Doctoral Admissions

Graduate Admissions FAQ

For a list of frequently asked questions and answers, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ page.

Deadlines

Application deadlines can be found on our graduate FAQ page.

Program Specific Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Students may be admitted to the PhD program even if they do not have a master’s degree. Moreover, students admitted to the master’s program are eligible to complete the requirements for the PhD degree, and if they wish to transfer to the PhD program, they must apply, and the admissions committee will make its decision based on the student’s performance in the master’s program and on faculty recommendations.

The department is open to applications from exceptional students transitioning to graduate study in Computer Science from other undergraduate fields. Transitional students with demonstrated computing aptitude, as evidenced by outstanding grades in at least 4 of the required computer science courses noted below, may be considered for admission to the graduate program. At minimum, completion of a selection of courses in the following topical areas is required (the corresponding Pitt course numbers are indicated):

In Computer Science, one course in each of:

  • Intermediate Programming (CMPINF 0401)
  • Discrete Structures (CS 0441)
  • Information/Data Structures (CS 0445)
  • Computer Organization/Assembly Language (CS 0447)
  • Theory (CS 1510 or CS 1511)
  • Languages (CS 1520 or CS 1621)
  • Systems (CS 1550 or CS 1651)

In Mathematics, the following:

  • A two-course calculus sequence (MATH 0220 , MATH 0230)
  • A course in linear algebra (MATH 1180 or MATH 0280)
  • A course in probability and statistics, requiring calculus as a prerequisite (STAT 1151 , STAT 1152)
Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science

pplicants must demonstrate the following prerequisite knowledge. These courses or their equivalents should be taken before seeking admission but may be taken during the first four terms of study. All courses must be at the graduate level and may have been taken in the course of pursuing another graduate degree (the corresponding Pitt course numbers are indicated):

  • Statistics or Discrete Math (INFSCI 2020)
  • Cognitive Psychology (INFSCI 2300 or INFSCI 2350)
  • Systems Analysis and Design (INFSCI 2510)
  • Data Structures (INFSCI 2500)
  • Database Management (INFSCI 2710)

Applicants must have a master’s degree from an accredited university, a recognized international program, or the equivalent is required and have attained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (on a scale with A having a value of 4 points per credit). Exceptional students with a technical Bachelor’s degree may also be admitted. Such students must still satisfy all other requirements. An international student’s GPA will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.

Your application should include:

  • Letters of Recommendation: recommendations from three individuals (e.g., professors, employers, information professionals) who are in a position to evaluate your academic performance or your potential as an information professional. Two must be from professors, preferably with PhDs.
  • Transcripts: Only scanned copies of official transcripts will be accepted and processed at the application stage.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): For current GRE requirements, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ.
  • Other Required Documentation: Please include the following with your application:
    • CV; and
    • Statement of Intent (not to exceed 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, your academic and professional goals related to the Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which you expect to pursue dissertation research.
  • For International Applicants: Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to participate successfully in graduate study. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). For a listing of TOEFL and IELTS minimum scores, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ.
Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications

Applicants to the PhD in Telecommunications program must possess the following:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited university, a recognized international program, or the equivalent. Exceptional students with a technical Bachelor’s degree may also be admitted. Such students must still satisfy all other requirements.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (on a scale with A having a value of 4 points per credit) in graduate coursework. An international student’s grade point average will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student’s academic and professional goals in relation to the Telecommunications doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For current GRE requirements, visit our Graduate Admission FAQ.
  • At least three references from persons in professional and/or academic communities. The department may, on occasion, require additional references.
  • Evidence of academic completion of:
    • Two different scientific computer programming languages, 
    • Introductory course in probability and statistics 
    • Differential and integral calculus 

In addition, a candidate may elect to include the following optional material: 

  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publications, and other professional activities.
  • An example of published writing.
  • A description of any published or unpublished research, contributions to professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of their capacity to pursue doctoral study successfully.

Students whose complete credentials are not available for full admission may register as special students until the completed credentials are received, provided all other requirements have been satisfied. Students with deficiencies in either coursework or scholastic achievement may be admitted provisionally. Prerequisite courses should be completed within the first two terms.

Doctor of Philosophy in Intelligent Systems

The application consists of the standard SCI admission forms along with the following materials:

  • A concise statement of purpose, providing information on the following points:
    • Objective in pursuing a PhD in intelligent systems.
    • Theoretical background in relevant areas.
    • Background in relevant tools and applications, particularly programming languages, including your level of proficiency.
    • Relevant practical experience, including industrial or commercial experience.
  • Recommendations provided by three persons familiar with your accomplishments. At least one should be familiar with the field of intelligent systems.
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will no longer be required for admission to the PhD degrees studies in the Intelligent Systems Program (ISP) starting Fall 2022. Applicants may still submit GRE scores, and they will be used in the review process if they are submitted.
  • For applicants who are not native speakers of English, TOEFL scores are required. All students need to submit a TOEFL – or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Duolingo English Test are also accepted. For a listing of TOEFL and IELTS minimum scores, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ.

Applicants interested in Biomedical Informatics

Applicants to the Biomedical Informatics track must specifically indicate their interest in this track on their application. They must also submit an application to the Department of Biomedical Informatics in addition to submitting an application to the Intelligent Systems Program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science

The Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship (ICDS) seeks students with diverse educational and career backgrounds. By nature, LIS degrees are multi-disciplinary, and we welcome applicants with bachelor’s degree and/or advanced degrees from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Our multi-disciplinary nature is reflected in the wide range of standardized tests that are accepted by our admissions committee, which include the GRE, MAT, MCAT, GMAT, and LSAT

The following are requirements for admission:

  • A master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association, a recognized international program, or the equivalent in a closely related field of study. Students must submit official transcripts as evidence.
  • A minimum quality point average (QPA) of 3.5 (on a scale with A having a value of 4 points per credit). An international student’s quality point average will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
  • At least three (3) references from persons in academic and/or professional communities. The LIS Committee on Doctoral Studies may, on occasion, require additional references.
  • An interview (in person, by telephone or using web conferencing tools) may be required as part of the admissions process for selected candidates, after an initial screening of their application materials.

Supporting Documents for Admission

As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, the student’s application must be accompanied by:

  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student’s detailed academic and professional goals in relation to the Library and Information Science doctoral program and discussing in detail potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research. Students SHOULD identify one or more ICDS faculty members with whom they want to work.
  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, publications, work, and other activities.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format (print or electronic), which should be authored solely by the applicant. The applicant should explain the status of any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue research successfully.  If the only suitable writing sample available for submission is a co-authored publication, the applicant must explain the nature and extent of his or her contribution to the work (e.g., percentage of the finished work written by the applicant), and should attach additional evidence as verification (for example, a statement by the primary author or co-author of the work, confirming the parts of the work contributed by the applicant).
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience in libraries, information centers, publishing, the information industry, education, or similarly related areas of professional activity, a brief description should be provided.

Beyond the criteria and materials previously outlined for application submission, these programs do not require specific coursework for admissions consideration. Credentials of prospective students are reviewed by the ICDS Committee on Doctoral Studies.

Students who are applying for financial aid should be aware that they must be admitted and meet financial aid deadlines to ensure consideration for funding.