Academic Requirements

Academic and Graduation Requirements

conditional/Provisional status

Students admitted with conditional/provisional status must remove all provisions in order to graduate. (link)

Program Requirements

Academic requirements are available on department webpages at They are not intended, however, to take the place of periodic meetings with academic advisors. 

Non-credit requirements

Students are responsible for completing several non-credit requirements before they can complete their degree. These include the online academic integrity module and an exit survey. Students who fail to comply with the non-credit requirements will have an academic hold placed on their account. 

Master's degrees

For the Master of Public Health degree, approved programs of study require a total of at least 42 credits, including the required courses, electives, an essay or thesis, and a practicum/internship. 

Approved programs of study for the Master of Science degree require a total of at least 30 credits, including required courses, electives, and a thesis on a research problem in the area of the student's principal interest. Additionally, a comprehensive examination and final oral examination covering the subject of the thesis are required. 

Doctoral degrees

For advancement to candidacy for a doctoral degree, the student must pass certain examinations (qualifying/preliminary overview, comprehensive, and defense), fulfill the research tool requirement (the student's advisor confirms facility with use of the computer as a research tool), complete a certain period of residency and specific courses as determined by the department or school, and gain approval of the thesis topic by the student's thesis or dissertation advisory committee. The credit requirement generally is at least 72 credits; a limited number of credits may possibly be accepted from a previously earned master's degree at the discretion of the department. 

Public health school-wide courses

Students are expected to demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of public health with an understanding of human-environment relationships; techniques of investigation, measurement, and evaluation; and health services. The subject areas covering these fundamentals are currently defined as social and behavioral science, environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and health policy and management. See the academic handbook for a list of the school-wide core courses. For the list of school-wide core courses required by your program, see your department's handbook. 

Public Health Grand Rounds

All degree-seeking students must register for and complete two terms of the Dean's Public Health Grand Rounds Course (PUBHLT 2022) during their first fall and spring terms. This is a course designed to expose students to the broader profession of public health. 

Electronic theses, essays, and dissertations

Master's theses and essays and doctoral dissertations must be submitted by ETD website upload (rather than on paper). 

Research certification

All students involved in human or animal research are required to complete online training modules

Exit survey

Students much complete a brief online exit survey before certification for graduation. 

Minimize Exemptions

Exemptions from school-level required courses are made on a case-by-case basis. These are based on the completion of CEPH competencies embedded in prior coursework and may or may not be accompanied by advanced standing credits. 

Core Course Exemptions forms must be completed, explicitly listing the coursework/competencies for which the exemption is based, and must be signed by the student's advisor, the instructor of the course from which the exemption is desired. If advanced standing credit is being requested, an additional form must also be filed. 

MS and PhD students with an MPH from an accredited school of public health can be exempted from Essentials of Public Health by submitting the Public Health Core Course Exemption form to the Office of Student Affairs. 

Minimize Practicum Requirements

All MPH programs require a practicum, usually at least 200 hours. Specific requirements vary by department. Additionally, other programs may also require practica or clinical experiences. Depending on the practicum or clinical experience, appropriate clearances, specific site agreements, or other legal arrangements may be required. 

Students should discuss these requirements with their advisor and practicum supervisor well in advance, as some processes are lengthy. 

Minimize Graduation timetable and other details

There are four graduation dates per academic year: April, June, August, and December. Deadlines are set each term for applications for graduation, generally due at least three months before the graduation date. Visit for more information. 

A late fee is assessed if the deadline date is not met. Applications for graduation are valid for only one graduation date. 

Certifcation for graduation requires documentation that course and credit requirements have been met, all required examinations have been passed satisfactorily, and all incomplete grades have been removed. The final thesis, essay, or dissertation must be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs. Students must follow the formatting guidelines available through the student affairs webpages on graduation information. 

University of Pittsburgh Commencement is generally held at the end of April. April graduates, as well as graduates from the previous June, August, or December, are invited to participate in that event. Diplomas are mailed to the student by the University registrar approximately six weeks after graduation. 

We also hold our own Convocation for graduating students during the same week as the University's ceremony. The 2022 Pitt Public Health Convocation is tentatively scheduled for xx at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. 

Students who apply for graduation but later find it necessary to postpone must submit a new application for the new date. 

After Graduation

Once you graduate, access to resources does not stop, and additional opportunities open up to you. 

Career Services

Pitt Public Health graduates retain free access to many career-building resources: 

  • career coaching
  • document review
  • mock interviews
  • access to the  Handshake job board
  • the opportunity to become an alumni mentor

Learn more...

Career Outcomes

As part of our on-going attainment of accreditation by CEPH, we must report the career outcomes of our graduates. To do this, we need your help. Be on the look out for a brief survey approximately one year after graduation and for a follow-up the next year. 

In addition to reporting to CEPH, the data is compiled, aggregately and anonymously, into an annual report to assist applicants and current students. 

Stay Involved, Stay Connected

There are many ways to stay connected and involved, and to give back to Pitt Public Health: 

  • Become an alumni mentor
  • Join our LinkedIn group
  • Complete continuing education credits for the CPH exam
  • Attend alumni reunions and events

Learn more...