focuses on questions concerning the aims of medicine, its scientific status, and its relation to the natural sciences. HPS 0613 is an introduction to the ethical, legal, and social problems that are part of the modern practice of medicine. The focus throughout will be on the role of moral values in medical treatment.

Geographic Information Systems Certificate

The Geology and Planetary Science Department offers a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS is a computer-based system that accommodates virtually any type of information about features that are referenced by geographical location. For example, a GIS database may include both location and attribute data, providing a spatial visualization capability for analyzing descriptive characteristics about geographical features, both natural and man-made. One of the most important benefits of GIS analysis is the ability to spatially interrelate multiple types of information stemming from a range of sources. Such computational manipulation of geographic data has become increasingly important in many areas of science, government, and industry. Students who demonstrate experience with computers in general, and GIS/image processing in particular, are at a distinct advantage when looking for jobs in geology, environmental science, city and regional planning, and engineering. This certificate is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed for immediate success in GIS-related jobs.

Requirements for Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The program is open to any University of Pittsburgh student, including post-baccalaureate students (professionals seeking to expand their job-related computer skills). Approximately four terms (two academic years) will be required to complete this certificate program. It is therefore suggested that undergraduates begin no later than their junior year. A grade of C or better is required in all courses for successful completion of the certificate. GIS topics covered include the nature of geographic data, map projections, raster images, the basic elements of a GIS database, sources of data, and training in the Arc/Info software package. Students also have the option of focusing on remote sensing theory and applications. Remote sensing (RS) topics include image analysis and processing; field validation of satellite and airborne datasets; GPS training; and the use of software packages such as ENVI, Erdas Imagine, ERMapper, and Trimble’s Pathfinder Office.

Required core courses (6 credits):

  • GEOL 1445/2449 GIS, GPS, and Computer Methods
  • GEOL 1460 Remote Sensing of the Earth

Two elective courses may be chosen that have special relevance to the student’s major or employment goals. Appropriate courses will be available from many different departments. Courses not on the following list may be selected contingent on approval by the certificate advisor.

Suggested elective courses (6 credits):

Lower level:

  • GEOL 0030 World Physical Geography
  • GEOL 0820 Natural Disasters

1000 level:

  • GEOL 1060 Geomorphology, prerequisites
  • BIOSC 1044 Ecological Management Summer Field Course, prerequisites
  • INFSCI 1022 Database Management Systems, prerequisites or INFSCI 1030 Information Storage and Retrieval, prerequisites

2000 level:

  • GEOL 2446 Advanced GIS Systems Computer Methods, prerequisites
  • GEOL 2460 Applied Remote Sensing and GPS Techniques, prerequisites

Independent Study (4 credits):

Students must demonstrate proficiency in the application of the techniques by completing a project under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Sufficient work must be performed to earn four independent study or directed research credits. Faculty from any department may serve as the advisor, but students are encouraged to work with faculty in their primary area of interest. Projects must use GIS and/or RS as a major tool and result in a published report/map/CD-ROM that describes the results of the research.

German Language Certificate

The Certificate in German Language consists of 18 credits of German courses and prepares students for international careers, internationally recognized proficiency exams, and internships in German-speaking countries.

Requirements for Certificate in Germanic Language

The certificate offers two tracks: one for the liberal arts and one for professional purposes. Courses should be taken in sequence.

German for the Liberal Arts

The following courses should be taken, in sequence, by students in this track:

  • GER 0003 Intermediate German 1
  • GER 0004 Intermediate German 2 with a minimum grade of B- before taking any course in the GER 1000-level experience

    Two of the following:
  • GER 1000 Reading Literary Texts
  • GER 1001 Writing in German
  • GER 1002 German Phonetics

    One of the following:
  • GER 1101 Advanced German 1: Media G
  • ER 1102 Advanced German 2: Structures

    One of the GER 1200–1399 seminars taught in German

German for Professional Purposes

The following courses should be taken, in sequence, by students in this track:

  • GER 0003 Intermediate German 1
  • GER 0004 Intermediate German 2
  • GER 1003 German for Professional Purposes 1
  • GER 1004 German for Professional Purposes 2
  • GER 1101 Media
  • GER 1102 Structures

Nine credits may be transferred from study abroad programs in German-speaking countries in accordance with the credit transfer policy of the University of Pittsburgh. These credits have to be pre-approved by the director of undergraduate studies.

A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in each course that counts toward the certificate. No course that counts toward the certificate can be taken on an S/NC basis unless the student received special permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

For more information, visit

Jewish Studies Certificate

The Jewish Studies Program is open to all students interested in the Hebrew language and the history and culture of the Jewish people and their contributions to Western civilization. In the historical courses, emphasis is on the interaction of the Jewish people with their neighbors, as well as the development of distinctive cultural and religious values. A certificate program is offered, and interdisciplinary studies options can be arranged to include courses in this program. Information is also available on opportunities for intensive study in Israel. The program in Jewish studies offers undergraduates the opportunity to supplement work in their own department or major with an interdisciplinary course of study in the area of Jewish studies. Completion of the certificate program fulfills the Arts and Sciences requirement for a related area (although students should check with their major departments) and will be indicated on the transcript.

Requirements for the Jewish Studies Certificate

The certificate requires 18 credits. A maximum of 9 credits may be transferred from another institution, including study abroad. Credits are to be distributed as follows:

  • JS 0025 Intermediate Hebrew 3 or higher (3 credits)
  • Jewish studies: Two 1000-level courses selected from the inventory of Jewish Studies courses offered at the University of Pittsburgh (6 credits)
  • JS 1901 Independent Study (3 credits)
  • One course from any of the above categories (3 credits)

Those interested in graduate study are strongly urged to acquire a knowledge of Hebrew and either French or German. Students should consult with the advisor in the Jewish Studies Program in order to register their interest in the certificate program and to plan their course of study, including the choice of an appropriate independent study project.

Leadership Certificate

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Leadership Certificate is an interdisciplinary program open to any University of Pittsburgh students interested in further developing their strategic planning, people management, and communication skills. The certificate program aims to inform and motivate future leaders from the perspective of the liberal arts background. Through this program, students earn an academic credential for developing the core competencies that will enable them to lead in their scholarly fields, their communities, and their families, while they major in their chosen academic discipline. Students declare the Leadership Certificate in the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies Office of Student Records.

This certificate program emphasizes coursework in the areas of quantitative reasoning, economic principles, oral and written communication, and human architectures, as well as practical experiences of leadership and community service. Because its foundation courses can be completed by using courses that also meet General Education Requirements, the program allows students the flexibility to tailor their certificate to best suit their interests and goals. The certificate fosters cross-discipline awareness and co-curricular learning by including two terms of a leadership seminar.

The Leadership Certificate program requires foundation courses from four different rubrics, each with a range of courses from which students may choose. Students must maintain an average GPA in the foundation courses equal to 2.75 (a B- average).

Students pursuing the Leadership Certificate must also complete two advanced courses - ARTSCI 1900 Arts and Sciences Internship (1 credit) and ARTSCI 1999 Arts and Sciences Leadership Seminar (2 terms for 1 credit each). Students may take the advanced courses for S/NC grade. To satisfy the co-curricular (not for credit) component of the certificate program, students must complete the Emerging Leaders Program, a 20-hour workshop series offered by Career Services ( in the Division of Student Affairs. Please, contact your Academic Advisor, with questions about the certificate.

Four Rubrics for Foundational Courses

Rubric 1

Ratiocination (minimum of one course for 3 credits)

  • ECON 0200 - Game Theoretic Principles (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS. Q)
  • STAT 0200 - Basic Applied Statistics (3 credits, Gen Ed: Q)
  • STAT 0800 - Statistics in the Modern World (3 credits, Gen Ed: Q)
  • STAT 1000 - Applied Statistical Methods (4 credits, Gen Ed: Q)
  • STAT 1100 - Statistics and Probability for Business Management (4 credits)
  • MATH 0120, OR MATH 0125 AND 0126 - Business Calculus (4 credits, Skills: A. Gen Ed: Q)

Rubric 2

Economics (one course for 3 credits)

  • ECON 0100 - Introduction to Microeconomic Theory (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
  • ECON 0110 - Introduction to Macroeconomic Theory (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
  • ECON 0230 - Public Finance 1 (3 credits)
  • ECON 0280 - Introduction to Money and Banking (3 credits)
  • ECON 0360 - Introduction to Environmental and Resource Economics (3 credits)
  • ECON 0400 - Labor and the Economy (3 credits)
  • ECON 0430 - Women in the Labor Market (3 credits)
  • ECON 0500 - Introduction to International Trade (3 credits, Gen Ed: COM)
  • ECON 0530 - Introduction to Development Economics (3 credits, Gen Ed: IFN, COM)
  • ECON 0800 - Introduction toe Economics (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
  • ECON 1410 - Collective Bargaining (3 credits)

Rubric 3

Communication (one course from each list totaling 6 credits)

  • First Course
    • COMMRC 0520 - Public Speaking (3 credits, Gen Ed: EX)
    • COMMRC 0530 - Interpersonal Communications (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 0540 - Discussion (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 1018 - Presidential Rhetoric 1 (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 1102 - Organizational Communication (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 1104 - Political Communication (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 1106 - Small Group Communication (3 credits)
    • COMMRC 1109 - Non Verbal Communication (3 credits)
  • Second Course
    • ENGCMP 0400 - Written Professional Communication (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 0410 - Writing in the Legal Professions (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 0420 - Writing for the Public (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 0450 - Research Writing (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 0510 - Narratives of the Workplace (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 0515 - Persuasive Writing for Advertisement and Fundraising (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 1100 - Language of Business and Industry (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • ENGCMP 1400 - Grant and Proposal Writing (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)

Rubric 4

Human Architectures (one course from each list totaling a minimum of 9 credits)

  • First Course
    • PHIL 0300 (or 0302) - Introduction to Ethics (3 (4) credits, Gen Ed: PH (W))
    • PSY 0010 - Introduction to Psychology (3 credits, Gen Ed: NS)
    • PSY 0105 - Introduction to Social Psychology (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • PSY 0184 - Psychology of Gender (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • PSY 0160 - Psychology of Personality (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • PSY 0405 - Learning and Motivation (3 credits, Gen Ed: NS)
    • SOC 0411 - Deception and Betrayal (3 credits, Gen Ed: W)
    • SOC 0432 - Wealth and Power (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • AFRCNA 0787 - Black Consciousness (3 credits)
    • NROSCI 0080 - Brain and Behavior (3 credits, Gen Ed: NS)
    • HPS 0605 - The Nature of Emotions (3 credits, Gen Ed: PH)
  • Second Course
    • SOC 0005 - Societies (3 credits, Gen Ed: GLO)
    • SOC 0150 - Social Theory (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • SOC 0317 - Global Society (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS, IFN, GLO)
    • SOC 0474 - Society and the Law (3 credits)
    • SOC 1231 - Interorganizational Networks (3 credits)
    • PS 1201 - Constitution and Civil Liberties (3 credits)
    • PS 1212 - American Presidency (3 credits)
    • ANTH 1772 - Anthropology of Women (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS, IFN, COM)
    • ANTH 1757 - Social Organization (3 credits)
    • HIST 1690 - American Legal History (3 credits, Gen Ed: HS)
    • AFRCNA 1012 - Early 20th Century Black Social Movement (3 credits, Gen Ed: HS)
  • Third Course
    • PS 0200 - American Political Process (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS)
    • PS 0300 - Comparative Politics (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS, COM)
    • PS 0500 - World Politics (3 credits, Gen Ed: SS, GLO)
    • PS 1204 - Women in Politics (3 credits)
    • PS 1211 - Legislative Process (3 credits)
    • PS 1241 - Public Administration and Political System (3 credits)
    • PS 1503 - International Organization (3 credits)
    • AFRCNA 1030 - African Politics (3 credits, Gen Ed: HS)
    • HIST 1014 - Comparative Witch Hunts (3 credits, Gen Ed: HS, COM)

Advanced Coursework (3 credits)

  • ARTSCI 1900 Arts and Sciences Internship (1 credit)
  • ARTSCI 1999 Arts and Sciences Leadership Seminar (2 terms for 1 credit each).

Co-curricular Work (no academic credit)

Complete the Emerging Leaders Program, a 20-hour workshop series offered by Career Services.

Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate

In spite of change through the centuries and variations of a regional and national character, the millennium preceding the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes in 1616 is marked by a coherence sufficient to justify considering it as a cultural entity, worthy of study for its humanistic qualities and for its importance in preparing the modern world. Some of the principal aims of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program are:

  • to identify and explore aspects of medieval and Renaissance cultures that are an important part of our own cultural heritage;
  • to promote an understanding of our medieval and Renaissance ancestors through the investigation of the ways they faced the issues of their day, asked questions of their institutions, and were conscious of themselves and the world around them;
  • to help students understand historical relativity by showing them how different periods and individuals have understood the Middle Ages and Renaissance in very different ways; and
  • to provide the basis for an open-minded attitude toward any culture that is different from our own.

In consultation with a program advisor (who may be a member of the Executive Committee, one of the departmental representatives, or another faculty member specializing in the area), the candidate will define an area of interest and organize a program of courses in relation to it. In designing a certificate program, students are urged to keep in mind the aims of the program as described above. For more information, see

Requirements for Medieval and Renaissance Certificate

The Certificate requires 15 credits :

At least nine credits will be earned in 1000-level courses
One of the five courses must be focused on the medieval period; see the list of qualifying courses at

One of the five courses must be focused on the Renaissance period; see the list of qualifying courses at

The student must take at least two courses from each category. Courses should not be chosen at random but should follow a pattern of interrelated studies worked out with a Program Advisor from one of the cooperating Departments or with the Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The categories are:

  • language and literature, the visual arts, and music; and
  • social, intellectual, economic, and ideological history (including philosophy, religious studies, the history of science and the study of institutions).

A strong recommendation, beyond these requirements, is that certificate candidates acquire a reading knowledge of a modern European language as early as possible. In addition, Latin is suggested for those who plan to do graduate work in the field.

Undergraduate Certificate in Nanoscience and Engineering

Advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology (the ability to predict, create, and design with nanoscale materials and systems) are expected to reveal new physical phenomena and to enable the creation of highly desirable products and devices, in addition to revolutionary changes in industrial practice. Strength in nanoscience and nanotechnology has been identified as the nation’s future competitiveness and prosperity, and strategic plans have been developed to accelerate nanoscience research and development, encourage knowledge transfer to spur econonmic growth, and expand educational programs and workforce training – all in a socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology also has had a large and rapidly growing local impact. The Pittsburgh region is home to a number of corporations, including many smaller start-up companies, with major nanotechnology components to their businesses. The continued success of companies such as PPG, Seagate, Bayer, Alcoa, Plextronics, Westinghouse, Bettis, and II-VI will depend on their ability to recruit local engineering talent with the required background in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The continued development of nanotechnology-based entrepreneurial start-ups will depend in large part on a vibrant pool of young engineers and scientists with appropriate educational experience in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

This joint certificate, housed in both the Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE) and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (Dietrich School) enables BS students from both schools to complement their education by completing a five-course sequence. The certificate is designed to be combined with coursework in any SSOE degree-granting program, or with chemistry and physics in the Dietrich School.

The course requirements for this certificate follow.

Required courses


  • ENGR 0240 Introduction to Nanotechnology and Nanoengineering; this course has prerequisites


One of the following courses; these courses have prerequisites.

  • CHEM 1630 Introduction to Nanoscience
  • PHYS 1375 Introduction to Nanoscience;


One of the following courses.

  • ENGR 1730 Research Experiences in Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 1730 Research Experiences in Nanotechnology
  • PHYS 1903 Directed Research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Two elective courses from the following list.

  • One of the following courses.
  • CHEM 1410 Physical Chemistry 1

    CHEM 1420 Physical Chemistry 2

    CHEM 1480 Intermediate Physical Chemistry

  • CHEM 1450 Molecular Modeling and Graphics
  • CHEM 1600 Synthesis and Characterization of Polymers
  • CHEM 1620 Atoms, Molecules, and Materials
  • ECE 0257 Analysis & Design of Electronic Circuits
  • ECE 1247 Semiconductor Device Theory
  • ECE 2295 Nanosensors
  • ENGR 0241 Fabrication and Design in Nanotechnology
  • IE 1012 or IE 2012 Manufacture of Structural Nano-Materials
  • MEMS 1057 Micro/Nano Manufacturing
  • MEMS 1447 Nanocharacterization
  • MEMS 1469 Materials Science of Nanostructures
  • MEMS 1477 Thin Film Processes and Characterization
  • MEMS 1478 Nanoparticles: Science and Technology
  • MEMS 1480 Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems
  • PHYS 0577 Modern Physical Measurements
  • PHYS 1361 Wave Motion and Optics
  • One of the following courses.

    PHYS 1370 Quantum Mechanics 1

    PHYS 1371 Quantum Mechanics 2

  • PHYS 1374 Introduction to Solid State Physics


Photonics Certificate

Photonics is one of the fastest growing high-tech industries in the world today. It includes optical communications (e.g., fiber optics, lasers, and infrared links), optical imaging (e.g., spy and weather satellites, night vision, holography, flat screen display, and CCD video cameras), optical data storage (e.g., CDs and CD-ROMs), optical detectors (e.g., supermarket scanners, medical optics, and nondestructive evaluation of materials), lasers (e.g., welding lasers, laser surgery, laser shows, and laser rangefinders), spectroscopy (e.g., chemical analysis and detection), and quantum optics (e.g., quantum cryptography, quantum computing, and single-photon detection).

Although the photonics industry is growing rapidly, photonics companies have a hard time finding qualified people because the interdisciplinary field crosses physics, physical chemistry, and electrical engineering. The photonics certificate program at the University of Pittsburgh will give this kind of cross-cutting experience and allow students to move directly into the photonics industry. The Certificate in Photonics will also serve as good preparation for graduate school in solid state physics, physical chemistry, or electrical engineering with optoelectronics emphasis.

Students in the certificate program will have opportunities for laboratory research with professors at the University of Pittsburgh and will also receive special job placement referrals.

Requirements for Certificate in Photonics

The certificate is designed to fit easily with a physics, chemistry, or electrical engineering major, but students with other majors can also earn the certificate.

To receive the certificate, students must have taken

  • One of the following pairs
    • PHYS 0174 Basic Physics for Science and Engineering 1 and 0175 Basic Physics for Science and Engineering 1
    • PHYS 0475 Introduction to Physics for Science and Engineering 1 and 0476 UHC Introduction to Physics for Science and Engineering 2
  • One of the following pairs
    • CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and 0120 General Chemistry 2
    • CHEM 0710 Honors General Chemistry 1 and CHEM 0720 Honors General Chemistry 2
    • CHEM 0960 General Chemistry for Engineers 1 and 0970 General Chemistry for Engineers 2
  • MATH 0220 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1
  • MATH 0230 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2
  • MATH 0240 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3
  • MATH 0250 Matrix Theory and Differential Equations

Required laboratory courses:

  • One of the following
    • PHYS 0219 Basic Lab Physics for Science and Engineering
    • PHYS 0577 Modern Physics Measurements
    • CHEM 0250 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry and 0260 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry Lab
    • EE 0501 Digital Systems Laboratory
  • One of the following
    • PHYS 0525 Analog and Digital Electronics
    • EE 1201 Electronics Measurements and Circuits Lab and EE 1212 Electronic Circuit Design Lab
    • CHEM 1430 Physical Chemistry Lab 1 and CHEM 1255 Instrumental Analysis Lab

In addition, the following courses are required for the certificate.

  • PHYS 1361 Waves and Optics Lab
  • EE 1247 Semiconductor Devices
  • EE 1232Lasers and Optronics
  • One of the following
    • CHEM 1410 Physical Chemistry
    • PHYS 1370 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 1 and PHYS 1371 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 2
  • Two of the following courses or sequences
    • One of the following
      • PHY 1351 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism
      • EE 1259 Electromagnetics and EE 1266 Applications of Fields and Waves
    • CHEM 1250 Instrumental Analysis
    • TELCOM 2222 Photonic Communications
  • Junior Photonics Seminar (two semesters, each 1 credit) (cross listed as PHYS 0177, CHEM 1750, or EE 1248)
  • Photonics Theory 1 (3 credits) (cross listed as PHYS 1363, CHEM 1470/1472, or EE 1240/1240)
  • Photonics Theory 2 (3 credits) (cross listed as PHYS 1364, CHEM 1470/1472, or EE 1240/1241)
  • Photonics Laboratory (1 credit) (PHYS 1365, to be cross listed in EE and CHEM)

For more information, see

Public and Professional Writing Certificate (PPW)

Writing plays a crucial role in the lives of people after they leave college, as students go on to work, volunteer, attend professional schools, and advocate for themselves and others. The PPW certificate focuses on writing that serves professional goals and/or the public interest. We invite students from across the University to focus on writing as a way to develop the critical writing, learning, and thinking skills necessary to all sectors of American professional life—private, nonprofit, and government.

Students who know that they will write extensively as professionals in law, medicine, the sciences, social work, public policy, international relations, business, or other fields are good candidates for the PPW certificate, as are students who are interested in advocacy and activism. Students contemplating graduate work should also find the course of study leading to the PPW certificate useful. The courses will allow students to work on significant writing projects in a range of venues. Students who have finished the certificate should have a compelling portfolio of work that they can show to prospective employers.

Students should expect to undertake rigorous intellectual work that will increase their precision as writers, deepen their facility with language and style, and deepen their engagement with writing as a form of social action that has consequences in the world. For more information, see

All students who wish to enroll in the certificate program must submit a letter of intent (this would be the equivalent of an admission essay), a resume, and a writing sample. Please submit this information via campus mail or U.S. mail to Department of English, Public and Professional Writing Certificate, 526 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Requirements for Certificate in Public and Professional Writing

At least 18 credits are required to complete the PPW certificate; students must maintain a minimum B GPA in the three courses required by the certificate.

Students must take ONE of the following core courses:

  • ENGCMP 0400 Written Professional Communication
  • ENGCMP 0410 Writing in the Legal Professions
  • ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public

After they have completed one of the core courses with at least a B, students must also complete, with at least a B, a minimum of TWO approved 1000-level courses (one of which may be a PPW internship) in the composition program.

The remaining 9 credits may come from designated intermediate and advanced course offerings in the English department. The list of designated courses that count toward the certificate will be given to students when they register for the program; designated courses are also listed online. Students may petition to have a relevant course count toward the PPW certificate.

Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality Certificate

The Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality is an interdisciplinary program focusing on women, gender, and sexuality. Women’s Studies (WOMNST) courses and cross-listed courses in various departments across the university provide opportunities for women and men to broaden their understandings of the changing role of gender in the United States and globally. Students who want to explore the intersection of gender with race, class, ethnicity, ability, and sexual orientation will find courses of interest, as will students who want to know more about the role of women in history, in literature and the arts, in media and science. Women’s Studies coursework and internship opportunities help to prepare students for careers in medicine, the creative arts, social work, education, counseling, law, therapy, and business. Still others report that the confidence and insight that they acquire in such courses enriches their lives regardless of their particular career goals. For more information, please visit the Women’s Studies Program in 2205 Posvar Hall or online at

The Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality is designed for the student majoring in another field who wishes to do some concentrated work in gender-related study. Through Independent Study, Certificate students design innovative research and/or creative activity with women’s studies core faculty. Internships provide students with opportunities to put their classroom experience to use in the larger community.

Requirements for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality Certificate

Please consult the Women’s Studies Undergraduate Advisor to plan your program of study.

Certificate Requirements: Plan A

A minimum of 18-credits, completed with an overall GPA of 2.00 is required, as follows:

  • Two introductory core courses in Women’s Studies, such as WOMNST 0100 Introduction to Women’s Studies and WOMNST 0500 Introduction to Feminist Theory
  • Three elective courses from at least 2 different academic departments, such as ANTH 1172 Anthropology of Women; ENGCMP 0203 Seminar in Composition: Women’s Studies; ENGLIT 0630 Sexuality and Representation; LEGLST 1315Sex, Law, and Marriage; RELGST 1648 Gender and the Jewish Tradition; SOC 1365 Race, Gender and Development; WOMNST 1901 Independent Study
  • One advanced Women's Studies interdisciplinary course, such as WOMNST 1140 Special Topics in Women’s Studies; WOMNST 1150 Global Feminisms; WOMNST 1160 Special Topics in Gender, Race and Class; WOMNST 1170 Queer Theory

Internship opportunities are available for students who wish to gain practical knowledge on the job at agencies dealing with issues directly concerning women. These internships must be supervised by a women’s studies core faculty member, and the student must have taken at least 60 credits, be in good academic standing, and have completed four courses in women’s studies (12 credits) relevant to the internship. Women’s studies courses may serve as all or part of this 12-credit requirement.

Women’s studies is an interdisciplinary field with opportunities for innovative research that students find especially challenging. Students are encouraged to do research on special topics or other projects in an independent study course (usually 3 credits per term). The prerequisite is at least two women’s studies courses and at least two courses in the field appropriate to the independent study (these courses may overlap).


Honors and Awards

Numerous scholarships, prizes, and awards are given annually to Dietrich School students for outstanding academic performance. For more information about an honor or award, contact the office, department, or program listed in parentheses following the honor or award title.

  • A.J. Schneider Award (Studio Arts)
  • A.J. Schneider Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship (History)
  • Alfred d'Auberge Scholarship (Music)
  • Abraham Pais Award (English)
  • ACS Award (Chemistry)
  • Alfred Moye Information Technology Initiative Summer Research Experience (Computer Science)
  • Alison Bentley Kephart Memorial Fund in the Biological Sciences (Biological Sciences)
  • Alliance Française Scholarship Fund (French and Italian Languages and Literatures)
  • American Institute of Chemists Award (Chemistry)
  • Anthony and Concetta Ambrosio Internship Award (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Fund (US Steel) (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Asher Isaacs Memorial Prize (Economics)
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (University Honors College)
  • Bernard J. Wein Fund for Undergraduate Research (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Betty Blockstein Levine Memorial Award (Studio Arts)
  • Carol Kay Award (English)
  • Chancellor's Undergraduate Merit Scholarships (University Honors College)
  • Children's Literature Program Undergraduate Paper Prize (Children's Literature)
  • Chinese Language Study Abroad Scholarships (East Asian Languages and Literatures)
  • Christine J. Toretti Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Research (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Composition Program Writing Contest (English)
  • Dante Alighieri Society Scholarship Fund (French and Italian Languages and Literatures)
  • David Schenker Student Prize(Economics)
  • Department of Studio Arts Achievement Award (Studio Arts)
  • East Asian Languages and Literatures Merit Awards (East Asian Languages and Literatures)
  • Esther and Tobias Dunkleberger Scholarship (Chemistry)
  • Edwin O. Ochester Undergraduate Poetry Award (English)
  • Ella P. Stewart Award (Biological Sciences)
  • Emil Sanielevici Undergraduate Research Scholarship (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Environmental Studies Field Experience/Study Abroad Scholarship (Geology and Planetary Science)
  • Excellence in Research Award (Neuroscience)
  • Fil Hearn Award for Study Abroad (History of Art and Architecture)
  • Film Studies Undergraduate Writing Award (Film Studies)
  • French and Italian Student Scholarship Fund (French and Italian Languages and Literatures)
  • Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award (Chemistry)
  • Friends of the Frick Fine Arts Undergraduate Writing Award (History of Art and Architecture)
  • Halliday Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Maria S. and Herbert G. Constant Fund (French and Italian Languages and Literatures)
  • Ira A. Messer Award (Chemistry)
  • JK and Gertrude Miller Award (English)
  • James E. Bradler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research (Neuroscience)
  • James Snead Memorial Essay Award (English)
  • James V. Harrison Fund (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Jennifer and Eric Spiegel Book Award (Communication)
  • Jerome C. Wells Award (Economics)
  • John F. Haskins Award (History of Art and Architecture)
  • Dr. John Knox Hall, Jr. Scholarship ((Psychology)
  • Julie Thompson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Koloc Award (English)
  • Larson O'Brien Prize for Excellence in Professional Writing (English)
  • Leonard Baxt Fund (Office of Undergraduate Research)
  • Leonard S. and Mildred E. Gerlowski Student Award in the Department of Music (Music)
  • Lilly Summer Research Fellowship (Chemistry)
  • Lore B. Foltin Memorial Prize (Germanic Languages and Literatures)
  • M.M. Culver Memorial Fund (Mathematics)
  • Marlee and James Myer Award (English)
  • Martin Richard and Susan Baer Gluck Award (Music or Studio Arts)
  • Mary Louise Theodore Prize (Chemistry)
  • Mary M. Masco Memorial Fund (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies)
  • Mellon Jazz Scholarship (Music)
  • Merck Award (Chemistry)
  • Michael and Susan Ford Scholarship Award (Economics)
  • Montgomery Culver Prize for Fiction (English)
  • Nationality Room Scholarships (Nationality Rooms)
  • Norman K. Flint Memorial Field Geology Scholarship (Geology and Planetary Science)
  • Dr. Norman H. Horowitz Award (Biological Sciences)
  • Oberbeck Scholarship for Student Research (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies)
  • Oratory Competition Awards (Communication)
  • Ossip Writing Awards (English)
  • Outstanding Freshman Scholar Award (Biological Sciences)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award (Computer Science)
  • Peter F. M. Koehler Sophomore/Junior Level Academic Achievement Award (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Peter F. M. Koehler Junior/Senior Level Academic Achievement Award (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Phillips Medal (Chemistry)
  • Prize for Excellence in Writing for the Public Interest (English)
  • Richard F. Zarilla Award (Chemistry)
  • Richard T. Hartman Fund (Biological Sciences)
  • Rita R and David A Rossi Scholarship (Chemistry)
  • Robert W. Avery Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Sociology (Sociology)
  • Ruth L. M. Kuschmierz "Pitt in Germany" Scholarship Fund (German)
  • SACP College Award (Chemistry)
  • Samuel B. Frazier Undergraduate Book Scholarship (Geology and Planetary Science)
  • Samuel D. Colella Award (Biological Sciences)
  • Silverman Award (Chemistry)
  • Taube Award for Fiction (English)
  • Teplitz Memorial Scholarship (Chemistry)
  • Theodora C. Diamantopulos Endowed Fund for Student Resources (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies)
  • Thomas-Lain Scholarship (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Tung-Li and Hui Hsi Yuan Prize in Arts and Sciences (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Studies)
  • Turow-Kinder Award for Fiction (English)
  • Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry (Chemistry)
  • Undergraduate Film Studies Writing Award (Film Studies)
  • University Scholarships (Admissions and Financial Aid)
  • Valspar Award (Chemistry)
  • Women's Studies Paper Prize (Women's Studies)
  • Women's Studies Student Research Fund (Women's Studies)

Arts and Sciences Faculty

Arts and Sciences Faculty Directory



Declaring a Major

All students are required to complete a major or other upper-class option in addition to the skills and general education requirements. Students declare their major by filling out an Undergraduate Academic Program Change form available in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall. Students normally declare their major during their fourth term of full-time study.