Academic Policies and Procedures

Marty Taylor

“I originally came to Pitt pursuing Computer Science as a major, but a few classes in I decided that wasn't the best path for me. Ever since high school I had been very interested in linguistics, but I was hesitant to change my path. My advisor made me realize that it was okay to study what I wanted to study, even if it wasn't why I came to Pitt.”

—Marty Taylor (Linguistics)

Read about Marty Taylor's personalized advising experience.

When to Declare Your Major

Choosing a major is embarking on an academic journey. For most majors, if you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you are ready to declare:

  • Have you completed a minimum of 24 credits in college (not counting AP credits) and at least two required courses in the major with a C or better? NOTE: Some majors have more specific requirements for declaring. Go to the majors, minors, and certificates page and review the requirements.
  • Do you have a solid understanding of your General Education Requirements?
  • Do you know how to check course description information and to get details on majors, minors, certificates and other academic enhancements?

If you have answered yes to most of these questions, then you are probably ready to declare. But if you have questions, please contact your advisor.

How to Declare Your Major

Come to the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall, and fill out the appropriate form at the reception desk, at which time you will be given a “Welcome Letter” from your new department.

NOTE: Major programs in other schools within Pitt cannot be declared in this way. Students must follow the application procedure outlined by the school.


More than half of the majors offered in the Dietrich School are also offered as minors. A minor is a concentration of designated courses in one subject area; it is noted on your transcript upon graduation, and can be used to fulfill the related area requirement.  Pitt has a large number of majors and minors so you can develop your own personal college experience.

Multiple Majors

You can choose to explore more than one path, by completing more than one Dietrich School major. This double or triple major will be recorded on your transcript, but you will earn only one degree. If one major leads to a BA degree and another to a BS, you must decide at graduation which degree you wish to receive. You can overlap a maximum of six credits between majors. The second major will take the place of a related area. As with a single degree, a minimum of 120 credits are required for graduation, including general-education requirements.

Double Degree Option

You 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. This way you can explore and pursue more than one of your interests. The Dietrich School also offers a joint degree program with the School of Engineering. In general, earning two degrees requires a minimum of 150 credits and completion of the curriculum requirements of both schools. Pitt is the place to explore your interests and open up possibilities.

Combined Degree Option

These intensive programs give Dietrich School students the opportunity to complete their undergraduate degree while beginning their first year of a graduate or professional program. To qualify you must:

  • Complete 90 or more Dietrich School credits.
  • Satisfy all of the general education requirements.
  • Accepted into a graduate or professional school at the University of Pittsburgh.

You will receive a bachelor’s degree from the Dietrich School upon completion of your first year of graduate study. Options include:

Bachelor of Philosophy

The University Honors College (UHC) grants the Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) degree, which is an undergraduate degree jointly awarded by UHC and any undergraduate school/college at Pitt that is the home school of the recipient. The BPhil is the degree title and is not related to the academic discipline of philosophy.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs allow you to complete a concentrated area of study in addition to your major. Certificates typically require 18-24 credits, and are noted on your transcript upon graduation. Some certificate programs can be used to fulfill the related area requirement.

Professional Programs

Although the Dietrich School does not offer specific majors in pre-law, pre-medical, pre-dental, or pre-education, it is possible for you to complete all of the necessary prerequisites for entry into these and other graduate professional schools while fulfilling Dietrich School degree requirements. Talk with your advisor about your intended path.

If you are planning to complete your undergraduate education in the University of Pittsburgh's professional Schools of Social Work, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Information Sciences, or Pharmacy, you will normally spend two years in the Dietrich School taking the necessary prerequisite courses and electives in preparation for professional study. Here you’ll have the opportunity to discover new interests, while earning the credits you need to graduate and developing other skills employers want.

If you are not admitted directly into the Schools of Engineering or Nursing, or the College of Business Administration (CBA), you may be offered the option of beginning in the Dietrich School. Successful transfer into these schools after one or two years will depend upon space availability and your academic success. Be sure to talk to your advisor if you are interested in any of these options.