Degrees and Programs
To satisfy the course requirements for an engineering degree, a student must earn credit for all of the courses listed in the curriculum for that degree.
All University curricula leading to bachelor’s degrees in engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. ABET sets minimum standards for engineering education, defined in terms of curriculum content, the quality of the faculty, and the adequacy of facilities. Graduation from an accredited program is an advantage when applying for membership in a professional society or for registration as a professional engineer.
Dual Degree Programs
Engineering/Plan II Honors Program
A limited number of students whose high school class standing and admission test scores indicate strong academic potential and motivation may pursue a curriculum leading to both a bachelor’s degree in engineering and the Bachelor of Arts, Plan II. This dual degree option, offered jointly by the Cockrell School and the Plan II Honors Program of the College of Liberal Arts, provides the student with challenging liberal arts courses while he or she also pursues a professional degree in engineering. Admission to this program requires at least two separate applications: one to the University and one to the Plan II Honors Program. Students should contact both the Cockrell School Engineering Student Services Office, located in the Engineering Student Services Building (ESS), and the Plan II office, located in the Liberal Arts Building (CLA), for more information on applications and early deadlines.
A program that leads to both the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering degree and the Bachelor of Architecture degree is available to qualified students. The program combines the course requirements of both degrees and requires six years for completion. Students who wish to pursue both degrees must apply for admission to the School of Architecture according to the procedures and deadlines established by the school. The program is described in Bachelor of Architecture/ Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering Dual Degree Program; additional information is available from the undergraduate adviser for architectural engineering.
An engineering student may pursue two majors simultaneously. The student must follow all procedures and meet all requirements associated with both majors. An engineering student may not pursue two engineering majors simultaneously.
The simultaneous major option is available only to undergraduates who have completed 30 hours of coursework in residence at the University and who have been admitted to both degree programs.
Technical Area Options
Several engineering degree programs require a student to select a “technical area option” and to complete a specified number of courses in that area. Other degree programs do not require a student to specify a particular option but allow the student to choose courses either within an area of specialty or more broadly across technical areas. Although most options are designed to help the student develop greater competence in a particular aspect of the major, others permit the student to develop background knowledge in areas outside the major. In many cases, students who elect the latter options intend to continue their education in professional or graduate school; these options are particularly appropriate for students who plan to work in those interdisciplinary areas where the creation of new technology through research and development is very important.
Preparation for Professional School
Technical area options also allow the student to fulfill the special course requirements for admission to professional schools. For more information, students should consult an adviser who is familiar with the admission requirements of the professional program in which the student is interested.
A properly constructed program in engineering provides excellent preparation for entering medical school. The engineer's strong background in mathematics and natural science--combined with a knowledge of such subjects as applied mechanics, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, diffusion, and electricity and magnetism--enhance the mastery of many aspects of medical science. An engineering background is also useful to those who develop and use new instruments for detecting and monitoring medical abnormalities. The engineering/premedical programs described in this catalog usually afford opportunities to pursue alternative vocations for those who do not enter medical school. Students who intend to apply for admission to a medical school should contact the University's Health Professions Office for information about admission requirements and application and test deadlines.
Much of the information above about medical school applies also to dental school. All applicants must take the Dental Admission Test. Certain courses not taken by all engineers are also required, but these vary markedly from school to school. Students who are interested in dentistry can obtain specific information from the University's Health Professions Office.
Each year a few graduates, representing all engineering disciplines, elect to enter law school, where they find their training in careful and objective analysis is a distinct asset. Many of these students are preparing for careers in patent or corporate law that will enable them to draw on their combined knowledge of engineering and law. Others may not plan to use their engineering knowledge directly, but they still find that the discipline in logical reasoning acquired in an engineering education provides excellent preparation for the study of law. Students interested in admission to the law school of the University should consult the Law School Catalog.
Graduate Study in Business
Since many engineering graduates advance rapidly into positions of administrative responsibility, it is not surprising that they often elect to do graduate work in the area of business administration. In addition to an understanding of the technical aspects of manufacturing, the engineer has the facility with mathematics to master the quantitative methods of modern business administration.
Requirements for admission to the University’s graduate business programs are outlined in the Graduate Catalog. Many engineering degree programs offer technical area options that include business and management courses. These can be used with advantage by students who plan to do graduate-level work in business.
To be accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, a degree plan of the Cockrell School must include the following:
- One year of a combination of college level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline. Basic sciences are defined as biological, chemical, and physical sciences.
- One and one-half years of engineering topics, consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student's field of study. The engineering sciences have their roots in mathematics and basic sciences but carry knowledge further toward creative application. These studies provide a bridge between mathematics and basic sciences on the one hand and engineering practice on the other. Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet these stated needs.
- A general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives.
Students must be prepared for engineering practice through a curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.
Here, one year is defined as either 32 semester hours (or equivalent), or one-fourth of the total credits required for graduation, whichever is lesser.
Liberal Education of Engineers
Each student must complete the University’s Core Curriculum. The core curriculum includes the first-year signature course and courses in English composition, American and Texas government, American history, mathematics, science and technology, visual and performing arts, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. It must be an integral part of all engineering degree programs, so that engineering graduates will be aware of their social responsibilities and the effects of technology on society.
With the appropriate selection of courses, the University’s Ccore Curriculum and ABET general education requirements can be satisfied simultaneously.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Requirement
As part of the University’s core curriculum, each student must complete three semester hours of coursework in social and behavioral sciences. Students preparing for the professional practice of engineering are encouraged to select coursework in economics to fulfill this requirement.
Visual and Performing Arts Requirement
As part of the University’s Core Curriculum, each student must complete three semester hours of coursework in visual and performing arts. Architectural engineering majors must take an approved architectural history course as part of the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering requirement. This course (or its prerequisite) will fulfill the visual and performing arts requirement of the Core Curriculum.
Foreign Language Requirement
In accordance with the University’s basic education requirements, all students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to that shown by completion of two semesters of college coursework. Credit earned at the college level to achieve the proficiency may not be counted toward a degree. For a student admitted to the University as a freshman, this requirement is fulfilled by completion of the two high school units in a single foreign language that are required for admission; students admitted with a deficiency in foreign language must remove that deficiency as specified in General Information.
Applicability of Certain Courses
Physical Activity Courses
Physical activity (PED) courses are offered by the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. They may not be counted toward a degree in the Cockrell School. However, they are counted as courses for which the student is enrolled, and the grades are included in the University grade point average.
The dean, on the recommendation of the department chair, may substitute three semester hours of credit for air force science, military science, or naval science courses for three semester hours of elective coursework in an engineering degree program. The elective for which an ROTC course is substituted must be approved by the student’s major department faculty adviser. All ROTC students should consult their undergraduate adviser. The total number of semester hours required for the degree remains unchanged. Substitution is permitted only upon the student’s completion of the last two years of ROTC coursework and receipt at the University of a commission in the service.
Correspondence and Extension Courses
Credit that a University student in residence earns simultaneously by correspondence or extension from the University or elsewhere or in residence or through distance education at another school will not be counted toward a degree in the Cockrell School unless specifically approved in advance by the dean. Application for this approval should be made online or at the Engineering Student Services Office, located in the Engineering Student Services Building (ESS). No more than 20 semester hours required for any degree offered in the Cockrell School may be taken by correspondence and extension.
Requirements Included in All Engineering Degree Plans
Each student must complete the University’s Core Curriculum. In the process of fulfilling engineering degree requirements, students must also complete: one independent inquiry flag, one quantitative reasoning flag, one ethics and leadership flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the United States flag, and two writing flags. The independent inquiry flag, the quantitative reasoning flag, the ethics and leadership flag and at least one writing flag are carried by courses specifically required for each engineering degree plan. As applicable, students are advised to fulfill the second writing flag and global culture and cultural diversity requirements with a course that meets another requirement of the core curriculum, such as the first-year signature course. Students are encouraged to discuss options with his or her departmental academic adviser. Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule.
In addition, students in all engineering degree plans must complete the following requirements. In some cases, a course that fulfills one of the following requirements may also be counted toward core curriculum or flag requirements; these courses are identified below.
Length of Degree Program
An eight-semester arrangement of courses leading to the bachelor’s degree is given for each of the engineering degree plans. The exact order in which the courses are taken is not critical, as long as the prerequisite for each course is fulfilled. A student who registers for fewer than the indicated number of hours each semester will need more than eight semesters to complete the degree. The student is responsible for including in each semester’s work any courses that are prerequisite to those he or she will take the following semester.
The first three semesters of all curricula contain many of the same courses. This commonality gives students some freedom to change degree plans without undue loss of credit.