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.
Minors and Certificates
The Undergraduate Degree
Structure of Program
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.
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 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
- Category 2: Quantitative (2 courses)
- One course in university-level mathematics for which algebra is a pre-requisite
- An approved course in statistics
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
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
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
To learn more about Admissions to the Undergraduate program at SCI, visit our Undergraduate Admissions FAQ page.