FAQ

General

 Do I need to earn an MS before I enroll in the PhD program?

No, generally each year’s incoming PhD class is a mix of students coming from previous master’s and bachelor’s degree programs.

How many applicants are accepted each year?

We currently average about 6-10 a year.

Will my credits get transferred if I have an MS already?

Our department handles this on an individual basis and must first be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Please review the Dieterich School’s requirements for credit transfers.

Does the student choose their advisor or does the department assign the advisor?

It is best for prospective students to review our research areas and the faculty associated with the research.  From there, it is best to reach out to faculty you are interested in working with to see if they have openings in their group.  Applicants are assigned based on research interest and openings in faculty reserach groups.


International Applicants

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS Scores that I must have?

Our department must comply with the minimums set by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. 

I am non-native English speaker, but I went/currently go to an English-speaking university. Am I required to submit TOEFL or IELTS standardized scores?

You have met the University of Pittsburgh English requirements and are not required to submit English TOEFL/IELTS scores if:

  • You have received a university degree from an accredited U.S. institution located in the United States (or will receive a degree before you first enroll at the University of Pittsburgh).
  • You have received a university degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English if it is located in a country whose official language is English (or if will receive such a degree before you first enroll at the University of Pittsburgh).
  • Please contact the graduate administrator if you have questions about whether you meet these criteria; however, know that the final decision as to whether you have met the English requirements lies with the Dietrich School of Arts and Science Graduate Dean’s office.

I’m from Puerto Rico. Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTs scores?

As U.S. citizens, natives of Puerto Rico are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTs scores.

I’m an international student. The application system won’t let me pay the application fee by credit card without an American zip code –what do I do?

You can put “00000” as your zip code. This will allow you to check out and submit your application.

I applied to your department last year, and my previous test scores still fall within the five-year window of validity. Do I have to send my TOEFL scores again?

No, you should not need to re-send previous ETS scores if they are still valid from a previous year. The University of Pittsburgh stores your test scores in a separate system from your application.  The scores should automatically populate to your new application within a few business days of submitting your application. If you do not see them, contact the graduate administrator.

What are the ETS codes for submitting my TOEFL scores to your department?

The University of Pittsburgh school code is 2927 (applies to TOEFL).

Without subject codes, your scores can be matched to your application through your name and other personal information.

Why aren’t my standardized test scores (TOEFL, IELTS) aren’t showing up on the GATS portal?

The software system that receives your test scores is separate than the system that receives your application. Reports are run regularly so that the two systems can sync, so generally the problem should resolve within a few business days. 

Slight variations in your name or personal information can occasionally prevent synchronization, so if the problem persists, please contact the department’s graduate administrator.

If you applied to multiple programs at Pitt, only your first application will automatically synchronize. Someone from our staff will need to manually add your test scores to your second application. Please contact the department graduate administrator if you have applied to multiple programs.

Important: IELTS score reports CANNOT be received electronically by our system and must be sent to the department by mail. Once a paper copy is received, your scores will be manually added to the electronic system.

How does my GPA transfer to the American grading system?  

The graduate administrator will review your international GPA and use online tools to transfer it to the American scale.

 

Application System and Documents
 

I applied to your program last year. When I log in to ApplyYourself, I see my old application and I can’t submit a new one.

You will need create a new application pin. Follow these instructions:

 Use the same email address/account but generate two pin numbers. To do this, when you are ready to submit your second application, go to the application portal (make sure you are not logged in). Choose the “create account” tab and enter your information. If your information matches your previous application, you should see the following:

Choose “Continue and Create Account” – this will generate a second pin number which will allow you to create and submit a second application.


The file size of my transcript, writing sample, etc. is too big –how do I upload my document?

The ApplyYourself system limits file size to 600 KB, which is often not sufficient, especially for transcripts with images. While an initial file or scan may be too large to upload, there are various ways to resize a file, which often works. If you cannot successfully bring your file size under the limit, please email the file as a pdf to the graduate gpsgrad@pitt.edu, who can manually add larger files to your application after it has been submitted.

Do I need to send official/sealed transcripts to the department?

While you may certainly send one if you wish, we do not require official/sealed transcripts delivered from your university registrar’s office with your application. We only need a pdf version of your transcript uploaded with your application that shows all your previous and/or current coursework.

If you are admitted to our program and choose to enroll, you will be asked to send official transcripts at that time.

When I look at my submitted application in the GATS viewing portal, it says “incomplete” even though all my documents, test scores, and letters of recommendation have been received. What do I need to do to make sure my application is complete?

The “complete” designation in GATS only occurs after a department administrator has reviewed all the materials associated with your application and manually checked the “complete” box. This process can take time, especially with the large volume of applications received close to the deadline. If you see that all your materials are present in the GATS system, there is no follow up required by you. If you notice missing letters of recommendation, feel free to contact your letter writers. If you notice missing TOEFL or IELTs test scores (if your application requires them) beyond 3-5 business days, please contact the graduate administrator.