Academic Foundations

Explore more independence. More friendships. More of Pittsburgh. Start mapping your path with the Dietrich School’s first-year programs. We’ll help you see how to reach your destination—and how to get the most out of the journey.

Our expert instructors are your guides and partners along the way. There will be things about the transition from high school to college that surprise you, such as how much time you need to study, how challenging it can be to manage your time when there are so many activities to choose from, and how much you’re going to miss your annoying younger siblings. But these things won’t surprise us. We know what to expect, which means we know how to help—and based on our experience, we’ve created programs specifically designed to support you.

Student meet in the cathedral of learning
Find your community from day one.

Academic Communities

With 15 thematic learning communities to choose from, Academic Communities offer incoming students the opportunity to make new friends, explore common interests, and achieve their academic goals.

Explore Academic Communities

Course Offerings

Our diverse and expert educators believe in making the world a better place, and helping you hone your passion into purposeful direction and action.

Student smiles while reviewing notes on her laptop
FP 0001: Academic Foundations

This one-credit course is your insiders’ guide to Pitt, connecting you to valuable academic resources and opportunities, introducing you to the campus and the city, and providing the opportunity to meet other new students in small classes.

Three students study inside
FP 0002: Academic Communities

This Academic Foundations course is paired with thematic course offerings from our Academic Communities. You will take all courses with a small group of peers, further developing your network at Pitt while exploring common interests

Student presents to a classroom of peers
FP 0003: Fall First-Year Seminar

This First-Year Seminar course is offered in the Fall term and is ideal for students interested in digging deeper into a particular theme. These courses are designed for a small, cohesive group of students to engage with one another and the course content. 

Students participate in a classroom discussion

This Academic Foundations course is designed specifically for BRIDGES students as resource for building a strong, supportive community of peers.

Student discusses course material with peers in class
FP 0006: Spring First-Year Seminar

This First-Year Seminar course is offered in the Spring term and explores a focused topic you are interested in by reading selected texts, writing papers, and participating in classroom discussions.

Two students volunteer in the community
FP 0008: Civic Engagement

Students will explore their civic identity through intentional dialogue and mindfulness reflection practices that connect directly with Pittsburgh communities. 

First-Year Programs Staff

The First Year Programs team works to assist students interested exclusively in Academic Foundations courses or upperclassmen who want to become a UTA for an Academic Foundations section. Feel free to schedule an appointment with a member of the First-Year Programs team to discuss either of those two options. You can scheduling an appointment using Navigate Student,  emailing the office, or calling the office at 412-624-9100.

Bianca DeJesus standing outside in front of the cathedral of learning

Bianca DeJesus, EdD

Bianca is passionate about creating inclusive spaces for students to thrive and strives to have First- Year Programs be an example of this.

Russ Maiers standing outside in front of the cathedral of learning

Russ Maiers
Assistant Director

Russ enjoys introducing students to the numerous academic opportunities available to them through the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.  

Rachel Clites standing outside in front of the cathedral of learning

Rachel Clites
Program Coordinator 

Working at the front desk in First-Year Programs, Rachel hopes to create a welcoming space for students to learn and grow in their first year and beyond.