Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Communication skills electives

Communication Skills Elective
To complete the Communications Skills Elective, one of the following courses or options must be chosen: 

  • Industrial Engineering Department
    ENGR 1010 - Communications Skills for Engineers 
  • Rhetoric and Communication Department
    COMMRC 0500 - Argument 
    COMMRC 0520 - Public 
    COMMRC 0540 - Discussion 
    COMMRC 1101 - Evidence 
  • English Department courses (can count as BOTH Communications Skills elective AND Writing Requirement Course)
    ENGCMP 0400 - Written Professional Communication 
    ENGCMP 0401 - Written Professional Communication: Topics in Diversity


Writing Requirement Courses (cannot count as Communications Skills electives)

The purpose of a Writing Requirement "W" class is to allow COE students to practice writing in some external context. One writing intensive "W" course must be completed prior to graduation. Any "W" section of any course taken at the University of Pittsburgh can satisfy this requirement. The course can be technical or non-technical. The "W" cannot be fulfilled at another institution. 

Some examples of "W" courses include (but are not limited to):

ENGCMP 0420 - Writing for the Public

ENGCMP 0440 - Critical Writing

ENGCMP 0450 - Research Writing

ENGCMP 0500 - Topics in Composition

ENGCMP 0510 - Narratives of the Workplace

ENGCMP 0520 - Integrating Writing and Design

ENGCMP 0521 - Writing with Data

ENGCMP 0530 - Writing for the Sciences

ENGCMP 0600 - Introduction to Technical Writing

ENGCMP 0610 - Composing Digital Media

ENGCMP 1101 - Language of Science and Technology

There may be other ENGCMP (and non-ENGCMP) courses offered that are also "W" courses. Not all "W" courses are offered every term. Students are highly encouraged to confirm that the section of courses that they take are definitely Writing Requirement Courses (as some terms, some courses might not offer a "W" section). 

Cross-listed COE/CS 1501 Algorithm Implementation is NOT acceptable as a COE "W" course. The "W" is only offered to CS students for this class.

Note: English BW (Basic Writing) or English GW (General Writing) cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. All engineering students complete an examination upon entry into the University, and if it is determined that the student is weak in written communication, English GW is required as a remedial course beyond the normal requirements. 


Technical Electives 

Any COE elective, CS elective (intended for Engineering majors), EE elective, or any other School of Engineering or basic science or mathematics course (except ENGR 1010 Communications Skills for Engineers) which has not been used to fulfill another requirement, or does not substantially duplicate other required course material, can be used to fulfill this requirement.

Example courses that are acceptable include (but are not limited to): 
ENGR 0022 - Materials Structure and Properties 
IE 1040 - Engineering Economic Analysis 
PHYS 0479 - Principles of Modern Physics 
CHEM 0250 - Introduction to Analytical Chemistry 
BIOSC 0150 - Foundations in Biology I 
MATH 0240 - Analytical Geometry and Calculus 3 
Enrollment in any of these courses is, of course, constrained by the space and prerequisite limitations of the host department.


Open Electives

Any course that is NOT of a similar nature to, or lower level than, a required or previously taken course can be used to fulfill this requirement. Three credits of Physical Education, or three credits of Band, ROTC, or Chorus may also be used as an open elective. Three credits of CO-OP may also be used to fulfill the Open elective.


Design Electives 
Each student is required to take at least one "Design Elective." These courses have a very limited enrollment.

Design courses include: 
ECE 1896 - Senior Design Project 
ENGR 1050 - Product Realization Special Projects (requires special permission - contact the COE Program Administrator)


In special circumstances, students may speak to the COE Adviser to request to take ECE 1898 Special Projects as a Design Elective. COE 1898 is a course which is designed to be used for unique situations which may occur within a particular student's program. The use of this course to fulfill a requirement generally falls into three categories, an COE Required or Elective Course, a Technical Elective, or under UNIQUE circumstances, a COE Design Course (with guidance of specific criteria provided by the Undergraduate Administrator). In each case the student must submit a petition to the Undergraduate Administrator indicating the course to be fulfilled, the rationale for using this particular course number, and the signature of the faculty who has agreed to monitor the completion of the coursework and grading.