Below you will find a list of policies for the degree programs at the School of Computing and Information.

Catalogs: Undergraduate Catalog | Graduate Catalog

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Computer Science

Undergraduate Degree Programs

BS in Computer Engineering

BS + MS of Science in Computer Science

Co-Op

Master of Science in Computer Science
PhD in Computer Science

Informatics and Networked Systems

Bachelor of Science in Information Science

BSIS Grading Policy

S/NC (Satisfactory/No Credit) grade option

The School of Computing and Information uses both the University’s letter grade and Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) grade options (formerly the S/N option) (see Grading and Records for more information). In addition to the general University rules governing those grading systems, there are a few formal limitations to the School’s student’s freedom of choice regarding grading systems:

  • Students must decide by one week after the end of the add/drop period which grading system they propose to use for each of their courses. This decision may not be changed, nor may a grade of one kind received for a course be changed to a grade of the other kind (e.g., from an S/NC grade (formerly the S/N option) to a letter grade).
  • Schools/departments may decide which courses may be taken on the S/NC system (formerly the S/N option).
  • No courses required for the information science major, the related field, information science distribution, general distribution, English composition, or language requirements may be taken on the S/NC system (formerly the S/N option).
  • Students are limited to a total of 18 credits of S grades that may be applied to the 120 credits required for the degree.
  • Students should be sure, before deciding on the grading system for a course, that their decision will not have an adverse effect on their plans for a major.
  • Under certain circumstances, schools/departments may declare a course available only on the S/NC system (formerly the S/N option). In such courses, students may not elect to receive a letter grade.

Evaluation of a student’s ability and achievement in a course is not eliminated by the Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) system (formerly the S/N option). Recitations, tests, and papers may all be required and assessed by instructors who will convey to the student their judgments of the worth of the student’s work. Because the publicly recorded evaluation is minimal, students should use the instructor’s comments in the most helpful way possible: as a guide to their own future course of study and for assessment of their own potential.

Since it is difficult to evaluate transcripts containing very few letter grades, students seriously considering transferring to the Undergraduate Information Science program or considering graduate study should keep this in mind. The student may wish to ask instructors from whom they have taken courses on the Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) system to write letters of recommendation for them immediately at the end of the course. The office of the director of the undergraduate program will supply forms for such letters and will make them a permanent part of the student’s file. Students may also wish to keep portfolios of their best academic work and other evidence of ability and accomplishment with which they might supplement the formal transcript and letters of evaluation when they apply for transfer or for graduate study. This recommendation is useful for all students whatever grade options they select.

Grades accepted for graduation credit

Other than courses designated as electives, students must have received a letter grade of “C” or better for each course.​​

Master of Science in Information Science

MSIS/CAS Grading Policy

Maintenance of a 3.0 QPA

Each student must maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) for all credits of graduate level coursework for either degree or the certificate. Failure to maintain a 3.0 GPA in any term will result in the student being placed on academic probation immediately. If the student does not raise the GPA to a 3.0 after the next nine credits, the student will be dismissed from the program in which he or she is enrolled.

Grades for Individual Courses

All students in the Information Science/Telecommunications degree programs must earn satisfactory grades in each course taken. A grade of C-, D+, D, D-, F and Unsatisfactory are unacceptable for graduation credit. A course for which such an unsatisfactory grade is earned must be repeated if it is a course that is a degree requirement (e.g., INFSCI 2000 or INFSCI 2500/2592. Courses may be repeated only once. Elective courses need not be repeated; another course may be taken to replace it. However, the original course remains on the transcript and a higher grade must be earned to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) & Audits Grading System

Students are permitted to earn at most six credit hours with the grading option S as part of the credits required for the degree. An S grade is equated with a grade of B, B+, A-, A or A+. Course performance equivalent to a B- or lower will result in the assignment of a “No Credit” (NC grade) and will not count towards graduation. A grade of satisfactory (S) has no quality points associated with it and is not used in computing the GPA (quality point average).

MSIS Program Policies

​The Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) degree is conferred upon students who have:

  1. acquired proficiency in the core areas of information science;
  2. obtained a substantial understanding of the larger problems, particularly the use, non-use, and misuse of information, and the function of information in a global society;
  3. completed a minimum of 36 credits that may include a practicum or thesis;
  4. satisfied the general University requirements relating to graduate degrees.

With the possible exception of six credits of advanced standing, all course work must be completed in residence in the MSIS Program (i.e., registering with an INFSCI program code) at the University of Pittsburgh.

The student’s advisor may approve certain exceptions to this policy:

  1. Up to six credits taken at other member institutions in the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE).
  2. Up to six credits of independent study course work may be applied toward a graduate degree in information science and will be counted as meeting one of the area (foundations, etc.) requirements.
  3. Up to six credits of upper-division (1000-1999) undergraduate course work may be applied toward a graduate degree in information science. These will normally be very specialized courses that meet some particular need. Prerequisite programming course work is explicitly excluded from this condition. Other credits (including the practicum or thesis) must be at the graduate level (2000 or 3000 course numbers). No University of Pittsburgh courses numbered below 1000 may be applied toward master’s degree requirements.
  4. Up to six credits of Practicum experience. Practicum credits are counted as electives.

No combination of such exceptions will exceed 9 credits. All requirements for a specialization or general degree requirements (i.e. 2 Foundation courses, 2 Cognitive courses, and 6 Systems and Technology courses) must still be met.

Academic Advising/Plan of Study

Each student is assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to graduate study. These assignments are made primarily on the basis of the student’s background and interests as shown in the application. The student may at any time elect to change advisors: any such change requires the consent of the new advisor and must be reported to the Office of Student Services. The form is available here.

At the time of initial registration or before the completion of the first term, the student is encouraged, but not required to, fill out and discuss the plan of study with their advisor. Plan of Study worksheets​ are available for each specialization and the MSIS-general track.

A Plan of Study is a series of courses designed to meet the minimum exit competencies judged by the faculty to be necessary for employment as an information professional. Students coming into the program without prior course work or work experience in the areas covered by the Plans of Study should adhere fairly closely to the suggested plan. If there has been course work or experience in one or more of the content areas of the program, students are permitted to substitute and take courses in an area in which additional background is needed.

All Plans of Study must have the approval of the advisor. Each student must insure that the Plan of Study meets all of the program requirements for graduation. Any substitutions to the required courses on a plan of study must be approved and signed by the advisor. Instructions for course substitutions and/or transfer credits are available here.

At the completion of the program, a department-selected faculty member will review and sign the Plan of Study signifying recommendation of the student for graduation. If the courses completed on the student’s transcript do not correspond with the Plan of Study as filed, there may be a delay in approval for graduation.

MSIS specializations

Specializations are designed as specific sets of required courses and recommended electives that provide depth of knowledge in specialty areas. Students choose a specialization (or the general track) when submitting their application for admission. Specializations are printed on transcripts/academic records but NOT on the diploma.

Some specializations require pre-requisite knowledge–these are listed on the specialization’s plan of study under “admissions provisions.” Courses taken to attain the pre-requisite knowledge (for example: Data Structures is a pre-requisite for the Big Data Analytics specialization) will not be counted toward fulfillment of the specialization and the degree. Students who have met the pre-requisites during their undergraduate students, should note this on their plan of study worksheet and have it initialed by their advisor. If a student comes to the point of graduation and has not met all requirements, including pre-requisite courses, of their declared specialization, their record will automatically be reverted to the MSIS-General track.

​MSIS students must declare their specialization by the end of the semester in which they meet or exceed 18 credits toward their degree, or they will be placed in the MSIS-General track. Instructions for declaring/changing your specialization are available here​.

Co-Op Information

Through the assistance of the Swanson School of Engineering’s Cooperative Education Office, formal arrangements have been established with industry that permit the School of Computing and Information students to rotate four-month terms between the workplace and the classroom. As a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, this rotation begins after the completion of at least 18 graduate credits across at least two full-time terms of study, with the Co-op student completing at least one full-time four-month work rotation, but no more than two of such rotations. These rotations, which are typically but not necessarily with the same employer, allow job duties to increase as the knowledge and skills of the student progress. During Co-op rotations, students earn competitive salaries determined by the Co-op employer.

If interested in applying for the Cooperative Education program, please email Alka Singh, Director of Experiential Learning.

Master of Science in Telecommunications

MST/CAS Grading Policy

Maintenance of a 3.0 QPA

Each student must maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) for all credits of graduate level coursework for either degree or the certificate. Failure to maintain a 3.0 GPA in any term will result in the student being placed on academic probation immediately. If the student does not raise the GPA to a 3.0 after the next nine credits, the student will be dismissed from the program in which he or she is enrolled.

Grades for Individual Courses

All students in the Information Science/Telecommunications degree programs must earn satisfactory grades in each course taken. A grade of C-, D+, D, D-, F and Unsatisfactory are unacceptable for graduation credit. A course for which such an unsatisfactory grade is earned must be repeated if it is a course that is a degree requirement (e.g., INFSCI 2000 or INFSCI 2500/2592. Courses may be repeated only once. Elective courses need not be repeated; another course may be taken to replace it. However, the original course remains on the transcript and a higher grade must be earned to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC) & Audits Grading System

Students are permitted to earn at most six credit hours with the grading option S as part of the credits required for the degree. An S grade is equated with a grade of B, B+, A-, A or A+. Course performance equivalent to a B- or lower will result in the assignment of a “No Credit” (NC grade) and will not count towards graduation. A grade of satisfactory (S) has no quality points associated with it and is not used in computing the GPA (quality point average).

MST Plans of Study

The MST specialization Plans of Study are currently under development. Please use this Plan of Study in the interim.

Co-Op Information

Through the assistance of the Swanson School of Engineering’s Cooperative Education Office, formal arrangements have been established with industry that permit the School of Computing and Information students to rotate four-month terms between the workplace and the classroom. As a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, this rotation begins after the completion of at least 18 graduate credits across at least two full-time terms of study, with the Co-op student completing at least one full-time four-month work rotation, but no more than two of such rotations. These rotations, which are typically but not necessarily with the same employer, allow job duties to increase as the knowledge and skills of the student progress. During Co-op rotations, students earn competitive salaries determined by the Co-op employer.

If interested in applying for the Cooperative Education program, please email Alka Singh, Director of Experiential Learning.

PhD in Information Science

Requirements

  • PhD in Information Science Requirements (Fall 2012 to present)
    • *For archived requirements documents, please visit the School’s Intranet.
  • PhD in Information Science Plan of Study
PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications

Requirements

  • PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunicstions Requirements (Fall 2012 to present)
    • *For archived requirements documents, please visit the School’s Intranet.
  • PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications Graduation Checklist

Information Culture and Data Stewardship

Master of Science in Library and Information Science

MLIS Grading Policy

Maintenance of a 3.0 QPA

Each student must maintain a 3.0 Quality Point Average (QPA) for the 36 credits of graduate level coursework required for the MLIS degree and must have a 3.0 QPA at the completion of the 36 credits to graduate from the MLIS program.

Academic Probation/Dismissal from the Program

Failure to maintain a 3.0 QPA in any term will result in the student’s being placed on academic probation immediately. If the student does not raise his or her QPA to at least a 3.0 after the next six credits completed, the student will be dismissed from the MLIS program.

(Updated 03/29/2010)

Grades for Core Courses

The four required core courses are:

  • LIS 2000 Understanding Information
  • LIS 2005 Organizing and Retrieving Information
  • LIS 2600 Introduction to Information Technology (or approved Technology course substitute)
  • LIS 2700 Managing Libraries & Information Centers in Changing Environments

In addition to earning a grade of B or better in LIS 2000 Understanding Information and LIS 2600 Introduction to Information Technology (or approved Technology course substitute), students declared in the Archives and Information Science (AIS) specialization must earn a grade of B or better in LIS 2215 Preservation Management (which fulfills the management core requirement) and LIS 2224 Archival Representation (which fulfills the core requirements in the organization and retrieval of information).

Students in the School Library Certification Program, must earn a grade of B or better in LIS 2774 School Library Media Center Management, which fulfills the management requirement.

A student must earn a grade of B or better in each core course and must maintain a QPA of 3.0 each term with no grade for an elective course below a C. If a grade of B or better is not earned in a core course, the student must register for the course in the next term offered and earn a grade of B or better. A core course may be repeated only once. ​

(Updated 07/30/2013)

Grades for Elective Courses

All students must earn satisfactory grades in each elective course taken. Grades of C-, D+, D, D-, F and Unsatisfactory are unacceptable for credit toward graduation. A course for which such a grade is earned must be replaced with another course or retaken, with a higher grade earned. In either case, a higher grade must be earned and a 3.0 QPA be maintained. A course for which a grade of C- or lower was earned may be repeated only once.

Academic Provisional Admission

At the discretion of the Admissions and Review Committee, a very limited number of students who do not meet the 3.0 QPA minimum required for full admission into the MLIS program may be considered for admission. If such students are able to provide additional evidence of academic potential (e.g., outstanding scores on the Graduate Record Exam or the Miller Analogies Test) or professional potential (e.g., outstanding letters of recommendation and/or outstanding work experience), they may be admitted to the MLIS program with academic provisions. Such students must earn a B average (3.0 QPA) in the first four courses taken. Failure to achieve a 3.0 QPA at the conclusion of the first 12 credits, will result in dismissal from the MLIS program.

(Update: June 2001)

Incomplete Grades and Class Enrollment

A student who has two incomplete grades (either “G” or “I”) on their transcript will be barred from enrolling in further courses until the incomplete coursework and grades have been resolved (Effective Fall 2016​).

Definition of incomplete grades (click here for University policy​):

  • ‘G’ grade signifies unfinished course work due to extenuating personal circumstances. Students assigned G grades are required to complete course requirements no later than one year after the term in which the course was taken. After the deadline has passed, the G grade will remain on the record, and the student will be required to re-register for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation.
  • ‘I’ grade signifies incomplete course work due to nature of the course, clinical work, or incomplete research work in individual guidance courses or seminars.

Goals for Graduates: MLIS Program Goals and Competencies for School Librarians

See the Registrar’s “Steps to Enrolling” webpage.

Related enrollment details
  • In fall and spring terms, part-time enrollment (undergraduate students: less than 12 credits, graduate students: less than 9 credits) is calculated per credit. If you enroll full-time (undergraduate students: 12 credits or more, graduate students: 9 credits or more), you pay a flat rate. During the summer term, all students are billed per credit.
  • Most student immigration visas require international students to be enrolled as a full-time student to remain in the U.S.
  • International students must enroll full-time in their first semester of study.
  • External, non-Pitt transfer credits must be approved by all faculty.

Plans of Study/Advising Documents

*Students who enrolled in the MLIS program prior to Fall 2014 should contact scireg@pitt.edu for archived plans of study.

Experiential Learning

LIS 2921 or 2924: Field Experience

As a three-credit elective class, the LIS (2921 or 2924) Field Experience comprises 150 total hours of on-site and academic work divided as follows:

Student Work Requirements

  • Complete 130 hours of work at the host site under the direction of the host site supervisor and according to the agreed upon schedule with the host site supervisor
  • Follow all policies and procedures that host site staff must follow, e.g., dress, acceptable use of technology, interactions with patrons
  • If the student is ill or if there is extreme inclement weather on a scheduled work day, the student must inform the host site supervisor in advance of scheduled work shift and must make up any missed hours.

Student Academic Requirements

  • Participate in regularly scheduled class meetings (20 hours) with the field experience coordinator and other field experience students to discuss progress, experiences, and shared challenges and learnings
  • Post remarks to a weekly field experience blog on CourseWeb
  • Prepare a mid-term report and submit to the field experience coordinator
  • Facilitate a meeting at the host site that includes the field experience coordinator, the host site supervisor, and the student
  • Submit to the field experience coordinator a final, confidential written reflection about the student’s experience at the host site framed around their career objectives and the “Goals for Graduates of the MLIS Program” that includes several examples of work developed for the host site during the experience (portfolio)
  • Confer individually with the field experience coordinator to review the final course deliverables for the Field Experience, which may include a report or a project.​
LIS 2922: Practicum (School Libraries)
  • Endorsement Option: Practicum Checklist of Competencies and Learning Activities
    • Emergency Certification Option
    • Full-time Teacher Option
  • Intern Option: Practicum Checklist of Competencies and Learning Activities

WISE Course and Enrollment

Our Master’s students have the opportunity to select from a wide array of online courses, regardless of their location. Approval for all students taking WISE courses rests with their home school. Because there are a limited number of spaces available in WISE courses, our academic advisors must evaluate each student’s qualifications according to the following guidelines:

  • The student meets with his or her advisor to discuss the possibility of taking a WISE course.
  • The student agrees to the course parameters of the host institution, including course-management tools, grading, dates of term, and any required residencies.
  • The course is appropriate to the student’s plan of study.
  • The student has completed at least twelve credits in our school and is in good academic standing in their academic program​.
  • The student has access to the technology necessary for completion of course.
  • The student has technical knowledge to complete course successfully.
  • The student is fluent in English.
  • The student may take up to six (6) elective credits in the WISE Consortium.
  • Student may not substitute any WISE course for a core requirement.
PhD in Library and Information Science

Degree Program Requirements

For archived degree program guidelines, visit the School’s Intranet.


Intelligent Systems