Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
University of Pittsburgh Johnstown    
2019-2020 Johnstown Campus Catalog 
  Jul 15, 2024
2019-2020 Johnstown Campus Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Procedures and Policies



Normally, students are expected to attend classes as scheduled because frequent absences can result in poor academic performance. Although there is no University policy regarding attendance, individual faculty members may set rules for their own courses and may assign serious academic consequences for lack of attendance.

Academic Advising

During a full-time student’s first term, he/she is assigned to a faculty advisor. The advisor usually represents the student’s field of interest. In cooperation with the advisor, the student defines a course of study consistent with his/her academic goals and career interests.

Information about the University’s resources, recommendations concerning course selections, clarification of institutional policies, and general guidance are some of the important services offered by the advisor. Ultimately, each student is responsible for his/her own academic progress. Should a student’s academic interests shift, he/she may request permission from the division chairperson to be assigned to a different advisor.

Academic Awards

The following awards recognize scholarship and achievement at Pitt-Johnstown.

1st Summit Bank Award. This award is given to senior accounting students who reside in Cambria or contiguous counties. It is based on academic ability as demonstrated by GPA and citizenship as demonstrated by participation in student life.

C. Bruce Baker Memorial Award. This award is for outstanding students in mechanical engineering technology.

Bloom, Dr. Meyer Award - Awards are limited to undergraduate full-time students in the premedical program who are of junior or higher class standing. Also, limited to those students who have achieved superior academic records and show high promise of becoming successful physicians. Grants are limited to ambitious and deserving students who have demonstrated ability in pre-medical studies, but lack funds to pursue their objectives. In no case may an award or grant to any one student exceed one-third the cost of tuition for that school year.

Brice, William R. Award for Excellence in Geology - Geology faculty are to select a junior student who has a QPA of 3.25 or higher and exhibits the greatest promise for success in the field of Geology

Department of Business Academic Achievement Award. This award is presented to a student who excels in several disciplines within the business curriculum and exhibits outstanding leadership and communication skills necessary in professional career development.

Campus Association of UPJ - Ruby Biddle Award - Sophomore level student that has completed 24 credits at UPJ with a 3.25 QPA or above in spite of some significant personal obstacle. Chosen by Academic Affairs Office.

Campus Association of UPJ - Rosella Blackington Award - Presented to a graduating woman for outstanding academic performance and leadership contributions to the University during her first 90 credits at UPJ.

Dr. Sheldon I. and Beth Rapoport Clare Award. This award is granted to graduating seniors who are going to teach high school chemistry.

Stanton Chapman Crawford Memorial Award. This award is presented to students who have made significant contributions to the betterment of the college, representing it well in areas of student life, and, in doing so, have typified the kind of student the college aims to produce.

CTC Award. This award, in honor of Congressman John P. Murtha, is given to the graduating senior student in management who exhibits outstanding leadership qualities in civic responsibilities and great potential for professional success in the public or private sectors.

Education (1), Upper Level Elementary Student of the Year Award - For excellence in the elementary education curriculum and for high potential for success in the education profession by a student who has demonstrated leadership, been involved in extracurricular activities and served both the college and local communities.

Education (2), Upper Level Secondary Student of the Year Award - For excellence in the secondary education curriculum and for high potential for success in the education profession by a student who has demonstrated leadership, been involved in extracurricular activities and served both the college and local communities.

G. Fesler Edwards Award. This award is presented to outstanding students in the business program at the end of their junior year who have achieved excellent academic records, have exemplified good student citizenship, and have shown potential for further academic work and/or success in business.

Emglo Products, LP Award. This award is given to the top student in the accounting program.

Faculty Senate Scholar-Athlete Award. This award is presented to a student involved in intercollegiate athletics who demonstrates academic achievement.

Harold Grant Fry Award - Grants made to students majoring in geology at Pitt-Johnstown. Awards are based on academic merit and financial need.

Garbarino Family Theatre Award. This award supports students according to academic and theatrical ability.

Claire Garber Memorial Creative Writing Award. This award is for the best single piece of fiction or single poem by a junior or senior.

Humanities Creative Prose Award - This award is presented for excellence in the genres of short story, personal essay, or memoir for full-time students.

Journalism Award - This award is given to underclassmen who show promise in developing skills necessary for a successful practice in Journalism.

Virginia Koumoungis Golubic Poetry Award. This award shall benefit one (or more) Junior student(s) who have a QPA of 3.25 and have written the most worthy poems as determined by the Humanities Division faculty who teach poetry/creative writing.

Carroll Grimes Award for Writing in the Humanities. This award provides support to the undergraduate author of the best scholarly or critical essay written for a humanities class.

Samuel S. Hicks Award.  This award is given to a student majoring in the Justice Administration and Criminology program and who is a Pennsylvania resident.

Robert J. Hunter Award. This award is presented to an outstanding senior who exhibits the innovative, enthusiastic, and inquiring spirit traditionally associated with scholarship in the social sciences; who demonstrates significant potential for graduate study; and who is pursuing a career in public service.

Dr. and Mrs. Henry J. Idzkowsky Golden Candle Medal. This medal is presented to the recipient of the Pitt-Johnstown Campus Association’s Rosella Blackington Award.

Walter W. Krebs Award. This award is presented to a freshman, sophomore, or junior who has shown outstanding ability in composition and writing.

Charles Kunkle Jr. Leadership Award. Given to a deserving senior who best exemplifies leadership at Pitt-Johnstown.

Hazel Lansberry French Language Award - Presented to a junior or senior student who has maintained a 3.25 average in French and a 3.0 overall academic average.

George E. Letcher Jr. Accounting Alumni Advisory Board Award - Given annually to the top accounting student exhibiting academic merit as evidenced by a QPA of 3.25, service to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown community and leadership within the accounting community.

Rose Ann Liska Award in Foreign Language. Presented to an exceptional foreign language student.

Robert E. McClure Award. This award is presented to students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and have shown a probability for success in the field of chemistry.

John Fiske McHugh Memorial Award. This award is presented for excellence in advanced reporting and making significant contributions to the Advocate.

Louise Letizia Miele Award. This award recognizes freshman women in the field of English who have demonstrated potential in creative writing and, through interest and ability, have shown a probability of success in the field of writing.

The Morgan-Korch Scholar. Presented to a student who shows the greatest promise in the field of biology.

Dr. Christopher J. Morgan Mathematical Advancement Award - Award given to an outstanding junior or senior who has a QPA of 3.25 or higher, is a Mathematics major or minor, or a Mathematics Education major and who is making a presentation at a mathematics conference. Preference will be given to students from Indiana, Armstrong, Jefferson, Clearfield, Cambria and Westmoreland counties.

Nursing Alumni Student Award. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 12 nursing credits and have earned a GPA of 3.3 in nursing courses. Along with application a typed essay describing current nursing practice and how the award would be used for education must be submitted. Winner will be selected by the UPJ Nursing Award Committee.

George V. Peck Memorial Award. Supports the winners of the freshman speech contest in engineering technology.

Howard M. Picking Jr. Award. This award is presented to the outstanding senior who demonstrates the most potential for making a significant contribution to the field of business.

Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association Achievement Award. Presented to outstanding junior(s) who exemplify a QPA of 3.25 or higher, leadership skills, service to the UPJ community and participation in outreach activities.

Movene L. Ponas Nursing Award. This award is presented to students with a GPA of 3.25 or higher who are the top two students in the graduating class of the RN-BSN program.

Joseph J. Rapoport Memorial Award. This award is presented to a male student exhibiting leadership, good citizenship, and active service to the college and the community.

Thomas H. Russell Memorial Award in Journalism - This award is presented to a student who has displayed consistently the highest potential for a successful career in professional journalism.

James V. and Concetta M. Saly Award. This award is given to outstanding senior accounting students with selection based upon academic records, personal and citizenship qualifications, and potential for success in the accounting and business fields.

Sally A. Sargent Award. This award is given to a graduating senior in marketing/management who has a GPA of 3.25 or higher and exhibits the greatest promise for success in an entrepreneurial venture and/or professional business environment.

Lowell D. Shaffer Student-Athlete Award. This award is presented to a student involved in intercollegiate athletics who demonstrates academic achievement.

Dr. Jem Spectar Award - This Award will be given to a junior who has a QPA of 3.75 or higher and will be applied toward senior-year tuition.

Louis M. Ulery Award. This award is granted to students who have demonstrated outstanding ability in the fields of the mathematical and computing sciences.

Albert P. Vannucci International Studies Award. This award is presented for superior achievement in international studies.

Wilson Construction Co. Award. This award is presented to outstanding senior engineering technology students based on their academic records, personal and citizenship qualifications, and potential for success.

John D. Wilson Mathematics Research Award. This award recognizes the work of an outstanding upper-class student in the areas of mathematics or statistical research, either theoretical or applied, which is performed either as a course requirement or as an independent study project.

WJAC Television Award (Electrical Engineering Technology) - Presented for outstanding ability in subjects related to the television communication industry and indicating a desire to pursue a career in that field.

WJAC Television Award (Communications or Journalism) - Presented for outstanding ability in subjects related to the television communication industry and indicating a desire to pursue a career in that field.

Academic Integrity

Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These may be found at

Academic Standing and Probation

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 to be in good academic standing. At the end of each fall and spring term, the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs reviews all students’ records and notifies those students whose cumulative GPAs are below 2.00 that they are on probation for the next full term. Probation means that a student may not relocate within the University, nor take more than 18 credits in a semester. Furthermore, students who fail to achieve or maintain a GPA of 2.00 in their major subject area will be placed on probation.

Students who fail to make progress toward good academic standing are subject to suspension. Suspension means that a student is barred from registering at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for a specified period of time. The following guidelines will be used to determine when a student will normally be suspended:

Cumulative GPA between 0.00 and 2.00 after three consecutive semesters

Cumulative GPA between 0.00 and 1.49 after two consecutive semesters

Cumulative GPA between 0.00 and 0.99 after one semester

Courses that are taken outside the University of Pittsburgh during a period of suspension may not be transferred into the University. After the suspension period has expired, the suspended student must request reinstatement in writing or in person through the Office of Academic Affairs. This request must contain a clearly expressed strategy for achieving good academic standing. Reinstatement is not a right, and applications for reinstatement are dealt with on an individual basis.

More than one suspension will result in dismissal. Dismissal means that a student is no longer permitted to register at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. A suspended or dismissed student may appeal his/her academic status to the Committee on Academic Standards. The procedure for the appeal is available from the Office of the Registrar.

Affirmative Action and University of Pittsburgh Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of Pittsburgh, as an educational institution and as an employer, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity.  Accordingly, as fully explained in Policy 07-01-03, the University prohibits and will not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability, or status as a veteran.  The University also prohibits and will not engage in retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. Further, the University will continue to take affirmative steps to support and advance these values consistent with the University’s mission. This policy applies to admissions, employment, access to and treatment in University programs and activities. This is a commitment made by the University and is in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

For information on University equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, please contact: University of Pittsburgh, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Cheryl Ruffin, Institutional Equity Manager, 4415 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor Webster Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (412) 648-7860.

For complete details on the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy, please refer to Policy 07-01-03.  For information on how to file a complaint under this Policy, please refer to Procedure 07-01-03.

Certification of Enrollment

Certifications of enrollment to third parties are processed by the Office of the Registrar in 279 Blackington Hall.

Classification of Students

Classification of students is based upon the number of credits earned. To be classified as a sophomore, a student must have earned at least 23.5 credits; as a junior, at least 53.5 credits; and as a senior, at least 83.5 credits.

College Honors

At the close of each full term, students who earned a 3.25 average for the previous term are placed on the College Honors List. Each honoree must have earned at least 12 credits with no grade lower than C. Courses taken on the H/S/U option are included as part of the 12 credit minimum if there is no option to take the course for a letter grade. At least 50% of credits must be taken for a letter grade. Part-time students will be eligible for inclusion on the College Honors List based upon their 12 most recent credits. A student who receives a U grade, or grades of G or I, will not be eligible for the College Honors List.

Programs Completed in Pittsburgh

Certain programs of study can be initiated at Pitt-Johnstown and are related to those in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Swanson School of Engineering at the University’s Pittsburgh campus. Students who wish to pursue a degree in these programs must relocate to Pittsburgh to complete the degree requirements. The programs include classics, fine arts, music, philosophy, and studio arts in the Division of Humanities; physics in the Division of Natural Sciences; anthropology and religious studies in the Division of Social Sciences; and engineering in the Division of Engineering.

Course Changes

After registration, course changes should be made only with the approval of the academic advisor. During the first 10 class days of a term (three class days for summer sessions), adding and/or dropping one or more courses is permitted. No additions may be made after the 10th class day. No record of a course dropped within this period is maintained.

  • Courses may be dropped with a W grade on the transcript at any time from the 10th class day through the ninth week of the term. Students should discuss with their academic advisor any plans for dropping a course; then with the advisor’s approval, students must submit the completed form to the Office of the Registrar. Note that refunds, if any, depend on the dates certain actions are carried out. There are no refunds for W grades.

After the ninth week (third week for summer sessions), withdrawal from a course is not possible unless extenuating circumstances can be shown. If the student believes that circumstances justify late withdrawal, he/she should:

   •Meet with the Registrar to review the process of a late withdrawal.
   •Follow the late withdrawal process and obtain appropriate signatures, submit completed late withdrawal paperwork to the Office of the Registrar.

Course Repetitions

Required courses in a student’s major must be repeated if the grade of F is received. If the grade of D is earned in a sequence course such as mathematics or language and the student intends to continue in that discipline, the course should be repeated. Other courses may be repeated at the discretion of the student. Course repetitions are subject to the following limitations:


  1. No sequence course completed with a grade of C-/D/F may be repeated for credit after a higher-numbered course in that sequence has been passed with a C or higher grade.
  2. Courses for which a C-/D/F has been earned cannot be repeated using the S/U grade option.
  3. The grade earned by repeating a course replaces the grade originally earned. The originally earned grade will not be counted in the computation of the GPA; it does not increase the number of credits unless an F grade is replaced by a passing grade.
  4. No course may be repeated at any institution other than the University of Pittsburgh or its regional campuses.
  5. Except as noted in the course descriptions, a particular course may be taken for credit only once.
  6. Courses passed with a grade of C or higher may be repeated only after consultation with a student’s advisor.
  7. A student may not take any course more than three times.

Courses Taken Elsewhere

Students may attend a summer or special session of another accredited institution in order to supplement their programs if they are in good academic standing. In order to receive appropriate credit for courses taken at other institutions, students must submit a written request to the Office of the Registrar in advance, identifying the course title and description. The course must be as follows:

  1. Offered by an accredited institution. Students who have earned 60 or more credits may not take courses in two-year schools except with prior authorization.
  2. Substantially the same as courses regularly offered in arts and sciences.
  3. Different from any course taken previously.

To obtain permission to attend another university, students must have begun their program in the University of Pittsburgh system or must have been enrolled as a transfer student with not more than 30 advanced-standing credits.

A maximum of two summer or special sessions may be taken at other institutions with a maximum of two courses a session. It is assumed that 30 credits in residence will be earned between the two sessions and, normally, another 30 credits in residence after returning from the last session.

Courses that are taken outside the University of Pittsburgh during a period of suspension may not be transferred into the University.

Credits attempted at an institution other than the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown while a student is enrolled simultaneously at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will not be transferable unless prior approval is obtained.

Credit by Examination

Students may earn credits toward graduation not only by taking and successfully finishing courses, but also by taking special examinations. Each test for credit by examination must be arranged with the department teaching the course for which credit is desired. The department has the prerogative, for good reason, to offer or not to offer such an exam.

In some areas, students may obtain credit by examination if they have mastered material during their high school years that is traditionally covered in college courses but is not required to gain college admission. This is with the provision that the courses are those in which the department generally allows for credit by examination. Credit by examination cannot be obtained, however, for a college-level course for which credit has already been awarded, nor can it be used to alter a grade already received. Credit may not be earned by examination in lower-level sequence courses when the student has already obtained credit for a higher-level course in the sequence. Students are not permitted to audit courses without registering and then apply for credit by examination.

There is a fee for the examination, whether or not credits are earned.

Double and Triple Majors

Students who meet the major requirements of two or more departments may declare, and have recorded on their transcripts, a double or triple major. If one of the majors leads to a BA degree and another to a BS degree, at graduation the student must decide which of the two degree options is to appear on the transcript and the diploma, as only one degree is granted.

Students must fulfill all general education and major field requirements for each major. A minimum of 120 credits and a GPA of 2.00 must be earned.

Double Degree

Students may earn two degrees simultaneously, providing that one is a Bachelor of Arts and the other is a Bachelor of Science. Students may not earn two BA or two BS degrees simultaneously.

Students pursuing this option must complete major field requirements for each degree, a minimum of 30 credits beyond one degree, and general education requirements. A minimum of 150 credits and a GPA of 2.00 are required to earn a double degree.

Students will have both degrees printed on their transcript and will receive two separate diplomas.

Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act Notice

Students and prospective students have the right to review the University’s most recent report prepared pursuant to the Federal Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, 20 USC 1092. The report is available from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Office of Athletics.

Faculty-Student Relationship Policy

The University’s educational mission is promoted by professional relationships between faculty members and students. Relationships of an intimate nature (that is, sexual and/or romantic) compromise the integrity of a faculty-student relationship whenever the faculty member has a professional responsibility for the student. The University prohibits relationships between a faculty member and a student whose academic work, teaching, or research is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member.

If an intimate relationship should exist or develop between a faculty member and a student, the University requires the faculty member to remove himself/herself from all supervisory, evaluative, and/or formal advisory roles with respect to the student.

NOTE: In this policy, the definition of “faculty member” refers to anyone appointed by the University as a teacher, researcher, or academic administrator, including graduate and undergraduate students so appointed.

For complete text, go to

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, the University guarantees that students have the right to inspect all personally identifiable records maintained by the institution and may challenge the content and accuracy of those records through appropriate institutional procedures. It is further guaranteed by the University that students’ records containing personally identifiable information will not be released except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Additional information regarding either of the above may be obtained through the Office of the Registrar, 279 Blackington Hall.

A full explanation of students’ rights provided by FERPA and the procedures available to exercise those rights is available to all University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown students in the Office of the Registrar.

Full-time/Part-time Status and Credit Load

Full-time and part-time status is defined by the number of credits students carry during the fall or spring terms. Students who register for 12 or more credits per term are classified as full-time students. Those who register for fewer than 12 credits are classified as part-time students. A typical major program ranges from 14 to 17 credits per term. Any term in excess of 18 credits requires the approval Office of the Registrar. To be eligible for more than 18 credits, a student must be in good academic standing. Students who need to repeat a course as a result of poor scholarship in that course should attend an additional term rather than carry an excessive load in any term.

Student Self-Service Enrollment

Student Self Service Enrollment allows students to enroll in classes and add/drop classes for a particular term and/or session. All undergraduate students are required to meet with an advisor prior to enrolling in classes. An Academic Advisement Required Hold has been placed on all undergraduate student records; and students must see an advisor in order for the hold to be removed.

Each term students will be assigned an enrollment appointment, which indicates the date and time that the student becomes eligible to enroll for classes. You can find your appointment information at the “Student Center” at Students are assigned an enrollment appointment based on the total number of credits earned in their current career. A student’s enrollment appointment will begin on the date and time specified. Students may enroll and change their schedule until the end of the published add/drop period for a given term and or session.

Veteran/Servicemember students will receive priority enrollment and will be assigned enrollment appointments prior to the general student population.

Students should be aware that dropping a course or courses may affect athletic and/or financial aid eligibility.

Grade Option H/S/U

Honors, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory may be chosen as the form of evaluation for any course that is NOT required in the major, e.g., general education classes, general electives, etc. H is awarded for A work, S is awarded for B and C achievement, and U is awarded for C- and lower performance.

The H/S/U option is limited by regulations established by the various divisions of the University. The decision to select the H/S/U option must be made during the first three weeks of the term; it is irreversible. Grade Option request forms are available in the Office of the Registrar, 279 Blackington Hall.

Students are advised to be cautious in choosing the H/S/U option, particularly if they are planning post baccalaureate study. No more than 12 credits with S or H grades may be counted toward graduation.

Grade Report

Shortly after the term ends, students can access their grades online via the University Portal at

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is a numerical statement of the academic standing of an individual student. It is simply an arithmetical average of the grade points in every course taken for a letter grade. GPA is determined by dividing the total number of earned quality points by the total number of earned quality point credits. All courses taken for credit on the letter grade system, except repeated courses, are included in the computation of the official GPA, which is determined in the Office of Academic Affairs. In the event an H/S/U grade appears on a transcript, the credit should not be included in the credit total for calculation of the GPA. Inclusion on the College Honors List, honors at graduation, and academic probation depend directly on the official GPA.

Grades and Grade Points

A+ 4.00
A 4.00
A- 3.75
B+ 3.25
B 3.00
B- 2.75
C+ 2.25
C 2.00
C- 1.75
D+ 1.25
D 1.00
D- 0.75
F 0.00

Unfinished Class Work (ongoing).  Class work unfinished because of extenuating personal circumstances - work is considered in progress for up to one calendar year.  If the class work is not completed within one calendar year, the grade will be changed to NG. The NG grade will remain on the record and the student will be required to re-register for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation. A grade of G carries neither credit no quality points.  

I Incomplete course work due to the nature of the course, clinical work, or incomplete research work in individual guidance courses or seminars. A grade of I carries neither credit nor quality points.
N Registered audit. Neither credit nor quality points accompany a grade of N.
NG Unfinished Class Work (expired) Class work unfinished because of extenuating personal circumstances - work is no longer considered to be in progress. The NG grade will remain on the record and the student will be required to re-register for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation.
R Resignation (from all courses)
W Approved withdrawal from a course. See regulations on withdrawal from courses. Neither credit nor quality points accompany a W grade. If a student should at a later time take a course for which he/she has received a W, a course repeat will not be recognized. The original W grade does not lower the student’s grade point average (GPA).
H Honors (exceptional) completion of class requirements.
S Satisfactory completion of class requirements.
U Unsatisfactory completion of class requirements.

Graduation Application/Degree Audit

When students have earned 75 credits, they must file an application for graduation with the Office of the Registrar. Students should review their online Progress Report in the student operating system with their academic advisor.  This report will indicate all requirements for all the majors/minors indicated on the graduation application.  It is the student’s responsbility to ensure that any unsatisfied requirements disclosed by the report are promptly corrected either in conference with the academic advisor or a representative of the academic division office. 

Graduation Honors

Those students of a graduating class who have attained an outstanding scholastic record may be graduated with honors. To qualify for honors, a student must have taken at least 60 credits on the letter-grade system at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and attained a cumulative GPA of 3.25 for cum laude, 3.50 for magna cum laude, and 3.75 for summa cum laude.

Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the graduation requirements defined by the division they are majoring in and fulfill the arts and sciences general requirements. In no instance may a student graduate with a cumulative or major GPA of less than 2.00.

Independent Study and Directed Undergraduate Research

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown provides unique opportunities for advanced undergraduate students to engage in individual independent research and study. Students can, under direct individualized faculty supervision, pursue more in-depth investigation of topics in their program of study. Those opportunities include directed readings, directed research, and independent study. Under certain circumstances, students in their junior or senior year may propose an independent research team under the supervision of a team of faculty. Finally, students in education are encouraged to participate in a program of directed tutoring prior to their senior year student teaching experience.

Students are encouraged to consider applying for faculty-supervised independent research in one of three types of courses found in the curriculum: directed readings, directed research, and independent study. In a directed readings course, the student usually completes a prescribed set of readings in a topical area not covered in the program’s recurring curriculum offerings, meets frequently with the supervising faculty member in tutorial sessions, and often is asked to write abstracts of materials read and discussed. In a directed research course, the student usually undertakes an in-depth research investigation of a specific topic and/or the application of a particular analytical technique under the supervision of a faculty member in the program, resulting in an extensive written term project, thesis, paper, or laboratory project report. Directed research projects are usually completed by students while on campus and involve frequent meetings with the faculty supervisor as the assigned project moves through the various stages of completion. In an independent study course, the student undertakes, under specific conditions set by the supervising faculty member, an independent on-campus or off-campus program of study, research, or creative activity, often resulting in an extensive written paper, thesis, project report, or dramatic or musical performance.

It is not unusual for the results of independent student research to be presented on campus at events, such as the annual Natural Science Undergraduate Research Symposium on campus, the undergraduate Brackenridge symposium co-hosted by Pitt-Johnstown and the University Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh, or at regional or national conferences or symposia of professional associates, such as those associated with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). The results of these types of student work are routinely presented at professional undergraduate research conferences in the areas of biology, chemistry, English literature, geology, history, international relations, and psychology, and at professional auditions and competitions in music and theater.


Students may select internship opportunities for 3-12 credits, provided the division chairperson gives permission in advance. This experience is designed to provide students with practical experience in their chosen major. Internships may be completed locally or outside the region.


Minors must include at least 18 credits, at least 6 of which must be upper-level credits. Unless required by the major department, the availability of a minor area of study in any particular subject is not guaranteed. Students needing courses to complete major requirements will have preference over students needing courses to complete minor requirements. Minors do not have to be in the same division as the student’s major. Students are not required to complete a minor for graduation (except where the major program requires a minor). Minors are available in the following programs: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Economics, English Literature, Entrepreneurship, French, Geography, Geology, History, Information Systems, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Spanish.

Non-Arts and Sciences Courses

A student in the arts and sciences may take no more than 15 credits in other undergraduate programs (e.g., education, engineering technology) offered at Johnstown.

Patent Policy

A University student, during his or her period of enrollment, may be responsible for new discoveries and inventions that could have commercial value and contribute to scientific, technological, social, and cultural progress. Those accomplishments should be patented in the best interest of the student, the University, the public, and the government. The University’s policy on patent rights and technology transfer determines the rights and obligations of the student and the University in any technology the student may invent while enrolled in the University. Details of the University policy are available from the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property.

Permanent Academic Record

A permanent academic record is maintained on behalf of all students who attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. This record is maintained in the Office of the Registrar.

Upon graduation, the permanent academic record is sealed and no changes may be made to it. Changes may be made only upon documented proof of inaccuracy in the original recording of information and only with the authorization of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. A student who re-enrolls after graduation may not repeat courses taken during the first enrollment period.

Physical Education

A student may take no more than 2 credits of physical education per term, for a career total of 8 credits. Only the first 4 credits of physical education are considered as arts and sciences credits.

Placement Exams

All full-time students entering the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for the first time with fewer than 24 transfer credits must take the Math Placement Test in order to determine their appropriate course placement. Any student who plans to take a course in chemistry or in any foreign language should take a placement test in that subject area to ensure appropriate placement.

Pre-Professional Degree Programs

There are several preparatory tracks available at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown within the degree programs it offers. The tracks are designed with special academic advising to prepare the student for further education in a professional graduate study program. The following tracks are outlined and available at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown:

Pre-Medical Field

Students wishing to further study dentistry, optometry, medicine, physical therapy, or veterinary medicine generally follow the program requirements outlined for a Bachelor of Science in biology or chemistry. The students are assigned an academic advisor who works with them in preparation for further graduate study.


Law schools do not require a particular field of study, and pre-law students may pursue any degree program. However, pre-law students will benefit from the services of a pre-law advisor while completing their curriculum. Advising is provided on specific topics related to course selection, applications, entrance exams, and other matters involved in law school admission. Pre-law advising is coordinated through the Division of Social Sciences.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown offers appropriate academic programs in traditional and self-designed areas of study recommended for students planning to pursue theological study and/or a ministerial career. To enhance the program, it includes pre-seminary academic and career advising, internship opportunities, activities with on-campus student groups, and an active campus ministry led by Protestant and Catholic campus pastors. Advising is coordinated through the Division of Social Sciences.

Research Integrity

The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. Excellence in scholarship requires all members of the University community to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity with regard to research, instruction, and evaluation. Research misconduct carries potential for serious harm to the University community, to the integrity of science, and to society as a whole. The University’s Research Integrity Policy is available online.

Second Degree

Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and wish to re-enroll for additional course work or for a second degree may do so as an adult education student.

If the student is pursuing a second degree, all appropriate course work from the first degree will apply to the second degree, up to a maximum of 90 credits. All major field requirements and general education requirements for the second degree must be fulfilled. A minimum of 30 new credits must be earned. Only 15 credits from the first degree can be applied toward the major field requirements of the second degree.

Course work for the second degree will continue on the original University of Pittsburgh undergraduate transcript.

The cumulative GPA and credit total will be based on all credits from the first degree and all new course work taken that applies to the second degree. A minimum of 60 credits must be earned in the second degree for the student to be eligible for honors at graduation.

If a student has earned a bachelor’s degree from an institution other than the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown he/she is treated as a transfer student. A new academic record will be created, and all of the above requirements are in effect.

If the student has earned a bachelor’s degree from the Pittsburgh campus or another regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh, he/she is treated as a transfer student, but the second degree will continue on the original University of Pittsburgh undergraduate transcript.

Self-Designed Major

The self-designed major provides an option for students who have definable areas of interest for which no established program exists. It provides the equivalent of a normal major and area of concentration containing at least 36 credits. It must include concentrated study in at least three disciplines or programs and must provide the breadth and depth consistent with an arts and sciences major. Students normally plan a self-designed major during their fourth or fifth term of full-time study, but, under exceptional circumstances, may do so later. A detailed proposal, a list of courses, and a letter of support from the supervising faculty committee of at least three persons representing component fields involved in the major should be sent to the Office for Academic Affairs for approval. Any students interested in a self-designed major should consult their academic advisor for detailed information.

Statute of Limitations

All the credits required for a degree, whether earned in residence or transferred from another institution, must have been earned no more than 12 years prior to the date on which the degree is awarded. However, when given evidence that the previous courses still provide adequate preparation for courses yet to be taken and still represent a reasonable part of the total academic program, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may waive this limitation. In such cases, the waiver is for a specific period during which the program must be completed.

Study Abroad

Students in all fields of study, and particularly those in international studies, are encouraged to broaden their academic experience and perspective by studying abroad for a summer, a semester, or an academic year during their undergraduate career. Such experiences open opportunities for gaining multicultural perspective firsthand and have proven invaluable for students entering the workforce, considering graduate study in many fields, or plan to work abroad after graduation. The University of Pittsburgh has well-established programs in the United Kingdom, France, China, Greece, Italy, India, Spain, Africa, and many more. A program specialist in the Office of International Services advises all students considering study abroad opportunities.

Students wishing to participate in study abroad are required to choose either a Panther study abroad program or one selected from an extensive list of vetted, Pitt-approved providers. These programs offer a variety of multi-disciplinary courses, international internships, field research placements, volunteer opportunities, and advanced language studies. Students wishing to receive credit for study abroad are required to obtain approval from their academic advisor of their study plans in advance of their planned departure date. With special permission, students may complete part of their senior year abroad.

Termination of Registration/Resignation (Dropping all Classes)

Students may resign any time after the end of the add/drop period but no later than the close of business on the 60th calendar day of the term or the 30th calendar day of the session by notifying the Office of the Registrar of their intention to terminate their registration for all classes by mail, university email, phone, or in person. Registration and term tuition charges will be adjusted in accordance with the official University Title IV Refund Policy. Students must do this even if they are only registered for one course or credit. If they have housing and/or food service charges, they must notify the appropriate offices immediately.

After the 60th calendar day of the term or the 30th calendar day of the session, students can only terminate their registration by withdrawing through the Office of the Registrar.

Students who wish to drop all of their courses before the official end of add/drop period should do so by contacting the Office of the Registrar, 279 Blackington Hall. If students drop all of their courses, they will not be liable for their term tuition and fees, and their registration will become void.

If students resign after the last day of the add/drop period, they are liable for a percentage of their charges and will be issued R grades, denoting resignation on transcripts. R grades do not count toward a degree, grade point average, or academic progress for the purposes of financial aid eligibility.

Failing to attend the classes for which a student is registered or failing to notify the appropriate academic and administrative offices of nonattendance is not considered an official resignation. Students who fail to follow proper procedures for termination of their registration are responsible for all tuition and fees assessed for the term or session.

The effective date of resignation is determined by: (1) the date of in-person contact with the Office of the Registrar; (2) the date of the postmark on the letter of intent to resign (or the date of receipt if no postmark exists); (3) the date of notification by telephone; and (4) the date of last attendance.

R grades are assigned for all courses for which registration is terminated after the add/drop period but prior to the resignation deadline for the term or session.

W grades are assigned for all courses for which registration is terminated after the 60th calendar day of the term or the 30th calendar day of the summer session.

Transfer Credits

An official transcript (sent from the school where credits were earned to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown) is required for evaluation and transfer of credits.

Advanced-standing and transfer credits are not used in the computation of the student’s grade point average (GPA).

All credits eligible for advanced standing are subject to the following limitations if the student enters an arts and sciences program:

  1. For acceptance, courses must be passed with a satisfactory grade (C or better) in an academic area offered by the University of Pittsburgh and must be earned at an accredited institution. The University will not refuse to consider a transfer credit based on the accreditation of the sending institution.
  2. The number of credits granted for any given course may not exceed the number on the transcript from the school where they were earned, nor may it exceed the number earned in the corresponding course in arts and sciences at Pitt-Johnstown.
  3. Students must complete all of their final 30 credits at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
  4. All credits accepted for advanced standing must have been earned within 12 years of the date when the degree requirements will be completed.
  5. All transfer credits are subject to reevaluation if the student transfers from one school to another school within the University.
  6. In arts and sciences programs, a maximum of 15 non-arts and sciences credits may be counted in the minimum of 120 required for graduation.
  7. Not more than 50 percent of the credits required in the major subject may be transferred from another school or from another campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
  8. Not more than 90 credits may be transferred from four-year schools, and not more than 60 from two-year schools.
  9. If a course for which advanced-standing credit has been granted is repeated, the advanced-standing credit is canceled.
  10. Students who have attended the University of Pittsburgh previously and have attended another institution since their last term in residence at Pitt may apply for readmission with advanced standing.
  11. An advanced-standing credit evaluation will be completed only after a student has applied for transfer admission.


An academic transcript is a permanent record of a student’s academic progress. The transcript is a cumulative record of the student’s GPA, as well as a record of the department, title, and grade for each course in which the student has enrolled and summary of advanced standing information. Students may request an official transcript from the Office of the Registrar. Upon graduation, the transcript reflects a student’s degree and date; major; and if applicable, honors, area of concentration, and minor. Information on requesting transcripts can be found on the Registrar’s Office page on the Pitt-Johnstown website. Transcripts will not be issued if a student has any outstanding financial obligation to the University.

Transfers to Professional Programs

Transfers to professional schools of the University are not automatic. Students must apply for admission to the professional schools, such as nursing, social work, pharmacy, and health and rehabilitation sciences on a competitive basis. They should consult the catalog of the appropriate school for specific requirements.

Students who have met all baccalaureate degree requirements, except for their major; who have accumulated a minimum of 90 credits (the last 30 credits at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown); and have been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine or School of Law may be awarded the baccalaureate degree on the basis of the first year’s work in the professional school.

Similarly, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has an affiliation agreement whereby students having completed three years of appropriate course work may gain admission to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and be awarded the baccalaureate degree after completing their first year at PCO. This possibility exists only for the Schools of Dental Medicine and Law at the University and for the PCO and is not applicable to any programs at other universities.

Undeclared Students

Students have the opportunity to explore the range of major programs offered at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown before making a firm decision on the direction of their studies. One out of every five entering freshmen at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is initially undeclared in a major. Students are normally encouraged to select a major before they reach junior status. Students should be aware that a change of major or an extended length of time as an undeclared major may affect their ability to complete degree requirements within 120 credits.

Students who identify themselves as undeclared are assigned to a designated academic advisor who will work directly with them to prepare class schedules. Class schedules are developed to cross many disciplines and still meet broad graduation requirements.

Students leaning toward a particular major but still undecided are encouraged to take one or two introductory courses in that area to explore whether a real interest in that discipline develops. If it does, the student then may decide to declare it as his/her official major.

Not only are academic advisors available for student assistance in choosing a major, there are several other resources. These include the University Scholarship class, The Academic Success Center, the Source Book on Academic Information, and the Career Services Office.

University AIDS Policy

The University of Pittsburgh does not discriminate against individuals who are diagnosed as HIV positive or as having AIDS.

The University recognizes that the health condition of individuals is personal and confidential. Reasonable precautions will be taken to protect information regarding the health condition of all members of the University community.

Based on medical evidence that indicates that there is no risk of transmitting HIV through casual contact in the classroom or circumstances involving only casual contact with others, the University will impose no undue restrictions on faculty, staff, or students who are infected with HIV.

Statement of Compliance Regarding VA Educational Beneficiaries - 38 US Code Section 3679(e)

As a matter of policy, the University of Pittsburgh allows students identified as covered individuals* to attend and participate in all course(s) of education for any given term in which the student has been certified for VA educational benefits.  This policy includes those circumstances in which VA payment(s) for student tuition and fees is late or delayed for up to 90 days after date of certification.  The University retains the right to impose late fees upon those students who incur or retain an outstanding balance beyond the amount of expected VA tuition & fee payment for the term.  

It is school policy to request all beneficiaries of VA educational benefits-including covered individuals*-provide the following documentation as part of certification process:

  • VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) or Statement of Benefits as printed from the website
  • Completion of a certification request form (in hard-copy or on-line), which includes biographical information necessary for submission in the VA’s IT system of record-VA-Once. 

Failure to provide such documentation will result in the delay of any VA claim or certification. 

* Note:  VA defines a Covered Individual as any individual who is entitled to VA educational assistance under the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program (38 U.S. Code Chapter 31) or the VA’s Post-9/11 GI Bill® (38 U.S. Code Chapter 33).

(“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

On 11/1/2019 this section was noted that it needed updated. In an effort to provide accurate information the update was made on 11/4/2019.

Catalog Navigation