We want our curriculum to address the latest skills and technologies in the fast-paced fields of computing and information.


Our fields change so quickly, thanks to continual advances in technology. Therefore, we offer a slate of courses (called “Special Topics” courses) that let you explore some topics that are at the very leading edge of the science and professions. These courses are not necessarily offered every term: make sure that you check our course schedule to see what courses are available!

  • For information on how these courses might fit within your course of study, please consult with your advisor.
  • For information on how to register for these courses, please login to the SCI Intranet. You will need an active Pitt email (example: sct114@pitt.edu) and Pitt password.

PHIL 0500 — Introduction to Logic

This online course is specifically for BSIS students! Students will examine the basics of logic, learning how to distinguish a good argument from a poor one. The course will emphasize forming and analyzing arguments in logical notation, using given information in conjunction with licensed inference rules to reach the desired conclusion. Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll be able to translate ordinary English sentences into formal logical notation, implement logical concepts such as validity and consistency for sets of claims, and prove the validity (or invalidity) of arguments in rigorous logical notation (truth tables and formal proofs in sentential and predicate logic).

INFSCI 1090 – Game Design

Games have become ubiquitous in our modern world. In addition to entertainment, elements of games are present in everything from promotional advertisements to university classrooms. This course focuses on the exploration of game design in its many permutations. Join us as we critique and design all manner of entertainment and serious game. The class itself is designed as a multiplayer game experience to immerse and engage the student in game design on a fundamental level. One of the final goals of this class is for each student to have designed two separate games in their entirety so that they can be implemented in the follow up course.

INFSCI 1091 — Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Tech

Introduces the core concepts behind innovation and entrepreneurship in the high technology arena. The class is highly interactive, and students will be required to participate actively in groups and individually. Grading is heavily weighted around participation in the semester-long, group project. The class is taught by Babs Carryer, Director of Education & Outreach, Innovation Institute at Pitt. Guest speakers, who are experts in their fields, will supplement the core teaching. Topics covered will include: ideation, problem/solution, market opportunity, competitive analysis, customer discovery, pitching, funding, legal issues, team building, and innovation within existing companies.

INFSCI 1091 — Business Essentials for the IT Professional

The information technology industry is undergoing significant change and is now at the forefront of every business decision. New digital tools are disrupting traditional business models and changing how organizations connect, communicate and use information to drive a competitive advantage. These changes are creating extraordinary opportunities for the IT professional. Yet, being able to successfully navigate this new landscape requires a unique set of skills. This course focuses on strengthening those critical skills needed to help differentiate your peformance as an IT professional. The course is taught through a series of lectures, case studies and team-based assignments focused on strengthening your problem solving, critical thinking, communication, project management and consultative selling skills.

INFSCI 1092 – IT Management

This course was designed to help you develop key workplace skills essential for IT professionals. You’ll learn how to work effectively with people within and outside of the IT organization; understand and navigate organizational culture; apply techniques for successfully managing people and projects; and engage in professional development activities including writing a resume and cover letter, preparing for interviews, and preparing to deliver short presentations.

INFSCI 2915 — Machine Learning

Introduction to machine learning such as designing a machine learning system, learning settings and tasks, decision trees, k-nearest-neighbor estimation; Mathematical foundations including linear algebra, probability theory, statistical tests; Kernel Machines: kernels, reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces, representer theorem, support vector machines for classification, regression and ranking, kernel construction, kernels for structured data; Clustering methods such as k-means, hierarchical clustering, spectral clustering, evaluation metrics; Statistical Learning Theory including PAC learning, consistency, VC dimension, generalization and models comparison; Applications to image and video categorization.

INFSCI 2965 – Seminar: Gender and the Global Info Tech Sector

The growing trend toward outsourcing, off shoring, and dispersion of work across national boundaries means that students entering the workforce in the twenty-first century must be prepared to deal with a global client base and global colleagues. Part of this preparation includes understanding the gender diversity of colleagues, clients and users with whom you will be working — both virtually and face-to-face — to develop, deploy and use information technology solutions. This course takes a cross-cultural examination of gender as it relates to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields in general, and the information technology field, in particular. Understanding the gender and cultural diversity of both colleagues and users will have ramifications for the way in which work is accomplished, user requirements for technology are understood, and interaction with computer-based tools is accomplished. However, to varying degrees around the world, women are underrepresented in the in STEM, generally, and in the IT field, in particular. They are under represented both in the IT workforce and in the conceptualization of the IT user. Similarly, a dominant model of masculinity is associated with technology development, deployment and use. For these reasons, it is necessary for those working in STEM fields to have an understanding of gender issues in order to have a complete understanding of users, and to work productively with colleagues.

TELCOM 2931 — Internet of Things

This special topics class will focus on an exploration of the Internet of Things (IoT). The course considers different aspects of (and perspectives on) IoT – sensor networks, pervasive computing, applications, consumer devices, and intelligent services. The course will review network protocols for IoT (Bluetooth, 802.15.4, LTE, 6LoWPAN, RFID, etc), discuss several IoT hardware platforms, describe software tools and web services that support IoT, and examine the security and privacy issues. Case studies will be discussed throughout the course. (Prerequisites: TELCOM 2000/INFSCI 1070: or equivalent computer networks course)