HR Law Online - FAQ

1. Why has Pitt Law decided to offer this program? 

Pitt Law commissioned a survey which found that the education market is relatively positive about career-type certificates in general and that understanding human resources law in particular was important to many of the respondents.  Respondents most interested in a human resources law certificate said a program ought to sharpen their skills, stimulate their desire to untangle the intricacies of HR laws and regulations, and be taught by people who are experts in their field.  Pitt Law has created such a program.

2. Who should enroll in this program? 

HR Law Online is ideal for human resources professionals who want to augment their professional development by enhancing their understanding of HR laws and regulations. It is an excellent program for attorneys who wish to acquire an appreciation of the HR field, client needs, and issues. Our program is also suitable for graduates of business administration programs who wish to develop a more thorough understanding of HR law and practices, professionals interested in an exciting career change, or college graduates interested in entering the HR field.

3. How long does the program take? 

HR Law Online is a 40-week online program.  The fall semester, which contains the first two courses, begins in late August ends just before the Christmas/New Year’s break.  The spring semester, containing the third course and fourth courses, begins in early January and ends in April.  In the summer semester from May to June, students choose a number of short elective courses in their areas of interest.

4. Who are the faculty? 

Our expert faculty is composed of Pitt Law professors and practicing employment law experts.

5. Are the courses also taught on campus? 

No. Each course was developed specifically for an online environment. Courses are tailored to meet the needs of working professionals who enroll in this program while maintaining their full-time professional pursuits. 

While our campus is beautiful, and we welcome visitors, you will not be required to come to campus as part of the program. 

6. What resources will be available to me as a student?

You will have full access to the University of Pittsburgh library system, the Writing Center, and a host of other support services. To learn more, visit Pitt Online.

7. Do I need to be an expert with technology? Will I receive any technical training? What kind of computer equipment do I need? 

While you needn’t be a technology expert to take an online class, you should have some proficiency with a computer, e-mail, downloading, saving and writing electronic documents, and navigating the Internet. Additionally, your computer will need to meet our minimum technology standards in order to access online course content. Make sure to check our technology requirements on our Support page.

As a Pitt Online student, you will have access to our online Student Orientation course, tutorials and the student handbook. Additionally, you’ll have access to our 24/7 technical resources to support any questions about the online course system and materials.

8. How much does the program cost?

HR Law Online provides 15 graduate-level credit hours for $11,500, plus $100/semester for technology fees and the cost of books. Payment of the entire tuition fee is not required at the beginning of the program.  Program costs are billed by the semester. Students should check with their employers to see if they offer tuition reimbursement for this program. 

9. How much should I expect to pay for books in this program?

Most books are available both as new and as used textbooks. Students who will buy new books can expect to spend approximately $550.00 on new books over the five courses. Students can reduce this cost by buying used books or taking advantage of book rental programs through providers like Amazon. 

10. Is financial aid available?

Unfortunately, financial aid for this program is not available through the University of Pittsburgh nor through federal loans.  However, many employers provide financial incentives for their employees to participate in programs such as this. Information regarding private educational loans can be found here.  (If you are a University of Pittsburgh or UPMC employee, please contact your human resources office for information about your employment-based tuition benefits.  If you are a University of Pittsburgh employee, you may pay your share of tuition on a payment plan.)

11. If I have federal student loans, will they be deferred during the time I am in HR Law Online?

Students should be aware that their loan servicer will automatically defer their outstanding federal loans when students are enrolled for at least 6 credits.  The HR Program typically runs 6 credits in the fall semester, 6 credits in the spring semester, and 3 in the summer semester.  If you take the program courses in this order, your loans would be deferred in the fall and spring semesters.  Students should contact their loan servicer if they do not want to defer their loans while enrolled or if deferment was not automatically granted.

12. What are the requirements for admission? 

Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution. Admissions decisions will be made based on professional experience, academic credentials, and a personal statement. In some instances, an interview (online or phone) may be requested. 
If you are an international student currently residing in the United States, please contact the Office of International Services to make sure you qualify to apply to this program.

13. How much work should I expect?

There is a significant amount of work in the program because of the intensive and accelerated nature of the program. Students should plan on at least 12 hours per week for course work. However, because most of the work is self-paced, you choose when and where you do your work.

14. Do I have to be online at a specific time to complete the course work? 

No. All course materials can be accessed at any time and students can work on their own schedules to complete assignments by course deadlines. However, some courses may have group projects that will require coordination among your online team members. 

15. How will my work be evaluated?

Students should expect to complete weekly assessments. Faculty provide feedback on their progress toward learning goals. Assessments can take multiple forms, such as discussion board participation, case studies, quizzes, and individual and group projects.

16. Do the credits earned in HR Law Online transfer to other University graduate programs?

Students earn 3 graduate credits from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law for each course completed in the HR Law Online program. Students interested in applying HR Law Online credits toward other graduate degrees should check with the degree program and institution of interest to determine if the credits will be accepted by that program.

17. Will I be eligible to take human resources certification examinations upon completion of the program?

Organizations such as the HR Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management offer different certification examinations.  Eligibility to take these exams is based on the applicant’s level of education and work experience.

18.What final grade point average (GPA) is needed to successfully earn the certificate?

To earn the certificate, a cumulative GPA of B (3.0) is required.  Credits earned in the certificate program with a grade of less than B cannot be counted toward the MSL degree.