Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Undergraduate Humanities and Social Science Electives


All SSOE undergraduate students are required 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 to satisfy the IE International Requirement, can be selected from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (DSAS) general education course catalog under the headings, “Cross-Cultural Awareness”, “Global Issues”, “Second Language” (Excluding ASL courses), or “Specific Geographic Region”. 

The courses must satisfy the following:

Breadth Requirement: Students must select courses from at least three different DSAS humanities (e.g., English literature, fine arts, Spanish etc.) and  social science (e.g., economics, sociology, psychology, etc.) departments.  Students must select courses from both the humanities and social sciences.

Depth Requirement: Students must complete two or more courses from one of the approved departments or programs in DSAS.  A student may also satisfy the Depth requirement by completing two or more courses with a related theme, e.g. courses that focus on a geographic region, historic period, or ideological perspective.  Only one course below the 0200 level may be used to satisfy the depth requirement, except in the departments of Psychology, Linguistics, and languages.

Writing Requirement: 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 1-3 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 DSAS. 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.  Additional rules and restrictions on H/SS electives may be found on the SSOE page here.