Overseeing education for all undergraduates School of Undergraduate Studies
To make certain that the university successfully prepares each of the 39,000-plus undergraduates it enrolls each year to reach their goals and dreams—and, of course, to change the world in the process—the university has established the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS).
UGS works with all undergraduate colleges and schools on campus to develop and maintain a solid core curriculum for all undergraduate majors and to set standards and evaluate courses that satisfy campus-wide requirements.
UGS also serves as the home for students who want to explore the intellectual landscape at UT before selecting a college or school in which to major.
Incoming students beginning either in fall 2008 or fall 2010 (depending upon the school or college in which they enroll) will be required to enroll in one of UT Austin's Signature Courses. By fall 2010, entering students will also be required to earn a certain number of “flags” in specified academic areas:
- Signature Courses: Designed to introduce first-year students to the best UT has to offer, Signature Courses develop college-level skills in research, writing, speaking, and discussion.
- Flags: When fully implemented, every undergraduate student will be required to earn credit for a certain number of flags by taking courses that develop abilities in writing and speaking, leadership and ethics, global cultures, ethnic diversity, quantitative reasoning, and independent inquiry. Some individual courses may fulfill more than one flag.
Find out more about the university’s undergraduate core curriculum.
Undeclared Majors in UGS
In addition to overseeing undergraduate education, UGS also enrolls and provides special advising for students who are undecided about their college choices or majors or who are considering a change in major.
Students enrolling in UGS are considered “Undeclared” majors and receive advising support to help them make sound decisions about their college careers. Because UGS does not award degrees, all UGS students must transfer into another college or school by the time they complete four long-session semesters (fall or spring semesters) at the university.
Programs to Enhance Education across the Curriculum
UGS oversees the following programs—all of which are designed to enhance learning experiences for undergraduate students by expanding learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom.
Undergraduate Studies Programs
Archer Fellowship Program
The Archer Fellowship Program offers qualified UT Austin students the opportunity to study and intern in Washington, D.C., while earning 12 hours of upper-division credit in Government and Communication Studies. Past internship placements include the White House, the World Bank, National Public Radio, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
To be eligible to apply, undergraduate students must have completed 24 hours in residence at UT Austin by January 1 of the year they want to apply. They must also have a 3.0 GPA, have completed GOV 310L and 312L (or the equivalents) and have upper-division standing by the beginning of the semester for which they are selected. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply.
Bridging Disciplines Programs
The Bridging Disciplines Programs help students to become versatile thinkers with the skills to collaborate across disciplines and cultures with concentrations in the following areas:
- Children and Society
- Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
- Cultural Studies
- Digital Arts and Media
- Ethics and Leadership
- Global Studies
- Human Rights and Social Justice
- Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
- Social Entrepreneurship and Non-profits
- Social Inequality, Health, and Policy
Visit the Bridging Disciplines Programs site to read student profiles, learn more about the concentrations and the programs advantages, and to find out about applying to participate.
Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling
The Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling provides career counseling to all students at UT Austin. It also offers academic advising to UGS students and students in other colleges who are exploring majors.
The Ford Foundation has awarded a Difficult Dialogues grant to The University of Texas at Austin to promote open scholarly inquiry, academic freedom, and respect for different cultures and beliefs.
EUREKA! is a web-based guide to faculty research and research opportunities for undergraduates at The University of Texas at Austin. The site features an online directory of faculty research interests and, for students, tips on getting started in research, information on funding and publication, and postings by UT faculty for research positions here on campus.
First-year Interest Groups
A First-year Interest Group (FIG) is a group of 20-25 freshmen who share a common career or academic interest and who take a group of courses (two to four courses) together. The program helps students create friendships, find study group partners and, most importantly, have fun during their first semester.
Students who participate in FIGs generally have higher grade-point averages and are more likely to stay at the university beyond their freshman year.
You don’t need to worry about signing up for a FIG until you’ve been admitted to UT Austin. Once you’re admitted, you’ll meet with your academic advisor during orientation and be able to discuss FIGs that may work best with your degree plan.
Freshman Reading Round-Up
Freshman Reading Round-Up is a summer program for first-year students at The University of Texas at Austin that gives new Longhorns the chance to choose a book for summer reading from among titles recommended by some of UT's most distinguished faculty. On the day before fall classes begin, students participating in the Round-Up meet in small groups for an informal discussion with the professor who recommended the book.
Longhorn Scholars Program
Longhorn Scholars is a four-year program for top students from selected Texas high schools that have historically been underrepresented at The University of Texas at Austin. Participation in Longhorn Scholars is by invitation.
Sanger Learning Center
The Sanger Learning Center provides tutoring and academic support to all UT Austin students.
Signature Courses are required interdisciplinary courses that give first-year students access to distinguished faculty members. Throughout the semester, faculty connect new students with university resources and guide them through the transition to college-level writing and academic expectations.
Signature Courses are either taught in seminar format with 18 or fewer students, or in a large, lecture format, where students break into small discussion sections.
Every undergraduate at UT Austin has the opportunity to become a researcher and take part in the vibrant intellectual work of the university. You may want to be a scientist and participate in laboratory research, you may want to dig through historical archives or archaeological sites, or you may want to interview subjects for a sociological study.
All of this—and so much more—is research. And you can get involved! Visit the Undergraduate Research site to find out more.
University Honors Center
The University Honors Center is a focal point for interdisciplinary honors activities at the University of Texas at Austin.
The center offers a variety of enrichment programs for undergraduate honors students and support to the campus activities of Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, national honor societies for first-year students.