two people looking at a paper

“When I told my advisor what I may want to do as a career, she showed me many different paths I could take to get there. I remember her pulling out papers describing programs in sociology, urban studies, communication… This is how I found my major, minor and certificate program.

Now, she and I talk about what I want to do post-graduation. And even what I want to do 10 years from now.” –Geneva Kenney (communication, corporate and community relations, public service)

I am an incoming first-year or transfer student for the fall term. Can I take summer courses at Pitt?

Incoming Dietrich School students for the Fall term can take Summer courses under certain circumstances. The academic advisor you meet with for your first appointment can provide specific details regarding the possibility of taking summer courses during your initial meeting. Please note that Summer term courses are billed on the part-time/per-credit basis for the applicable Undergraduate school as shown here

Transfer students should speak with your academic advisor to see whether a Summer course fits in your plan of study. Your academic advisor can assist you with the enrollment process if you have any questions.

First-year students are not eligible to begin Summer courses until you have graduated from high school. For most students, this means that you are limited to Summer courses offered during the Six Week 2 session, which usually begins near the end of June and end in the first week of August. If you graduated high school prior to this Spring and wish to take Summer courses in a session that begins earlier, please contact our office at advcentr@pitt.edu.

Incoming first-year students will begin meeting with academic advisors as described in the University's online orientation, which usually becomes available for incoming students in mid-May. If you are interested in Summer courses, your academic advsor can discuss with you in your initial meeting how that can fit with your plan of study and General Education Requirements as applicable. Your academic advisor will assist you with the Summer and Fall enrollment process during your meeting. You do not need to contact the Academic Advising Center in advance unless you are requesting to take Summer courses prior to the start of the Six Week 2 term.

How does academic advising work in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences?

Each student is assigned an academic advisor and is required to meet with them at least once per semester. Students must meet with their academic advisor prior to their assigned enrollment appointment date and in time to have their “Academic Advisement Required” hold cleared in order to be able to enroll online. Students are encouraged to schedule a follow-up appointment to meet with their advisor after registering for their courses and as necessary throughout the term.

What is an "Academic Advisement Required" hold?

Each term, a new “Academic Advisement Required” hold will be placed on each undergraduate student’s account. This ensures that each student meets with their academic advisor at least once per term as required. Once you meet with your academic advisor, your "Academic Advisement" hold will be lifted and you will be cleared for online registration on your assigned Enrollment Appointment Date/Time. Your hold will not be removed if you have not met with your advisor.

What is an enrollment appointment date/time?

By the fourth week of any given fall or spring term, the Office of the University Registrar randomly assigns each student an enrollment appointment date and time, based upon how many credits they have accumulated up to that time. Typically, seniors register first, followed by juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and incoming transfer students. For continuing students, spring-term registration occurs during the first two weeks of the preceding November. Registration for the fall term occurs near the end of the preceding March.

How does add/drop work?

The add/drop period begins the moment you register for courses and goes all the way through the first two weeks of the fall or spring term. Please consult the academic calendar for specific dates and deadlines.

Do I have to see an advisor to add/drop?

No. Unless you are an athlete or a First-Year student in an Academic Community, you may add/drop at any time online through my.pitt.edu. It is recommended that you notify your advisor by e-mail of the changes that you make to your schedule. 

What if my advisor isn't available to speak with me when I stop by? Is there anyone else I can talk to?

For times when you drop by unannounced, the Advising Center offers an on call advisor from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. On call advising is for quick questions and concerns. More in-depth questions will require you to schedule an individual appointment with your assigned academic advisor. Please note that on call advising is not for lifting of academic advising holds. You will need to meet with your assigned advisor for an appointment in order to have your advising hold lifted.

How do I register for classes?

If you have already met with your academic advisor for the term and you are cleared to register, log in to my.pitt.edu on your assigned Enrollment Appointment date and and search for Student Center. Search for classes using the methods described on our Enrollment Resources page and add them to your shopping cart in PeopleSoft. Proceed through the enrollment process until you receive confirmation of enrollment, indicated by a green check mark. Verify that you have enrolled in the courses you selected by viewing your class schedule for the applicable term in PeopleSoft or PeopleSoft Mobile.

Can I register for more than 18 credits?

Students wanting to register for more than 18 credits must make an appointment to see an assistant dean in the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, 140 Thackeray Hall. Prior to visiting the Dean’s Office, you must fill out an Enrollment Form (which can be obtained on the table next to the front desk in the Advising Center, 201 Thackeray Hall) with the additional course(s) information. If given approval, students will be sent to the Office of the University Registrar on the ground floor of Thackeray Hall to get their enrollment form processed. Typically, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA or higher to receive a dean’s signature for approval. Please note that you will be assessed a tuition charge for each additional credit taken above 18.

How do I get into a closed class?

In order to register for a course that requires department/instructor consent, has requisites that have not been met, is full, or is outside of a student’s level (i.e., an undergraduate student taking a graduate-level course), a student must request permission from the instructor and/or department offering the course. If permission is granted, someone authorized in the department will issue the student a permission number. The permission number is entered when adding the course to the shopping cart. Dietrich School advisors are not authorized to generate permission numbers under any circumstances. Those authorized to generate permission numbers vary by academic department and can include the departmental administrator, a faculty member, and/or major advisor(s). Please note, that if available, students should place themselves on the wait list for the course they hope to add. The wait-list feature is not available for courses that have a linked lab or recitation.

Will I be notified if my class is cancelled?

The Office of the University Registrar will send you an e-mail, and you will have two weeks to drop the course from your schedule. If you do not drop the course, the Registrar’s Office will drop it for you.

Will I be notified if my class is changed?

You will not be notified if there is a change of room, time, or day to your course. It will be of utmost importance for you to closely check your schedule online before classes begin to make sure no changes have occurred.

Can I retake a course if I don't do well in it? How many times?

Students may attempt to take a course up to three times in order to pass or meet degree requirements. The most recent grade in a course is always the one that will count toward the GPA. For example, if you earn a C in a course and then retake it and get a D, the D will count toward your term and cumulative GPA. A course taken at the Pittsburgh campus must be repeated at the Pittsburgh campus; you cannot repeat a course elsewhere once you take it here. This includes Pitt regional campuses in addition to other colleges and universities.

What is Canvas?

Canvas is the University of Pittsburgh's Web-based course-management system. Many professors use it to post and collect course requirements. Many, but not all, of your professors will use Canvas. 

Why aren't all of my classes showing up on Canvas?

Not all professors use Canvas, so your full schedule may not be listed. Only those courses whose instructors are using it will appear. In order to find your current schedule, visit my.pitt.edu and search for Student Center.

How can I tell which courses are offered each term and what requirement(s) they might fulfill?

Visit our Enrollment Resources page and read the documentation on how to add a course to your shopping cart and/or searching for a course that satisfies a general education requirement.  Please note that a course can only satisfy one general education requirement at a time, although several may be listed. Exceptions do apply, so be sure to ask your academic advisor about any questions or concerns you have related to these exceptions.

I am having trouble in a course. Is tutoring available?

Tutoring for many courses is available through Study Lab, located in the Gardner Steel Conference Center. Information can be obtained by visiting their web site or by calling 412-648-7920. Some departments, such as chemistry, biological sciences, computer science, physics, and statistics have help desks or labs where you also can receive assistance with your coursework. Check the department Web sites for tutoring options. The University also operates a Math Assistance Center and Writing Center, both of which are located in the O’Hara Student Center.

When do I have to declare my major?

The traditional time that students declare their major is by the end of their sophomore year, if they are ready. Students have until the end of the first week of the fall or spring term to declare their major to be seen by the advisor in their academic major department. If they do not declare by the end of the first week deadline date, they still will need to see their Dietrich School advisor for that term.

How do I know if I'm ready to declare my major?

Some indications that you're ready to declare your major are:

  • You have completed a minimum of 24 credits and at least one full year of college coursework in the Dietrich School.
  • You have reviewed your General Education Requirements and know which courses you still need to complete.
  • You have completed at least two courses in your intended major and have earned a grade of C or better in each course.
  • You have carefully reviewed the requirements for your intended major. Note that some majors have specific prerequisites you must complete before declaring.
How do I declare my major?

Visit the Advising Center in 201 Thackeray Hall and complete the Academic Plan (Major, Minor, Certificate) Change form.

Where do I go for advising once I have declared my major?

You will be required to meet with a new advisor in your major department at least once each academic term before you can register for the next term. In addition to discussing your Dietrich School major and General Education Requirements, your departmental advisor will be able to give you direction regarding internships, undergraduate research, and preparation for graduate school.

You should alert your new advisor to any plans you have to continue into a professional program (e.g. medical school, law school, education certification). You are responsible for consulting the pre-professional advisors for these programs as well. Be sure to notify your new departmental advisor of any plans you have to study abroad before you finish your undergraduate major.

What happens once I declare my major?

Once you complete and turn in the Academic Plan Change Form, you should visit the department(s) website to get more information about their advising process. Not all departments conduct advising in the same way, and it will be your responsibility to contact your major department early in each term to schedule your required academic advising appointment.

What should I do if I am interested in declaring a major in another school?

Students interested in declaring a major in other schools within the University:

  • College of Business Administration
  • School of Education
  • School of Computing and Information Science
  • Swanson School of Engineering
  • School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • School of Library and Information Science
  • School of Nursing; School of Pharmacy
  • School of Social Work

Students must adhere to the admissions policies and procedures of the school in which they intend to declare their major. Most schools require you to submit the Academic Program (school) Change Form to the Dean's office, Room 140 Thackeray Hall, to officially apply (e.g. Business, Engineering, etc.). Other schools require students to submit the Academic Program (school) Change Form to the Dean's office only after they have officially been admitted to their new school. Additionally, some schools require supplemental information to be included with the program change form at the time of application so check with the school for which you are applying to ensure that you fill out and submit the proper paperwork required.

How do I prepare for a pre-professional school?

Each professional school has its own set of prerequisites and general education requirements. Speak with your academic advisor and make it clear which pre-professional program you are preparing for. Be sure you keep apprised of the application requirements and deadline dates for consideration of entry into the professional school.

How do I get an internship?

Internship information can be found in several locations around campus. Departments post internship opportunities in their offices and/or on their departmental Web sites. The Career Development Office maintains a database of paid and unpaid internships on Handshake.

How can I gain research experience?

Do your research! Investigate the Web sites of the major programs in which you are interested. Often, each department has at least one bulletin board with information about research, internships, and other experiential-learning opportunities. Visit the departmental office and related offices to see what they have to offer. Also, for second-term freshmen, there is an opportunity to apply for the First Experiences in Research program through which students can earn one to two academic credits for research with a willing faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh. For more information, visit the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.

How can I get in touch with a faculty member?

Visit the Find People site to find the faculty member’s contact information. You can also contact the academic department the faculty member teaches in to inquire about his/her contact information and office hours. Visit the faculty member during the office hours posted on your syllabus or ask to schedule an individual appointment with him/her if your class schedule conflicts with the faculty member's office hours.

I would love to study abroad. Are many study abroad opportunities available?

Yes, Dietrich School students have many opportunities to study abroad. The Study Abroad Office maintains a searchable database of international-study programs. The office recommends that students participate in its 45-minute study-abroad basics introductory workshop, which can be completed online or in person. Visit the Study Abroad website and search its program database for more information.

I am on academic alert or academic probation. How do I get back in good standing?

Develop an academic plan with the assistance of your advisor. Students can attend regular tutoring sessions and also meet with their professor(s) regularly for any course in which they are experiencing difficulty. In order to return to good academic standing, students must make sufficient progress to meet the standards described in the Dietrich School's section of the Undergraduate Catalog

My financial situation has changed. How do I apply for a student loan, financial aid, or work-study?

Visit or otherwise contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA) in 120 Alumni Hall. OAFA regularly offers 15-minute walk-in appointments.