Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN DO I REGISTER FOR CLASSES?
Each semester, a course listing of classes will be sent to the coordinators.
This list along with an enrollment form will be sent to the students with the
deadline dates for registration and add/drop. The course listing can also be
found here. It is the student's
responsibility to fill out the registration form and have it signed by his/her
mentor and then process their self-enrollment using the my.pitt.edu portal.
HOW MANY CREDITS DO I REGISTER FOR EACH SEMESTER?
As a graduate student, you must register for a minimum of 9 credits or a
maximum of 15 credits in the fall and spring semesters and a total of 3 credits
in the summer semester to be considered a full-time student.
WHAT COURSES WILL I TAKE DURING THE FIRST YEAR?
Each first year student is required to take Foundations Lecture,
Foundations Conference and a lab rotation during the first semester. During the
second semester, the student will consult with his/her first year mentor and
take courses that will apply to their program choice. The first year mentor
will also help with the selection of lab rotation mentors. Scientific Ethics
and Intro to Statistical Methods 1 will be taken during the summer of the first
HOW DO I PICK A LAB ROTATION?
It is the student's responsibility to contact the faculty members and
make arrangements for one of their rotations. The research rotation page with
instructions and the lab rotations available can be found
DOES EVERYONE TAKE THREE ROTATIONS, AND HOW WOULD I PETITION TO WAIVE ONE
In rare cases, the Associate Dean will allow a student to stay in the
same lab for two of the rotations. A request in writing must be submitted to
the Associate Dean stating the reason for the request and evidence that this
would be beneficial to the student.
CAN I DO A FOURTH ROTATION?
If at the end of three rotations, you feel that you still cannot make
a definite lab choice, the Associate Dean can approve a fourth rotation if the
request is submitted in writing. You must be aware, however, that doing a
fourth rotation can delay the selection of an advisor and the beginning of your
HOW DO I TRANSFER TO MY FINAL LAB CHOICE AT THE END OF MY FIRST YEAR?
Near the end of your first year, the Steering Committee will vote to
pass you on to your second year. After approval, you will be given a transfer
form to fill out and have signed by your mentor, the program director and the
Associate Dean. After this is signed, the Graduate Office will officially
transfer your payroll paperwork to the person who handles this for your mentor.
HOW MANY CREDITS DO I NEED IN ORDER TO GRADUATE?
In order to graduate with your PhD, you need a total of 72 credits (32
coursework and 40 PhD dissertation credits).
WHEN CAN I BEGIN REGISTERING FOR PHD DISSERTATION CREDITS?
You can begin registering for PhD dissertation credits after you have
nominated your dissertation committee, had your overview/prospectus meeting and
have been admitted to candidacy.
HOW DO I SELECT A DISSERTATION COMMITTEE?
There shall be a minimum of five members on the committee including
the thesis advisor. The majority of the committee, including the advisor, must
have graduate faculty status from the University and must be from the student's
training program. A minimum of one faculty member from the university community
who is not a member of the student's training program must participate on the
committee. This committee must be approved by the Program Director and the
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
CAN I APPLY FOR A STUDENT LOAN?
Yes, student loans are processed through the Financial Aid Office of
the University. They are located on the 1st floor of Alumni Hall, 412-624-7488.
There is information on the form that must be filled out and signed by the
Graduate Office in the School of Medicine.
HOW DO I DEFER MY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT LOANS?
If you have an undergraduate loan that you would like to defer, you need to
contact the Registrar's Office, G-3 Thackeray Hall, 412-624-7635.
DO STUDENTS GET VACATION/SICK TIME OFF?
Student appointments are considered to be 52-week appointments and do
not follow academic vacation schedules. Planned absences should be approved by
the mentor and unplanned absences reported to them.
HOW DO I ACCESS MY PITT EMAIL ACCOUNT?
You can access your Pitt email account through the my.pitt.edu portal.
Login by using your email account (email@example.com) and the password that is
given to you. You can change the password once you log on. Click "View Mail" to
access your email account. You can use this portal to update your information,
forward your email to existing accounts, and access various student services.
HOW DO I FORWARD MY PITT EMAIL TO ANOTHER EMAIL ACCOUNT?
All students are given a pitt.edu email address. This is the address
that will be used by faculty and staff for various reasons. If you prefer to
read your e-mail at a different email address (such as hotmail, yahoo, etc.),
it is important that you forward your University e-mail to that address. Just
log on to accounts.pitt.edu with your Pitt username and password; click edit
forwarding addresses; enter your forwarding email address and click save
changes. Need help? Contact the help desk at 412-624-HELP (4357)
MAY I TAKE A LEAVE OF ABSENCE?
A graduate student can request one official leave of absence for up to
two years. This request must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean who
will prepare a letter approving the LOA. During this time the student will not
be paid by the advisor and will not be registered as a full-time student. If
the student does not return by the specified date, he/she will be considered to
have withdrawn from the graduate program.
MAY I SUPPLEMENT MY STIPEND WITH OTHER EMPLOYMENT?
Students supported by a stipend are not permitted to work at an outside job.
The stipends are intended to support the living costs of the students so they
can devote full time to their studies. An exception to this policy is paid
tutoring of first-year graduate students who require expert tutoring by
upper-classmates. Tutors are selected by course directors and approved by the