New Initiative Gives Recent Grads Continuing Education Opportunities

A series of Pitt flags on lamp postsDue to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy, graduating college students face a challenging job market this summer.

A new program developed by the Office of the Provost aims to provide this year’s graduating senior class with a way to strengthen their skills and increase their competitiveness via streamlined admissions processes and generous scholarships toward a master’s degree or certificate program. 

Pitt2Pitt includes more than 20 graduate and professional programs in a broad set of areas including health sciences, data science, engineering and education. Pitt students that graduated in spring 2020 with specific majors and GPAs are eligible for automatic admission and scholarship awards—$2,500 to $5,000—for graduate study.

Virtual recruiting fair

Pitt2Pitt Virtual Recruiting Fair is planned for Thursday, May 7, from 4 to 6 p.m. Interested students can learn more about offered programs and get answers to their questions.

During the virtual fair, each of the 11 schools will host a 30-minute Zoom meeting that will repeat four times during the fair—you can attend as few as one or as many as four sessions.

Additionally, there will be a general session if you need help thinking about which program is a good fit for you or if you are just interested in finding out more about Pitt2Pitt.

The schedule of the school Zoom meetings is available at the Pitt2Pitt Virtual Recruiting Fair webpage.

Students need to register to receive the virtual fair password, which will work for all sessions.

“Often difficult economic times are a good opportunity to invest in yourself—to gain new skills so that you are ready when the job market recovers,” said Nathan Urban, vice provost for graduate studies and strategic initiatives.

Urban cited a Georgetown University study that found that 99% of the jobs added to the economy after the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, were filled by people with at least a college degree, and that a large fraction of those jobs were filled by people with postbaccalaureate or master’s training.

“The degree programs that part of Pitt2Pitt can prepare students to succeed in the job market they will be facing as we recover from the COVID pandemic,” Urban said. “Expertise in public health, health care, data and analytics will likely be increasingly important in years to come.”

Participating programs include master’s degree programs in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; Graduate School of Public Health; Graduate School of Public and International Affairs; Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business; Swanson School of Engineering, and Schools of Computing and Information, Education, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Law, Social Work and Pharmacy. Instruction will take place through online, in-person, hybrid (online and in-person) or in-person instruction.

“Some of these programs are built as online programs, while others are hybrid or in person,” Urban said. “However, if the pandemic forces some or all courses online this fall, then these programs will adapt to deliver the same educational outcomes in this mode.”

In the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), the master’s degree in health informatics is an example of a program positioned well for such the Pitt2Pitt initiative. It is relatively new, introduced in 2019, with the most updated curriculum in the field, said Associate Professor Leming Zhou. It began as an in-person program and was offered fully online by spring 2020 before the pandemic.

“The contents of these two versions (in-person and online) are the same. Students may choose either fully in-person or fully online according to their own situation,” said Zhou.

“The timely dissemination of accurate information has been essential to the way that the country has maintained critical services during the ongoing pandemic,” said Adam J. Lee, associate dean for academic programs and associate professor of computer science in the School of Computing and Information (SCI). “Our programs have a long history of training the information professionals who design, build, secure and manage large-scale information systems, and who serve as the human element that connects people, information and technology.”

The three SCI degree programs participating in the Pitt2Pitt initiative—master’s programs in library and information science, information science and telecommunications—are accessible to a variety of undergraduate backgrounds and prepare students for diverse, high-impact careers, said Lee. Opportunities exist for students to engage in experiential learning where they can leverage their classroom knowledge in real-word practice.

“We are very excited to be participating in this program and hope that students from across campus will consider joining,” Lee said.

Space in Pitt2Pitt programs may be limited, so interested graduates are encouraged to contact the program’s admissions staff as soon as possible. Admissions staff email addresses are on listed with each program on the Pitt2Pitt website. Deadlines to apply for admissions vary across programs.