Graduate Admissions FAQ

Please note: Individual programs require supplemental application materials, and some programs require prerequisite coursework and skills knowledge. More details regarding expectations for statement of intent or writing portfolios, pre-requisite courses and other supplemental application materials can be found on the individual program pages.

Jump to: Application Fee | General | Test Scores | Previous Education | Resume and Statement | Letters of Recommendation | Supplemental Information

How do I apply to an academic program in SCI?
There are at least three different application systems used by SCI applicants, and which one you must use depends on the program to which you are applying.  Most undergraduate applicants use the central University undergraduate application system coordinated by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA).  Most graduate applicants (including non-degree students who are “applying” in order to simply take a few courses) apply through an application system called GradCAS. Those eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program or applying to the graduate portion of our accelerated 5-year BS/MS programs apply through a special application just for them.  To begin, please access our “Take the Next Step” page, which will guide you directly to the application appropriate to your situation.

How do I find the appropriate SCI program in GradCAS?
GradCAS is a graduate application system used across the U.S.  Pitt has chosen to use this program because it makes it easier for YOU to use this application system – you can use it to apply to multiple programs.

As such, when you access the link to apply that we have shared with you - https://gradcas.liaisoncas.org/apply/ - you will need to create an account (or login using an existing account) and find the correct program in our School.

To find the right program in our School, you can enter a few key words in the search bar.  For example, you could enter “Pittsburgh” plus the degree area (ex. “Information” or “Library” or Computer”). This should return programs that fit the description, and from there you can confirm the appropriate program.

Please check to make sure the program is listed in the correct School (ex. “campus” will say “School of Computing and Information”) and at the right level (“masters” or “doctorate” or “certificate”).

Once you find the program you want, click the name of the program you are interested in to view the Program Description. Click the “+” button next to the application you would like to complete. Then click “Continue.”

What are the basics of using GradCAS?
Complete the four sections of the application (personal information, academic history, supporting information, and program materials) and submit as prompted. If you have any technical user support questions please visit the GradCAS Applicant Help Center. If you have any questions about the application requirements or programs, please contact SCIadmit@pitt.edu.

Application Fee

How much is the application fee?
The application fee is $75 for one program.

What if I cannot afford to pay the application fee?
We expect all applicants to submit the application fee.

Can I pay the application fee by credit card?
You must pay the fee by credit card. Instructions will be given when you submit your online application.

Do current Pitt students pay the application fee?
No.  Any Pitt student currently enrolled in coursework will have the fee waived. 

Do Pitt alums pay the application fee?
Pitt alumni who are eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program will have the fee waived.  Pitt alumni who are not eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program must pay the fee.

If I am a current Pitt student or eligible Pitt alum, how do I apply for a fee waiver?
This happens in one of three ways:

1) If you are a current Pitt student or Pitt alum who is eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program, you will submit an application directly to that program and the fee waiver automatically occurs. 

2) If you are a current SCI undergrad applying to the graduate portion of one of our accelerated 5-year BS/MS programs, you will submit an application directly to that program and the fee waiver automatically occurs. 

3) If you are a currently enrolled Pitt student NOT eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program (see the Pitt2Pitt page to access eligibility requirements) and are NOT applying to our 5-year accelerated BS/MS programs, please email our graduate admissions staff at sciadmit@pitt.edu to request a waiver code which you can then use when applying via GradCAS.

Current SCI graduate students should note that transfer to a different Department or degree is not guaranteed. Additionally, students will not be reconsidered for a program for which they have already been previously reviewed and not admitted.

General

When is the application deadline for admission?
Preference is given to those who submit completed applications by the deadlines listed below. Applications may, on a limited basis, be reviewed beyond the indicated deadlines, but no guarantees can be made that an application will be fully reviewed for the requested term of entry if submitted after those deadlines. Applications submitted after the deadlines may therefore be deferred and considered for the next available admit term. Please note: Application submission deadlines in order to be considered for financial assistance from the School are as follows: January 15th for Fall and Summer, June 15th for Spring.

If we do not have enough time to process your application for the term indicated on your application and you are otherwise admissible, we may offer you admission to the next available entry term.

Application Deadlines for Domestic Students

Degree Program Fall Term Spring Term Summer Term
MS in Computer Science February 15 September 15  
PhD in Computer Science January 15 September 15  
PhD in Computational Modeling and Simulation January 15    
MS in Information Science July 15 November 1 March 15
PhD in Information Science January 15    
MS in Intelligent Systems January 15    
PhD in Intelligent Systems January 15    
Master of Library and Information Science July 15 December 15 April 15
Master of Library of Information Science Online* July 15 December 15 April 15
PhD Library and Information Science January 15 September 15  
MS in Telecommunications July 15 November 1 March 15
PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications January 15    
CAS in Big Data Analytics July 15 November 1  March 15
CAS in Information Science July 15 November 1  March 15
Graduate Certificate in Information and Network Security July 15 November 1  March 15
CAS in Telecommunications July 15 November 1 March 15
Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity, Policy, and Law July 15 November 1  March 15
Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Driven Methods (ADDM) August 10    

Application Deadlines for International Students

Degree Program Fall Term Spring Term Summer Term
MS in Computer Science February 15 June 15  
PhD in Computer Science January 15 June 15  
PhD in Computational Modeling and Simulation January 15    
MS in Information Science February 15 June 15 December 15
PhD in Information Science January 15    
MS in Intelligent Systems January 15    
PhD in Intelligent Systems January 15    
Master of Library and Information Science February 15 June 15 December 15
Master of Library of Information Science Online* July 15 December 15 April 15
PhD Library and Information Science January 15 June 15 December 15
MS in Telecommunications February 15 June 15 December 15
PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications January 15 June 15 December 15

Deadline for International Students to Accept Offer of Admission

Fall June 15
Spring November 1
Summer March 1

 

What do I do if I’m interested in applying for financial aid?
We’ve prepared some materials to help you navigate your financial options and determine costs. We encourage you to use this worksheet to help you determine how well the costs you will incur balance with the funds you have available to you.   

International students coming to study in the U.S. on an F-1 visa will be required to provide proof that they can fund their education before being granted a visa. Such proof can come in many forms – bank statements of personal funds, loans from within a student’s home country, funding by the student’s home government, etc. This documentation will be asked for by Pitt’s Office of International Services after a student accepts their offer of admission to our graduate program. 

Students who are U.S. citizens often apply for federal aid and/or loans to finance their graduate education. The University of Pittsburgh has prepared a website to help domestic students navigate this process.

 Additionally, there may be some scholarships available to graduate students based on a variety of personal information, and the sources of these scholarships may be within Pitt or outside of Pitt. Please note that financial assistance (other than the federal aid and loans for U.S. citizens) is somewhat rare at the master’s level. At the doctoral level, financial assistance often comes in the form of a graduate assistantship.  

To help find other options, Pitt has created a scholarship matching tool called PittFund$Me. If you wish to use this tool please access my.pitt.edu, log in (using the same credentials you used to accept your offer of admission), search for PittFund$Me, and click the icon to gain access. From there you can search for scholarships for which you might be eligible, and you can also enter information about yourself in order to be considered for any other scholarships in this system, both within Pitt and outside of Pitt, for which you may be eligible.   

Please note that new students may not have access to this tool until they have either been offered or accepted their offer of admission. There is no tuition deposit fee associated with accepting this offer for SCI.  

What if all of my supporting documents do not arrive by the deadlines?

They may not be considered in the review of your application. It is your responsibility to make certain that your application is complete and that the required materials reach us by the above stated deadlines. Once you complete your application, you will receive instructions from the University to set up a Pitt account that you may use to access the HighPoint Campus Experience(CX), which you may use to track the status of your completed application.  To access this site you will use your Pitt log in and follow the instructions. You will find any missing required documents in To-Do menu, and also will receive “missing application document” email from our admissions team. If you do track the status of your application, please do not worry if you check a few days after submitting and your materials are not yet showing in our system – this is normal; it make take us anywhere from 5-10 weeks to process these materials in our system, meaning it may take 5-10 weeks between the time you submit your application and the time your supporting materials will be documented in our system when you log in.

Can I make changes to my online application after it has been submitted?
Please email any new/updated test scores or changes to your resume and/or statement of intent to sciadmit@pitt.edu. We cannot guarantee that your changes will be considered during the review of your application, but the sooner you provide us with updates, the more likely it is that they will be considered.

If I applied last year and was not admitted, can I reapply this year?
Yes, as long as it is before the application deadline. However, all application materials must be re-uploaded online application system. This includes the resume, statement of purpose, test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the application fee.

Is it possible to visit the campus and the School of Computing and Information?
Please contact Shabana Reza to schedule a visit. The visit may either be virtual or in-person.

Will I be considered for financial support if I am admitted?

  • International Master's degree program applicants to all of our programs must provide proof that they can fund themselves.
  • Doctoral students, if admitted, are typically awarded financial support in terms of a graduate assistantship. International doctoral admits may use such a graduate assistantship, if awarded, as proof of funding.
  • Master’s and all other graduate applicants are typically not awarded financial support.

Special award funds are available on a very limited basis—see SCI’s Tuition and Financial Aid Web page to determine eligibility and how to apply for these funds.

How do I track the status of my application?

You may track the status of your completed application through the University’s HighPoint Campus Experience(CX).  Once you complete your application, you will receive instructions from the University to set up a Pitt account that you may use to access the HighPoint Campus Experience(CX) site. You will use this Pitt log in and follow the instructions. You will find any missing required documents in To-Do menu, and also will receive “missing application document” email from our admissions team.

In addition to tracking the status of your application, you can also use the HighPoint Campus Experience(CX) site to view your admissions decision and, if admitted, accept your offer.

How and when will I be notified if I am admitted?
You will be notified directly by the School of Computing and Information, as to whether or not you have been admitted. We realize that waiting is very difficult; however, we request that you do not call our offices to inquire about the status of your application, as the most up-to -date information will be indicated online within the application system itself. If you have been admitted, you will be notified and asked to submit official transcripts and test scores before you start your graduate program.  Please note: the time it takes from initial submission of all application materials to an admission decision being sent to you varies based on several factors – volume of materials received (processing times take longer during our peak season), schedule of faculty reviewers, and strength of application materials.  As a result, the best estimate we can provide is that it typically will take somewhere between 5- 10 weeks after you have submitted your materials for our school to contact you regarding an admissions decision.  However, please be advised that our faculty take very detailed and careful effort to match students to our programs, and some cases this can involve multiple rounds of review and examination of students for alternate programs within the School. In such cases, admissions decisions may take much longer because the faculty are trying to yield the best positive outcome for applicants.

Master’s Specific Questions

How long does it take to complete a master’s degree?
Students usually complete their master’s degree in 1-2 years of full-time study.

Once I begin a master’s program in SCI, is it possible to change to another program?
Yes, students may transfer to a different department or program within SCI. Transfers between departments or programs will be reviewed by the receiving department’s admissions committee—including a thorough assessment of the student’s academic performance in previous institutions as well as within SCI. Faculty will review the student’s original application materials and may require that the student submit supplemental application materials.

Students should note that transfer to a different department or degree is not guaranteed.

For more information, view the SCI Catalog.

Can I transfer into a master’s program from another college/university?
You may not simply transfer to a program. You must submit an application and be accepted into the program. If accepted, any graduate coursework that was not counted towards a completed prior graduate degree can be reviewed for transfer into the graduate degree in SCI to which you have applied.  See the Catalog for details.

If I am admitted to a program, can I defer admission?
Students who wish to defer should contact our admissions team at sciadmit@pitt.edu.

Doctoral Specific Questions

How long does it take to complete a PhD program?
Your program duration varies by program.

Is it possible to work on a PhD degree part time?

  • PhD in Computer Science: You must complete a minimum of one term of full time graduate study by the end of the term in which the comprehensive examination is taken.
  • PhD in Information Science: You can complete your degree through a combination of full-time and part-time study. Two terms of full-time study are required.
  • PhD in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications: You can complete your degree through a combination of full-time and part-time study. Three terms of full-time study are required.
  • PhD in Library and Information Science: You must complete one term of full-time study to meet the residency.

Once I begin a PhD program in SCI, is it possible to change to another program within SCI?
Yes, students may transfer to a different department or program within SCI. Transfers between departments or programs will be reviewed by the receiving department’s admissions committee—including a thorough assessment of the student’s academic performance in previous institutions as well as within SCI. Faculty will review the student’s original application materials and may require that the student submit supplemental application materials.

Students should note that transfer to a different department or degree is not guaranteed.

For more information, view the SCI Catalog.

Can I transfer into a PhD program from another college/university?
No, you must submit an application and be accepted into the program. You may not simply transfer to an SCI PhD program. You must submit an application and be accepted into the program. Credits from prior graduate degrees may be transferred and counted towards the total credits required to complete the SCI PhD degree. See the Catalog for details.

If I am admitted to a program, can I defer admission?
This may only be approved by your assigned academic advisor and the doctoral program chair. Please contact your advisor, chair of your doctoral program, and sciadmit@pitt.edu. If we receive approval from them, we will defer your admission.

Please note: an approved deferral of admission does not guarantee that your funding will be carried over with your deferred admission; you will be subject to a completely new funding award process for the term to which you defer.

Test Scores

How do I determine which is required?
GRE: How the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is used as part of the admissions process varies by program within SCI. Please see individual program requirements (as indexed in the table below) for details. GRE scores are valid for five years.

Required English Testing: If your native language is not English, then you must submit either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Duolingo English Test. All non-native English speakers need to submit scores from one of these tests that meets the minimum score required by departments/programs.  Minimum scores are indexed by program in this table. Applicants with scores below the minimum will be ineligible for admission to the intended SCI graduate program, regardless of the academic strength and fit of the rest of the application.

The Duolingo English Test is relatively new and applicants may not be as familiar with this option as they would be with TOEFL and IELTS.  The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken online, on demand, in under an hour. The test is taken online via a computer with a webcam and microphone. The test includes a proficiency score, video interview, and writing sample. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session, and test results are considered an acceptable alternative to TOEFL or IELTS by the School of Computing and Information.

How do I provide my test scores to SCI?
All test scores (TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test and/or GRE/GMAT) must be uploaded (as a full page PDF) to your application. If the scores are not uploaded by the time you apply, you will have to send test results in PDF format to our admissions team at sciadmit@pitt.edu and your application will not be considered complete until you send test scores to the school. 

You should request the test agencies to send us official scores when you apply. Electronic TOEFL and GRE scores must be submitted by ETS, Duolingo English Test score must be submitted by Duolingo, and printed official report of IELTS and GMAT should be sent to the School of Computing and Information. Failure to submit your official scores will result in an inability to register for classes in your first semester.

GRE Codes

Institution code: 2927 CS code: 0407 IS code: 0404 LIS code: 4701 Other code: 5199

TOEFL Codes

Institution code: 2927 CS code: 78 LIS code: 90 Other code: 99

Which programs require the GRE?
GRE requirement per program can be found on this page.

What are the minimum TOEFL scored required by program?
The minimum TOEFL scores required by program can be found in this table.

My undergraduate degree is from an institution in the U.S. Do I still need to submit a TOEFL score? Or my undergraduate degree is from a foreign institution; however, I have received a master’s degree from an institution in the U.S. Do I still need to submit a TOEFL score?

If you are currently working on or have received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the U.S. and your native language is not English, the TOEFL may be waived by program. See detailed information by department/program:

  • Department of Computer Science: If applicant has/will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the U.S. or another country where English is the official language, the TOEFL (or IELTS/ Duolingo English Test) will be waived.
  • Intelligent Systems Program: If applicant has/will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the U.S. or another country where English is the official language, the TOEFL (or IELTS/ Duolingo English Test) will be waived.
  • Department of Informatics and Networked Systems: If applicant has/will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree completed entirely in the U.S. or another country where English is the official language, the TOEFL (or IELTS/ Duolingo English Test) will be waived.
  • Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship: If applicant has/will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree completed entirely in the U.S. or another country where English is the official language, the TOEFL (or IELTS/ Duolingo English Test) will be waived.

My undergraduate degree/master’s degree is from a foreign institution. May I submit an expired TOEFL?
You need to submit a TOEFL no more than two years old. We will NOT accept an expired score. No exceptions.

Do you accept IELTS?
Yes, we will accept the IELTS. Your official score report should be uploaded to your application as well as sending an official report to us.

Do you accept Duolingo English Test?
Yes, we will accept the Duolingo English Test. Your official score report should be uploaded to your application as well as sending an official report to us.

I plan to take the Tests in either November or December. However, the score will not be reported until after the final deadline. What should I do?
We suggest that you plan to take all required tests before December. Since the score report for December tests will not arrive until January and our Admissions Committees usually start their review process in early January, it may cause a delay in the review of your application.

What scores should I enter if I have taken the GRE test more than once?
Enter the scores from your most recent test. All scores will appear on the official score report for the committee to review.

Education

I am in a five-year program and will be awarded a master’s degree. Do I enter this in the Undergraduate or Graduate section of Colleges/Universities?
This information should be entered in both sections.

I have a three-year undergraduate degree from an institution outside of the U.S. Am I eligible for admission to your master’s programs? 
It is recommended that you submit an external review of your transcript from this degree from an international transcript evaluation service—please note that cost of this is the responsibility of the applicant. If the evaluation states that your degree is not the equivalent of a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S. but you are still interested in our graduate programs, please contact sciadmit@pitt.edu to request further study recommendations to reach eligibility for our degrees.

What format do I use to enter my GPA and College/University Point System?
Enter your GPA exactly as given by your College/University, e.g. 3.5, 4.9, 9.6, etc. In the box to right indicate the Point System that your College/University uses, e.g. 4.0, 5.0, 10.0, etc.

Should I send transcripts when I apply?
We will need you to upload official copies of transcripts (see upload instructions for details) from all of your prior academic studies, regardless of whether or not a degree was conferred.

When do I send my official transcripts?
If you are admitted to SCI and accept your offer of admission, you will then be required to submit an official (paper or electronic) copy of all your transcript(s) issued by the institution(s).

  • If these degrees were obtained in the U.S., then you will need to request that an official transcript be sent to us directly from the institution (typically these are issued by your university Registrar’s Office).
  • If your degrees were obtained from other countries that only issue one formal copy or only issue transcripts to you directly, then you will need to bring the originals with you to campus so we can verify the original transcripts and make our own copies on-site.

What if my fall semester grades are not on my transcript by the final deadline?

We do not require that you upload a copy of your final/most recent semester grades at the point of application if the coursework and/or grade assignments by your University are still in progress; if you are admitted, you will be required to send us a final transcript.

Where do I mail my transcripts?

No paper copies of your transcript are necessary at the time you apply. You only need to upload a PDF transcript from each college or university attended, whether or not you received a degree. If you upload a transcript from a foreign country, you must include an English translation. Note: this must be a copy of an official transcript from the university. (Uploading a personally made PDF of your courses and grades will NOT be accepted.)

If you cannot upload transcript due to technical glitch, you may send your official transcripts to:

SCI Record Office
Information Sciences Building, Fifth Floor
University of Pittsburgh
School of Computing and Information
135 North Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260

Do I have to submit an International Transcript Evaluation?
All degrees obtained outside of the U.S. will be evaluated for equivalency to U.S. educational standards by the School of Computing and Information/University of Pittsburgh. Therefore, all international applicants must provide an official English-language translation of all pertinent transcripts. In a small number of cases, the Admissions Committee may be unfamiliar with the university from which you graduated. In such cases, the committee reserves the right to request an external review of your transcript, the cost of which is the responsibility of the applicant.

Resume and Statement

If I am applying to two programs, can I submit a different Statement of Purpose for each program?
Yes. Please submit the appropriate Statement of Purpose for each application.

I have already uploaded my Resume/Statement of Purpose, but now I have made revisions and would like to submit the new version. What should I do?
Please submit any new/updated resume and/or statement of intent to sciadmit@pitt.edu before the indicated application deadlines; updates submitted after these deadlines may not be able to be shared with the admissions committee prior to their review of your application.

Letters of Recommendation

If I submit an online application, can my recommenders use the paper recommendation form?
We strongly suggest that recommenders submit their letters online.

What should I do if the deadline is approaching or has passed and one or more of my recommenders has not submitted their recommendation?
You may send a reminder email to a recommender. It is your responsibility to make certain that the letters are submitted to us. If the recommender needs you to resend the recommendation request or they say they cannot access the recommendation because their deadline has passed, you can simply select "edit" on the letter of recommendation and select "resend," or update the deadline and then select "resend."

What if I want to submit more than the required number of letters of recommendation?
Two to three letters of recommendation are required, depending on the program (see individual program requirements for details). However, space is provided for you to submit up to five. At least two should be from faculty or recent employers. Recommenders should know you relatively well and be able to evaluate the quality of your previous work.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation for me?
The admissions committee wants to know about your ability to do independent research. You should select letter writers who can best speak to that point. Professors who interacted with you extensively in smaller classes are also a good choice. Employers are sometimes appropriate, but letters that are simply character references will not provide good support for your application.

What if I want to add recommenders after I submit the application?
Using GradCAS, you should be able to add/remove/edit recommenders yourself within any application you have started or submitted. 

Supplemental Information

I have a paper that has not been submitted for publication or was not accepted for publication, but I would still like for the committee to consider it in my application. Should I list it here?
Yes. However, published papers are viewed more favorably in the admissions process.

I have just received notice that a paper listed on my application has been accepted for publication. How can I add this information?
Please send a copy to sciadmit@pitt.edu.