Course Requirements

School-Level Requirements

Required Courses

Each degree program requires a different set of courses. A compiled list of current school-level requirements, including detailed information in biostatistics requirements, can be found on the Detailed Policies and References page

Students should consult with their departments about these requirements, as some departments may have additional stipulations. 

Exemption from Required Courses

Exemptions from school-level required courses are made on a case-by-case basis. These are based on attainment of CEPH competencies through coursework and completion of course(s) at an accredited school of public health. These courses may or may not be accompanied by advanced standing credits. 

To apply for an MPH core course exemption, students must complete an MPH Core Course Exemption form, explicitly listing the competencies on which the exemption is based. The form must be signed by the student's advisor and the core course instructor before it is submitted to the Office of Student Affairs. If advanced standing credit is being requested, a Course Credits Accepted Form must also be filed. 

DrPH students with an accredited MPH degree may be exempted from all MPH requirements except Public Health Grand Rounds. MPH Core Course Exemption forms must be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs. 

MS and PhD students can be exempted from Essentials of Public Health (PUBHLT 2011) by submitting the Essentials of Public Health exemption form to the Office of Student Affairs. 


Advance scheduling information for school-level required MPH courses is available. Most courses are offered twice per year. Students should plan their schedules carefully with their advisors to ensure that it will be possible to complete the necessary courses. 

Grade Requirements

A grade of B or better is required for all core courses. 

If a student earns a grade below a B, they should meet with their advisor to discuss the grade. In these cases, the student is strongly encouraged to re-take the course. However, the final decision will be left to the advisor and the student. 

If a student earns a grade below a C, they must repeat the course. The Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC), via the Office of Student Affairs, will email a memorandum notifying the student and their advisor of the policy. Students have a maximum of two attempts to achieve a grade of C or better in a core course. 

See the Pitt Public Health probation and dismissal policy for further details on minimum grade requirements. 

GPA Requirement for Certificate Students

Students enrolled in public health graduate certificate programs and a public health degree program must maintain cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in the certificate program courses. Students enrolled only in a public health graduate certificate program must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA or higher, as required by the certificate program director.

Dean's Public Health Grand Rounds Course

PUBHLT 2022 (the Dean's Public Health Grand Rounds), is a required, non-credit course for all Pitt Public Health students. Two terms are required for graduation. Note that the course is offered only in the fall and spring terms. Students should register for Grand Rounds in the first two consecutive terms they are enrolled. 

Students are exempt from this course if they... 

  • are only in a certificate program
  • are in a formal joint degree program
  • complete a Pitt Public Health degree program, fulfill the two semester PUBHLT 2022 requirement, and enter a second Pitt Public Health degree program without a break in enrollment. The summer term does not count towards continuous enrollment.  

Non-credit Requirements

All students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module during their first term of study. 

All students are also required to complete "Preventing Discrimination and Sexual Violence: Title IX, VAWA, and the Cleary Act for Faculty and Staff,” an online training module administered through the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Diversity & Inclusion. 

Most students are also required to complete various research ethics modules. A list of other modules required for research and practice at Pitt are outlined on the resources for research and practice Web page

Departmental Requirements

Departmental and Elective Coursework

Requirements and Exemptions

Course requirements other than those stated above are established and enforced by individual departments and/or programs. Exemptions are handled at the departmental level. Departmental procedures for exemptions should include a written (paper or electronic) record that clearly states the justification for the exemption. 


Departments may restrict or suggest choices for elective course credits. Refer to your program handbook and get advice from faculty and students.

Courses at Other Pitt schools

Pitt Public Health students may take courses in other schools within the University of Pittsburgh. Course schedules are available in the complete University time schedule of classes or in the Student Center of My Pitt. Whether or not these credits can be applied to their degree at Pitt Public Health depends on several factors. 

In general, graduate-level credits taken at the University of Pittsburgh outside of Pitt Public Health may be applied to degrees as long as they are relevant to the degree being pursued. Check with your advisor. 

A maximum of 6 upper-level undergraduate credits may be applied with advisor permission, provided that credits are earned while enrolled as a degree-seeking student at Pitt Public Health. Credits taken as an undergraduate or non-degree student will not be considered. 

Courses at Other Colleges and Universities

Pitt Public Health students may register for courses as part of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education program. Registration for these courses must often be done earlier than standard Pitt deadlines. The student must be registered full-time (FTDR or 9 credits minimum) at Pitt Public Health before requesting cross-registration at another school. Cross-registration is allowed in the fall and spring terms only. The registration form is available online; however, a hard copy with all the necessary signatures must be taken to the Office of the Registrar

Total Credit Requirements

In addition to required courses, each degree or certificate also has a minimum number of required credits. These should be clearly stated in program handbooks. Transfer or advanced standing credits (see below) can count towards this total credit requirement. Credit sharing for students in two or more programs is also possible (see below). The number of credits that can be shared or transferred is limited.

Course Scheduling Preference for Veteran Students

Students who have served in the military and have registered with the Office of Veterans Services at the university are granted a priority enrollment appointment to enroll in classes prior to the standard enrollment period. See registrar’s Veteran Student Course Scheduling Policy for complete details.

Grades and Academic Standing

Minimum Grade Point Average

Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be subject to academic probation, suspension, and/or dismissal. Students who have completed at least 9 quality point credits and whose GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation. Notification occurs via a memorandum to the student and advisor from the Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee via the Office of Student Affairs. Full-time students have 2 semesters and part-time students have 18 credit hours to bring their GPA to at least 3.0. Students on probation are not eligible to take the PhD preliminary evaluation, the MS or PhD comprehensive examination, or to graduate.


Letter grades A, B, C, and D are considered passing grades. A letter grade of F is a failing grade.

G, NG, and I grades

G grades indicate incomplete coursework due to extenuating circumstances occurring at the end of a term. If a situation arises prior to the end of the term which prevents students from completing their coursework, they are expected to withdraw from the course or resign from the term and re-register for the course(s) in a future semester.

G grades must be resolved within one year or will automatically change to NG. NG grades cannot be reversed. A student who receives an NG grade will have to re-register for the course if it is required for graduation.

The Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC) notifies students that they are approaching the maximum permissible number of G grade credits at 9 credits of G grades. In instances where students accumulate 15 credits of G grades, they become unable to register until most or all G grades are resolved. Students should work with the instructor who assigned the G grade(s) to get them resolved.

Special studies courses, thesis or dissertation credits and other courses that are normally not graded at the end of one term receive I grades. See the probation and dismissal policy for details.

Enrollment Requirements

Full-Time Registration

Full-time registration is 9-15 credits. More than 15 credits is considered an overload and will incur additional tuition charges.

Registration in the Term of Graduation

All degree-seeking students must be registered for at least one credit or FTDR in the term of graduation. See the graduation Web site for details.

Lapses in Registration

Students who do not register for three consecutive terms are considered inactive and must re-apply via SOPHAS if they wish to re-register.

International Student Requirements

Students with visas should contact the Office of International Services (OIS) and be sure to follow the enrollment requirements. Generally, full-time registration (9 credits or FTDR) is required. International students who have completed most course requirements can petition OIS for permission to take a reduced load.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

All individuals (students, faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and staff) at Pitt Public Health abide by the University’s policy on academic integrity as well as the Pitt Public Health academic integrity procedures.

All students are required to complete the online academic integrity module in the first term of enrollment at Pitt Public Health by the deadline established by the Office of Student Affairs. See the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Web site for further details and instructions.

Pitt Public Health's Policy for Student Completion of Student Academic Integrity Module

Policy revised June 8, 2010 and submitted to EPCC for a vote, approved by EPCC on June 14, 2010 with revisions | approved by Pitt Public Health Council July 2010

Pitt Public Health Policy for Student Completion of Student Academic Integrity Module Effective August 30, 2010, all enrolled students at the Graduate School of Public Health are required to complete the Student Academic Integrity Module by the last day of the month of September. This is to ensure that Pitt Public Health students are familiar with the University of Pittsburgh’s academic integrity policy, and to prevent violations of academic integrity.

Students will be deemed to have completed the module satisfactorily by scoring 80% or higher on the module assessment. Those who have not successfully completed the module assessment with a qualifying score of 80% or higher by the first business day of October will not have the advising hold removed from their student registration account. This hold does prevent registration for the subsequent semester’s classes. The hold will be removed only after the student demonstrates satisfactory completion of the module. All new students enrolled in a program (certificate, degree, or non-degree) will be required to complete the Student Academic Integrity Module during their first semester. Students who enter with non-degree status, and are later admitted into a certificate or degree program within one academic year of having completed this instruction will not be required to repeat it. In summary, students will be required to complete this module only once unless significant changes in University or School policy require recertification.

The Office of Student Affairs will establish a deadline for completion of the module for each subsequent term so as not to disadvantage students in the registration process. Students will be notified of this date through Office of Student Affairs communications and their respective department student services staff.

The student’s department student services staff will be required to monitor student completion of the module and ensure that the certificate of completion is filed in the student’s academic file housed in the department. Department student services staff will notify the Office of Student Affairs if students do not complete the module by the deadline.

Transfer Credit for Prior Graduate Work


Transfer or advanced standing credits must be based on specific, prior graduate-level coursework relevant to the degree the student is pursuing. Advanced standing credit will be awarded only for graduate courses in which a grade of B (or equivalent) or better was earned. Other restrictions also apply. Note that only block credits, not course equivalency, can be awarded.

Advanced standing request forms (Course Credits Accepted Form) must be signed by your advisor and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs.

Credits for degrees earned outside the U.S. are considered based on a WES evaluation and may depend on country and institution within country.

Credit Toward Degrees at Pitt Public Health

The number of credits that can be transferred from coursework at another graduate institution depends on whether or not the credits were applied to another degree and the type of degree being sought at Pitt Public Health. In all cases, credit transfer requires approval from the department granting the degree.

Credit Awarded for Prior Clinical Degrees

Credits earned for clinical degrees (e.g. MD, DDS, nursing) may be subject to stricter limits. In particular, clinical degrees that are earned without a prior college degree (e.g. nursing bachelor’s degrees, many non-U.S. medical degrees) may be deemed non-graduate credits.

Adding a Second Degree, or a Certificate, or Changing Departments or Degrees

Combined Degree Programs

Pitt Public Health participates in several formal combined degree programs. Requirements for these programs include all or most of the requirements of the two separate programs.

  • Dual programs exist within a single school.
  • Joint programs exist between two or more schools.
  • Cooperative programs are administered by two or more institutions.

Before registering for courses for any combined degree program, students must be admitted to both programs.

Pursuing Two Independent Degree Programs Simultaneously

In addition to the formal combined programs, students may pursue two independent graduate degrees simultaneously. Rules for credit sharing must be followed.

Current Students: How to Apply to a New Pitt Public Health Program

Current students must send an email of intent to the Pitt Public Health Admissions Office in order to transfer programs or add an academic program or certificate to their study plan. The email of intent should include:

  1. Your name
  2. Your current program
  3. Details on the changes you would like to make
  4. The term in which you would like the change to occur

Further instruction will be forwarded to you once the Admissions Office receives your email of intent. Note that eligibility depends on department requirements.

Credit Sharing Among Two or More Degrees and/or Certificates Earned Simultaneously

Students wishing to pursue two or more programs simultaneously should consult with all programs involved and with the Office of Student Affairs about credit requirements. Complex credit-sharing arrangements may require special approval from the Provost. This does not apply to students enrolled in formal University of Pittsburgh joint or dual programs.

Master's Degree and Doctoral Degree

Students simultaneously pursuing a master’s and doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh may generally share up to 24 credits between the two programs. There may be limitations to this rule if the doctoral program is completed first. If the two degrees are in the same department, it may be possible to apply all master’s degree credits toward the doctoral degree. Students should consult with their department(s) about specific departmental requirements.

Two Master's Degrees

Students pursuing two master's degrees at the University of Pittsburgh simultaneously (not joint or dual degrees) may generally share up to 6 credits between the two programs.

Degree and Certificate

Students pursuing both a degree and a certificate should consult with both programs about credit sharing. University and school rules allow all certificate credits to be applied toward the degree, but individual programs may impose stricter limitations. There may be exceptions if the certificate is started before the degree or if the certificate and degree are awarded by different schools.

More Than Two Programs

Any student pursuing more than two programs (degrees or certificates) should consult with the Office of Student Affairs about credit sharing.

Combining Credit Sharing with Advanced Standing

In general, it is not possible to both share credits among simultaneous degrees and also receive advanced standing credit for prior work. Students who are pursuing simultaneous degrees and also seeking advanced standing credits for prior work should consult with the Office of Student Affairs.

Statutes of Limitations

The following are the statutes of limitations for the degree programs offered in Pitt Public Health:

  • Doctoral programs: 10 years
  • MPH programs: 5 years
  • MHA program: 5 years
  • MS programs: 4 years

To request an extension to the statute of limitations, students must first talk to their program director or advisor. They will advance the request to the department chair who will submit a written request to the Office of Student Affairs. 

Students with questions about this process should consult with the Office of Student Affairs.