Skip to main content
Undergraduate Program

The School of Computing and Information aims to position the University of Pittsburgh as a leader in preparing students for this increasingly interconnected world by providing them with excellent disciplinary foundations, while also training them to support the School’s mission to make the world a better place through polymathic education and the science of interacting systems. In short, we aim to teach students the concepts they need to move among the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Our curriculum is designed to support the education of students who view computing and information as a means of empowerment to solve difficult problems that exist at the confluence of our disciplines and the broader world, beginning from their first day in the classroom.

Undergraduate Degree
Minors and Certificates

The Undergraduate Degree

Structure of Program

Gateway Course

Big Ideas in Computing and Information, a new gateway course, will be required of all incoming first-year students. Through a combination of lectures, guest talks, and skills labs, this course will provide you with an understanding of the numerous connections between computing and information and other disciplines; the commonalities and differences between the problems, tools, and methodologies of various computing and information sub-disciplines; and basic technical skills that will serve you as you advance through any computationally-oriented degree program. You will also be introduced to a variety of core principles and important themes that cross-cut this array of computing- and information- oriented disciplines, as well as explore the types of work that individuals educated in these disciplines engage in.

First-Year Seminar

A 1-credit First-Year Seminar will also be required of all incoming students. This course will provide you with an introduction to the School and the University of Pittsburgh. A combination of large group informational sessions, small group discussions, and activities will address a range of issues including:

  • Academic mechanics (e.g., advising, registration, university structure, financial aid, academic and professional communication)
  • Academic support services and opportunities (e.g., tutoring centers, study abroad, internships and co-ops, undergraduate research)
  • Student support services (e.g., career services, counseling center, student health services)
  • Other student opportunities (e.g., Pitt FYE, campus recreation, cheap seats)
General Education Requirements

Students are encouraged to develop a multidisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, information management, and computing by immersing students in a variety of intellectual contexts that are crucial to understanding problems at the confluence of natural, social, and engineered systems to which computing and information skills can be applied. The School’s General Education Requirements are structured to enable both exploration of these diverse intellectual contexts, as well as specialization in particular areas of interest. The requirements are as follows:

Skills courses
Skills requirements help ensure that all students attain appropriate levels of competence in writing, communication, and quantitative and formal reasoning. Students may be placed in or exempted from skills requirements based upon certain achievement test scores, University of Pittsburgh placement test scores, or course work completed at other colleges and universities. Skills requirements are outlined below.  All skills courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

  • Category 1: Expression (3 courses)
    • Introductory Composition
    • Technical, Business, or Research Writing
    • Communications
  • Category 2: Quantitative (2 courses)
    • One course in university-level mathematics for which algebra is a pre-requisite
    • An approved course in statistics

Polymathic Context
SCI degree programs address the holistic spectrum of computing and information, from producers to users and from science-oriented exploration to human-centric applications. The following requirements facilitate the development of a multidisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, information management, and computing by immersing students in a variety of intellectual contexts that are crucial to understanding problems at the confluence of natural, social, and engineered systems to which computing and information skills can be brought to bear.

  • Category 3: Scientific Context (3 courses)
    • Two sequenced courses in one discipline
    • One course in a second discipline OR a third course in the sequenced discipline
  • Category 4: Ethic and Policy Context (1 course)

At least one course from each of the following categories (5 courses total)

  • Category 5: Global Awareness and Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • Category 6: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Category 7: Humanistic Context

Diversity
One course taken from the required categories above must satisfy the diversity requirement. Numerous departments offer classes that fulfill this requirement.

Secondary Field of Study

To emphasize the intersections that computing and information have with other disciplines, you will be required to achieve some depth of study within another discipline. This requirement may be satisfied by:

  • Completion of a joint degree program offered by SCI and another School on campus
  • Completion of a minor or second major
  • Completion of an approved certificate program
  • Completion of an approved 15-credit related area
Capstone Experience

To provide an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge within a real-world context, you will complete a capstone experience as part of your degree. The mechanisms for satisfying the capstone requirement will be determined and defined by the faculty of the individual degree programs. The existing BSIS and BSCS programs allow for:

  • An approved internship or co-op experience
  • Directed research sponsored by a faculty member
  • Capstone-designated project courses

Admissions

To learn more about Admissions to the Undergraduate program at SCI, visit our Undergraduate Admissions FAQ page.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

We live in an increasingly computer-oriented world, which expands the options for those with programing skills and an understanding of the problem-solving techniques used on a variety of computational problems. This degree provides a strong foundation in computer science fundamentals.

Learn More

Bachelor of Science in Information Science

Students from a variety of backgrounds—business, psychology, media arts, communications, design, and math—are drawn to the ever-evolving field of information science. This degree program will teach you how to seek out and create electronic information; how to build, design, and evaluate effective information systems; and, ultimately, how to transform information into useful knowledge. BSIS graduates use technology to solve many of society’s most pressing problems.

Learn More

Bachelor of Science in Computational Biology

The Bachelor of Science in Computational Biology, offered jointly between the Departments of Biological Sciences (Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences) and Computer Science (School of Computing and Inform... Learn More

Bachelor of Science in Digital Narrative and Interactive Design

The Digital Narrative and Interactive Design (DNID) major harnesses the narrative, world-building, and media studies strengths of the English department and the coding, software development, and human computer inter... Learn More

BS + MS in Computer Science

This program is designed for dedicated students interested in completing both degrees in five years. Core computer science courses are taken during the freshman year. This challenging program gives students the opportunity to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities such as research and teaching.

Learn More

Minors and Certificates

Minors and certificates offer you the opportunity to enhance your education and distinguish yourself.

Minor in Computer Science

A 16 credit minor in computer science is available. The minor is essentially 5 of the 6 courses that are consid... Learn More