Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Undergraduate Humanities and Social Science Electives

The undergraduate IE program requires students to take at least six (6) Humanities / Social Sciences Electives. In general, these courses may be chosen based on the student's personal interests or as a means to satisfy other requirements (such as for a dual degree, a minor or a certificate). The courses must come from the list of electives approved by the Swanson School of Engineering or, in the case of globally focused courses, be selected from the Arts and Sciences general education course catalog under the headings, "Foreign Culture/International" or "Non-Western Culture". See the links below.

The courses also must conform to the recommended Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) guidelines for:

Balance and Breadth: At least two courses must be from the humanities (e.g., English literature, fine arts, Spanish etc.) and at least two from the social sciences (e.g., economics, sociology, psychology, etc.).

Depth: At least one of the electives must be in the same subject as another elective (such as ECON 0100 and ECON 1100) and cannot be an introductory course (indicated with an "*" on the SSOE list).

Writing: Unless a student takes a writing course in a technical area (MATH 413, for example) then at least one of the electives must be a course that has a significant writing component to it - these are identified by the "Writing Requirement Course" designation in the enrollment information in PeopleSoft.

International Requirement: Between 2-4 of the 6 courses must be globally focused (depending on whether a student is using Option A or B to satisfy the international requirement).

These electives present students with an opportunity to challenge their perspectives and personal growth, and to broaden and round out their education. Thus students are strongly encouraged to give serious thought to their choice of electives and to take full advantage of the large number of course offerings that are available at Pitt through the School of Arts and Sciences. If an elective is of particular interest to a student but does not appear on the approved list, the student may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for approval of the course as a humanities / social science elective

SSOE approved electives which can satisfy the requirements.

School of Arts and Sciences general education course catalog for globally focused courses. Any course listed under the headings "Foreign Culture/International" or "Non-Western Culture" can satisfy H/SS requirements and the international requirement.

ABET recognizes language courses as appropriate for the Humanities/Social Science requirement. The Swanson School of Engineering's policy is as follows: Three out of five, or six out of ten first year language course credits are acceptable towards fulfilling the Humanities/Social Sciences requirements. This will enable engineering students to utilize any two language courses regardless of level as partial fulfillment of the humanities/social science requirements. This also applies to AP courses transferred from high school. The following restrictions apply:

  • The language(s) must be other than English
  • The language(s) must be other than the students mother tongue
  • The course(s) must be a bona fide language course

No External Studies courses are acceptable (these are identified by the "University External Studies" designation in the enrollment information in PeopleSoft).