FAQ: Upon Acceptance to the Graduate Program

General Questions about the Graduate Program

Question: How many graduate students do you have in the program? 
A: Currently, we have slightly over 100 graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

Questions: Do students take classes during the summer term?
A: Typically, the summer semester is devoted to research.

Question: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) campus is located next to the University of Pittsburgh. To what extent does the Physics and Astronomy department share resources?
A: Through PCHE cross-registration, available in the fall and spring terms, students from both departments enjoy the benefit of this unique arrangement that provides graduate students from BOTH physics programs to experience additional faculty teaching and to meet other students.  In addition, we share selected events and seminars on our Weekly Events Calendar.

Important Deadlines

Question: Do I have until April 15th to accept?
A: Technically, yes, however, upon receipt of your emailed acceptance to our Admission Committee Chair’s letter, we move forward your paperwork to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies (and International Services when applicable). The Dean will indicate the April 15th date in her admission letter.

Question: When must I send my “official” undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate transcripts with evidence of my degree(s)?
A: Upon acceptance to our program you may be anxious to receive your Pitt computer account.  In order for this to happen, you must now (or when available) send your "official completed transcripts and proof of degree(s)".  If the degree(s) do not appear on the final official transcript(s), proof of degree must be submitted as well.  For those admitted with the degree pending, you must have cleared your admission contingency stated in your letter from Assistant Dean Tara Meyer of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Please read on.

At the time of your application, you uploaded a COPY of your transcript(s) online.   You were not "required" to submit an official transcript(s) and certification of your previous grades and degree(s) at that time.  Now that you have been admitted and accepted our offer, it is necessary for you to have these final official documents sent to Ms. Lisa Kubick in the Graduate Dean's office (*address is below).  The graduate Dean's office will clear your contingency and matriculate your academic record.  Once you are matriculated, Computing Services should notify you regarding your Pitt account.

For those of you who are still finishing and/or waiting for your final grades and for the degree to be posted or awarded, please have materials sent to her as soon as they are available.

Some international students are provided only ONE copy of their documents.  Since we require the “originals”, you may notify Ms. Kubick directly at lisamp@pitt.edu and explain your situation, indicating that you will present your documents to her and us, upon your arrival, to clear your admission contingency.

If you are provided (or able to get multiple sets) of the originals, simply bring a copy (or make a copy) for me when you arrive so that I will have one to put in your departmental file.

*Ms. Lisa Kubick
Manager of Graduate Studies
Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
5141 Sennott Square
Pittsburgh, PA  1526

Question: I am an international student. When do I have to submit the OIS Supplemental Application form?
A: This form must be submitted along with your acceptance email Leyla Hirschfeld at either pagrad@pitt.edu or lmh@pitt.edu. It is not required at the time you apply.

Transcripts and Providing Proof of Degree

Question: My transcript is too lengthy to upload. What do I do?
A: If this is the case, you may email the Graduate Administrator, Leyla Hirshfeld, the document to pagrad@pitt.edu and state in the subject line “Please add long transcript/document”.  The document can then be uploaded to your application.

Question: When must I send my "official" undergraduate, and, if applicable, graduate transcripts with evidence of my degree?
A: Upon acceptance to our program you may be anxious to receive your Pitt computer account.  In order for this to happen, you must now (or when available) send your "official completed transcripts and proof of degree(s)".  If the degree(s) do not appear on the final official transcript(s), proof of degree must be submitted as well.  For those admitted with the degree pending, you must have cleared your admission contingency stated in your letter from Assistant Dean Tara Meyer of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Please read on.

At the time of your application, you uploaded a COPY of your transcript(s) online.   You were not "required" to submit an official transcript(s) and certification of your previous grades and degree(s) at that time.  Now that you have been admitted and accepted our offer, it is necessary for you to have these final official documents sent to Ms. Lisa Kubick in the Graduate Dean's office (*address is below).  The graduate Dean's office will clear your contingency and matriculate your academic record.  Once you are matriculated, Computing Services should notify you regarding your Pitt account.

For those of you who are still finishing and/or waiting for your final grades and for the degree to be posted or awarded, please have materials sent to her as soon as they are available.

Some international students are provided only ONE copy of their documents.  Since we require the “originals”, you may notify Ms. Kubick directly at lisamp@pitt.edu and explain your situation, indicating that you will present your documents to her and us, upon your arrival, to clear your admission contingency.

If you are provided (or able to get multiple sets) of the originals, simply bring a copy (or make a copy) for me when you arrive so that I will have one to put in your departmental file.

*Ms. Lisa Kubick
Manager of Graduate Studies
Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
5141 Sennott Square
Pittsburgh, PA  1526

Question: The Registrar's office at my school has an electronic method available to send official transcripts. Is this acceptable? 
A: Yes

Financial Assistance for Accepted Students

Question: What is the value of the ASF Fellowship?
A: The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Predoctoral Fellowship currently has a stipend of $11,448 per term, a full tuition scholarship, a full scholarship for fees (with the exception of the $30 per term activity fee).Currently, the University provides health insurance for Arts and Sciences Graduate Predoctoral Fellows to purchase.  The specific terms and conditions and the time period of the coverage can be assessed on-line at http://www.hr.pitt.edu/benefits/student-in.  An option to purchase family coverage under this plan is available at a modest cost.

Question: Does the tuition and fee scholarship come out of my stipend?
A: No, the tuition and fee merit scholarship (with the exception of your $30 per term activity fee) is a separate scholarship.

Question: What other funding opportunities are available to me?
A: View the graduate financial support packages.

International Students

Question: What information will the Office of International Services (OIS) provide me before I arrive to Pitt?
A: Upon learning of your decision to our offer, we will forward your information to the Office of International Services (OIS).  At that point, you will be contacted by OIS directly on how to submit your financial documentation.  More information on the financial requirements can be found HERE

Question: When will I receive my visa documents?

Question: I am an international student applying for a transfer to your Department from another US institution. Is the University of Pittsburgh, Office of International Services still going to require I provide supplemental information and financial documents to them?
A: Yes, once an applicant is accepted to the program, they will need to provide financial documentation and other biographical information to the Office of International Services.  More information on this process will be provided to those once accepted, and questions about funding amounts can refer to (hyperlink to financial handout here.

Student Life

Question: Is there graduate student housing?
A: Unfortunately the University of Pittsburgh does not offer graduate student housing. Graduate students live in Oakland and surrounding areas close to campus. There are several sources to help you find housing, such as the Office of off-campus living, The classifieds section of The Pitt News, and asking your department graduate student mentor or other graduate students.

Question: How easy is it to get around campus?
A: Not only is the campus walkable, your Pitt ID card is your bus pass for campus, city, and county transportation!

Question: Where can I find additional information about Pittsburgh? 
A: Visit Cool Pittsburgh.http://www.coolpgh.pitt.edu/