Frequently Asked Questions

A young female listens to a peer

Let Us Answer Your Questions

Have questions? Look no further. Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) make it easy for you to find answers to your most pressing inquiries into the School of Education. If you can't find your answer here, please feel free to contact us or use our site search to find the information you need.

Getting Started

How do I locate a program that's right for me? 

Search by degree level: Undergraduate Programs, Master's Degree Programs, Doctorate Degree Programs, Teacher Certification Programs, Other Certificate Programs, and Online Programs
Search by department

What are the differences between the certifications and degrees offered?
Bachelor of Science (BS)
The BS degree is for those seeking the first college degree typically focusing on an area related to science.

Master of Arts (MA)
The MA degree is for those seeking to enhance their research and scholarship in the mastery of specific knowledge and skills in a non-science area of focus.
 
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
The MAT degree is for those seeking to obtain teacher certification and master's degree through an extensive internship experience.
 
Master of Education (MEd)
The MEd degree is for those seeking to increase skills and knowledge in professional practice.

Master of Science (MS) 
The MS is for those seeking to enhance their research and scholarship toward mastery of specific knowledge and skills in an area of focus.

Doctor of Education (EdD)
The EdD is considered a professional and research degree and is for those individuals who want to prepare for advanced and scholarly proficiency in administrative or specialized positions in education.
 
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The PhD degree is for those individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in a specific content in order to conduct original and independent research of significance in the chosen field.

Pennsylvania State Teaching Certificate (Instructional I Certificate)
The Instructional I Certificate is the initial teaching certificate in a specific area (e.g., PreK-4, Secondary subject area) and is valid for a specific number of service years during which specific requirements must be completed.
 
Pennsylvania State Administrative Certificate
This certificate is for those seeking positions as K-12 principals or superintendents.
 
Pennsylvania State Supervisory Certificate
This certificate is a Single Area Supervisory Certificate for grade levels K-12 within a specified instructional or educational service area of the curriculum or school program, for example: supervisor of mathematics; supervisor of reading; or supervisor of special education.

Professional Certificate
Professional certificates are granted at a national level through an outside organization and are specific to an area of focus.

Undergraduate Minor
This is a series of 18 credits in a specific area of concentration.

Graduate Minor
This is series of 24 graduate credits in a specific area of concentration.
How can I become a teacher in PA?

Our school offers several graduate programs leading to teacher certification. You can read about these programs in greater detail online, and you can also attend a weekly information session to learn more about the application process.

Besides teaching, what other programs exist in the field of education? 

There are many additional opportunities to make a difference in the field of education! We prepare our students to meet the demanding needs of a constantly changing society and to excel in a variety of roles, such as:

  • school leaders
  • policy experts
  • academic administrators
  • physical activity programmers
  • health, fitness, and disease-prevention advocates
  • curriculum specialists
  • assessment designers
  • educational researchers

If you are interested in joining our esteemed community of learners, you can begin learning more about our variety of degree and certification options here.

How do I learn more about the School of Education's variety of program offerings?

While our website provides useful information about each program, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services for more detailed information. We are here to help you

I am an undergraduate student at Pitt. How do I enter the School of Education? 

If you are interested in either the Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) program, the Applied Developmental Psychology bachelor’s degree, or the Exercise Science/Wellness bachelor’s degrees, you will need to apply to the School of Education by February of your sophomore year. You can review the admission procedures and download the application form on the Undergraduate Admissions page.

If you are interested in teacher certification, which is only offered in post-baccalaureate “fifth year” programs here at Pitt-Oakland, then you should complete the prerequisite courses required for admission during your undergraduate program and apply to the School of Education no later than January 15 of your senior year. For more information, we highly recommend attending one of our teacher education information sessions.  

Applying

How do I submit an application? 

General information on how to apply can be found here. To submit an application, you can access the school's online application system. After creating a user account, you may continually login to work on your application prior to officially submitting it for admission consideration.

When should I apply?

While some programs operate on rolling admissions, others have specific deadline dates. Please refer to the program’s homepage, along with the Deadline Dates by Program reference sheet, for the most accurate information

Is there a fee?

Yes, a $50 application fee is required before your application will be processed. You may pay online with a credit card or via mail with a check. More information about this process will be provided when you officially submit your application.

How do I determine if I have completed the prerequisite courses for the teacher certification program?

You are encouraged to complete an Online Transcript Review. You do not need to have completed ALL prerequisites at the time you submit an application; however, they must be satisfied by the time your intended program will begin (fall for MAT; summer-ll for PreK-4). If you have questions about prerequisite courses, please do not hesitate to contact the graduate enrollment manager for your program of interest! 

What is required to complete my application?

Admission requirements vary by program. It is best to consult the program's homepage and the admissions procedures to determine the exact credentials required for your specific program.

Where should I send application materials?

Application materials should be sent to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services:

University of Pittsburgh
School of Education
Admissions and Enrollment Services
5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 S. Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15260
PHONE: 412-648-2230
FAX: 412-648-1899
EMAIL: soeinfo@pitt.edu

How do I register for a required admissions test and how will you get my scores?

The following links will direct you to information from Educational Testing Service about admission tests (which, may be required depending upon your specific program of interest). When taking a test, please be sure to indicate the relevant school code(s) so that we receive an official score report. Please note that none of our Master's Degree programs require the GRE for admission. 

  • GRE - University of Pittsburgh institution code (R2927); School of Education department code (3999) 
  • TOEFL - University of Pittsburgh institution code (2927); School of Education department code (85)
Which transcript(s) should I submit?

Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions are required for admission.

* Please note, even University of Pittsburgh students must submit official transcripts requested from the Registrar's Office in Thackeray Hall.

Who should write a letter of recommendation?

The most compelling recommendations come from individuals who both know you well and are qualified to assess your academic and/or professional ability to succeed in a given program. Typically, letters come from professors, supervisors/bosses, volunteer program coordinators, etc. It is useful for the admissions committee to receive a diverse representation of these perspectives in order to best assess one's candidacy for a program.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

When completing the online application, you will be asked to provide the names and e-mail addresses of your three recommenders. When you formally submit your application, an e-mail will go out to the three recommenders whom you've indicated, providing them with instructions on how to submit their letter electronically. Recommenders can also email our application administrator directly, at soeinfo@pitt.edu. If your recommenders would prefer to mail us their letters, they can do so by sending them to the following address:

University of Pittsburgh
School of Education
5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15260

What is a career goal statement?

The statement should be approximately two to three double spaced pages and respond to the following types of questions:

  • Why are you interested in and qualified for this program?
  • What are your ultimate academic and professional goals, and why?
  • How will this specific program, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, help you accomplish these goals?
What should I include on my resume?

Be sure to include a comprehensive list of your academic, professional and/or service experiences, achievements, and awards. Equally important to include are skills, competencies, or activities relevant to the field of education and your specific program of interest.

My application is complete, what happens next?

Completed applications (those with all required credentials received) will be reviewed by a departmental faculty admissions committee. The review process can typically last four to six weeks, after which candidates will be notified of the official decision via regular mail.

Enrollment and Course Registration

How do I accept the offer of admission?

Please have your Application ID number available (found on your acceptance letter) and click through to the admissions response form.

What are my options for deferring my offer of admission?

Admitted students may defer their offer of admission for up to one calendar year. For example, if you are admitted for fall 2017, you may defer to spring 2018, summer 2018, or fall 2018. To do so, email the Admissions and Enrollment Office at soeinfo@pitt.edu.

How do I decide which courses to take?

Some programs, such as the PreK-4 and MAT teacher certification programs, have a structured, predetermined course schedule. However, others are much more flexible. If at any time you have a question regarding which course(s) you should be taking, please consult with your academic advisor. He or she will create a plan of studies with you, identifying courses that will satisfy requirements or elective credit for your specific academic program.

How and when do I register for courses?

Please read our Self-Enrollment Guide PDF for specific details on how to register.

How do I drop a course?

The new online self-enrollment will allow you to drop courses until the end of add/drop period.

How can I see my course schedule for a given term?

Log onto my.pitt.edu and select the "Student Services" tab 
Click the Link to Student Center, then click Self-Service, then Student Center 
On the top left, there will be a link called "My Class Schedule" 

How do I obtain approval to register for a course?

You will need to obtain a special permission code for online registration if you are a non-degree student, or if the course you are attempting to enroll in is full, restricted, or upper-level. Please contact the instructor of the course and obtain written permission (email is OK) authorizing you to take the course. Present this documentation to the departmental administrator listed below in order to retrieve the special permission code for online registration.

How do I apply for readmission?

Students in the School of Education who have not been enrolled for a 12-month period must apply for reinstatement. Please contact the Admissions and Enrollment Office at 412-648-2230 or soeinfo@pitt.edu for assistance with the process. She will work with you to determine exactly what will be required, as requirements may vary based upon your specific program and length of absence.

Non-degree Admissions

What is a non-degree student?

A non-degree student is an individual who is taking courses at the University of Pittsburgh, but is not part of a degree-seeking program. Non-degree students in the School of Education typically take courses in a program of interest to them, with the likelihood of eventually submitting a form (or degree-seeking) application to that program.

How do I become a non-degree student?

You will need to submit a non-degree application, on which you must indicate if you are taking undergraduate or graduate courses (if taking both, apply as graduate), along with a $50 application fee. Once your application is processed by Admissions and Enrollment Services, you will be matriculated as a non-degree student and eligible to enroll in classes.

What are the maximum number of credits I can complete as a non-degree student?

Non-degree students are eligible to complete up to 15 credits of coursework. A maximum of 15 credits completed as a non-degree student may be applied toward a certificate or degree program upon admission to the school as a degree-seeking student, subject to the approval of program faculty.

What happens when I am ready to formally apply to a certificate or degree-granting program?

Follow the admission procedures for your intended program. Please note that you will not need to pay another $50 application fee.

Can I take courses as a non-degree student in order to fulfill prerequisite requirements or Act 48 credits?

Yes, students working to finish prerequisite requirements or Act 48 credits can submit a non-degree application. Please contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services for more information at 412-648-2230.

Billing/Financial Aid

How and when will I be billed for coursework?

PittPAY is the University of Pittsburgh's online billing and payment system. There are no paper bills mailed. All billing is electronic through PittPAY. 
Students and their authorized payers receive an email from PittPAY each time a new electronic bill (e-bill) is available for their attention. The student email is sent to their official Pitt e-mail account. Please use this resource to learn more about PittPAY including when e-bills are posted and due.

Where should I direct questions about my bill?

Please contact the Student Payment Center.

What is the tuition?

To view the current tuition rates and fees, please visit the Tuition and Financial Aid page on our website. 

What sources of financial aid exist?

Undergraduate students - Please refer to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. 
Graduate students - Many federal and state aid programs that are available to undergraduate students are not offered to graduate students. Therefore, if eligible, many students finance their graduate education through the Federal Stafford Loan program.

School of Education Departmental Aid
Guide to Graduate Financial Aid 2016

Do you offer teaching or research assistantships to graduate students?

Assistantships are primarily awarded to PhD students, but may be awarded to select qualified master's students, depending on the needs and funding available in each department.These positions are limited, even at the doctoral level. There is no formal application for assistantships in the School of Education. Students interested in these opportunities should express their specific desires and qualifications to their appointed academic advisor.

How and when do I apply for financial aid?

Once you are admitted to a graduate program in the School of Education, you can apply for the Federal Stafford Loan by following the steps on the Graduate Financial Aid Checklist.
If your program begins in the summer, in order for your application for aid to be processed for the summer term, it is important to submit a Summer Student Loan Request form. 

Who processes my financial aid?

The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid manages the loan application and certification processes.

Tools for New Students

How do I access my student account?

Your student account is created shortly after you matriculate as a University of Pittsburgh student. CSSD (Computing Services and Systems Development) will send you an email of your account username and temporary password via postal mail. You should then access your account to change your password and set your preferences from the Manage My Account page.

What is my Pitt e-mail address and how to I access it?

Your Pitt e-mail address is your account username followed by "@pitt.edu". You can read useful information about managing and accessing your Pitt email account here.

How do I obtain my student ID?

Once you have accepted the offer of admission, you can obtain your student ID card by visiting Panther Central, located in the main lobby of Litchfield Towers.

Where should I direct technology questions?

Please visit Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), or contact the Help Desk at 412-624-HELP (412-624-4357).

Where can I park?

Visit the Office of Parking and Transportation Services for information about campus parking options.

How do I navigate campus?

Please visit our campus tour site which includes a printable campus map to locate classroom buildings and other important resources.

Information for Prospective Students and Current Teachers

What teaching certificate do I earn after completing the Instructional I or MAT program?

Teacher preparation candidates who meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) requirement criteria earn an Instructional I teaching certificate, often referred to as a "provisional certificate". Instructional II certification or "permanent certification" is granted by PDE to teachers who meet the following criteria: hold a valid Instructional I certificate; have completed a teacher induction program; have three years of satisfactory teaching experience in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and have completed 24 post-baccalaureate credits or a Master's degree.

What is an intern certificate?

This is a special certificate issued by PDE. Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students are required to earn an intern certificate in order to complete the intensive classroom-based training, which correlates with their coursework at the University. Without an intern certificate, students can only function as student teachers in their respective districts. Refer to the PA Department of Education for more information.

Can I teach in other states with a PA Instructional I teaching certificate?

Currently, there are Interstate Agreements in place for those with a PA Instructional I certificate, and the PA certification is generally considered to be one of the strongest across the country. If your destination state is known, you should contact that state's Department of Education to find out more details of the agreement.

What is Act 48 and how do I earn Act 48 credits and submit my courses or hours for credit?

All certified school personnel are covered under Act 48. Effective July 1, 2000, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted Act 48, mandating a continuing professional education program for educators to maintain active certification. Please visit our Act 48 website for information on complying with Act 48 and reporting your credits or hours to the PA Department of Education.

Graduation

What is “graduation” and is it automatic?

“Graduation” will occur after a student has satisfied all of the academic requirements of his/her program of study. However, graduation is not automatic. All students must apply for graduation, even if they are not attending the commencement ceremony. An application for graduation must be filed with the School of Education’s Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services, 5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

Can graduation occur at any time?

No. Graduation can occur only at the end of an academic term; e.g. at the end of December, April, or August.Q: How and when do I apply for graduation?
Application materials are available online as well as in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. Students should submit the application and supporting documents during the first two weeks of their last semester of study.

When and where is the commencement (graduation) ceremony held?

The School of Education sponsors a commencement (graduation) ceremony for its students at the end of each term. Additionally, graduating students are invited to participate in the University-wide commencement ceremony held each spring at the Peterson Events Center.

Do I still need to apply for graduation even if I am not attending the commencement ceremony?

Yes, all students must apply for graduation.

When will I receive my diploma?

Once your application is reviewed and approved by the Dean's Office, your graduation is authorized and your diploma is ordered. Your diploma and a complimentary official copy of your transcript will be mailed to you approximately four weeks after the end of the term in which you graduate.

Do I still need to apply for graduation if I am in a certificate-seeking program?

Yes, all students must apply for graduation.