This is an archived copy of the 2014-16 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Academic Policies and Procedures

Grade Point Average for Academic Decisions

In the Cockrell School 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 eligibility for graduation with University Honors.

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 at .
  2. No student may register for more than twenty-one semester hours of coursework during any long-session semester.

Rules for the Summer Session

A student may not receive credit for more than fourteen semester hours during a twelve-week summer session or 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 .

Repetition of a Course

An undergraduate in the Cockrell School who has not earned admission into the major sequence may not enroll in any course required by the engineering degree plan more than twice. A symbol of Q or W counts as an enrollment unless it is recognized as nonacademic by the dean’s office.

To request permission to enroll in a course for a third or more attempt a student must submit a written appeal at . A student may receive departmental adviser approval to enroll in a course a third or more times only if the student has a substantiated nonacademic reason for not successfully completing the course in earlier attempts. Documentation may be required by the departmental adviser to support the substantiated nonacademic reason. If the student is denied approval to enroll in 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.

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


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.

Portable Computing Devices

The degree programs in the following engineering fields have specific expectations regarding portable computing devices: Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. For more information, please see the catalog sections for these programs.

Academic Standards

In addition to the scholastic standards described in General Information , the Cockrell School 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 school standards is “engineering probation.”

In cases with extenuating circumstances, the student may appeal 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 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 Cockrell School, 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 school.

A student seeking to reenter the school 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 school after having been dismissed from engineering must enroll as an undeclared major. Students who are undeclared majors may not enroll in engineering courses.

Any student having academic difficulty should discuss his or her status with an academic adviser in the Engineering Student Services and Advising Office. Call (512) 471-4321 to set up an appointment with an academic adviser.

Pass/Fail Option

All courses required for all engineering degrees must be taken for a letter grade unless the course is offered only on the pass/fail basis. A student may elect to take courses that do not count toward the degree or are being taken to remove a deficiency on the pass/fail basis rather than for a letter grade. To elect the pass/fail system of grading:

  1. 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.
  2. The student may take no more than two courses a semester on the pass/fail basis.
  3. The student may take up to five one-semester courses, including correspondence courses, on the pass/fail basis.
  4. The student must submit an application no later than the deadline given in the academic calendar at .

For information on how to receive credit by examination, see General Information .


National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program*

The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) certificate is designed to be complementary, not additive, to a student’s traditional academic path. The GCSP certificate provides students with the scholarship network and formal recognition from the National Academy of Engineering, while typically requiring only one course beyond their standard degree program.

The GCSP certificate program is designed to offer students from all majors and all years an introduction to the program through Engineering Studies 377, an array of university-wide course connections, and mentorship. GC Scholars choose between eighteen and twenty-four hours of approved coursework from a broad range of offerings that align with the five key program components. The five key curriculum components include facing the 21st Century Engineering Grand Challenges with (1) entrepreneurship and (2) service-learning by (3) understanding global dimensions through (4) research and (5) interdisciplinary curriculum. Each Scholar must choose at least one class that emphasizes each one of the components. Scholars will be advised on progress regularly by faculty affiliated with the program, and will present their work at an annual GCSP colloquium.

The certificate requirements are:

  1. Complete Engineering Studies 377 Grand Challenges topic
  2. At least eighteen hours of approved courses from GC Scholar Coursework Program Plan
  3. Be a student of good standing
  4. Complete courses, a research project, a community project, a comprehensive reflective report, and a final design, which are evaluated with aligned rubrics.

For more information, students should visit the GCSP Web site at: .

Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering

 The Cockrell School sponsors the transcript-recognized Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering  along with the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences.


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 General Information .

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 General Information .

Cockrell School Honors Program

The Cockrell School of Engineering offers a select group of students the opportunity to participate in the Engineering Honors Program (EHP), a non-curriculum based program designed to enhance the undergraduate experience outside the classroom. Participants gain access to scholarships for first-year students, honors housing, faculty mentors and community building events hosted by the University Honors Center and the EHP.
When submitting an admission application to the University through ApplyTexas, incoming first-year students should mark engineering as their first-choice major and indicate their intent to apply for honors. Students will receive additional instructions to complete the EHP application separately. Both the admission application and the EHP application are due December 1.
The Cockrell School also sends current students invitations to apply for the EHP after they complete twenty-four hours in residence and rank in the top 10 percent of their class and major. Eligible students must have at least sixty hours remaining in their degree program in order to receive an invitation to apply.
To remain in the EHP, students 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 and summer semester have been awarded.
An EHP student who completes an optional undergraduate honors thesis will receive special honors designation on his or her transcript and is recognized during the graduation ceremony. Additional information about the honors thesis and the EHP is available at .

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 Cockrell School, must have completed at least twenty-four semester hours of coursework in residence while enrolled in the school, must have a grade point average that places him or her in the top 5 percent of the class, be of good character, and 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.

Professional and Honor Societies

Professional student organizations play an important role in the life of an engineering student. Many of these are student branches of national professional engineering organizations that endeavor to advance the profession of engineering by education, service, professional development, publication, and support of meetings, activities, and conferences. In addition to a variety of professional development and social activities, engineering student organizations frequently support projects that aid students and benefit the Cockrell School of Engineering, the University, and the community.

Honor societies are also an important part of the Cockrell School student community. Honor societies admit students who have established outstanding scholastic records and have demonstrated desirable character and leadership traits. The engineering honor societies are Beta Mu Epsilon (biomedical engineering); Chi Epsilon (civil engineering); Eta Kappa Nu (electrical and computer engineering); Omega Chi Epsilon (chemical engineering); Phi Alpha Epsilon (architectural engineering); Pi Epsilon Tau (petroleum and geosystems engineering); Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering); and Sigma Gamma Tau (aerospace engineering); Tau Beta Pi selects top students from all engineering disciplines. 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 Tau Beta Pi membership consideration. Generally, the chapter elects fewer members than the number of eligible students. Kappa Theta Epsilon is the cooperative engineering education honor society for all engineering majors. Students considered for membership must be enrolled in the cooperative engineering program and are in the top 20 percent of their class.

The Student Engineering Council is the governing body representing all undergraduate engineering students. Representatives to the council are elected by the professional student organizations and honor societies in the Cockrell School; members-at-large are elected annually. The Graduate Engineering Council is the governing body representing all graduate engineering students.

Engineering student organizations and honor societies are overseen by Engineering Student Life. A complete list of engineering societies is available at .

*Changes pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board