College of General Studies

Create an Academic Plan and Register for Classes

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CGS students play an active role in planning their degree progress, including creating their own course schedule. We have developed a check list to help you plan your course schedule before you register for classes.

1. Review your degree progress report in PeopleSoft

Reviewing your progress before each term is an easy way to keep track of your target goals as you receive your degree. This simple guide will help you review your degree progress report.

If you are pursuing a degree in humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, or any program outside of the College of General Studies, consult your academic advisor to ensure appropriate course selection.

2. Make sure your course selections fulfill requirements.

All College of General Studies students pursuing one of our majors should make sure that the courses they select fulfill either general education requirements for the school or specific requirements for their program. You should consult the following information before choosing specific classes:

  • Bachelor’s degree requirements for the College of General Studies.
  • Specific academic information for each major, minor, and certificate program is also available in academics
  • In addition, be on the lookout for new course offerings; the University produces a specific list each semester of classes that satisfy requirements for the College of General Studies. The latest list of courses that satisfy requirements courses can be found here.

The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences provides similar lists of requirements for their academic programs, and College of General Studies students pursuing majors in the Dietrich School should consult the following information before choosing classes.

  • General education requirements for the Dietrich School, as well as specific program information for all undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates, are available online. Consult with your academic advisor about classes needed for your specific program.
  • The Dietrich School also publishes a general education course catalog, that lists all the courses that meet the school’s general education requirements, sorted by requirement.

For College of General Studies students pursuing pre-professional programs in other Schools at the University, there are several places to review what courses are needed for your particular program.

  • Read the Transferring within Pitt page for prerequisite courses offered for several graduate and undergraduate University of Pittsburgh programs.
  • Many other schools are listed on the Academics page of the main University site.

3. Review course offerings and descriptions.

All courses offered in a specific term by the College of General Studies and other undergraduate schools are listed on the course descriptions web site. There, you can search for classes from the schools listed by subject, general education requirements, instructor, or title. This site has the most current information available about new courses, or courses recently approved to meet requirements.

How to search the Course Descriptions web site

To find a specific course description:

  • Select the subject (department) and then click the term. In order to scroll through this listing, click LIST ALL in the upper right hand corner.
  • Find a course and click the class #. Here you can access course information, including the course description, requirements fulfilled, prerequisites, time, location, whether a recitation is required, class and catalog numbers.

To find descriptions for all courses offered by a department:

  • Select the subject (department) and then click on the term (as above).
  • At the top of the next screen click on the desired term to view all descriptions. This will bring you to all the listings in that department, including description, requirements fulfilled, time, location, and if a recitation is required, class and catalog/course numbers.

General Education Requirement (on the right hand side under announcements)

  • Choose the requirement from the drop-down menu and click on the desired term.
  • As above, you can either scroll through the list of specific courses for the requirement that you picked by title, or view descriptions of all the courses that satisfy that particular requirement.

Instructor or Course Type: Type in name of the instructor or title and click term.

4. Check course availability and class schedules in PeopleSoft by following these steps:

  • Log in to the University of Pittsburgh web portal at
  • Click on Student Center Login along the right side menu bar.
  • Click on Self Service along the left hand side.
  • Click on Class Search to find a class or browse the course catalog, or click on Browse Course Catalog to look for courses by subject code.
  • Click on Class Search and select the appropriate term from the drop down list.
  • Make sure that the Search for Classes tab, and not the browse catalog tab, is selected.
  • In the Course Subject field, type in your departmental subject abbreviation, and then tab down to the Course Number field. Enter the 4 digit number, if known. To search all courses for that term in the chosen department, leave this portion blank.
  • The system defaults to Show Open Classes Only. You can unclick this box if you want to view all classes whether open or closed.
  • Select the campus (the required field at the bottom of the search page) and then click on search.
  • LEC stands for lecture, REC stands for recitation, and LAB indicates a lab session. Where applicable, you must select a REC or LAB that goes with the specific lecture section. When registering, note the five digit class number for all the class components (REC, LEC, or LAB).
  • Only three sections (including recitations) of a particular course come up at first, so be sure to click “view all” to see other sections.
  • For class detail information, click on the blue underlined information next to section. This detailed information includes: number of credits, number of seats available, special designations (e.g. Department Consent Required, Honors Course, Writing Requirement, etc.) and a course description. (Please note: prerequisite courses are always listed here but not always on the course descriptions website).
  • Courses with a green circle indicate an open course, a blue square means that the course is closed, and a yellow triangle means the course is closed but a wait list is available.

For a printable version of these instructions, download the Advising & Registration Technology Guide which is also available to new students on the New Student Information.

5. Consult with your advisor

When you have finished creating a schedule, you are ready to consult with your advisor in order to register for classes:

Mandatory advising is required for all College of General Studies students except for post-baccalaureate and guest students. An “Academic Advisement Required Hold” is placed on all students accounts each term to prevent registration until you have contacted your advisor. The hold cannot be removed until you have contacted your advisor with your class information.

To have your hold removed you will have two options:

1) Schedule an appointment with your advisor to discuss your schedule. For dates and times, call 412-624-6600.

2) E-mail your advisor with your class choices for the term. In the e-mail, you must include the following information about EACH class for which you plan to register:

  • Five digit class number
  • Subject
  • Four digit catalog number
  • Number of credits
  • Any related labs or recitations

Once your advisor has reviewed your schedule choices, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. If you have holds placed on your account in addition to your “Academic Advisement Required Hold,” you will not be able to register until that hold has been lifted as well. Holds are placed on students’ records by University offices when students fail to meet their obligations, financial or otherwise, to the University.

Students in the College of General Studies can enroll themselves for classes through the University Web portal at The process mimics online shopping. Simply select your classes and place them in a “shopping cart.” Once you have selected all your classes, proceed to checkout.