Admissions FAQ

Thank you for your interest in our program at Pitt! Below are answers to some frequently asked questions from applicants. Instructions for applying and additional admissions information can be found at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences web page:

If you have additional questions or need further assistance, please contact the department’s graduate administrator:

Name: Diana Volkar


In your inquiry, please include your full name and to which PhD program you are applying (History and Philosophy of Science / Philosophy/ Both).


1. General

a. Do you require GRE scores?

No. For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, the department has decided not to require GRE scores. 

b. Do you offer an MA program?

Currently, the department does not admit students solely to pursue an MA.  Students pursuing PhDs in other fields at the University of Pittsburgh should contact the DGS to learn about the possibility of adding an MA in HPS to their studies.


c. Do I need to earn an MA before I enroll in the PhD program?

No. Generally each year’s incoming PhD class is a mix of students coming from previous master’s and bachelor’s degree programs.


2. International Applicants

a. What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS Scores that I must have?

Our department must comply with the minimums set by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. That information is available on this web page: Also, beginning in 2021, the graduate school is accepting Duolingo test results, as explained at their website and further below.


b. I am a non-native English speaker, but I went/currently go to an English-speaking university. Am I required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo standardized scores?

You have met the University of Pittsburgh English requirements and are not required to submit English TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores if:

  • You have received a university degree from an accredited U.S. institution located in the United States (or will receive a degree before you potentially enroll at the University of Pittsburgh).
  • You have received a university degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English if it is located in a country whose official language is English (or will receive a degree before you potentially enroll at the University of Pittsburgh).

Please contact the graduate administrator if you have questions about whether you meet these criteria; however, know that the final decision as to whether you have met the English requirements lies with the Dietrich School of Arts and Science Graduate Dean’s office.


c. I’m from Puerto Rico. Do I need to submit TOEFL, IELTs, or Duolingo scores?

As U.S. citizens, natives of Puerto Rico are not required to submit TOEFL, IELTs, or Duolingo scores.


d. Can Duolingo scores be used as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS? 

Yes, the Duolingo English Test can be used as an alternative for the 2021/22 admissions season. The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken on demand in approximately one hour (requires computer with camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection). It involves an adaptive test via a graded section that evaluates applicants’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills (45 mins) and a video interview recording answers to open-ended questions (10 mins). Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. For more information, please visit Duolingo’s website. Applicants must share their Duolingo test results either by uploading them as a PDF under ‘Additional Information’ in their online application (preferable) or by sending the test results in PDF format to the email above for the admitting program. 


3. Application System and Documents

a. I want to apply to both Pitt Philosophy and Pitt History and Philosophy of Science PhD programs, but the ApplyYourself system will not allow me to submit two applications.

You have two options:

  • Use different email addresses to create two separate accounts in ApplyYourself.
  • Use the same email address/account but generate two pin numbers. To do this, submit your first application. When you are ready to submit your second application, go to the application portal (make sure you are not logged in). Choose the “create account” tab and enter your information. If your information matches your previous application, you should see the following:


Choose “Continue and Create Account” – this will generate a second pin number which will allow you to create and submit a second application. 


b. I applied to your program last year. When I log in to ApplyYourself, I see my old application and I can’t submit a new one.

You will need create a new application pin. Follow the instructions above for dual program applicants as outlined above in question 3a.


c. Does your department accept letters of recommendation through Interfolio?

Yes, we are willing to accept letters through Interfolio. The Interfolio link to add letters directly to an application is not compatible with our application system, but letters can be emailed to the graduate administrator ( and added manually to your application.

d. The file size of my transcript, writing sample, etc. is too big –how do I upload my document?

The ApplyYourself system limits file size to 600 KB, which is often not sufficient, especially for transcripts with images. While an initial file or scan may be too large to upload, there are various ways to resize a file, which often works. If you cannot successfully bring your file size under the limit, please email the file as a pdf to the graduate administrator. An administrator can manually add larger files to your application after it has been submitted.


e. Do I need to send official/sealed transcripts to the department?

While you may certainly send one if you wish, we do not require official/sealed transcripts delivered from your university registrar’s office with your application. We only need a pdf version of your transcript uploaded with your application that shows all your previous and/or current coursework.

If you are admitted to our program and choose to enroll, you will be asked to send official transcripts to our dean's office at that time.


f. When I look at my submitted application in the GATS viewing portal, it says “incomplete” even though all my documents, test scores, and letters of recommendation have been received. What do I need to do to make sure my application is complete?

The “complete” designation in GATS only occurs after a department administrator has reviewed all the materials associated with your application and manually checked the “complete” box. This process can take time, especially with the large volume of applications received close to the deadline. If you see that all your materials are present in the GATS system, there is no follow up required by you. If you notice missing letters of recommendation, feel free to contact your letter writers. If you notice missing test scores beyond 3-5 business days, feel free to contact the graduate administrator.


4. Application Fees (waived for 2021-2022 Admissions Cycle)

THERE IS NO APPLICATION FEE FOR 2021-2022 ADMISSIONS CYCLE. At the end of the online application process, please select "payment by check" but DO NOT send a check.


a. I’m an international student. The application system won’t let me pay the application fee by credit card without an American zip code –what do I do?

You can put “00000” as your zip code. This will allow you to check out and submit your application.


b. If I apply to more than one program at Pitt, do I have to pay two or more application fees?

No, the University of Pittsburgh only requires you to pay one application fee per annual admissions cycle. Please contact the graduate administrator before you apply for more information.

5. Application Status

a. How do I check the status of my application? 

After you submit your application through the ApplyYourself portal, it will then be transferred  to a system called GATS, which our department uses to review and manage it. This data transfer process usually takes 1 business day. Once your application information is in GATS, you can view your application status and check your application materials such as letters of recommendation, test scores, and transcripts at the following URL: . You can log in to this page using the email address you used to submit your application and your application number (which you should have received in a confirmation email after submitting your application). If you are unsure of your application number, please contact the graduate administrator. Please be aware that, although our system will automatically update the status of any letters and test scores received, the overall status change from "incomplete" to "complete" must be manually updated by our department. You should allow 7-9 business days for the department to review your application before expecting it to be marked "complete".


b. When I log in to, my application status says "incomplete" even though I've submitted all of my materials. Why?

The application status on is unaffected by updates to the GATS system we use to process your application. You should ignore this and consider as the true status of your application.


6. Submitting Standardized Test Scores

a. What are the ETS codes for submitting my TOEFL scores to the Pitt Philosophy or HPS Departments?

The University of Pittsburgh school code is 2927. For TOEFL iBT tests, you may use the Philosophy department code "20" for both Philosophy and HPS.


b. Why aren’t my standardized test scores ( TOEFL, IELTS) aren’t showing up on the GATS portal?

The software system that receives your test scores is separate than the system that receives your application. Reports are run regularly so that the two systems can sync, so generally the problem should resolve within a few business days. 

Slight variations in your name or personal information can occasionally prevent synchronization, so if the problem persists, please contact the department’s graduate administrator.

If you applied to multiple programs at Pitt, only your first application will automatically synchronize. Someone from our staff will need to manually add your test scores to your second application. Please contact the department graduate administrator if you have applied to multiple programs.

Important: IELTS score reports CANNOT be received electronically by our system, and must be sent to the department by mail. Once a paper copy is received, your scores will be manually added to the electronic system.


c. I applied to your department last year, and my previous test scores still fall within the window of validity. Do I have to send my TOEFL scores to the University of Pittsburgh again?

No, you should not need to re-send previous ETS scores if they are still valid from a previous year. The University of Pittsburgh stores your test scores in a separate system from your application.  The scores should automatically populate to your new application within a few business days of submitting your application. If you do not see them, contact the graduate administrator.