Why Choose Plan II?
We're Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin. What starts here changes the world....
You embrace a challenge. You're open to discovery.
Plan II students explore everything that makes us human in the best sense, from ancient poetry and philosophy to the latest discoveries in genetics and cosmology. Established in 1935, Plan II is a challenging interdisciplinary honors major with a required core curriculum that includes the study of literature, philosophy, society, the arts, math and the natural sciences. The Plan II Honors major provides freedom to cross intellectual and disciplinary boundaries.
A Renaissance Education for the Twenty-First Century
Plan II is education without boundaries. It is a four-year degree program that leads from a broad core curriculum in the early college years to a student's own choice of coursework in the later ones. Small classes and a common curriculum develop a sense of intimate community among students, while the size of the University of Texas gives them an enormous range of freedom in pursuing their interests and the library and computing infrastructure to do it well.
Plan II's goal is to prepare students to be ideal citizens by setting their minds on lifelong learning. Dean Parlin, who founded the program in 1936, believed that students should study broadly, without narrowing themselves to the requirements of a specialized major. Plan II excites all curiosities. Its core is the study of literature, philosophy, society, and natural science, all in the form in which they have the most meaning for the lives of real individuals. Its spirit is the freedom to cross intellectual boundaries and to seek understanding wherever it is to be found. Plan II students have explored everything that makes us human in the best sense, from poetry to the latest discoveries in physics or cosmology.
About a third of the courses required for a Plan II major are core courses. Many of the core courses are intimate seminar classes emphasizing writing and public presentation skills and offering a great deal of close interaction and discussion, particularly in the first year. Plan II students choose their non-core classes from the extensive list of the University's exciting and challenging departmental offerings, depending on the individual's academic interests and career goals.
The core of Plan II comprises a year of world literature and a year of philosophy. Both courses read great books in connection with contemporary issues and emphasize clear writing and thinking. Each student also chooses three seminars on interdisciplinary topics from a list of 36 courses especially designed for Plan II. On the science side, the Plan II core consists of special courses in logic, math, biology, and physics. In the social sciences, unique courses on the individual in society reflect Parlin's dream of an education for citizenship. An individual thesis project rounds out the senior year. Theses may be based on research or they may be original creative work. Recent topics range from software design to African music, from a historical monograph to a showing of paintings, and from marketing to political philosophy. Although the Plan II program is interdisciplinary, students concentrate in the areas of their theses and are well-prepared for graduate schools in their chosen subjects.
Public University Honors site! This is the only site on the web that is devoted entirely to the evaluation and discussion of public university honors programs and public honors colleges
- Plan II Honors is ranked #3 in overall excellence and honors factors.
- Plan II Honors is ranked #2 of smaller programs in overall excellence.
- UT ranks in the top four for career services.
- UT ranks #11 in "all scholars" awards.*
- The University of Texas at Austin ranks second in Truman Scholarships. UNC Chapel Hill is first and Virginia is just behind UT Austin.*
- UT Austin leads public university honors in Marshall Scholarships.*
- UT ranked in Princeton Review top 10 list of the best values in public education–the state universities that provide a very high level of quality at a reasonable sticker price or at a price that is offset by financial aid.
*Please refer to Plan II Awards for information on Plan II specific post-baccaluareate awards and other recognitions.
Study Abroad Opportunities
Where you learn can be as important as what you learn. That's why the University of Texas at Austin extends learning opportunities around the globe. The University offers reciprocal exchange programs with foreign universities, affiliated studies through organizations and institutions,undergraduate study abroad research programs and faculty-led programs. Find information, including information about available funding resources, at the site of the University's Study Abroad Office.
Plan II Honors supports students wishing to study abroad with a number of travel grants. Thanks to a recent giftS from 1973 alumnus and founder of CarMax, Austin Ligon, Plan II has assisted hundreds of Plan II students abroad. Mr. Ligon's gift of $1 million to be spent over 5 years helped us move closer to our goal of providing support for study abroad experiences for every Plan II student. His more recent challenge grant of $200,000 reinforced our study abroad fundraising efforts.
The list of 150 schools—75 public and 75 private—is based on information from fall 2011 through fall 2012. Student surveys, academics, cost, and financial aid were all factors taken into account to compile the list, which is unranked after the top 10. The Review reviewed seniors’ average debt along with the number of graduates who took out loans.
The annual list first began in 2004 and has joined forces with USA Today to report since 2009. This year, UT is one of five Texas schools and only one of 10 schools with an enrollment larger than 30,000 on the list.
The full set of rankings is posted on the USA Today and Princeton Review websites, including a description of the project’s history and facts about each school.
January 2013: UT has been named a top value among public universities by wealth management magazine Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. In its 2013 rankings, the University is 27th nationally among colleges touted for their combination of value and world-class education.
“We’re pleased that Kiplinger has joined many other publications in recognizing The University of Texas at Austin as one of the nation’s best values in higher education,” said UT president Bill Powers. “With our internationally recognized faculty, our relatively low tuition, and the highest public university graduation rate in the state, we continue to offer outstanding educational opportunities at an affordable price.”
“With our internationally recognized faculty, our relatively low tuition, and the highest public university graduation rate in the state, we continue to offer outstanding educational opportunities at an affordable price.”
The formula used to determine value includes 45 percent for cost factors like tuition, financial aid, and student debt, as well as 55 percent for quality factors, including competitiveness, academic support, and graduation rates. UT emphasized graduation rates in 2012, including a commitment to raising the four-year rate to 70 percent, up from its current rate of just over 50 percent.
- August, 2011: According to a survey just published by SmartMoney Magazine, UT Austin is the second-best value in the United States. Working with PayScale, a compensation data company that maintains salary profiles of 29 million workers, the magazine developed a “Payback Score” that compares what graduates paid in tuition with their salaries. If you paid $100,000 to attend college and are now earning $150,000 a year, your score would be 150, so the higher the score the better. Georgia Tech scored the highest with 221, and UT placed with 194.
The survey found that in general public universities yielded a higher return on investment: “If our payback survey were a football game, the public schools would be spiking the ball in the end zone and kissing the mascots.”
The report goes on to say …
“Paul Ott, the Dallas father who counseled his son to go to a public college …, says they are anticipating getting an additional $2,000 or more in state scholarships from The University of Texas. At a recent freshman orientation in Austin, Ott says, another dad shared how Texas helped his son land a well-paying job in computer science at a Houston oil services firm after a summer internship. ‘The fellow said his son is making more money straight out of college than he did after 30 years,’ Ott recalls. Both the elder and younger Ott say they’d be more than happy with a graduation present like that.”
A college degree is about a lot more than a financial return, but a good one certainly doesn’t hurt.
- 2009 Newsweek/Kaplan feature on UT Austin notes Plan II as "as one of the University's respected undergraduate honors programs which are ‘among the best regarded in the U.S.’”
- 2006 Fiske Guide to Colleges says, "The Plan II (liberal arts sic) honors program, a national model, is one of the oldest honors programs in the country, and one of the best academic deals anywhere. It offers qualified students a flexible curriculum, top-notch professors, small seminar courses, and individualized counseling, and provides them with all the advantages of a large university in a small-college atmosphere.
- The University of Texas at Austin recognized in numerous national rankings as one of the nation's best values in terms of its cost and the quality of its academic programs and reputation including the 2006 survey of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News World Report magazine.
- UT Austin at 15th in world list of 200 best universities in 2004 The University of Texas at Austin is the 15th-best university in the world, according to a new global ranking produced by The Times of London newspaper in its Nov. 5, 2004 edition. Among U.S. public universities, only the University of California at Berkeley, which is listed second in the world, ranked higher than UT Austin. November 2004
Check out all the Plan II Student organizations!
Plan II has something for almost everyone. Students are encouraged to start an organization if one does not already exists. Just in case Plan II student don't have an organization that suits your interests, there are another 1000+ University student organizations registered through the UT Dean of Students office. Only a campus the size of UT Austin can offer so many opportunities for involvement, spirit, public service and social and cultural interaction.
View of Plan II
The core of Plan II comprises a year of world literature and a year of philosophy. Both courses read great books in connection with contemporary issues and emphasize clear writing and thinking. Each student also chooses three seminars on interdisciplinary topics from a list of 36 courses especially designed for Plan II. On the science side, the Plan II core consists of special courses in logic, math, biology, and physics. In the social sciences, unique courses on the individual in society reflect Parlin's dream of an education for citizenship. An individual thesis project rounds out the senior year. Theses may be based on research or they may be original creative work. Recent topics range from software design to African music, from a historical monograph to a showing of paintings, and from marketing to political philosophy. Although the Plan II program is interdisciplinary, students concentrate in the areas of their theses and are well prepared for graduate schools in their chose subjects.
Plan II students are selected from a large applicant pool for their brilliant minds and their love of active learning. They have every possible interest and they take on a variety of careers. Majoring simply in Plan II, many students graduate to professional schools in law, medicine, or business. Other combine Plan II with majors in specialized subjects in architecture, fine arts, business, science, or engineering. Plan II graduates are found in every profession; they are lawyers, public servants, doctors, CEOs, novelists, poets, technical writers, research scientists, and even rock musicians. It is truly an education without boundaries.