As a student at Pitt Public Health, you have many resources beyond your academic advisor that can contribute to your academic development. Advising systems vary among departments, but you should be able to take advantage of all options listed here.
- Course Registration Process
The course registration process varies among departments, but in most cases you are required to meet with your academic advisor, who will sign your enrollment form. The department student services staff will take that form and either register you in your classes or activate your self-registration. There are two general options:
- Registration by departmental staff
For detailed information on course and credit requirements, make sure you talk to an authoritative source. It never hurts to double check with the Office of Student Affairs, especially if you are doing something complicated like pursuing multiple degrees or transferring credits.
Both options require that you:
- Meet with your academic advisor
- Have your enrollment form signed
- Send the form to your department student services staff, who will either have your self-registration activated or complete the registration process for you.
Prior to enrollment, check course descriptions, course schedules, course evaluations, and detailed registration instructions at publichealth.pitt.edu/courses.
When you are considering elective courses, don't forget to check past course evaluations.
- Grievance Procedures
The first step to resolving any dispute should be a professional discussion with the faculty member involved. The next step is a discussion with the chair of your department. In situations in which it is uncomfortable to talk to those individuals, you can raise issues with the Associate Dean responsible for academic oversight. Your departmental student services staff can also be a good source of advice.
Get the Mentoring you Need
- Find Potential Mentors
Locate potential mentors within and outside of your program, department, and school. Research the work of these faculty and see if their interests match or complement yours. You can also talk to senior students about their advisors and mentors. Then, reach out to potential mentors and ask to meet with them. Be patient and professional when requesting these initials appointments; most faculty are eager to help but may not be available immediately. Good topics for this initial conversation depend on whether you are looking for a primary mentor or supplementary contacts. In either case, it's a good idea to start with mutual research or practice interests and professional goals.
- Develop the Relationship
Working with your mentor is as much your job as it is theirs. It is important to have regular meetings to discuss your work and get feedback from your mentor, but it is also important to regularly re-examine your own strengths, skills, and expectations for written work.
- Communicate Expectations for Written Work
Be clear with your mentor about expectations for authorship, timelines and deadlines. Some mentors will work with students on very rough drafts or informal documents, while others expect students to produce more polished work before they look at it. In either case, do your own proofreading—don't expect your mentor to be your copy editor!
- Secondary Mentors and Advisors
To get the maximum benefit from your time at Pitt Public Health, reach out to other faculty and students, practicum advisors, Career Services, etc. Ideally you will graduate with a rich network of contacts who will provide you with mentoring and support for many years to come.
How to Build Professional Skills
Your in-classroom and out-of-classroom experiences at Pitt Public Health should give you a strong set of professional skills by the time you graduate.
- Improve your Communication Skills
Your written and oral communication skills will be your primary career asset. In order to hone these skills, you can...
Get feedback from instructors on your course writing and presentations Volunteer to give as many presentations as you can Participate in Pitt Public Health's Dean's Day Present posters and talks at professional meetings and local symposia Take a course on scientific communication and/or grant writing
- Internal and External Speakers
You'll see many listings for seminars, speakers, and other events that excite you, and many times your reaction will be "that sounds fantastic, but I'm so busy." Make the time at least several times a term to go to these events anyway. They are an invaluable opportunity to expose yourself to new possibilities, new ideas, and new people. Sit in the front row. Ask questions. Introduce yourself to the speaker. Use the opportunity to network within and outside the school. During your first and second terms, take advantage of the access to external guest speakers during Grand Rounds events.
- Career Services
Preparing to Graduate
Familiarize yourself with graduation material before your last term. Deadlines for graduation application can also be found on the Graduation Information page.
- Registration and Approvals
Make sure you have done the following well before the term in which you plan to graduate:
- Be sure you are registered for the term in which you want to graduate.
- If your work involves data, policies, or experiences from an outside agency, organization, or practicum site, ensure that you follow the guidelines and check if you are required to have a member of the agency, organization, or site on your committee.
- If you're using data or experiences from a project at the Allegheny County Health Department, you must include your health department preceptor as a member of your committee.
- Make sure your essay/thesis/dissertation committee is in place and has been approved.
- Familiarize yourself with essay/thesis/dissertation format requirements and deadlines for defenses.
- Meet with your academic advisor and your department student services staff to make sure you have met all academic requirements.
Pitt Public Health Student Defense/ Presentation Policy: Doctoral defenses, master’s thesis defenses, and essay presentations must occur at least three (3) days before the end date of the term in which the student intends to graduate.