Course Requirements

I. Two courses (3 credits each) in Numerical Methods

II. Two courses (3 credits each) in Scientific Computing/Programming

III. Two courses (3 credits each) from a participating department outside Computer Science, Math, and Statistics, in the School of Arts and Sciences or the Swanson School of Engineering

IV. 12 credits in a concentration area in a participating department in the School of Arts and Sciences or in the Swanson School of Engineering

A minimum of 30 credits of graduate level courses from categories I-IV will be required. There can be overlap in courses satisfying category IV and those satisfying the category I, II and III requirements. It is anticipated that students entering the program will be able to complete the six core courses in categories I – III in their first year and the concentration requirements in the second year.

University Credit Requirement: All students in the program must satisfy the University’s requirement of a minimum of 72 credits for a PhD. At least 30 of these credits will be satisfied by the core program, including the concentration area, described above. The remaining credits will be met by directed study (i.e., research).

Preliminary Exam: A student will satisfy the preliminary exam requirements by passing (grade B or higher) the six courses in areas I-III described above. In the case that a student received one grade below B in one of the three main areas, he/she can counter that with a grade of B or above in an additional approved course in that area. If a student receives two grades below B, he/she will no longer be able to continue in the program. Students who do not meet these requirements but who have an overall grade average of B or better, have the option of doing a literature-based Master’s Thesis. All Students receiving a Master’s degree, must meet the minimum requirement of 30 credits. This includes six courses in areas I-III listed above, and 12 credits in area IV. Up to six credits can be met in section IV by Thesis Research credits.

Comprehensive Exam: The comprehensive exam will be taken by the end of the student’s seventh semester at the University of Pittsburgh, and will focus on the progress that the student has made to date on his/her research. The comprehensive exam will consist of a written report prepared by the student on his/her research, followed by an oral examination. The exam will be administered by a committee of four faculty members, at least two of whom (including the student’s advisor) will be from the Department of the student’s concentration, and at least one of whom will be from an outside department. If a student does not pass the comprehensive exam, he/she will have the option of continuing in the program for another semester, completing the minimum required 30 credits, and submitting a Master’s thesis based on independent research. The student’s committee will decide on whether the thesis warrants awarding the Master’s degree.

Dissertations/Theses: Every graduate student has to write a thesis or dissertation before being awarded a MS or PhD degree. Browse our publications section for recently posted theses, dissertations, and presentation. All theses and dissertations are submitted online. Visit the EDT web site for more information on the process.

Advising/Choosing a Plan of Study

Most students entering the program will choose an advisor (with the faculty member’s consent) at the time they are accepted. In the case that a student does not choose an advisor when admitted, the student will be assigned a temporary advisor in the department of the concentration. In such cases, the student will choose a permanent advisor by the end of the first term in the program. The choice of permanent advisor is made with the consent of the faculty member, who then agrees to support the student after the first year in the program.

The plan of study will be designed in consultation with the advisor, with approval of the Director of the program. Because the students entering the program will have very diverse backgrounds, particular care will be exercised to make sure that they have the prerequisites to be successful in the core courses that they choose to take. By the end of the first year, each participating student will choose a four-person Comprehensive Committee, the make-up of which is described above.

For a complete list of course requirements click here