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Answers

Questions about majors and courses

What is the purpose of a Liberal Arts degree?

The primary purpose of a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin is to prepare you to confront the realities of the twenty-first century. In a rapidly changing world, a liberal arts education allows for your development as an individual citizen, prepares you to engage successfully in a new global economy, and enables the growth of your intellectual and practical skills. At its completion, a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts should leave you with a fundamental as well as profound knowledge of the human, physical, and natural worlds—a knowledge that enables you to apply your skills to new settings and complex problems in the workplace or beyond.

What can I major in?

List of Liberal Arts Majors

The College of Liberal Arts offers more than 50 majors for students to pursue. There are only a few majors in Liberal Arts that require a special application process-- Psychology, Humanities, and the Plan II Honors Program.  You will have an opportunity during orientation to talk to your academic advisor regarding your intended major(s).

What languages can I take?

Foreign Language Study

There are 34 languages offered at the University of Texas, including modern and ancient languages.  They are offered by a variety of departments across Liberal Arts.  Learn more about what languages are taught and which departments are responsible for offering them by clicking the above link.

How do I evaluate my course options?

There are a number of tools available to help you determine which classes you may be interested in taking in a given semester. 

Course Schedule

The course schedule lists all the courses being offered each semester, their timelines, locations, instructors (if available) and unique numbers (which are used to register for those classes).

Liberal Arts Course Descriptions

Most departments in the college of Liberal Arts post descriptions of their courses each semester.  Course descriptions usually contain more details about the content and expectations for a course than the course schedule.

Syllabi and CVs

Use this site to look for the syllabus of a class you are in or considering signing up for.  Syllabi contain details about assignments, grading, textbooks, and instructor office hours.  This site also alows you to search for your instructor's CV so you can learn more about his/her education, publications and previous work history.

Course Instructor Survey Results

At the end of every semester, students fill out a Course Instructor Survey to report on various aspects of the course and instructor.  Some students find it helpful to review the survey results for an instructor and class when making decisions about which classes they should take.

How do I check on my progress towards my degree?

Interactive Degree Audit

Through the Interactive Degree Audit (IDA), students may view and request degree audits online, project how future courses might apply toward a degree, and locate advising resources.

Questions about advisors

Who are advisors?

Advisors are staff members dedicated to providing you with information about degree plans, university and college academic policies, and university resources.  We recommend you talk to relevant advisor(s) regularly about your progress toward degree, academic goals and questions about the university. 

Which advisor should I talk to?

There are three different types of advisors—Student Division advisors, departmental advisors, and faculty advisors. During orientation, you will be required to meet with one of the following advisors depending on your situation:

Student Division Advisors

You should see a Student Division advisor if you are:

  • Undeclared and needing registration advising.
  • Seeking an exception to general degree requirements.
  • In an emergency situation.
  • Seeking the “permission of the dean”.

The Student Division advisors are located in Gebauer 2.306. 

Departmental Advisors

Students who have a major see departmental advisors. Departmental advisors see students who are:

  • Declared in that particular advisor’s major(s) and seeking registration advising.
  • Seeking an exception to major or minor requirements.
  • Interested in learning more about the courses offered by a particular department or center.
  • Interested in learning about potential career paths and graduate school options related to a major.
  • Exploring the possibility of declaring that department’s major(s).

You can learn more about how to contact an advisor in a particular department by going to that departmental website.  Websites for all Liberal Arts departments can be found here.

Faculty Advisors

All departments have faculty advisors. Faculty advisors see students who are:

  • Looking for in-depth information on fields related to the major.
  • Considering going to graduate school or looking for advice on evaluating graduate programs.
  • In need of letters of recommendation for graduate school.
  • Seeking departmental honors.

Questions about policies

Where can I find details on COLA policies?

COLA Policies and Procedures

This is where you can find the official policies of the College of Liberal Arts.  Should you ever have questions about policies or dates and deadlines, it is always best to ask your academic advisor. 

Where can I learn more about University policies?

Undergraduate and General Information Catalogs

The Undergraduate Catalog contains requirements for all degrees, course descriptions, information on honors programs, and college and departmental scholarships. The General Information Catalog covers registration, grading policies, and standards.

What are dates and deadlines I should be aware of?

Important Dates and Deadlines

This link takes you to a list of the dates and deadlines of which you should be aware.

Questions about credit-by-exam, placement exams and dual credit

How do I send my credit-by-exam scores to UT?

Send Credit-by-exam Scores

For information about how to send your test scores to UT, please visit the provided link.

How do I get course credit for an exam I took?

Once the scores are received by Student Testing Services, they are evaluated and a determination will be made as to the type of course credit that can be earned (if any).   If there is a possibility to earn credit, then you will need to petition online (also known as “claiming credit”) to have the credit-by-examination become part of your official academic record.  During orientation, you will need to talk to your academic advisor prior to claiming the credit.

What tests does UT accept for course credit?

Search for Exams by Type

To review exams and scores accepted by the University visit the Student Testing Services website.

What is a placement exam?

Some courses have placement tests that measure your proficiency in a subject to ensure you are placed in the appropriate level course. You will not be allowed to register for these courses if you have not taken the required tests. Several placement tests are available during orientation, including math, some foreign language, chemistry, and the Texas government tests. Please feel free to contact an academic advisor prior to orientation or during orientation if you have any questions about placement exams.

How do I place into the appropriate level of a math or science course?

Information About the ALEKS

Students who are interested in taking Calculus, Chemistry for B.S. Degrees or pre-med coursework should take the College of Natural Science Math and Chemistry assessments. There is a web-based assessment and learning tools that provide targeted, individualized instruction. Students wishing to take Calculus will also need to complete an in-person exam during orientation or the Monday before class begins in August. To learn more information about these assessments, please see the following website: http://www.cns.utexas.edu/students/incoming-students/assessments#3-complete-the-aleks-math-and-chemistry-assessments

How do I place into the appropriate level of a foreign language?

Student Testing Services

It is strongly recommended that students with prior knowledge of American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, or Russian, however acquired, take a placement test before enrolling for the first time in a UT Austin course in that language. Tests in foreign languages other than the ones listed above are scheduled on an individual basis; students who need to take placement tests in such languages should make arrangements directly with the appropriate foreign language departments. Tests used for placement in foreign languages generally serve as bases for credit-by-examination in one to four courses. Foreign language tests may be taken only once. There is no need to sign up for a placement exam if you plan on enrolling in a foreign language in which you have no previous knowledge.

What is dual credit?

While in high school, some students take courses that count towards high school requirements and toward college credit.  This is called dual enrollment and the courses are typically taken through a community college. Credit earned through dual enrollment (“dual credit”) does not appear on your high school transcript. 

How do I get a course I took as dual credit to count towards my UT degree?

To have dual credit reflected on your UT record, you must have an official transcript sent from the community college with which your high school works with to the Office of Admissions at The University of Texas at Austin.

Here are some examples of common dual credit:

  • ENGL 1301 (English Composition 1) = RHE 306 (Principles of Rhetoric)
  • ENGL 1302 (English Composition 2) = RHE 309K (Topics in Writing)
  • GOVT 2305 (US Government) = GOV 3 US
  • GOVT 2306 (Texas Government) = GOV 3 TX
  • ECON 2301 (Macroeconomics) = ECO 304L (Macroeconomics)
  • HIST 1301 (US History 1) = HIS 315K (United States, 1492-1865)
  • HIST 1302 (US History 2) = HIS 315L (United States Since 1865)

Questions about registration

How do I know when to register for classes?

Registration Information Sheet (RIS)

Use the Registration information sheet to see your registration and add/drop schedule.  You can also use this page to determine if you have any bars on your registration.

What is a registration bar and how do I clear it?

Registration Information Sheet (RIS)

A bar is a code placed on your record that prevents registration. All bars will be listed on your Registration Information Sheet (RIS). Types of bars that may appear include:

  • Financial: In most cases, financial bars may be paid in cash or by check at the Cashier's Office in MAI 8, or cleared online through the "What I Owe" page on UT Direct.
  • Non-financial: You must resolve a non-financial bar in person at the administrative office that imposed it.
  • Advising: You can resolve this bar by attending a registration advising session.  Check with your department to determine how your advisor arranges sessions (some advising offices require that you set up an appointment while other only allow walk-in adivising during registration).  Many majors require students to be advised before registering for classes.

How will I enroll in courses as a continuing student?

Registration

During orientation, you have Orientation Advisors on hand to assist you with the registration process.  However, in future semesters, you will register for classes on your own.  This site provides a guideline for registration.  Though it may not be required by your department, it is highly recommended that you meet with your academic advisor before registering for classes each semester.

How do I make changes to my course schedule?

Registration Information Sheet (RIS)

Check your Registration Information Sheet to find out your add/drop access schedule.  You will use the same registration system you used to register for classes when you add/drop courses online.

Adds

Students can add available classes for which they meet the prerequisites online through the fourth class day during a long-session semester and the second day of a summer session.

Between the fifth and twelfth class days (third and fourth days for summer), students must seek the permission of the department offering the course in order to be added. Instructor approval may also be required.

After the twelfth class day (fourth for summer), students must come to the Student Division for instructions on adding courses. Adding courses at this time is rarely allowed.

Drops

Students can drop classes online up through the twelfth class day of a long-session semester (and the fourth class day of a summer session). Students who drop during this period may be entitled to a refund. Courses dropped during this period do not appear on a student's record.


From the thirteenth class day through the midsemester deadline in a long-session (fifth through last day in summer), students must obtain a form from the Student Division, and then obtain the instructor's signature to drop a course with a Q.


After the midsemester long-session deadline, students must speak with a Dean's Office (Student Division) advisor in GEB 2.306 and will only be approved to drop a course for urgent, substantiated, and nonacademic reasons. Drops are rarely allowed during this time. A student might be able to use his/her One-Time-Exception (OTE) to drop a single class or withdraw from all classes after the deadline for academic reasons, but must speak with a Dean's Office advisor to see if they qualify.  International students will also need the permission of the International Office in order to pursue a drop.

Limit on Q-drops

Students who entered a Texas public institution of higher education in fall 2007 or later will be restricted to six Q-drops in their academic careers. Exceptions may be made for documented, non-academic circumstances.

Can I get into a course that is closed or restricted?

Every department has its own policies about signing up for closed and restricted courses.  If you are interested in a course that is closed or restricted you may contact the department that is offering the course to ask about that department's policies.  Please do not contact faculty directly to ask to be added to a course unless you are directed to do so by the department.

Questions about career advice

Where can I go to explore my future career options?

Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling

The Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling helps students explore major and career interests. Services include career counseling, career testing, and graduate school planning assistance.

Liberal Arts Career Services

Liberal Arts Career Services (LACS) career coaches help Liberal Arts students write a resume, prepare for job interviews, apply to law school, or figure out how to best use their liberal arts degrees.

Where can I go to learn more and get advice on going into a health profession?

Health Professions Office

The Health Professions Office (HPO) provides students with the information necessary to make informed academic and career decisions related to various health professions.  The HPO can help students interested in a future in dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and veterinary medicine.

Where can I go to get information and advice on getting into law school?

Pre-Law Services

This service, housed in Liberal Arts Career Services, assists with researching and applying to law school, hosts the annual Law Fair, and provides general information related to the legal profession.

Where can I go to get information and advice on becoming a teacher?

UTeach

"UTeach-Liberal Arts is a professional middle and high school teacher preparation program for The University of Texas at Austin undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students planning to teach English, languages other than English, or social studies. Our four-semester program aims to transform secondary school teacher certification from the ground up with a balanced practical and theoretical approach to teacher preparation.” –from UTeach website.

Where can I go to get information and advice on going to graduate school?

Liberal Arts Career Services Graduate School Advising

The Liberal Arts Career Services offer advising specifically for graduate school preparation.  Resources include graduate school handbooks specific for different Liberal Arts majors.

Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling Graduate School Advising

The Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling offers graduate school resources such as a timetable for when certain steps in the process of graduate applications should be completed, advice on asking for letters of recommendation and more.

Questions about finances

Where can I go to get information and advice on my finances?

Offices of Student Financial Services

The Office of Student Financial Services coordinates and manages loan, grant, federal work-study, and scholarship programs from a variety of public and private sources.

Where can I go to learn more about getting scholarships?

UT Scholarships

Go to this Web site for information on various scholarships available to qualified UT students.

Liberal Arts Scholarships

Go to this Web site for information on Liberal Arts merit scholarships and other scholarship opportunities specifically for Liberal Arts students.

Questions about academic resources

Where can I go to get help with my academic habits (studying, taking notes, etc.)?

Sanger Learning Center

The UT Learning Center (UTLC) provides a range of services designed to enhance both individual learning and in-class performance with the goal of helping students achieve academic excellence.

Where can I go to get help with writing?

Undergraduate Writing Center

The Undergraduate Writing Center provides individualized, professional advice on all aspects of writing to university undergraduates on a drop-in basis or by appointment.

What libraries and museums are available on campus?

Libraries and Museums

This Web site provides information on university libraries and museums, including access to important research tools and library hours of operation.

Questions about health resources

What health and counseling services are available to students?

University Health Services

University Health Services provides non-urgent medical services, health promotion and maintenance programs, public health services, and pharmacy services.

Counseling and Mental Health Services

The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) helps students with their personal concerns so that they can meet the daily challenges of student life. The CMHC is staffed by psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other licensed mental health professionals.

As a student with a disability, where can I get support?

Services for Students with Disabilities

The primary goal of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is to support the academic efforts of students working with this office.

Questions about other opportunities

Where can I go to learn about study abroad opportunities?

Study Abroad Office

The Study Abroad Office Web site has information on study abroad programs, credit and grades, financial aid and scholarships, library resources, advising, and the application process.

What are my extra and co-curricular opportunities?

Recreational Sports

The Division of Recreational Sports develops and conducts recreational sports programs for university students. Among the many services and activities provided by Rec Sports are intramural sports, UT Sport Club Association, fitness/wellness programs, and open recreation facilities, including Gregory Gym.

Student Activities

Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) promotes student organizations and leadership development, community service, and co-curricular programming. SALD is home to over 900 registered student organizations. To find the organization that’s right for you, use their online Student Organization Database.

What are my options for honors programs?

Liberal Arts Honors Programs

There are a variety of different options for students interested in honors programs offered through the College of Liberal Arts. 

How can I get involved in Liberal Arts?

Getting involved at UT is very important—whether you want to be involved in a social organization, undergraduate research, political group, student government, etc.  Once you have declared a major, you will find that there are many additional organizations related to your academic path.  This is just the beginning!

Research Opportunities

Learn about the different kinds of research opportunities available to undergraduates and the value of undergraduate research.

Liberal Arts Council

Liberal Arts Council (LAC) is the link between students and Liberal Arts faculty, administration and professional world.  Any Liberal Arts student is eligible to become a member of LAC.

Questions about contacting faculty and staff

Where can I find the contact information for a UT faculty or staff member?

UT Directory

Use the UT Directory to search for the contact information for members of the university community.

How should I format an email I am sending to faculty or staff?

Be professional when communicating with faculty and staff members

We live in a culture of increasingly rapid, brief, and informal communication.  However, when communicating with university personnel it is important to conduct yourself in an adult and professional manner.  We have included some tips for writing appropriate emails to faculty and staff

  • Write from an e-mail account that's appropriate for academic use. Your @utexas.edu account is the best choice.
  • Use an e-mail account that shows your full name. Many people will not open an e-mail message if they don't recognize the name or address.
  • Use a helpful subject line. The simplest way is to include the course number or a clear message about the intent of the e-mail (e.g. "question about film assignment").
  • Choose a greeting that is appropriate. "Dear Professor ___," for faculty, or "Hi Ms./Mr. ___," for staff, are good greetings and much better than no greeting at all. Ask your professor or TA how they would like to be addressed if you aren't sure how to do so.
  • Identify yourself and your issue/question in the first sentence. "My name is Kelsey Harris and I am a student in your RHE 306 class. I have a question about the essay due on Friday. The syllabus says to turn it in at discussion group and (as we discussed) I have to leave for NCAAs on Thursday. Can I turn in the essay at your office after our class on Wednesday?"
  • Avoid text or instant message abbreviations and acronyms. These are fine when communicating with friends. "IMHO," "TYVM," etc., are not suitable for faculty or staff e-mails.
  • Proofread your message. This is a chance to reinforce your good writing habits and make a positive impression.
  • Include identifying information in your signature. Faculty and staff will need such information as your name, EID, and class unique number to identify you and the class you are enrolled in.
  • Reply to the professor or staff member's response. Even a quick "thank you" lets them know that you got their message and appreciate their time.
  • Take your e-mails to staff and faculty seriously. Learning good e-mail skills is important. It's always useful to be able to write short, effective notes; this will prove invaluable in future work settings.

Where can I go if I have more questions?

If you have questions about anything related to the College of Liberal Arts, you will find that Ask Libby is a great source.  It hosts an ever-growing FAQ section as well as an area for submitting questions for topics not covered on the site.

Ask Libby

And, of course, you can contact your advisor with any questions you have.