University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Ashley

I have had some incredible teachers in the biology department, the best teachers that I have had during my four years. They know me, they still say hello to me in the halls, they wrote me recommendations for vet school. However, some of my worst teachers have been from the biology department. However, on the whole, I have been very pleased with the biology program. As far as classes I've taken in other departments. I have pretty much enjoyed all of my general education classes that I've taken in other departments. I am continually impressed with the expertise these teachers have about the subjects that they teach. Pitt also has incredible research, not just in biology, but across the board.

Paige

All of my professors know me by a first name basis. My favorite class was developmental Psych. Least favorite class was biology. Some students are competitive while others are not. The most unique class I have ever taken was Sociolinguistics of sign language. The communication science and disorder major is great. Our advisor really cares about us and the professors help us with preparation for graduate school. Pitt gears us to learn as much as we can as well as doing things to help boost our resume.

Victor

Pitt is great with its focus on getting students ready for real life, be it continuing education and going into academia, or focusing on the industry and progressing towards a career. Most professors are ready to help out and discuss the opportunities and are willing to recommend job placement. Pitt student community also plays a large part in the school, there are multitude of clubs organized for students to take part in, and all the clubs are ready to inspire and assist students on any task. Furthermore, there is a honors college which challenges and provides exiting opportunities for students who are interested and willing to participate in real research.

Alex

Professors try to learn your name, even in larger lectures. I hate most classes in my major (Psy) and not much is available in my minor (Soc). I don't know how often students study...but a lot it gets overwhelming. You tend to not know those in your class outside of class...there's not much discussion that goes on, even if there is high participation--it's responding to the professor's questions. That's it. I've had no unique classroom experiences. The psych department is huge and most don't know you by name--you have to make yourself known. The professors teaching it that didn't go to Pitt even say it would be hard to survive the major at Pitt in great standing. It's based entirely on the premise that research is GOD. Pitt Undergrad preps you for Grad school perhaps, but definitely not "the real world." Academic requirements are better than A LOT of other schools, but the General Ed requirements for A&S are ridiculous..Philosophy? Seriousoly? Art/Music? Boo.

Sasha

Most of my professors know my name. My favorite class is any class where I can debate issues that are relevant to me. My least favorite class would be almost all my business classes. How often a student studies depends on the student. Class participation varies by the type of course and the professor. A select few of Pitt students have intellectual conversations outside of class, you just have to find them. Students on campus are extremely competitive. The most unique class I have taken is Philosophy of Religion. I have two majors which are Finance and Africana Studies. I love Africana Studies although the department could be a bit more organized. I don't like Finance, but CBA departments are very organized and efficient. I spend time with very few professors outside of class. Pitt's academic requirements are fine, they give you good general education and core classes, but still leave a lot of room to take other classes you may be interested in.

Aimee

I am a Spanish and Linguistics major. My professors (in my majors) are always accessible and willing to help. Not always the case in bigger gen ed classes. I study a lot, and I think a lot of students do too. Class participation is pretty common. Pitt students have intellectual conversations out of class. In particular the students I know, who tend to be involved in campus activities. The most unique class I have taken is Quechua (an indigenous language of the Andean region). I spent time with my professors. I am the research assistant of one of them and working on an honors thesis with another one. My Spanish classes are mostly learning for its own sake, but linguistics classes are more geared towards real world application.

Leah

All my professors know my name. Although some classes are very large and you will just be one in the crowd unless you work to get to know your profs. I love all my chem classes. Least favorite..this horrible Africana Studies class, loved the material, hated my prof. Students study alot, the library is always packed around exam time but people have a good balance. Class participation is common in smaller classes but not in lecture style classes. Intellectual convos are common about everything..science, philosophy... Students are not very competitive, I don't know anyone who is "cut-throat" or would do something to hurt someone elses chances of doing well. The most unique class I've taken is "Aesthetics and Science"..really interesting, brilliant HPS professor. I am a Chemistry major and an HPS (History and Philosophy of Science) major. The chem department has tons of opportunities for everything..teaching, research, volunteer work, student groups. Excellent advising, very friendly. HPS..not so much, brilliant faculty, but less acessible. I see professors outside of class during office hours occasionally or just in passing. The academic requirements are pretty rigorous, quite a few gen. eds...perhaps a few to many history/foreign culture. Pitt is def. geared towards learning for its own sake..its a liberal arts school.

Jen

I don't like that Pitt doesn't allow you to get dual degrees unless you take 30 extra credits. I don't like that Pitt doesn't offer a Spanish minor or a Psychology minor. I would say that students study every day for at least 1-2 hours. Class participation is very common. Cross-cultural communication is the most unique class I've taken. I don't spend time with professors outside of class unless I need help.

Alex

Professors will know your name and will be willing to work with you and help you as long as you make an effort, go to their office hours, send them an email from time to time, and just generally let them know you actually care about their class. Class participation isn't super common, so if you participate it will definitely set you apart and often influence your grade and a professor's willingness to cut you a break. I would venture a guess that Pitt students study more than the average college student, but not too much. We always save time for having fun and what college student is a huge procrastinator anyway. Students only really seem to have three modes. Either you're a slacker, or you're competitive, or you're ridiculously, unnecessarily competitive. Every program has it's share of people who are so competitive that it pisses everyone off, even their professors. Arts and Sciences, particularly PoliSci and History, seem to have a lot of these people. I'm a PoliSci and Russian major and both are really great departments. We definitely end up spending a good amount of time outside of class with our profs in the Russian Dept and to a lesser degree the PoliSci dept. I've always felt that at Pitt the general education requirements are meant to be more difficult than the courses in one's major, at least that's the way it's been for me. I think the education at Pitt, as cliche as it sounds, is really what you make of it. It's such a big place with so many different opportunities that you have a lot of freedom to pave your own way. If you're dead set on being job ready, then there's a way to do that here, and if you just want to expand your horizons, you can do that too. I've been pretty successful at doing both. I'm really happy with my education from Pitt. I feel well prepared for grad school and a career after that.

Rob

Some professors, mostly in your major, will learn you name and can offer help and guidance. Rob Ruck's U.S. since 1945, very interesting class taught by my favorite Professor.

Jenna

Most of professors know my name, but that is mostly because I always try to get to know them. I have had a few bad professors, but they are at every school. Most students, or the ones I know, spend a lot of their time studying, personally I study about 3-4 hours a day outside of class. Class participation is common in most classes, sometimes it is intimidating though to speak up in a class of 200 people. I am a psychology major, which I have found to be so fun and interesting.

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