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Joint Master’s Degree Program with GSPIA

The School of Computing and Information has entered into a joint agreement with Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). The program allows for students to simultaneously complete the Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) degree and one of three degrees in GSPIA—Master of Public Administration, Master of Public & International Affairs, or Master of International Development. To be admitted fully into the joint program, students must be accepted by both GSPIA and the School of Computing and Information.

Admission to the MSIS degree program

Students wishing to enter this program need to submit the regular application form, along with two recommendation letters, an official transcript, and a copy of GRE or GMAT. International students have additional submission requirements.


All students are expected have completed the prerequisite courses in:

  • A structured programming language

    A course on structured programming using Java, C# or C++ is required.  Either INFSCI 0017: Object-Oriented Programming 1 for Information Science or CS 0401: Intermediate Programming Using Java is recommended to meet this requirement.

  • Statistics

    A course covering data collection, descriptive, and inferential statistics is optimal. It should cover measures of central tendency and variability, regression, correlation, non-parametric analysis, probability and sampling, Bayesian analysis, significance tests, and hypothesis testing. Either STATS 0200: Basic Applied Statistics, or STATS 1000: Applied Statistical Methods is recommended to meet this requirement.

  • Mathematics

    A college-level mathematics course, in discrete mathematics or calculus, is required. Any of the following Pitt courses will meet the requirement: MATH 0120: Business Calculus, MATH 0220: Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, or MATH 0400: Discrete Mathematical Structures.

Students who lack some of the prerequisite courses may be admitted provisionally pending completion of the prerequisites during the first 12 credits of study. Any coursework that the student is asked to meet as a condition of their admission must be completed with a grade of B or better.

For admissions and prerequisite information regarding GSPIA, visit their Web site.

Course of Study

The course of study for the MSIS degree under the joint agreement consists of a minimum of 30 credits of approved coursework in the School of Computing and Information, plus an additional 30-39 credits at GSPIA, depending the selected area of study. Please be aware that there is a small tuition differential between the two schools.

The 30 credits taken in the School of Computing and Information are to be distributed as follows:

  • 3 credits in the Mathematical and Formal Foundations area.
  • 6 credits in the Cognitive Science area or Cognitive Systems area. INFSCI 2300 Human Information Processing and INFSCI 2350 Human Factors in Systems are recommended.
  • 18 credits in the Systems and Technology area or Cognitive Systems area, including either INFSCI 2500 Data Structures or INFSCI 2592 Architectures and Assembler Language.
  • 3 credits as Electives, from any remaining course in the Information Science program.

For a list of courses and their descriptions, visit our course descriptions page.

Any changes to the distribution above must be requested, in advance, through a petition to the faculty.