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4. Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Advising

The University of Texas at Austin views sound academic advising as a significant responsibility in educating students. Academic advisers assist students in developing intellectual potential and exploring educational opportunities and life goals. Many people in the campus community contribute to the advising process, including faculty, staff, student, and professional advisers. Through the relationship established between adviser and student within a friendly, helpful, and professional atmosphere, a student has the opportunity to learn about educational options, degree requirements, and academic policies and procedures; clarify educational objectives; plan and pursue programs consistent with abilities, interests, and life goals; and use all resources of the University to best advantage.

Ultimately, the student is responsible for seeking adequate academic advice, for knowing and meeting degree requirements, and for enrolling in appropriate courses to ensure orderly and timely progress toward a degree. Frequent adviser contact provides students with current academic information and promotes progress toward educational goals. The University supports that progress and encourages effective academic advising campus-wide.

Credit Value and Course Numbers

The semester hour. The credit value of courses is expressed in semester hours. Most courses are designed to require approximately three hours of work a week throughout the semester for each semester hour of credit given; that is, for each hour a class meets, an average of two additional hours of preparation is expected of the student. The time requirement in the laboratory, field, or studio varies with the nature of the subject and the aims of a course, so there is no fixed ratio of laboratory to class hours.

Most courses meet three hours a week in the fall and spring semesters and have a credit value of three hours. In a six-week summer term, courses meet seven and a half hours a week for three semester hours of credit. Fall and spring semester classes that meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are scheduled for an hour (fifty minutes with a ten-minute interval between classes); classes that meet on Tuesday and Thursday are scheduled for an hour and a half (seventy-five minutes with a fifteen-minute interval between classes). Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes normally begin on the hour and are dismissed after fifty minutes; Tuesday/Thursday classes normally begin on the hour or half-hour as appropriate and are dismissed after seventy-five minutes. Summer session classes normally are scheduled every day for an hour and a half (seventy-five minutes with a fifteen-minute interval between classes).

Course numbers. Each field of study taught at the University is identified by a name and a one-, two-, or three-letter abbreviation. Each course in the field is identified by a number made up of three digits or three digits and a letter. The first digit of the course number indicates the credit value of the course in semester hours. Courses numbered 201 through 299 have a value of two semester hours; 301 through 399, a value of three semester hours; and so on. A zero as the first digit indicates that the course is noncredit. Except in the School of Law and the College of Pharmacy, the last two digits indicate the rank of the course; if they are 01 through 19, the course is of lower-division rank; if 20 through 79, of upper-division rank; and if 80 through 99, of graduate rank.

Two courses that have the same abbreviation and the same last two digits may not both be counted for credit unless the digits are followed by a letter. For example, Mechanical Engineering 136N and 236N may not both be counted because they are substantially the same; however, English 325 and 325K may both be counted.

The letter A following a course number designates the first half of a course; B, the second half. For example, Music 612A is the first half of Music 612; Music 612B, the second half. A student who completes half of a two-semester course earns half the semester-hour value of the course; for example, Music 612A has a value of three semester hours. The letter X following a course number designates the first third of the course; Y, the second third; and Z, the last third. Each third of the course has one-third the semester-hour value of the course as a whole.

Classification of Students

Undergraduate students are classified as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors, based on the number of semester credit hours passed and transferred, regardless of the hours' applicability toward a degree. Semester hours used to determine classification include coursework completed in residence, transferred credit, and credit by examination, extension, and correspondence. A student is a freshman until thirty hours have been accepted; a sophomore until sixty hours have been accepted; a junior until ninety hours have been accepted; and a senior until graduation. Freshmen and sophomores are referred to as lower-division students; juniors and seniors, as upper-division students.

The Texas Success Initiative

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state-mandated program designed to improve student success in college. There are two components of the program: (1) an assessment to diagnose students' basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing; and (2) developmental instruction to strengthen academic skills that need improvement.

All students are required by law to take an assessment approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The University encourages students who are not exempt to take the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA), offered by National Evaluation Systems. Alternative assessments are ASSET, COMPASS, and ACCUPLACER, and MAPS if the student took it before September 1, 2003. It is the responsibility of the student to see that scores are sent to the University by the testing institution.

A student is exempt from all TSI requirements under any one of the following conditions:

  • The student has earned a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree.
  • The student is serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States and has been serving for at least three years preceding enrollment.
  • The student was honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or served as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States on or after August 1, 1990.
  • The student is a non–degree-seeking or a non–certificate-seeking student.
  • The student has attended another institution and has been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution.
  • The student has transferred to the University from a private or independent institution of higher education, an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education, or an international institution of higher education and has completed college-level coursework.

A student is exempt from one or more TSI requirements under the following conditions. SAT I and ACT scores used to support an exemption must be less than five years old; TAKS scores must be less than three years old. [1]

  • A student with an SAT I score of at least 1070 and a math score of at least 500 is exempt from the math requirement.
  • A student with an SAT I score of at least 1070 and a verbal score of at least 500 is exempt from the reading and writing requirements.
  • A student with an ACT composite score of at least 23 and a math score of at least 19 is exempt from the math requirement.
  • A student with an ACT composite score of at least 23 and an English score of at least 19 is exempt from the reading and writing requirements.
  • A student with a TAKS math score of at least 2200 is exempt from the math requirement.
  • A student with a TAKS English/language arts score of at least 2200 and an essay score of at least 3 is exempt from the reading and writing requirements.

Students may register for the THEA online or pick up a registration booklet in the Texas Success Initiative Office, Flawn Academic Center 22. For further information, students may visit the Texas Success Initiative Office Web site or call (512) 471-8277.

Quantity of Work Rule

The policies described in this section apply to undergraduates and graduate students. The quantity of work rule for law students is given in the law school catalog.

Maximum Hours in the Fall and Spring Semesters

Undergraduates. An undergraduate student may not register for more than seventeen semester hours in any long-session semester without the approval of his or her dean, unless the degree plan published in the Undergraduate Catalog for the student's major specifies otherwise.

Graduate students. The maximum course load for a graduate student is fifteen semester hours. A heavier course load must have the recommendation of the graduate adviser and the approval of the graduate dean. It is permitted only under exceptional circumstances.

Maximum Hours in the Summer Session

Undergraduates. Except as permitted by his or her academic dean, no undergraduate student may register for more than fourteen semester hours in a twelve-week summer session (exclusive of credit by examination) or for more than eight semester hours in either six-week term. A student whose maximum period of summer registration is nine weeks may not register for more than ten semester hours except as permitted by his or her academic dean.

Graduate students. The maximum course load for a graduate student is twelve semester hours in a twelve-week summer session. A heavier course load must have the recommendation of the graduate adviser and the approval of the graduate dean. It is permitted only under exceptional circumstances.

Minimum Hours in the Fall and Spring Semesters

Undergraduates. An undergraduate student may not carry fewer than twelve semester hours of coursework without the approval of his or her academic dean. An undergraduate engineering student may not enroll in fewer than fourteen semester hours of coursework except with the written approval of the dean. Twelve of the fourteen hours must be applicable to the student's degree.

Failure to obtain approval for a reduced course load may jeopardize the student's continuance in school. A student who is a minor must present a written statement from a parent or guardian accepting the conditions under which permission to carry a reduced course load is granted.

An international undergraduate student must have written permission from the International Office as well as from his or her dean to carry fewer than twelve hours.

Graduate students. Course load requirements for graduate student academic employees are given below. Graduate students who are not also academic employees are not subject to minimum course load requirements.

An international graduate student must have written permission from the International Office as well as from his or her dean to carry fewer than nine hours.

Minimum Hours in the Summer Session

There is no minimum course load in the summer session.

Undergraduate Student Employees

An undergraduate student's combined University employment and semester-hour course load may not exceed forty hours a week in any semester or summer term. Any academic unit may require a lower work-study load of their students who are employed by the University. A student who wishes to exceed the maximum work-study load set by his or her college must have the approval of the dean of the college.

Graduate Student Academic Employees

A "graduate student academic employee" is a graduate student who is also employed by the University under one of the following titles: assistant instructor, teaching assistant, assistant (graduate), academic assistant, and graduate research assistant. To hold one of these positions, a student must have no unfulfilled conditions imposed by the Graduate School, must be in good academic standing, and must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree. Graduate student academic employees must be registered for at least nine semester hours in a long-session semester or at least three semester hours in a summer session, in any combination of summer terms.

A student's appointments as a graduate student academic employee may not exceed twenty hours a week in the fall or spring during the first year or thirty hours a week in subsequent years. International students may not exceed twenty hours a week without the approval of the International Office and the graduate dean.

Graduate student academic employees may not accept payment from a student for tutoring services, except on the recommendation of the department chair and with the approval of the graduate dean. If approved, the student may tutor only in a course with which he or she has no connection.

Evaluation

Faculty members are free to develop their own methods of evaluating the performance of students in their classes, both undergraduate and graduate, but they are required to make the methods of evaluation to be used known in writing before the end of the fourth class day each semester and the second class day each summer term. Responsibility for assuring adequate methods of evaluation rests with departmental faculties and is subject to administrative review. In courses with multiple sections, departments should provide for necessary coordination. Materials used in evaluating a student's performance must be collected by the instructor at or before the regularly scheduled final examination. The final examination is a common method of final evaluation in courses.

Grades [2]

Letter grades are used to record the instructor's evaluation of students' performance in a course. Five grades are used for undergraduate courses: A (excellent), B (above average), C (average), D (pass), and F (failure). To receive credit for (complete) a course, an undergraduate student must earn a grade of at least D. [3]

For graduate courses, the following grades are used: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F. Plus/minus grades are recorded only for graduate courses taken by graduate students. The letter grades that may be assigned to undergraduates enrolled in graduate courses and graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses are A, B, C, D, and F.

Only courses in which the student earns a grade of C or better may be included in the Program of Work for a graduate degree. [3] More information about the Program of Work is given in the graduate catalog.

Grades are given by semester; however, in a course extending through two or three semesters, credit is not counted toward the degree until all semesters have been completed.

Members of the faculty are not authorized, without the academic dean's approval, to withhold a final grade or to defer reporting a final grade at the end of the semester other than by the use of the symbol X. If a grade is withheld without the dean's approval, the grade may not be added to the official records later without the written approval of the academic dean. [4]

After a grade has been reported to the registrar, it may not be changed unless an error was made by the instructor.

Symbols

Under specific conditions, instructors may use a symbol rather than a letter grade to report a student's standing in the semester's work. The following symbols are used:

Symbol Meaning
CR Credit
NC No credit
Q Course was dropped
W Student withdrew from the University
X Temporary delay of course grade
I Permanent incomplete
* Course is continuing
S Satisfactory
U Unsatisfactory
# Grade was not submitted in time for this report
Z Student is registered on the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis

Symbol X: Temporary Delay in Reporting the Final Course Grade

A student is expected to complete a course, including self-paced courses, in a single semester, summer term, or summer session. If the course is not completed as expected, the student normally will not be given additional time to complete it, or to do additional work to achieve a better grade. In rare instances, for nonacademic reasons and at the discretion of the instructor, a temporary delay of the final course grade, symbol X, may be recorded.

Improper uses of the symbol X. A student must not be assigned the symbol X to provide (1) the opportunity to raise a grade for any reason other than the approved reasons cited below; (2) time to prepare coursework in addition to that assigned the entire class; or (3) time to repeat the entire course.

Approved uses of the symbol X. The symbol X is not issued for student or faculty convenience; it may be issued for one of the following reasons only in the case of compelling, nonacademic circumstances beyond the student's control.

  1. Missing the final examination. The student is unable to take a final examination because of illness or for another nonacademic reason. A physician's statement or other satisfactory verification is required.
  2. Incomplete classroom assignment. The student has not been able to complete the required class or laboratory assignments for a reason other than lack of adequate effort. A request for temporary delay of the final course grade because of incomplete class or laboratory work can be made only if the student has a passing average on the classwork or laboratory work already completed and has taken and passed the final examination (unless a final examination is not given in the course or the student is unable to take the examination for reasons indicated in the previous paragraph).
  3. Reexamination petition. Only a student who has a grade average of at least C on all classwork and laboratory work submitted before the final examination may request a temporary delay of the final course grade because he or she failed the final examination, which is the examination given during the final examination period as defined in the official examination schedule. If the instructor denies the student's reexamination petition, the student's final course grade remains as originally determined. If the instructor grants the petition, and the student earns a grade of at least C on the reexamination, then the instructor substitutes the reexamination grade for the original examination grade in determining the student's final course grade. If the instructor grants the petition, and the student earns a grade on the reexamination of less than C, then a final course grade of F must be recorded.

Assignment of the symbol X by the registrar. If a faculty member fails to report a grade for a student, the registrar enters the symbol X; an X is also entered for a student who is given the symbol CR by the instructor when the student is not registered for the course on the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. In either case, the student should contact the instructor promptly so that a final grade may be reported to the registrar. If no final grade is reported, the symbol X is converted to a grade of F or the symbol I as described in the following section.

Replacement of the Symbol X with a Grade or the Symbol I

Undergraduates. If an undergraduate student receives the symbol X in a course, the student must complete the requirements for the course and the instructor must report a final course grade by the last date for grade reporting in the next long-session semester, or an F will be recorded as the final grade in the course. The symbol X will also remain on the record. The period for completion of the coursework may be extended only for unusual circumstances beyond the student's control, as recommended by the instructor and approved by the student's academic dean. A student who has received an X in a course may not register for that course again until a final grade has been recorded, unless the course is one that may be repeated for credit.

The registrar will notify the student when a grade change is recorded.

If the symbol X appears on a student's record, the course for which the symbol is recorded is not included in the student's University grade point average. When the final grade has been recorded as described in the preceding paragraph, then the course is included in the student's grade point average. More information about the grade point average is given later in this chapter.

Graduate students. If a graduate student receives the symbol X in a course, the student must complete the course requirements by the last class day in his or her next long-session semester of enrollment; the instructor must report a final grade by the end of the grade reporting period in that semester. If these deadlines are not met, the symbol X is converted to the symbol I (permanent incomplete). If the student is not enrolled during a long-session semester for twenty-four months following the end of the semester in which the X is reported, and the instructor does not report a final grade, then the symbol X is converted to the symbol I. The symbol I cannot be converted to a grade. When the symbol I is recorded, the symbol X also remains on the student's record.

The period for completion of course requirements may be extended only under unusual circumstances beyond the student's control and only upon the recommendation of the instructor and the approval of the graduate dean.

The registrar will notify the student when a grade change is recorded.

A course for which the symbol X or I is recorded is not included in the graduate grade point average and may not be listed on the student's Program of Work. If the symbol X is converted to a grade as described in the preceding paragraph, the course is included in the graduate grade point average and may be listed on the Program of Work.

Symbols CR and NC

Some courses must be taken for a letter grade; others must be taken on the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. These courses are identified in the undergraduate catalog, the graduate catalog, and the Course Schedule. If registration for a course is not limited to the letter-grade basis, then the student may choose to register for credit rather than for a grade. Undergraduates register on the pass/fail basis and earn either the symbol CR (credit) or a grade of F; graduate students register on the credit/no credit basis and earn either the symbol CR or the symbol NC (no credit).

The student should choose the pass/fail or credit/no credit option at the time of registration and may not change the grading basis in a course after the deadline given in the academic calendar. Undergraduates may not change the grading basis in a course more than once.

Coursework requirements and methods of evaluation in a course must be the same for students registered on the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis as they are for students registered on the letter-grade basis.

Pass/Fail

Rules affecting registration on the pass/fail basis apply to all courses taken by an undergraduate.

An undergraduate who registers for a course on the pass/fail basis and earns a grade of D or better is awarded the symbol CR for the course; if the student fails the course, a grade of F is awarded. If the student receives the symbol CR, the course is not included in the grade point average; if the student receives a grade of F, the course is included in the grade point average.

Provided the following conditions are met, an undergraduate may take a maximum of five one-semester courses, including correspondence courses, on the pass/fail basis as part of the hours required for the student's degree. [5]

  1. The course must be in an elective subject outside the student's major field.
  2. The student must have received at least thirty hours of college credit before registering for any course on the pass/fail basis, unless the course is offered only on the pass/fail basis.
  3. The student may take no more than two courses a semester on the pass/fail basis.

Other regulations may be imposed by the student's college or school. If a student decides to major in a subject in which he or she has taken a course on the pass/fail basis, it is the prerogative of the department to decide whether or not the course will count toward degree requirements.

Each department may offer as many as two courses in its major entirely on the pass/fail basis.

Credit by examination. Undergraduates may earn credit by exam on the pass/fail basis in required courses. Accepting credit by exam with the symbol CR does not reduce the number of elective courses for which the student may register on the pass/fail basis. (More information about credit by examination is given later in this chapter.)

Credit/No Credit

Rules affecting registration on the credit/no credit basis apply to all courses—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—taken by a graduate student.

The student must have the graduate adviser's approval to take a course on the credit/no credit basis. There is no limit on the number of courses a graduate student may take on this basis. However, no more than 20 percent of the hours on the Program of Work for a master's degree may have been taken on the credit/no credit basis, and no more than a comparable portion of the Program of Work for a doctoral degree. (Additional information about the Program of Work is given in the graduate catalog.)

Performance at the level of C or above is required to earn credit (CR) for a course taken on the credit/no credit basis. Courses taken on the credit/no credit basis are not included when the grade point average is computed.

Symbols S and U

The symbols S (satisfactory) and U (unsatisfactory) are assigned only in developmental studies (DEV) courses. These courses are not included in the student's grade point average.

Repetition of a Course

If a student repeats a course and has two or more grades, all grades and all semester hours are used to calculate the University grade point average and to determine the student's scholastic eligibility to remain in school. The official grade in a course is the last one assigned.

A student enrolled in any of the following may not repeat for credit a course in which he or she has earned a grade of C or better: the McCombs School of Business, the College of Communication, the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Natural Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy.

Computation of the Grade Point Average [6]

While a student's performance in a course is represented by a letter grade, a grade point average is used to represent his or her academic performance more broadly. For undergraduates, the official grade point average is called the cumulative University grade point average; the official grade point average for graduate students is called the graduate grade point average. Official grade point averages are calculated by the registrar and appear on the student academic record maintained by the registrar.

Undergraduate Students

The cumulative University grade point average for an undergraduate includes all work undertaken at the University of Texas at Austin (including credit by examination, correspondence, and extension) for which a letter grade is recorded. Courses in which the symbol I, Q, W, X, S, U, or CR is recorded are excluded. [7]

The following numerical equivalents of letter grades are used in the calculation of the undergraduate University grade point average:

Letter grade Grade points
A 4.00
B 3.00
C 2.00
D 1.00
F 0.00

Graduate Students

The graduate grade point average includes all graduate courses in which the student earns a letter grade while he or she is enrolled in the Graduate School; the following are excluded: undergraduate courses taken through the University's Division of Continuing and Innovative Education; courses for which the symbol Q, W, X, I, CR, or NC is recorded; graduate or undergraduate courses the student took at the University before enrolling in the Graduate School; credit earned by examination; and courses taken at other institutions. The graduate grade point average also excludes grades in all undergraduate courses the student took in fall 1999 or later; upper-division undergraduate courses he or she took as a graduate student before fall 1999 are included.

The following numerical equivalents of letter grades are used in the calculation of the graduate grade point average:

Letter grade Grade points
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
F 0.00

Plus/minus grades are recorded only for graduate courses taken by graduate students. The letter grades that may be awarded to undergraduates enrolled in graduate courses and graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses are A, B, C, D, and F.

Correspondence Work by Resident Students

Correspondence courses are not intended to be taken by students enrolled in residence except in unusual circumstances. A student who enrolls at the University must drop any correspondence work in progress or obtain the approval of his or her academic dean to continue the correspondence work.

A student enrolled in residence must have the prior approval of his or her dean to count correspondence work toward degree requirements. Correspondence courses taken from the University of Texas at Austin and used toward a degree at the University are subject to the same pass/fail rules that apply to courses taken in residence.

General Information, 2007-2008

page 1 of 4 in Chapter 4

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