The University of Pittsburgh was founded—as the Pittsburgh Academy— in a log cabin in 1787, 11 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It achieved university status in 1819. During its 1966 sessions, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania formally recognized the University of Pittsburgh as an integral part of the system of higher education in Pennsylvania and designated it a "state-related" university. The University amended its charter to reflect this designation and changed its official name to "University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education."

A private, state-related, nonsectarian institution, the University receives an annual appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and income from endowments, tuition, gifts, grants, sponsored research, clinical activities, and private sources. The state-related universities—which also include The Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, and Lincoln University —are legally instruments of the Commonwealth as specified by statute. Each possesses a separate, nonprofit corporate charter and is governed by a separate board of trustees, fully accountable for the operation of the institution.

The Pittsburgh Campus includes 16 schools: the school of Arts and Sciences which includes the undergraduate and the graduate programs in the arts and sciences, the College of General Studies, the University Honors College, the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the Graduate School of Public Health, and the Schools of Dental Medicine, Education, Engineering, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Law, Information Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work. The full-time equivalent student enrollment at the Pittsburgh Campus alone for Fall Term 2001 was 29,613 (for current University data on student enrollment and other management information, visit the Office of Institutional Research Website at Office of Institutional Research).

The Pittsburgh Campus - consisting of more than 90 academic, research, and administrative buildings and residence halls, located on a 132-acre site three miles from the city's business center - is adjacent to 450 acres of rolling civic park land. Nearby are concert halls, museums, theaters, research institutes, book stores, art galleries, restaurants, churches, and playgrounds. Other institutions of higher education located nearby include Carlow College, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College, and Duquesne University. Medical education, research, and patient care come together within the UPMC Health System, an affiliate of the University of Pittsburgh, which works closely with the University's six Health Sciences schools. The UPMC Health System includes UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Eye and Ear, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

In addition to the Pittsburgh Campus, the University has regional campuses in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville, Pennsylvania.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (UPB), established in 1963, offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate programs leading to the award of the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Associate of Science degrees. The beautiful 155-acre, modern campus is three hours north of Pittsburgh (one hour south of Buffalo, New York). The city of Bradford offers a small town environment with modern amenities and plentiful outdoor recreational opportunities. As the only institution of higher learning in a six-county area, UPB plays an important role in the region's cultural, educational, and economic development, and enrolls about 1,200 full-time equivalent students.

The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (UPG) established in 1963, is situated on an attractive 160-acre campus in suburban Hempfield Township just three miles southeast of the city of Greensburg and approximately 33 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. UPG offers a variety of four-year undergraduate program options in the arts and sciences and management. The campus provides a small college setting with personalized academic attention for approximately 1,700 full-time equivalent students. In addition to locally available resources, UPG's location is close enough for students to take advantage of cultural and athletic activities on the Pittsburgh Campus.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ), founded in 1927 as the Johnstown Center, became a four-year campus in 1971. The largest of the regional campuses within the University system, with more than 3,000 full-time equivalent students, UPJ has a solid academic reputation built on the high priority given to teaching. The spacious, 650-acre campus located about 75 miles east of Pittsburgh is the third largest college campus in Pennsylvania. UPJ offers a wide range of academic majors, student activities, and housing options in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. In addition to the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, UPJ has divisions for education and engineering technology, as well as health science offerings.

The University of Pittsburgh at Titusville (UPT), established in 1963 as a two-year campus, provides relocation and transfer programs for students pursuing baccalaureate degrees, as well as career-oriented programs for those pursuing associate degrees. UPT is located on a 10-acre site in northwestern Pennsylvania in the pleasant residential city of Titusville, the site of the first commercially successful oil well and significant in the early development of the oil industry. With its small class sizes, individual attention both in and out of the classroom, and many opportunities for involvement and leadership in campus affairs, UPT offers approximately 480 full-time equivalent students a favorable beginning college experience.

The Commonwealth's designation and support of the University of Pittsburgh as a state-related university makes educational services available at lower tuition charges to the residents of Pennsylvania. The state-related designation provides state funds for the University's general operating budget; it makes the University eligible for state facility construction grants; yet it permits the University to remain legally a private entity and to retain most of the freedom and individuality of a private institution while it serves more fully the needs of the residents of the Commonwealth. The University still relies on private, federal, and foundation sources— tuition income, income from service operations, sponsored research funds, and income from endowments and private giving.

The University sets its own standards for admissions, awarding of degrees, and faculty qualifications. The state support permits lower tuition rates that enable more men and women of ability to attend the University, and it helps the institution maintain salary and benefits programs that enhance its ability to attract and retain high-caliber faculty and staff.

The University of Pittsburgh, including all four regional campuses, is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The University is an elected member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), composed of approximately the 65 most respected research universities in North America.