Doctoral Admissions

Admissions Requirements

General guidelines for applying to a graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh should be reviewed prior to submitting an application for admission. These guidelines are available on the University’s Application for Admission Catalog page.

The School of Computing and Information seeks students with diverse interests and abilities for its graduate degree and certification programs. All applicants will be judged on their own merits. Applicants for Master’s study must have earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better; the doctoral programs have more stringent requirements. For those who have been in the workforce, admission will be based upon academic achievement, area of study, career orientation, and work experience.

Apply Online: Applications for graduate study must be completed and submitted entirely online. Applicants must set up a free account that enables you to work on your application over several sessions. Your information is transmitted through a secured server and is kept private until you submit your application. After submission, your application materials will be managed confidentially within the review process.

Individual programs require supplemental application materials, and some programs require prerequisite coursework and skills knowledge. More details regarding expectations for the statement of intent or writing portfolio, pre-requisite courses, and other supplemental application materials can be found below.

Deadlines

Degree Program Fall Term Spring Term Summer Term
PhD in Computer Science January 15 September 15  
PhD in Computational Modeling and Simulation January 15    
PhD in Information Science January 15    
PhD in Intelligent Systems January 15    
PhD Library and Information Science July 15 December 1 April 1
PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications January 15 September 15 January 15

Program Specific Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Students may be admitted to the PhD program even if they do not have an MS degree. Moreover, students admitted to the MS program are eligible to complete the requirements for the PhD degree, and if they wish to transfer to the PhD program, they must apply to the admissions committee, which will make its decision based on the student’s performance in the MS 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 four of the required computer science courses noted below, may be considered for admission to the graduate program. Completed minimally a selection of courses in the following topical areas (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:

  • The 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

IS PhD applicants must either have or 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:

  • Statistics or Discrete Math (INFSCI 2020 - MATHEMATICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE)
  • Cognitive Psychology (INFSCI 2300 - HUMAN INFORMATION PROCESSING or INFSCI 2350 - HUMAN FACTORS IN SYSTEMS)
  • Systems Analysis and Design (INFSCI 2510 - INFORMATION SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND DESIGN)
  • Data Structures (INFSCI 2500 - DATA STRUCTURES)
  • Database Management (INFSCI 2710 - DATABASE MANAGEMENT)

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 an “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 that follow. 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: Identify and seek the recommendations of 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): You are required to submit a recent score (within five years of the date of application) on the Graduate Record Examination as part of your admission credentials. Scores on all three sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the General Section should be submitted.
  • Other Required Documentation: Please include the following with your online application:
    • CV; and
    • Statement of Intent (not to exceed 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, you’re your academic and professional goals related to the Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects 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). A minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL or a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS is required.

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications

The following are requirements for admission to graduate study in Telecommunications for pursuing a PhD degree:

  1. 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 that follow.
  2. Attainment in graduate work of a minimum quality point average of 3.3 (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.
  3. As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, an essay (not exceeding 1000 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.
  4. Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within five years of the application. Scores on all three sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the GRE must be submitted.
  5. At least three references from persons in the professional and academic communities. The faculty may, on occasion, require additional references.
  6. Evidence of academic completion of:
    1. Two different scientific computer programming languages, 
    2. Introductory class in probability and statistics 
    3. Differential and integral calculus 

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

  1. A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities.
  2. An example of published writing.
  3. A description of any published or unpublished research, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her 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 Library and Information Science

The following are requirements for admission to the PhD/LIS Program:

  • 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.
  • Attainment in previous graduate work of a minimum quality point average of 3.50 (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 the academic and 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.
  • Submission of an application fee.

The Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship 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

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’sdetailed 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 statusof 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.

Credentials of prospective students are reviewed by the ICDS Committee on Doctoral Studies.

However, 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.

Beyond the criteria and materials previously outlined for application submission, these programs do not require specific coursework for admissions consideration.