College of General Studies

FAQ

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Below are answers to many frequently asked questions about web and hybrid courses. 

How much time should I expect my online course to take? 

Do I ever have to come to campus? 

How do I know if distance learning is right for me?

Who are the instructors? 

Are CGS Online courses part of the real University of Pittsburgh? 

I don’t live in Pennsylvania. Will I be charged out-of-state tuition? 

Am I still eligible for financial aid?

Is a printable catalog available? 

What do the terms real-time and asynchronous mean?                         

 

How much time should I expect my online course to take?  

On average, you can expect to spend 10-15 hours a week on coursework, including accessing text-based lectures, completing and submitting assignments electronically, and reading supplementary materials.

 

Do I ever have to come to campus? 

In a purely Web-based format, you will not need to come to main campus. All work in an online class is done using a computer, including all written assignments, discussions, and interactions between the professor and your fellow students. If you have a class in a hybrid-based format, you will have to come to the Pittsburgh campus, but only for a few times a semester, depending on your specific class. 

 

How do I know if distance learning is right for me?

Learning through distance education requires a significant amount of self-motivation and commitment. Having the flexibility to study at the time that is most convenient for you means you will not have a firm schedule as you would in many on-campus courses. You will need to establish and hold to a fixed study schedule in order to successfully complete your course work. Because most of our students are juggling numerous life commitments at the same time they are taking courses, it is essential that you find a balance between your life responsibilities and course work to remain motivated.  Answer these questions to see if you are ready for an online course

 

Who are the instructors? 

Our online instructors are academics, industry experts, community leaders, and working professionals with extensive hands-on experience. They are educators who find this medium a dynamic and interactive environment, and are especially trained to be effective online.  You get the benefit of instruction at three levels: lecture materials created by your instructor, feedback from and networking with your fellow students, and tutorial-quality interaction with your instructor.  

 

Are CGS Online courses part of the real University of Pittsburgh? 

Yes!  The online courses are administered by the College of General Studies, a college located on the University of Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh campus.  Our students are Pitt students, and are held to the same rigorous standards as Pitt students attending courses on campus. Your transcript will look the same as any other Pitt student’s transcript, and your diploma will look the same as any other Pitt student’s diploma. There will be no differentiation that you studied through distance education. 

 

I don’t live in Pennsylvania. Will I be charged out-of-state tuition? 

Yes, if you are not living in the state of Pennsylvania, you will be charged out-of-state tuition fees.  For a listing of tuition and fees, visit the Office of the Chief Financial Officer website.  

 

Am I still eligible for financial aid?

You are eligible for financial aid. Financial aid at the University of Pittsburgh may include loans, grants, and scholarships, funded in large measure by the federal and state governments. The University of Pittsburgh Office of Admissions and Financial Aid reviews all University student applications for financial aid. 

 

Is a printable catalog available? 

No.  However, current College of General Studies' online course offerings are available through the Course Search Tool

 

What do the terms real-time and asynchronous mean? 

Real-time activities are “live” and immediate. In the context of an online course, a real-time session is one in which all participants are logged on at the same time and interacting at more or less the same pace as one would in a face-to-face setting. A familiar example of real-time communication on the Internet is live chat.

Asynchronous activities are those in which participation is not concurrent or live. One member of the class, for example, might post a message in the morning, and another might not read or respond to it until later that day or even several days later. Electronic mail is the most common form of asynchronous communication, but there are many others as well. 

The course instructor usually determines the proportion of real-time and asynchronous communication in an online course. Some instructors may require a certain number of pre-scheduled real-time sessions, while others may organize their classes completely around asynchronous learning to give their students more freedom.