College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin
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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 3 of 17 in Chapter 6
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Academic Policies and Procedures

Grade Point Average for Academic Decisions

In the College of Engineering, the grade point average used in all academic decisions is the average of grades the student has earned in residence in courses applicable to the degree. Academic decisions are decisions about engineering probation, engineering dismissal, internal transfer (change of major), admission to the major sequence, admission to the Engineering Honors Program, designation as an Engineering Scholar, eligibility for graduation, and for graduation with University Honors.

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Quantity of Work Rule

Maximum Number of Hours in the Long Session

As used in items (1) and (2) below, "coursework" includes correspondence courses, extension courses, distance education courses, nonrequired electives, physical activity courses, and courses for which the student is registered concurrently at another institution.

  1. An engineering student may not register for more than seventeen semester hours of coursework without an approved application to do so. Application is made online.
  2. No student may register for more than twenty-one semester hours of coursework during any long-session semester.

Minimum Number of Hours in the Long Session

A normal course load in the College of Engineering is fifteen to seventeen hours a semester; the suggested arrangement of courses for each degree program is based on this load. An engineering student may not enroll in fewer than fourteen semester hours of coursework except with an approved application to do so. Application is made online. Twelve of the fourteen hours must be applicable to the degree. All elective courses counted toward the twelve hours applicable to the degree must be on the lists presented later in this chapter or be approved by the departmental undergraduate adviser. Physical activity courses may not be used to meet these requirements.

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Rules for the Summer Session

A student may not receive credit for more than fourteen semester hours during a twelve-week summer session nor for more than eight semester hours in a six-week summer term. These limits apply whether the courses are taken at the University or another institution. For more information about the quantity of work allowed in the summer, see General Information.

Combined Work-Study Load

A student who is employed, either by the University or elsewhere, must report the number of hours of employment to his or her adviser when meeting with the adviser before registering each semester or summer session.

University regulations specify that the combined number of hours of University employment and semester hour load may not exceed forty hours a week. A useful guideline is that the number of hours of employment plus three times the semester hour load should not exceed fifty-six. Some students may find a lower number to be more realistic.

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Repetition of a Course

An undergraduate in the College of Engineering may not enroll in any course required in his or her engineering degree plan more than once without written consent of an adviser in his or her department. If the student registers for a course without having received consent, his or her registration may be cancelled. If the student is denied approval to repeat a required course, he or she will be placed in the undeclared major code and must consider other degree options.

A student who is denied approval to repeat a course in residence at the University will also be denied approval to complete the course by transfer, extension, correspondence, distance education, or credit by examination and then count it toward the degree.

Except in unusual circumstances that can be documented, it is unlikely that an engineering student will be given consent to enroll in a required course more than twice.

To be "enrolled" is to be registered for the course as of the twelfth class day in the fall or spring or the fourth class day in the summer. If the student drops a course or withdraws from the University after this date, the student is considered to have been enrolled.

A student in the College of Engineering may not repeat for a letter grade a course in which he or she has earned a grade of C or better.

The application to repeat a course is submitted online.

The official grade in a course is the last final grade reported. If a student repeats a course and has two or more grades, all grades and all semester hours are used in calculating the University grade point average, in determining the student's scholastic eligibility to remain in the University, and in determining the student's academic standing in the College of Engineering.

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Engineering students are expected to attend all meetings of the classes for which they are registered. Students who fail to attend class regularly are inviting scholastic difficulty. In some courses, instructors may have special attendance requirements; these should be made known to students during the first week of classes. With the approval of the dean, a student may be dropped from a course with a grade of F for repeated unexcused absences.

Standard of Work Required and Scholastic Policies

In addition to the scholastic standards described in General Information, the College of Engineering imposes the following academic standards. Students who fail to meet the standards stated in General Information are placed on "scholastic probation" by the University. The probationary status given to those who fail to meet the following college standards is "engineering probation." In cases with extenuating circumstances, the student may apply to the dean for a waiver of any of the following requirements.

A student is placed on academic probation in engineering under the following circumstances:

  • If, after the student has taken at least six semester hours in the major area of study, his or her grade point average in courses in the major area of study taken in residence falls below 2.00. The "major area of study" includes all courses in the student's discipline (biomedical, chemical, electrical, mechanical, or petroleum and geosystems engineering) and required under the student's engineering degree plan. For architectural engineering and civil engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in both architectural engineering and civil engineering; for aerospace engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in both aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics; for geosystems engineering and hydrogeology majors, the major area includes all courses in both geological sciences and petroleum and geosystems engineering.
  • If the student's grade point average in required technical courses taken in residence falls below 2.00. "Required technical courses" are courses taken in the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, or the Jackson School of Geosciences and required under the student's engineering degree plan; they include approved technical elective courses. Courses required to overcome admission or prerequisite deficiencies are not considered in decisions on engineering probation.

Grades received at the University in all courses in the major area, including grades in courses that have been repeated, are included in computing the student's grade point average.

A student on engineering probation will be removed from probation at the end of a long-session semester or summer session if the student is no longer subject to engineering probation under either of the criteria above.

After being placed on engineering probation, a student must be removed from probation within the next two long-session semesters in which he or she is registered. A student who fails to be removed from engineering probation within this time will be placed on engineering dismissal from the college.

A student seeking to reenter the college after having been scholastically dismissed from the University must enroll as an undeclared major unless there is a reasonable likelihood that the student can complete the degree plan under which he or she last registered. A student seeking to reenter the college after having been dismissed from engineering must enroll as an undeclared major. Students who are undeclared majors may not enroll in engineering courses.

A student may transfer to the College of Engineering from another division of the University in accordance with the regulations given in General Information.

To receive credit for any course, a student must earn a grade of D or better. However, admission to many courses requires a grade of at least C in prerequisite courses. Students should consult this catalog or the department for specific grade requirements.

Any student having academic difficulty should discuss his or her status with an academic adviser in the Office of Student Affairs, Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200.

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Pass/Fail Option

With the approval of the departmental undergraduate adviser, a student may elect to take the degree-required approved nontechnical electives or any extra courses (taken for benefit and not to be counted toward the degree) on the pass/fail basis rather than for a letter grade. All other courses required for the degree, and Mathematics 305G, Chemistry 304K, and Physics 306, if taken, must be taken for a letter grade.

To elect the pass/fail system of grading, a student must have received thirty semester hours of college credit. He or she may take no more than one course applicable to the degree program on this basis each semester. Credit by examination may be earned only on the pass/fail basis; such credit is not counted toward the University's maximum of five courses taken pass/fail that may be counted toward the degree. For more information on how to receive credit by examination, see General Information.

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Engineering Honors Program

The Engineering Honors Program (EHP) is designed to provide an intellectual challenge, opportunities for leadership development, and social interaction for students who have distinguished themselves academically and in leadership roles outside the classroom.

Admission to the program is limited to a small number of exceptional students who are chosen on a competitive basis by the Engineering Honors Program Committee. Most students enter the program when they enter college; selection is based on class rank, standardized test scores, leadership roles, academic extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, an essay related to engineering, and faculty review.

Engineering students may also apply for admission to the EHP when they have completed in residence at least twenty-four hours of the coursework to be counted toward the degree. To be invited to apply, the student must have at least sixty hours of coursework remaining in the degree program and must have an in-residence grade point average of at least 3.50. Selection is based on the student's rank in his or her degree plan class, in-residence grade point average on courses to be counted toward the degree, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation from faculty members, an essay related to engineering, and faculty review.

To remain in the EHP, the student must maintain an in-residence grade point average of at least 3.50. The grade point average is evaluated each year after grades for the spring semester have been awarded.

To earn Special Honors in Engineering and to have that designation placed on the academic record, the student must complete the undergraduate honors thesis course in his or her discipline.

Additional information is available from the Engineering Office of Student Affairs.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars are designated each spring semester from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. To be eligible, a student must be enrolled in the College of Engineering, must have completed at least twenty-four semester hours of coursework in residence while enrolled in the college, must have a grade point average that places him or her in the top 5 percent of the class, must be of good character, and must show promise of continued success in engineering. The grade point average used to determine the student's class rank includes only courses that the student has completed in residence and that are applicable to the degree.

University Honors

The designation University Honors, awarded at the end of each long-session semester, gives official recognition and commendation to students whose grades for the semester indicate distinguished academic accomplishment. Both the quality and the quantity of work done are considered. Criteria for University Honors are given in chapter 1.

Graduation with University Honors

Students who, upon graduation, have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement are eligible to graduate with University Honors. Criteria for graduation with University Honors are given in chapter 1.

Professional and Honor Societies

Professional and honor societies play an important role in the life of an engineering student. Membership in the professional societies is open to all students studying engineering and related fields. Many of these societies are student branches of national professional societies that endeavor to advance the profession of engineering by education, publication, and sponsorship of meetings and conferences. A complete list of professional societies for engineering students is published online.

The purpose of the honor societies is to recognize through membership those students who have established outstanding scholastic records and have demonstrated desirable character and personality traits. Honor societies frequently support projects that aid students and benefit the College of Engineering.

The engineering honor societies are Engineering Honors Council, Chi Epsilon (architectural and civil engineering), Beta Mu Epsilon (biomedical engineering), Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering), Omega Chi Epsilon (chemical engineering), Phi Lambda Upsilon (chemical engineering and chemistry), Pi Epsilon Tau (petroleum engineering), Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering), Sigma Gamma Epsilon (geological sciences and petroleum engineering), and Sigma Gamma Tau (aerospace engineering).

Embracing all branches of engineering is the Texas Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, which was organized at the University in 1916. Only students in the upper fifth of the senior class or the upper eighth of the junior class, and a few graduate students, qualify scholastically for membership consideration. Character and personality traits are also considered in selecting new members. Generally the chapter elects fewer members than the number of eligible students.

Engineering students are eligible for membership in Phi Kappa Phi, a national academic honor society that elects its membership from the top few percent of the entire student body, and in the Golden Key National Honor Society.

The Student Engineering Council is the governing body representing all undergraduate engineering students. Representatives to the council are selected by the professional and honor societies in the college.

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Special Requirements of the College of Engineering

All University students must have a grade point average of at least 2.00 to graduate. Students in the College of Engineering must also have an in-residence grade point average of at least 2.00 in the major area of study and in required technical courses. "Major area of study" and "required technical courses" are defined in the section Standard of Work Required and Scholastic Policies.

A candidate for a degree in engineering must be registered in the College of Engineering either in residence or in absentia the semester or summer session the degree is to be awarded. No later than the date given in the official academic calendar, the candidate must complete an online application form for graduation or graduation in absentia.

All individual degree programs must include at least forty-eight semester hours of engineering coursework.

Residence Rules

All University students must complete in residence at least sixty semester hours of the coursework counted toward the degree. In the College of Engineering, thirty of these sixty hours must be in the major field or in a field closely related to the major as approved by the major department and the dean.

At least the last twenty-four hours of technical coursework counted toward an engineering degree must be taken while the student is registered as an undergraduate engineering major at the University. A student seeking an exception to this requirement must obtain written approval in advance from the dean. Information about the petition process is available in the Office of Student Affairs, Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200.

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The Degree Audit

After earning ninety semester hours of credit toward the degree, the student should request a degree audit in the undergraduate office of his or her academic department. Failure to do so may delay the student's graduation. Each student may review his or her degree audit through IDA, the University's Interactive Degree Audit system.

The degree audit normally provides an accurate statement of requirements, but the student is responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree as stated in a catalog under which he or she is entitled to graduate and for registering so as to fulfill these requirements. Rules on graduation under a particular catalog are given in chapter 1. Since the student is responsible for correct registration toward completion of the degree program, he or she should seek an official ruling in the Office of Student Affairs before registering if in doubt about any requirement. Avoidance of errors is the main purpose of the degree audit, but it remains the responsibility of the student to fulfill all catalog requirements.

Applying for Graduation

Students must apply for graduation the first semester they are eligible to graduate. Failure to do so will jeopardize the student's future registration in the College of Engineering. Any subsequent registration must be recommended by the undergraduate adviser and approved by the dean.

A student is considered eligible to graduate if he or she can complete all course requirements by registering for fourteen semester hours or fewer.

Nonresidence Coursework

A student in his or her final semester may not enroll concurrently at another institution in any course, including a distance education course, to be counted toward the degree. In the final semester the student may also not enroll by extension or correspondence in coursework to be counted toward the degree. All transfer, extension, and correspondence coursework must be added to the student's official record before his or her last semester.

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Final Degree Audit

The student must complete all procedures associated with the final degree audit.

Any student who does not graduate when eligible must contact the Engineering Office of Student Affairs in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall 2.200. The degree auditor will advise the student what steps are needed for future registration and graduation.

Second Degrees

A student who completes a bachelor's degree in engineering may receive a second bachelor's degree in a second engineering discipline if the student (1) completes at least twenty-four hours of approved coursework beyond the work counted toward the first bachelor's degree; and (2) meets all the requirements of the second degree that he or she did not meet in completing the first degree. No student may receive two bachelor's degrees in the same discipline of engineering, even if the technical area options are different. For example, a student may receive the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and that of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering but may not receive two Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering degrees. A student may not receive bachelor's degrees in both architectural engineering and civil engineering.


In addition to the University commencement ceremony held each spring, the College of Engineering holds graduation ceremonies in December and May. August degree candidates who have completed a degree audit and online graduation application may participate in the May graduation ceremony. Information on commencement is available online.

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Registration as a Professional Engineer

The practice of engineering has a profound effect on public health, safety, and welfare. Therefore, the commitment to the public good through the licensing or registration provisions available in all states and many foreign countries is an important step in the professional development of an engineer. Becoming licensed in Texas as a professional engineer requires graduation from an approved curriculum in engineering, passage of the examination requirements, and a specific record of an additional four years or more of active practice in engineering work indicating that the applicant is competent to be placed in responsible charge of such work. Additional requirements include good character and reputation.

Engineering students are encouraged to take the Fundamentals of Engineering examination during their last long-session semester and to seek certification as an "engineer in training."

For additional information, contact the Texas State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers or the equivalent agency in another state.

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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 3 of 17 in Chapter 6
« prev | next »
College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2006
Official Publications 15 Aug 2006