An undergraduate degree is the minimal requirement for admission to graduate study. Students are admitted to a graduate program and granted one of the following three types of status:
- Full graduate status: when all admission requirements are met;
- Provisional graduate status: when some admission requirements are not (or inadequately) met;
- Special graduate status: to take specific graduate-level courses for one or more terms.
All students, except those with temporary status, must apply either to the MS program or to the PhD program. Please note that an MS degree is not required in order to apply to the PhD program. Students admitted to the MS program are eligible to complete the requirements for that degree. 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.
Full Graduate Status
A student is admitted to a degree program with full graduate status if they have earned at least a BS degree, maintained a grade point average of at least B, and 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 (CS 0401)
- Discrete Structures (CS 0441)
- Information/Data Structures (CS 0445)
- Computer Organization/Assembly Language (CS 0447)
- Theory (CS 1510 or 1511)
- Languages (CS 1520 or 1621)
- Systems (CS 1550 or 1651)
- In Mathematics, the following:
- The two-course calculus sequence (Math 0220, 0230)
- A course in linear algebra (Math 1180 or 0280)
- A course in probability and statistics, requiring calculus as prerequisite (Stat 1151, 1152)
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh 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 above required computer science courses, may be considered for admission to the graduate program. Admitted transitional students will enter with full graduate status, and will be advised closely by the Director of Graduate Study to ensure that they stay on track to complete their degree while also reinforcing their background knowledge.
Provisional Graduate Status
A student may be admitted to the MS degree program with provisional status if their qualifications are minimally deficient. Such students will be advanced to full graduate status after removal of the identified deficiencies. Students are expected to gain full graduate status by the time they complete 18 credits or, equivalently, one academic year of full-time graduate studies. Students with provisional status are not allowed to hold a teaching assistantship.
Special Graduate Status
This status allows a student to take graduate-level courses without enrolling in a graduate program. Special status is appropriate for a student who:
- Wants to take one or more specific courses for which they have the necessary qualifications;
- Has deficiencies (in background or low grades);
- Fails to meet the deadline for filing an official application for admission but has met all of the requirements for admission into a degree program with full graduate status.
A student interested in applying for such special status must first obtain written permission from the faculty member teaching the course of interest. Students are then required to fill out & submit an application for admission to special graduate status.
The department also offers a five-year BS+MS program.