University of Pittsburgh


Frequently Asked Questions

Schedules and Calendars


Room Use and AV

Computers, Technology, and Web Resources

Learning Log

Counseling and Study Skills

Research Involving Medical Students as Subjects

Get More Involved

Schedules and Calendars

How do I find out the schedule for courses later this year?

The detailed schedule for each course, including an hour-by-hour roster of course activities, is posted on the course’s Navigator Web site as soon as all of the details are finalized. It is possible that a course’s schedule will change slightly after the schedule has been posted on Navigator. However, the changes are usually quite limited, and students may use the posted schedule on Navigator to make plans in advance.

The course schedule is distributed in the course syllabus just prior to the start of a course. Course directors may announce any last-minute changes at the class sessions on the first day of the course, so it is important to be present to hear those details.

Students seeking information in advance may wish to refer to the overall curriculum calendar for their class year. Those schedules describe the activities of a course on a more gross scale, showing only the general half-days assigned to a given course. Courses in the first and second year generally run from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. There are rare exceptions in certain courses, such as courses in the Introduction to Patient Care block, which will have an occasional early evening session. There are no weekend course sessions during the first and second year.

Explore the link below to see the full-year half-day schedule for the first two years:

How do I find out the schedule for exams later this year?

For first- and second-year students, the exam schedule for the year is posted together with other year-long schedules on the Web page of academic calendars. See the current year examination schedule for the first two years.

Examinations in the third-year clerkships are generally administered on the same relative day in the clerkship during each rotation cycle. The final Friday of the clerkship is a common examination day, but there are certain rotations with alternative schedules. For information about the exam schedule for a specific clerkship, please contact the clerkship's education coordinator. You may reach the individual clerkship coordinators by clicking on the link below to third-year course descriptions, then selecting the specific course in which you are interested. Please review the third-year clerkship descriptions.

How do I find out when I am scheduled for first- or second-year clinical activities, such as Advanced Physical Examination or Clinical Experiences coursework?

First- and second-year students participate in a longitudinal sequence of courses within the Introduction to Patient Care block. The courses are conducted during three afternoons each week throughout the first two years.

  • First-year students generally have clinical activities scheduled on Monday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons.
  • Second-year students generally have clinical activities on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday afternoons.
  • Each student has one assigned clinical afternoon per week.
  • The other two afternoons are generally reserved for self-directed learning activities.

Students are assigned to the specific afternoons by the administrative coordinators for those courses. Schedules for all students are distributed as soon as they are available, typically within a couple of weeks before the start of the course. In the case of the Advanced Physical Examination and Clinical Experiences rotations, the process of making student-specific assignments is fairly complex and takes into account student requests for specific types and locations of placements. For these reasons, the schedule for these courses may be distributed by the course administrative coordinator on a month-by-month basis. Copies of the schedule will be distributed to each student electronically, and a master schedule will be posted on each course’s Navigator Web site.

For more information about schedules, or to contact course administrative coordinators with specific questions, use the links below to view the curriculum description, which includes names and contact information for the course administrative coordinators.

Links to Introduction to Patient Care block course descriptions:

How do I find out if I may be excused from a course requirement to present my work at a national conference?

As a general rule, all medical school course work is required. Student participation in every aspect of the curriculum is important to help each student get as much as possible out of the scheduled curriculum. However, we are well aware that students may have special opportunities to contribute to scientific and professional meetings. This may include serving in leadership capacities or giving a scientific presentation.

Students who wish to obtain permission to be excused from curricular activities to attend a conference for one of those reasons should contact Associate Director of the Office of Medical Education, Dr. Cynthia Lance-Jones, as early as possible to see if the proposed absence may be permissible. Dr. Lance-Jones and the Office of Medical Education can coordinate handling such requests, including consulting with course directors.

  • Two important items to note:
    1. Please remember that this type of excused absence is something to be requested; it should not taken for granted that it will be approved until an approval has been received.
    2. Though a student may be excused from attending a session of a course, this does not relieve a student of the obligation to make up any missed course work to the satisfaction of the course director. Making up this course work in a timely fashion is the student’s obligation. Failure to do so could result in academic consequences, such as the missed work being reflected in a course grade.


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How do I obtain my exam and block grades?

To view first- and second-year course exam grades and block grades, log in to AmpUp. Under the "Student Tools" tab, the menu includes a section with options to click on first- and second-year exam results.

How do I obtain my clinical clerkship and course grades?

To view third- and fourth-year clerkship and course grades, log in to AmpUp. Under the "Student Tools" tab, the menu includes a section with options to click on third- and fourth-year grades.


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Room Use and AV

How do I reserve a lecture hall or a small group classroom for a student group activity?

Room reservations for activities sponsored by student groups are handled through an online request system. On AmpUp, log in, then select the "Student Tools" link. Once you click student Tools, there is a link within the dropdown menu to the room reservation request form. When completing this form, be ready to provide information about the date, time, and nature of the event, whether there is an intention to serve food at the event, and what the AV requests might be.

How do I arrange for an LCD projector for a student event?

Student groups that are holding events in the small group rooms or lecture halls in Scaife Hall may generally use the audiovisual facilities, including built-in LCD projectors. In certain lecture halls it is necessary to make advance arrangements for staff assistance in operating the audiovisual systems. Please submit requests for audiovisual support when filing a room reservation request for the activity. Under certain circumstances, student groups may be able to arrange for the use of an LCD projector for an event that is not being held in one of the usual medical student rooms. For assistance with this, please contact the Office of Medical Education at 412-648-8714.

How do I use the AV system in a lecture hall?

Each of the lecture halls has a built-in audiovisual system, including an LCD projector. Explore these links to view instructions for operating the system in each room.


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Computers, Technology, and Web Resources

How do I access the Navigator online curriculum system?

The Navigator Web site contains the online curriculum materials for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine curriculum. The Web site is accessible to all students in the MD degree program at UPSOM and to faculty involved in medical student education. Obtain access to the site, then click on the link “New User Registration” on the left toolbar. Registering as a new user will take just a moment and will provide you with access to course materials such as syllabus content, podcasts, webcasts, practice questions, and other multimedia resources.

How do I access AmpUp?

AmpUp serves as the centralized area for medical student online activity, connecting students to Web-based administrative, academic, and social resources related to their education. AmpUp can be accessed here. For the following, you may go directly to AmpUp: Scrub Ordering, Student Directory, Grades, Classes, Course Catolog, Event Registration, Immunization and Certification, Social Events - Ticket Ordering, Application for LCME Accredited Programs, and Application for International Programs.

Access to many areas of AmpUp is password protected for use only by currently authorized students, faculty, and staff. If you are in one of these groups and would like to obtain information about establishing access to the password-protected materials, please contact the Lab for Educational Technology at 412-648-9679 or by e-mail at

How do I access the CoursEval online curriculum evaluation system?

Review this course evaluation information link for more information.

How do I connect to the wireless network in Scaife Hall?

Wireless PittNet is installed in Scaife Hall. Coverage has been established for all spaces that are most accessible to medical students, faculty, and staff. This includes Scaife classroom spaces, the medical student lounge, and the Health Sciences library. If you want more information on the specifics of the University wireless network (e.g., how to connect, locations of buildings with PittNet access), the Wireless PittNet is available for review.

This network has been installed and will be maintained by the University's Computing Services and Systems Development group (CSSD). If you require assistance with your user name or password, please contact the CSSD Help Desk directly at 412-624-HELP. The CSSD Help Desk is always available to answer your questions.

UPMC now provides free wireless service at various locations so that patients, visitors, and trainees can access the Internet on their laptops and other computer devices. To log on while in a UPMC Wi-Fi hotspot, open “Network Connections” on your laptop or computer device and connect to GIA (Guest Internet Access).

How do I print from the small group rooms to the Falk Library?

All Scaife small group room computers and many computers in the Falk Library utilize Pitt Print or campus wide CSSD printing. The printer is located near the HSLS Technology Help Desk.

To route a job to this printer
-Begin to print as you would from any computer.
-A Pharos pop-up window will appear.
-Select the printer you wish to use. *To select two-sided printing, you must go into either Preferences or Properties (depending on your web browser);
-Select the “Duplex printing” option, then click OK.

For username or login, enter your usual medical school email username - "lastname.firstname" [do not enter the extension ""].
Where it requests a unique job name, you may enter any name you wish.

To retrieve your print job
-Go to the print station.
-At the terminal next to the printer, you will need to log in.
-Again, as your login, use your medical school email username.
-Enter your password. [Your password is based on your name and social security number. It is the first letter of your last name, the first 4 digits of your SSN, and the first letter of your first name].
-After you log in, select your print job from the list and it will be printer.

How do I print from other campus computing locations or remote locations?

Lower campus lab printing is a student resource. Laser printers are available in all computer labs. By default, print jobs sent from a lab computer are sent to self-service printing stations located in the labs. Students simply swipe their ID cards at the self-service print station to print and pick up their job. More information is available here.

How do I log in to the online curriculum resources at the WISER Center?

Certain course work is held at the WISER Simulation Center. Because of the unique nature of the course activities and technology involved, there is a separate curriculum system in place at the WISER. Prior to the start of required coursework at WISER during the second year, students will receive an e-mail message describing how to access that specific online curriculum system. For students who have already used that system, you may follow the link below to reach the WISER Web site and obtain help in recalling a login or password.

How do I add anti-spam protection to my e-mail account?

The Postini anti-spam software is a practical and effective approach at reducing spam and is compatible with our email system. This is an optional (but highly recommended) system to filter spam from your incoming medstudent e-mail. To activate the system, you opt-in by visiting a specific web site and enroll your e-mail account with the system.

Postini Anti-Spam Overview

The Postini anti-spam software is already a component of the University of Pittsburgh’s email services, and has been used by various departments and administrative groups for more than a year, with good results. To use the system, each individual user must follow a couple of simple steps to route their email through the Postini system. By taking this step, email is routed through the Postini software before arriving at the email inbox. Spam-type messages will be captured by the Postini system. Spam messages are held in a web-accessible spam folder for separate review. It is then up to each user to visit that spam folder regularly, to be sure that any legitimate messages have not been inadvertently captured by that system. The system allows for various levels of spam capturing.

Key Points

  • This is a voluntary system – it will only be activated if you enroll your account.
  • You need to know your Pitt (not medschool) e-mail account name and password to complete the registration process.
    - If you need assistance with your Pitt e-mail account password, you will need to contact CSSD or go to this link and click on "Forgot your password?":
  • You may set the degree of filtering to your preference, and may designate individual senders as permitted or blocked.
  • Messages are held in the spam folder for 14 days, then discarded automatically so you must visit the spam folder at least every 14 days if you want to prevent inadvertent discard of any messages that may have been inadvertently filtered.

Click here to view detailed instructions about how to activate and use the
Postini anti-spam service.

Why and how should I deal with spam and email forwarding during residency recruiting season?

Many aspects of the residency recruiting process are now being conducted exclusively by email. In particular, many time-sensitive communications, such as invitations to interviews, are handled by email. During this particularly important phase of the residency selection process, it may be helpful to take certain steps to assure that messages are delivered without diversion or delay.

In particular, many students use various programs to identify possible spam messages, or to forward mail from medstudent email accounts to outside accounts. During this critical time in 4th year, you may wish to temporarily deactivate or adjust settings on those programs so as to reduce the likelihood that a message is delayed or lost. For example, the University’s Postini anti-spam software diverts messages to a holding file for your review. Messages are only held in Postini for approximately 14 days.                                                             

As a temporary measure just during application season, you may wish to reduce the anti-spam settings to low or actually deactivate anti-spam software to insure that all possible messages reach your inbox without delay or diversion. Similarly, depending on mail forwarding to external accounts has the potential to lead to a delayed delivery to that alternative account.

What is an Audience Response System, and what do I need to know about it?

PittMed classes use an Audience Response System (ARS) called TurningPoint.

All first and second year medical school students receive a Responder at the beginning of the year. It comes with a specific number for which we can identify each student.

You are expected to return all of these items at the end of the academic year. There is a $60 replacement fee for your responder if you fail to return it or damage it beyond repair.

If you lose your Responder, please let your curriculum specialist know. If your battery dies or you notice a problem, do not hesitate to bring it to the OMED office located in Suite S592.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your lecturer may show question slides in multiple-choice-format.
  • You are able to make a selection using a “Responder”, a credit card sized keypad with buttons 1-10/A-J.
  • Using it is as simple as pressing the number or letter that corresponds with your selection. Watch for a green light on the Responder to indicate your response was sent.
  • To change your answer choice, simply press a different button.
  • All responses are tallied and results displayed graphically.

Please note your response is anonymous and strictly used to help your lecturer better understand and serve you.

More and more lecturers are using TurningPoint, so bring your Responder to every lecture.


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Learning Log

How do I access the Learning Log?

The Learning Log for students is accessible through Navigator, the 'Home' screen of Navigator, the Learning Log icon is listed in the table tited 'Other Resources' on the right-hand side of the screen. The first time you use Learning Log, you will need to register your account by clicking on the “Register new user” link and following the directions. Use your ENTIRE medstudent email address in the username field when logging in.

Where do I obtain help with the Learning Log?

If you are having technical problems with the Learning Log, including difficulty logging on, you should contact the Lab for Educational Technology at, 412-648-9679. If you have questions about when you should be using the log or about the diagnoses or preceptors, we suggest that you first contact your course or clerkship’s coordinator or director. If you have further questions, feel free to contact Dr. John Mahoney at the Office of Medical Education, at 412-648-8714 or

Exactly which patients should be entered in the Learning Log?

There are three types of patients that you should record in the log:

  • “Assigned”
    For patients that are specifically assigned to you, you should always make a log entry. This includes patients where you perform an evaluation or where you are otherwise closely involved in their care. This would include a patient who you are assigned to round on each day; a patient where you assess them and then proceed to present the case to your resident or attending; or one where you are involved in performing a procedure. In the case of procedures, sometimes this will mean a procedure that you perform yourself with close supervision, such as placement of a urinary catheter. In the case of surgical or obstetrical procedures, you may not be performing the procedure yourself but instead you are scrubbed in and learning as the procedure is being performed by the physician team. You will see that the log has numerous surgical procedures preloaded for your use. We fully recognize that medical students will not be primarily performing major surgery!
  • “Encountered”
    In many cases, an important part of your learning will come from patients that you encounter, but where you are not necessarily assigned primary responsibility for that patient’s care. An example would be where you encounter a particular patient repeatedly as part of the care being given by your inpatient team. At some point in the patient’s stay, you realize that this is a case where significant learning is going on for you. We suggest that you make a log entry about this case and record it as an encountered patient.
  • “Simulated”
    The third category of patients is “Simulated”. This includes standardized patients (humans portraying a patient role); mechanical or mannequin simulations, such as the SimMan mannequins at the WISER Center; and computer screen simulations or virtual patients, where you interact with the patient through a keyboard, mouse and computer screen interface. All three of these types of simulations are reasonable and valid ways to encounter a clinical condition. Similar to encountered patients, if you are engaging in significant learning through a simulated patient case, we suggest that you capture this in your log. Specific examples where this is the case during clerkships include: the Critical Care Medicine sessions during the Adult Inpatient Medicine Clerkship; simulator-based training during the Anesthesia portion of the Surgical and Perioperative Care Clerkship; procedural skills simulations during the Surgical and Perioperative Care and Specialty Care Clerkships; pelvic and breast examination skill sessions during the Family Medicine or Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkships; and virtual patient cases (the CLIPP cases) during the Pediatric Inpatient Medicine Clerkship. These are just samples of the types of simulations that you will encounter. Any simulations that are part of your learning are reasonable candidates for inclusion as a Learning Log entry.

Each time you enter a new patient into the log, you will select Assigned, Encountered or Simulated from the pull-down menu.

Should I submit Learning Log entries for outpatients?

Yes, you should submit Learning Log entries for inpatients and outpatients.

My course / clerkship director has given me additional instructions about using the Learning Log, including specific cases they want me to be sure to see and record. How do I handle this?

Course and clerkship directors often have additional specific areas that they want you to be sure to learn about. The Learning Log is one way to help them monitor your progress in these areas. The instructions the clerkship directors have for your use of the logs is generally in addition to those listed here. As a student on that rotation, you should be sure to follow the directions of your clerkship or course director.

How are the Learning Log entries used?

The Learning Log provides course and clerkship directors and the School as a whole, with the ability to better understand the types of patients that students are encountering and the types of learning that are going on in the setting of those clinical cases.

  • At the Course level:
    At the level of an individual course, faculty will use the information in the Learning Log to monitor an individual student’s progress toward achieving the goals of the clerkship. For example, if a course director observes that a student is having an unusually limited clinical experience in terms of the number or type of patients encountered, they may take specific steps to adjust the student’s assignments to provide a more rounded experience. Course and clerkship directors are increasingly using the Learning Log information as a component of their assessment of student progress at the midpoint of the rotation. Do not be surprised if the course director reviews your log entries with you during a mid-course feedback session. In fact, it would be wise for you to be sure that your Learning Logs are up to date at all times, but this is particularly important as you approach the midpoint of the clerkship and the end of the clerkship. These are two times when incomplete-appearing logs could be a particular cause for concern.
  • At the Individual Student level:
    Individual students are using the Learning Log entries to monitor their own progress toward personal goals, including the goal of attaining a well-rounded set of experiences during their clinical rotations. Without some type of log, It can be difficult to accurately recall a year’s worth of experiences as you attempt to discern gaps in your personal learning while formulating a plan for next year’s schedule. You may wish to bring summary information of your Learning Log entries to the attention of your faculty advisors, so they may have an overview of your experiences to date and provide even more precise information about how you may best craft next year’s schedule.
  • At the School level:
    Overall results of the Learning Log are an essential part of understanding the types and quantities of clinical experiences that are happening across all of our teaching sites. This is generally a good idea for monitoring the quality of the curriculum and it is specifically a requirement for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the official body that accredits allopathic medical schools in the US and Canada.

What are the checked boxes on the second screen of the log entry all about?

These items appear under the heading “Learning experiences related to this patient’s care included:”. This list of 17 items provides an opportunity for you to give us more information about other specific areas of learning that are important for your growth as a physician-in-training and that represent important dimensions of the School’s overall curricular objectives. They represent broad areas that are often elements of learning surrounding a patient case, yet may not be apparent from the single term that is used to list the patient’s diagnosis. For example, a log diagnosis entry of congestive heart failure does not adequately reveal that the key area of learning for a student was in the complexities of revising a complex therapeutic plan or in extended discussions with the patient and family about end-of-life issues. We encourage you to check off as many of these areas of special learning as are applicable to each case.

After making certain log entries, I receive an email that suggests a reading or other learning activity. How does this work?

A new and evolving curricular initiative is to use Learning Log entries as a trigger to provide students with easy access to just-in-time learning resources. These are deployed during various clinical courses. In some courses, completing a certain number of these just-in-time learning modules is a required activity. Your individual course or clerkship director will provide you with the specific details about the requirements for your course.

Where do I go to obtain a complete list of the Learning Log diagnoses?

This link contains a multi-page list of most of the diagnoses contained within the Learning Log, sorted by organ systems. Many diagnoses appear in more than one category. In addition to those on this printed list, you will encounter additional diagnoses as you go to the entry screen, including some abbreviations for commonly entered diagnoses. For example, within the log system you will see both congestive heart failure and CHF. Whichever one of these terms you select, it will map to a single point in the Learning Log record system.

When should I use a diagnosis from the pull-down list instead of typing a diagnosis in the write-in diagnosis box?

As a general rule, it is highly recommended that you select a diagnosis from the pull-down list. When you do this, your diagnoses are automatically tallied, making it easier for both you and the clerkship/ course director to see a tidy summary of the cases you have seen, summarized using a standardized and predictable vocabulary. When you manually type in a diagnosis, it is counted separately. If you type in the same diagnosis multiple times, it will appear in your summary reports as many times as you have typed it in, even if it appears identical on the screen. This can make for a difficult report to read and understand. Also be aware that, when you manually type in a diagnosis, the record system has no means to know how to categorize that manual entry. For example, any cardiovascular diagnoses you enter will not be tallied under the overall heading of cardiovascular cases.

What do I do if a single case has more than 3 diagnoses?

You may enter any additional diagnoses in the write-in diagnosis box.

When should I use the pull-down list of preceptors instead of writing in a name?

Similar to the situation with diagnoses, we highly encourage you to use names from the pull-down list rather than typing them in each time. If the name you are looking for simply does not appear in the list, then of course you should type it in. We will be periodically reviewing the write-in entries and updating the pull-down lists to reduce the number of write-ins that you must make.

How do I view reports that summarize my Learning Log entries?

There are two features available to help you view your log records. After you log in, the opening screen will include a report item, “Quick List”. Selecting this link will display recently entered diagnoses and procedures. If you select “My Log Activity”, you will be able to view summary & detailed reports of your log activity grouped by clerkship. To gain a better understanding of how these work, we suggest that you browse each one after you have entered at least one diagnosis or procedure.


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Counseling and Study Skills

How do I obtain help with my study skills?

The Office of Medical Education has resources to help students with study skills and other academic problems. For assistance, contact Ms. Laura Jeannerette at 412-648-9541 or by e-mail at

How do I obtain some help with counseling for personal matters?

There are several types of resources available at the school to assist with personal problems. The staff at the Office of Student Affairs, including Associate Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Harvey, can be of great assistance with many student problems. The Counseling Program through the School of Medicine offers medical students evaluation, treatment and referral for a wide range of psycholgical needs. The program is dedicated to maintaining healthy and confident students and is both free of charge and highly confidential. Lee Wolfson, MEd, is the medical student psychologist. He can be reached at 412-624-1041 or by e-mail at


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Research Involving Medical Students as Subjects

How do I obtain information on conducting research projects using medical students as subjects?

For research studies in which medical students are being recruited as subjects, including surveys of medical students, the School of Medicine’s Research on Medical Students (ROMS) Review Committee must review the proposed research plan before it can be submitted to the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board (IRB).  This review includes examination of how medical students will be recruited, and be involved,  in the study, and how the study will fit within the conduct of the medical school curriculum.  The goal of this requirement is to balance the needs of researchers with the interests and availability of the medical students being solicited as research subjects.

For this review, investigators are asked to submit their draft IRB proposal along with any supporting documents that will shed light on what any one medical student would experience as being part of the project.  The submission is then reviewed by the ROMS Review Committee.  Reviews are typically conducted within 2-3 weeks.  The result of an approval from the ROMS Review Committee is a letter to the primary investigator which must be submitted to the IRB together with the other IRB documents in the OSIRIS electronic submission system. 

Projects where medical students will be recruited as subjects may not proceed without review from the Research on Medical Students Review Committee. 

To submit a study for review by the ROMS Review Committee please email the review request to John Mahoney MD, Associate Dean for Medical Education at  Dr. Mahoney can be reached at 412-648-8714.  For questions about the IRB submission process, please e-mail Erin Grabowski at


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Get More Involved

How do I learn more about the curriculum?

There are a number of ways to learn more about what is currently going on with the curriculum. One of the best ways is to discuss curriculum matters with your class’s elected Curriculum Committee representatives and class officers. The Curriculum Committee meets once or twice each month, and all meetings are open to all members of the School of Medicine community, including students and faculty. For more information about upcoming Curriculum Committee meetings, contact your class’s Curriculum Committee representatives or the Curriculum Committee's recording secretary, Ms. Betsy Nero, at 412-648-9829 or by e-mail at

How do I tell someone about an idea for how to improve student experiences at Pitt Med?

Students have had a terrific impact on the current state of this medical school. We welcome student input on how things are going now and how to improve the student experience. There are a number of easy ways to have your ideas heard. Tell your class officers or Curriculum Committee representatives. Tell the faculty or staff at the Office of Medical Education, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, or Lab for Educational Technology. Stop by and talk with any of the faculty and staff in the school administration, such as Dr. John Mahoney, associate dean for medical education, or Dr. Joan Harvey, associate dean for student affairs.

How do I find out about opportunities for international experiences?

The Office of Student Affairs has information about international educational opportunities for medical students. Dr. Joan Harvey, associate dean for student affairs, leads the faculty team that oversees the Global Health Area of Concentration, which can be a terrific resource for students considering how an international experience may fit into their learning plans. For more information, contact Dr. Harvey.


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