Public Service (BA)

The undergraduate major in public service is offered in partnership with the Pitt Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. It is designed to prepare students for a broad range of careers that are focused on the resolution of public problems or the delivery of public services. These careers range from those in the local government and community arena to the metropolitan region and state arena to national and international settings. Potential employers include local, state, and federal governments; nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations at the local, regional, national, and international level; private firms engaged in working with governments; and private corporations withan active public service culture.

The major serves students who are interested in public issues as concerned and interested citizens and prepares them for a wide range of graduate programs related to public policy and management.


Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits for the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in public service. Of this total, students must take:

See our General Education program page for the remaining degree requirements.

Course Format

Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints.

Online courses are marked with an (●). Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats are marked with an (#). Courses with no indicator are offered face-to-face only.

Visit CGS Courses to learn more about our flexible offerings and how to search for classes in the course catalog.

Prerequisites and Courses

Core Courses: (15 credits) 

Catalog Number Title Credits
PUBSRV 0020 Introduction to Public Service (#) 3
PUBSRV 0030 Public Policy Process 3
PUBSRV 0040 Public Service Technologies (●)       3
PUBSRV 0050 Ethics and Accountability 3
PUBSRV 1900 Internship Seminar (●) 3

Concentration Areas: (18 credits) 

Choose one of the three concentration areas below:

1. Public Administration Concentration

Catalog Number Title Credits
PUBSRV 1100 Practices in Public Administration       3
PUBSRV 1110 Financial Management in the Public Sector 3
PUBSRV 1120 Human Resources Management in the Public Sector  3
PUBSRV 1130 Planning in the Public Sector 3
PUBSRV Electives (choose two additional public service courses)  6

2. Nonprofit Management Concentration

Catalog Number Title Credits
PUBSRV 1200 Practices of Nonprofit Management   3
PUBSRV 1210 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations   3
PUBSRV 1220 Human Resources Management of Nonprofit Organizations  3
PUBSRV 1230 Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations 3
PUBSRV Electives (choose two additional public service courses)  6

Note: the following courses may substitute for each other in the event of course scheduling conflicts or unavailability: PUBSRV 1110 and PUBSRV 1210 | PUBSRV 1120 and PUBSRV 1220.

3. Self-Designed Concentration

Courses that meet the special program needs of the student may be selected from the courses offered in public service or in a related area or department. A written plan for completing the self-designed concentration must be approved by the College of General Studies Academic Affairs Committee. The proposed plan of studies should be unique and not offered at Pitt in another facet such as another major, certificate, or minor.

Public Service Electives

Public administration concentration students may use the 1200-numbered courses as electives; nonprofit management concentration students may use 1100-numbered courses. Courses designated (UHC) are offered in conjunction with the University Honors College.

Catalog Number Title Credits
PUBSRV 1300 Legal Issues in Public Service 3
PUBSRV 1305 Health, Law, and Ethics (●) 3
PUBSRV 1310 Diversity Issues in Public Service 3
PUBSRV 1315 Managing Projects and Contracts 3
PUBSRV 1320 Geographic Information Systems in the Public Service  3
PUBSRV 1340 Strategic Planning in the Public Sector  3
PUBSRV 1390 Theories of Leadership 3
PUBSRV 1425 Principles of Homeland Security 3
PUBSRV 1430 Trial Advocacy 1 (UHC) 3
PUBSRV 1435 Trail Advocacy 2 (UHC) 3
PUBSRV 1455 Law, Ethics, and Public Policy in the Mass Media  3
PUBSRV 1901 Independent Study 1-6
*PUBSRV 1910 Institute of Politics Internship/Seminar 4

*PUBSRV 1910 may be used in place of PUBSRV 1900. Check with an academic advisor before registering.

Please note: 

This major requires that you complete an internship at a facility external to the University, and this facility may or will require a criminal background check, an Act 33/34 clearance, and perhaps a drug screen to determine whether you are qualified to participate in the internship. Additionally, in order to become licensed or employed, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or a felonious or illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Students interested in a minor, rather than a major, in public service should check with their academic advisor.