Graduate Academic Regulations and Student Responsibilities

Graduate Student Health Exam and Insurance Requirements

Upon admission, all graduate students (MSN, DNP, PhD) in the School of Nursing are required to have a health examination that includes specific laboratory tests (listed on the Health Examination form). A Hepatitis B vaccination is also required (unless the student signs a special waiver), as recommended by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The costs of the examination, tests, and vaccine are the responsibility of the individual student. Students are required to have a health screening update annually, as long as they are enrolled at Pitt Nursing. Such exams and screenings may be provided by the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Health Service.

All School of Nursing students are required to have medical and hospitalization insurance in addition to paying the Student Wellness Fee, which is incorporated into the student’s tuition bill. As exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials is possible throughout the program of study, this health insurance must cover payment for treatment and follow-up procedures, and it must be validated each term. If using the Student Health Service for screening and treatment services, students should familiarize themselves with the claims and private insurance processes of both their private insurer and the Student Health Service.

Continuing students must complete the Health Update Form by August 15 of each year. The on-campus students can get the forms at their home department or Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office (see the staff at the front desk). All online students will receive the forms via U.S. mail by late February or early March of each year. The forms contain instructions for submission.

Nursing License

During the admission process, each student must provide a copy of his/her current Registered Nurse license to the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office, to be placed in the student's academic file. When the license on file has expired, a copy of the current license must replace it, and it is the student's responsibility to provide that updated copy to the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office.

Liability Insurance

All nursing students are automatically enrolled in the blanket professional liability coverage offered through the University.  This policy covers all activities while a student in the School of Nursing.

Transportation to Agencies

Students must assume responsibility for all transportation to clinical practice sites, community health agencies, and field trips.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

During each course in which the student is completing clinical activities, the student will be expected to provide the clinical instructor with evidence of current CPR certification. The American Heart Association (AHA) – Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification must be completed before beginning clinical rotations. This course certifies students in adult, infant/child, 2-rescuer CPR, and in the use of the AED. The Basic Life Support course consists of a written test in addition to manual training.  Due to the possible need to perform CPR on an actual patient, an on-line course will not be accepted!  The AHA—BLS Healthcare Provider Course certification is valid for two years.

To find a training center near you, visit the American Heart Association, Center for Emergency Medicine, or Pitt SEMS.

*Note: The School of Nursing will NOT accept CPR certifications from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association – Heart Saver Certification or on-line courses.

Clinical Requirements

Each student is expected to meet requirements established by clinical agencies where the student is participating in learning experiences. These requirements may include evidence of a PPD within the past year and Act 33/34 clearances. Information about specific requirements will be communicated to students after registration for a particular clinical setting.

Withdrawal from a Course

After the add/drop period and prior to the end of the ninth week of the term (fourth week of a session), a student may withdraw from a course by completing a monitored withdrawal form obtained from the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office. After that date, a student will be permitted to withdraw from a course or from all courses only in extraordinary circumstances and with permission of the Associate Dean of the School of Nursing. There is no tuition adjustment associated with a course withdrawal at that point. A student who stops attending a course and does not initiate the withdrawal or resignation procedures may be assigned an F grade.


An official resignation occurs when the student notifies the University's Office of Student Accounts of the intent to terminate registration for all classes after the end of the add/drop period, but no later than the 60th calendar day of the term or the deadlines noted in the Schedule of Classes for the summer sessions. An R grade will be assigned for each course for which the student registered.


The full time credit load for graduate students in the School of Nursing is 9 credits for each 15-week term. Permission to take more than 15 credits in a term must be obtained from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (or designee) prior to registration. Credit overload will not be honored without approval. The student will be billed for each additional graduate credit above 15.

Grading Systems

Effective the beginning of the Fall Term 2081, the School of Nursing will begin to include “pluses and minuses” in the grading system, and the school policies will be revised to reflect these changes.; Your instructors will inform you of how the policy will be applied in each individual course.  However, all students should be aware that one of the effects of the change will be the minimum passing grade for all “NUR and Core Science courses will be a “B-".

H/S/U Grading

Students are permitted to carry one elective course per term on an H/S/U basis if that grade option is available for the course.

  • No student may change the grading of a course to an H/S/U basis after the normal add/drop period.
  • The H or S grades will not be used in computing the GPA, but will be counted as credit toward graduation.
  • The U grade will not be counted as credit toward graduation and will not be used in computing the GPA
  • Once an H/S/U card has been submitted, a change to the letter grade system will not be permitted.

Satisfactory/Audit Grading System (S/N)

The Satisfactory/Audit system provides an alternative to letter grades to encourage students to enroll in elective courses they would not ordinarily select.

  • The S grade is awarded for satisfactory completion of course requirements.
  • Satisfactory completion is defined as a C grade or higher.  If less than satisfactory work is done, an N grade is recorded on the transcript.
  • Less than satisfactory performance is defined as a C- grade or lower.
  • Courses for which an S grade is received are counted toward graduation but not computed in the GPA

Students who choose this grading option must do so by submitting a Grade Option form by the end of the third full week of classes during a term (second full week of classes during the Summer Sessions). This decision may not be changed. Grade Option forms are available in the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations, Room 240, Victoria Building.

Incomplete Grades

The incomplete grade, G, may be given at the option of the instructor when seriously extenuating circumstances do not permit the student to complete course work. University policy 09-01.05 requires "G" grade course requirements to be completed no later than one year or 3 terms after the term or session in which the course was taken. After the deadline has passed, the student is required to re-register for the course if it is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation.

If the G grade is given in a prerequisite course, the G grade must be removed before the end of the add/drop period or the student cannot continue in the subsequent course. To remove the G grade, the student must obtain a grade change authorization card (from the School of Nursing Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office) which is given to the instructor. The instructor then records the grade change and returns the card to the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office. Except in unusual circumstances, a G grade that is not removed within the designated time period will remain on the student's academic record. If the course is needed to fulfill requirements for graduation, the student will have to re-register for the course.

Quality Point Computation

Students should keep track of their own term and cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). Each credit carried is awarded quality points that are computed according to the following grade scale.

To calculate the term GPA, divide the total number of grade points earned that term by the total numbers of credits carried (excluding credits for courses for which the grades G, N, R, H, S, U, or W are given.) The cumulative GPA is calculated in the same manner using the grade point and credit totals for all work completed. When a course is repeated, only the most recent grade, credits, and grade points will be used to determine the GPA and, therefore, the student's scholastic standing.

Although the credits earned through transfer of credit/advanced standing from another school count toward fulfillment of quantitative graduation requirements, the grades earned in such courses are not included in quality point computations.  Dean's List, graduation honors, provisional status, warning, and probation depend only on the official GPA derived from courses taken in the program at the School of Nursing.

Class Designation

Class designation is based upon successful completion of course requirements for each year of the curriculum.

Acceptable Academic Status

All students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (B average) or better throughout the program. Any graduate student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 is subject to academic action.

Students admitted with Provisional Status must achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in courses required for the degree sought, following the completion of 12 credits after admission, in order to remain in the program.

Warning, Probation, and Dismissal

A student who has received a term GPA below 3.00 will be sent a letter of warning. There may be an unlimited number of warnings. The warning will not be recorded on the transcript.

After completion of 12 credits, a student whose term GPA falls below 3.00 or whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation.  To be removed from probation, a student's cumulative GPA must be at least 3.00 after the completion of 9 additional credits.

Unless extenuating circumstances exist, graduate students will be dismissed from the school if: (1) their cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 after the completion of 12 credits if admitted on Provisional Status; (2) their cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 after the completion of 9 credits on probation; (3) they earn an unacceptable grade for a second time in any course; or (4) they earn an unacceptable grade in more than two courses.

Students may also be suspended or dismissed for (1) illegal or unethical professional conduct or (2) a pattern of unsafe or incompetent clinical practice.  The publication, Guidelines on Academic Integrity, and the school's policies on academic integrity shall be the references for appropriate procedures for adjudication. See policy 283.

Academic Integrity

Policies governing warning, probation, and dismissal are subject to change. The same system of warning and probation that exists for full-time students will be applicable to part-time students.

Repeating of Courses

A student may repeat a course only once if an unsatisfactory grade has been earned. Only the final grade earned is counted in computing the credits earned and the GPA. To register to repeat a course, the student must obtain permission on the appropriate form, which is available from the School of Nursing Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office. Re-examination or extra work cannot be used as a basis for a change of grade.


Students must register during the official registration period each term. Permission must be obtained from the Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Alumni Relations or designate to register after the designated period, but the student will be charged a late registration fee.

Students who need to add or drop courses can do so only during the designated add/drop period according to the University's academic calendar, usually through the first two weeks of the term. Students must consult their advisor in the School of Nursing and complete the appropriate form.

Degree Requirements

To earn an advanced nursing degree the student must demonstrate satisfactory academic achievement in required course work prescribed by the curriculum with an overall academic achievement of a minimum GPA of 3.00.

Statute of Limitations

Degree requirements must be fulfilled within a period of five years. After the five-year period, re-evaluation of credits will be required.

Courses Taken Elsewhere

Official transcripts certifying graduate courses taken at another college or university should be submitted at the time of admission. After admission, the program advisor may evaluate courses taken elsewhere for acceptability as transfer credit. This should be done early in the student's graduate program. No more than one-third of the total number of required credits in the student's program here may be granted as transfer credits from another institution. Grades accepted for transfer courses must be B or higher.

Cross Registration

Cross-college and cross-university registration is a program designed to provide for enriched educational opportunities for graduates students at any of the ten institutions that comprise the Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education (PCHE): Carnegie Mellon, Carlow College, Chatham College, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, Point Park College, La Roche College, Robert Morris College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and the University of Pittsburgh. Under the terms of this program, full time students at any one of these institutions are granted the opportunity to enroll for one class per semester/term at any of the other institutions. Courses must be selected from those regularly accredited toward master's degree programs, and a student registering for them must meet all prerequisites. Priority in registration goes to the students of the host college. Full credit and grades are transferred.  Students interested in cross registering should consult their advisor. Cross registration is not permitted in the Summer Term.

Comprehensive Examination

Each Master's degree student must successfully complete the comprehensive examination before graduation. The comprehensive examination is a one day proctored exam that tests the student's ability to critically analyze, organize, and synthesize material learned over the total period of the graduate program. It is comprised of questions which require application of knowledge acquired in the core and specialty courses, and is generally taken at the beginning of the term in which the student is expected to graduate.

Application for Graduation

The application for the degree must be filed at least three months before the degree is to be conferred, and the student must be enrolled in the term in which the degree is conferred. Students must be in good financial standing with the University to receive their diploma. Unless a student specifies otherwise, the diploma along with a complimentary official copy of the final transcript, will be mailed to the permanent address at no charge approximately six weeks after the end of the graduation term.  Each student should check this transcript carefully and bring any discrepancies to the attention of the Registrar's Office immediately. Candidates are encouraged to appear in person at commencement exercises.

For more Information please contact Student Affairs & Alumni Relations