College or Program of the Week: Univ. of Pittsburgh

Students who want the combination of flexibility and rigorous study should consider the University Honors College at Pitt. Students receive an invitation with an SAT score of 1400 or higher, seeming to make Pitt Honors one of the more selective programs; but students who do not score 1400 may also participate, if they show promise. UHC students are allowed to fashion their own curriculum within broad parameters, subject to approval by the college.

Many students choose to pursue double majors, although the honors requirement is that each major be in a different school. For example, a major in English in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences could be combined with a major in management from the College of Business Administration, but a double major of English and history would not meet the requirement, as both disciplines are within the school of arts and sciences. Students may, however, meet the honors requirement with a triple major within the same school.

One outstanding example is Cory J. Rodgers, recently selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Pitt. A student in University Honors College and Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Cory will earn a B.Phil degree in Africana studies and in the history and philosophy of science as well as a Dietrich School BS degree in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry.

The final challenge for all honors students is to complete a research program, culminating in an honors thesis. Students must then defend the thesis before a panel that includes one external panelist from another university. Students earn a B.Phil degree, awarded by the University Honors College. The B.Phil is almost unique in the United States; the University of Oxford also awards the degree.

About 400 entering freshmen can be accommodated in Sutherland Hall. After the freshman year, students have the option of several living-learning communities. Research and travel opportunities are coordinated by the college.

One of the most interesting aspects of Pitt Honors is that the honors college sponsors not one but four publications: Collision Magazine features undergraduate non-fiction and poetry; the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review publishes scholarly articles from undergraduates from across the U.S.; the Three Rivers Review publishes literature written by undergraduates from any of Pitt’s colleges and schools; and the Pitt Political Review is an outlet for spirited political analysis and discussion. Students serve as editors of all four publications.

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