Please note the following information regards specific admissions requirements to the PhD program. For admissions information pertaining to the School of Computing and Information as a whole, click here.
A masters degree from an accredited university, a recognized international program, or the equivalent is required. Students must submit official transcripts as evidence. Only official transcripts will be accepted.
Students must prove that they have attained (in graduate work) a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (on a scale with an "A" having a value of 4 points per credit). An international student's GPA will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
Students must submit at least three references from persons in the professional and academic communities. The PhD Admissions Committee may, on occasion, require additional references.
Students must submit as evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, an essay (not to exceed 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student's academic and professional goals in relation to the Information Science and Technology doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research. This essay is a critical component of the admissions process, and will be used in assigning the student's initial program advisor.
PhD applicants must either have or demonstrate the following prerequisite knowledge. These courses or their equivalents should be taken before seeking admission but may be taken during the first four terms of study. All courses must be at the graduate level and may have been taken in the course of pursuing another graduate degree:
- Statistics or Discrete Math (e.g., IS 2060 Statistics or IS 2020 Mathematical Foundations)
- Cognitive Psychology (e.g., IS 2300 Human Info Processing or IS 2350 Human Factors)
- Systems Analysis and Design (e.g., IS 2510 Information Systems & Design)
- Data Structures (e.g., IS 2500 Data Structures)
- Database Management (e.g., IS 2710 Database Management)
If petitions are made, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide full syllabi and supporting documentation for any courses taken at other institutions that they view as equivalent. Prerequisite courses, and any coursework required to prepare for prerequisite courses, are not considered in the 60 credits required for the PhD program.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
All applicants are required to submit a recent score (within five years of the date of application) on the Graduate Record Examination as part of their admission credentials. Scores on all three sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the General Section should be submitted. While submission of the GRE scores are preferred, a recent and strong performance on the GMAT will be accepted in lieu of taking the GRE exam. The University code for the GRE is 2927. The Program code is 0404.
Applicants please note that you can not add the numerical code 0404 by itself. Please type “Information Sciences” in the required field and the system will auto populate your choices, one of which is Information Sciences/Studies 0404.
English Language Proficiency
Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to study without being hindered by language problems, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). Contact Educational Testing Services directly to request that an official score report be sent to the School of Computing and Information. The institution code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927. A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to the MSIS, MST, MLIS, PhD IS & TELE programs. Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students should receive a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS.
Exceptions: International students who completed a degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score. Students from certain English-speaking countries are also exempt. Permanent residents are exempt. However, the School reserves the right to ask for TOEFL scores if deemed necessary for the evaluation of the application. Please note: degrees where anything less than the entire degree was completed in-residence within the English-speaking country will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students in these circumstances may be required to complete the TOEFL or IELTS with the required minimum score upon review. Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores of less than 100 (Internet-based), 600 (Paper-based) or less than Band 7.5 on the IELTS must take this additional test of English language proficiency: English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a foreign language are recommended, the student must complete the remedial course during the first term of study.
All degrees obtained outside of the U.S. will be evaluated for equivalency to U.S. educational standards by the School of Computing and Information/University of Pittsburgh. Therefore, all international applicants must provide an official English-language translations of all pertinent transcripts. All transcripts from non-U.S. institutions, for undergraduate and graduate study, will be reviewed by the School/University of Pittsburgh in terms of: the U.S. degree to which your degree is equivalent – Bachelor’s, Master’s, etc., the overall grade point average for your studies (converted to a U.S 4.0 scale), and a course-by-course grade equivalency evaluation for every class taken. If you completed your degree in the U.S. but also took coursework outside of the U.S., you do not need to have an evaluation by an external agency. However you need to provide a certified English translation of the coursework taken outside of the U.S. if the record was issued in a language other than English.
Please note: the Admissions Committee may request an external review of your transcript, the cost of which is the responsibility of the applicant.
This section pertains to actions you must take after you have been admitted to the program, and have officially accepted our offer of admission. In order for your student visa document (Form I-20 or DS-2019) to be issued in time for your studies, you will need to provide additional financial information directly to the Office of International Services (OIS) at the University of Pittsburgh. Please access and read the International Graduate Student Financial Information form to determine what you need to prepare.
Please note: you will not be able to submit your financial information unless you have been admitted to our School and you accept that offer of admission. At that point, OIS will contact you directly via the email address you have provided to us in your application, and they will share a link to use to submit your financial information. You must accept any offer of admission you receive by the deadlines stated below in order for your visa to be processed in time. OIS will then give you a deadline by which to submit your financial information as well.
The application fee is $50 for all applicants and must be paid when you submit your application. The fee will not be waived, deferred, or refunded. Applications will not be considered until the fee has been received. Receipt of payment will be acknowledged by email from Apply Yourself.
All application materials for PhD applicants should be received at the school by January 15 for admission the following Fall Term. Applications submitted for Spring Term may be considered in exceptional circumstances upon the strong recommendation from a potential faculty advisor.
The School of Computing and Information makes every effort to issue a determination about applications within 4-6 weeks of the application deadline. This is, of course, dependent upon the timely receipt of all required application materials. You will be notified via e-mail when an admissions decision has been posted to your Apply Yourself account.
Please note that, during the December–January timeframe, numerous applications are received. Due to the volume of submissions, there may be a delay in notification of receipt of materials.
You may always check your Apply Yourself account to ascertain if documentation has been received or if an admissions decision has been made. The status of your application, related documents and admission decision cannot be verified until you have submitted the application fee (which is the final step in submitting your application).