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General Information


The mission of the Cockrell School of Engineering is to achieve excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research, and public service. The school strives to provide an educational experience that inspires students to reach for the highest levels of intellectual attainment and personal growth throughout their lives, to provide a scholarly and professional environment that enables students and faculty members to make lasting contributions to the advancement of knowledge and the creative practice of engineering, to engage in service that enhances the public’s understanding of technology and facilitates the use of technology for the betterment of society, and to lead the nation in providing equality of opportunity for engineering education.

Engineering education affords individuals the opportunity to prepare themselves for life in an era when human well-being depends more than ever before on the ability to apply technology for the benefit of society. It has become clear that in producing the goods and services demanded by an expanding population, we must consider the effects of technology on the environment. Solution of many of the problems faced by society today will involve a high level of technology.

Engineers are involved with all the devices and systems made by and for people—buildings and factories, transportation and communication systems, equipment for generating and distributing electrical energy, computers and electronic devices; indeed, all of the manufactured products we see around us. Engineers of diverse backgrounds working together and with other professionals have produced heart pumps, surgical lasers, robotics for manufacturing and construction, polymers, safer and more efficient nuclear reactors, advances in space research and in environmental protection, safe and attractive bridges, satellites and telecommunication systems, and small but powerful computers. Just as much of the technology being applied today has been developed within the past ten years, the solution of tomorrow’s problems will require the development of new technology through engineering research.

In addition to its traditional function of giving men and women the opportunity to prepare for careers as professional engineers, the Cockrell School of Engineering also has a second function: providing the opportunity to acquire a technical background to students who plan to continue their education in areas such as business, public affairs, law, medicine, and scientific disciplines related to engineering. The engineering faculty willingly accepts its obligation to enhance cooperation between engineers and others working to improve the quality of life.

The school is organized into academic departments that offer a variety of degrees. Although there are distinct differences among the degree programs, they have much in common; all are based on a foundation of mathematics, natural sciences, and basic engineering subjects. Following the development of an adequate foundation during the first two years, an engineering student begins concentrated study in a particular area. During the senior year the student delves into practical engineering problems, developing skills in defining a problem, translating available information into equations that can be analyzed logically, creating additional information when necessary, and choosing a course of action that has a reasonable chance of producing the desired results.

The school seeks to give students the knowledge necessary to take advantage of opportunities in a number of areas. The engineer who begins a professional career immediately following graduation usually will find opportunity for a variety of responsible positions in industry and government. The first assignments usually are of a technical nature. Later, one may choose to become a technical specialist or to move into positions involving administration and management. Either choice can lead to a rewarding professional career.

Many engineering graduates elect to continue their education. Studies by the American Society for Engineering Education indicate that nearly 50 percent of all engineering graduates eventually earn a master’s degree. Most do their graduate work in engineering, either in a professional program where advanced design techniques are emphasized or in a graduate school where the emphasis is on research. Others elect to enroll in graduate programs in other disciplines. The flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of educational objectives has been incorporated into the degree structure of the Cockrell School of Engineering through technical area options and electives that permit students to define programs of study that best suit their needs.


The Department of Engineering was established in 1884, an outgrowth of work in applied mathematics first offered in the Department of Literature, Science, and Arts. About 1920, the department became a college; in 2007, the college was renamed the Cockrell School of Engineering in honor of Ernest Cockrell Jr., an alumnus and benefactor of the University. The first degree in engineering, a Bachelor of Science with a major in civil engineering, was conferred in 1888. Civil engineering degrees have been conferred since 1894 and electrical engineering degrees since 1896.

Degrees in architecture were conferred in the College of Engineering from 1909 through 1951, when the School of Architecture became an autonomous division of the University. Degrees in chemical engineering have been conferred since 1916; degrees in mechanical engineering since 1919; degrees in architectural engineering since 1928; degrees in petroleum engineering since 1931; degrees in aeronautical engineering from 1943 to 1959 and in aerospace engineering since 1960; degrees in ceramic engineering from 1948 to 1961; degrees in meteorology from 1951 to 1963; degrees in geosystems engineering and hydrogeology, offered jointly with the College of Natural Sciences, since 1996; and undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering beginning in 2002. A degree in engineering science was offered from 1960 until 1988.


The Cockrell School occupies six buildings on the central campus, with a total of 927,000 square feet for classrooms, laboratories, and offices. The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory and a substantial number of other engineering research laboratory facilities are housed at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus, about six miles north of the central campus.

Research Organizations

Faculty members and students of the Cockrell School of Engineering may participate in a wide variety of research projects conducted under the Bureau of Engineering Research. The bureau and its component research units are supported by federal, state, and industrial research contracts and grants that provide part-time employment for selected undergraduate and graduate students and for some faculty members. More than six hundred individual research projects are usually underway at any one time. In addition to providing students with experience in research methodology, these research projects enable faculty members to keep abreast of developments in their principal areas of interest.

Research units currently operating within the Bureau of Engineering Research are the Center for Aeromechanics Research; Center for Energy and Environmental Resources; Center for Energy Security; Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures, and Materials; Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering; Center for Research in Water Resources; Center for Space Research; Center for Transportation Research; Construction Industry Institute; Phil M. Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory; Microelectronics Research Center; Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies Center; and the Wireless Networking and Communications Group.

The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory is an academic unit of the Cockrell School. Interdisciplinary research units operated cooperatively by the school and other colleges are the Energy Institute; Texas Materials Institute; the Center for Construction Industry Studies; the Center for Perceptual Systems; and the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences. Research organizations are located both on the main campus and at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus.


University libraries include Perry-Castañeda Library (social sciences and humanities), Mallet Chemistry Library, Kuehne Physics Math Astronomy Library, Life Science Library, and Walter Geology Library. The units together make up one of the largest academic libraries in the United States, with more than six million volumes covering almost all fields of academic and scientific research.

The Richard W. McKinney Engineering Library, a branch of the University Libraries located on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL), supports teaching and research in all fields offered by the school. Extensive facilities are available for electronic retrieval of technical literature at . Special resources, such as the online Ask a Librarian, access to selected industry standards, several information tutorials, and US patent and trademark searching are available at .

All units of the University Libraries offer reference services, circulation and reserve, access to electronic information, and interlibrary loan services. Reserve materials (such as textbooks) are available at the Kuehne Physics-Mathematics-Astronomy Library (PMA) in Robert Lee Moore Hall (RLM).

Engineering Development Office

In 1955, the University of Texas System Board of Regents authorized establishment of the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council (renamed the Engineering Advisory Board in 2007) to promote academic excellence in engineering education. Since then, with the board's leadership, the Cockrell School of Engineering has received generous support from individuals and corporations to develop programs of excellence. This philanthropy supports academic and leadership programs for students, scholarships for undergraduate students, fellowships for graduate students, facility development, and faculty support in the forms of endowed chairs and professorships, fellowships, and innovations in teaching and research. The Cockrell School's development staff encourages gifts to the school through its Friends of Alec annual giving program, the establishment of endowments, estate planning, and the fostering of long-lasting relationships with alumni, friends, and corporate partners.

Financial Assistance through the School

Engineering Scholarship Program

The Engineering Scholarship Program recognizes students in the Cockrell School of Engineering with scholarship awards based primarily on merit and leadership. To be considered for engineering scholarships, future students should complete the scholarship section of the University’s ApplyTexas admission application by December 1, marking engineering as their first-choice major.

Current engineering students should complete their online engineering scholarship application by March 1 each year to be considered for scholarship awards from the Cockrell School and from their department for the following year. Additional information, including current scholarship listings, awardee instructions and links to external scholarship resources is available at .

Student Services

Engineering Student Services and Advising

Engineering Student Services and Advising (ESSA) serves the University and the public by helping to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students. The office aims to accomplish this mission by providing personal and responsive guidance and support throughout each student’s University experience. The staff strives to provide a foundation for students to develop successful lives, careers, and long-term relationships with the Cockrell School of Engineering and the University of Texas at Austin.

The Assistant Dean for Students and the academic advisers represent the dean in all student matters. Academic advisers strive to build a strong foundation for academic and professional success for all engineering students, through personalized and responsive guidance throughout the four-year college experience. In addition, the ESSA helps students, staff, and faculty navigate the policies and procedures of the Cockrell School and the University. Students may seek assistance in person in the Engineering Student Services Building (ESS), by phone at (512) 471-4321, or by e-mail to . The Engineering Student Services and Advising also provides information online at .


Academic Advising

There are several offices within the Cockrell School that work together to provide the engineering student with academic advising services. It is the engineering student's responsibility to be aware of these services and to take advantage of them. Faculty, departmental, and Engineering Student Services academic advisers are available throughout the year to discuss matters that affect the student's academic progress toward degree completion.

To facilitate movement through an academic program, each engineering student must be advised in his or her major department before registering for each semester or summer session. Each student should review his or her audit every semester through IDA, the University’s Interactive Degree Audit system. The advising audit lists the courses remaining in the student’s degree plan and the requirements the student has not yet fulfilled. It normally provides an accurate statement of requirements, but the student is responsible for knowing the exact requirements for the degree as stated in a catalog under which he or she is entitled to graduate.

Another advising tool for the student is the G4 Web-based application, which shows undergraduate students that they can complete a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University in four years. It provides a visual representation of a student's degree plan, shows progress towards degree, and helps a student forecast the impact of course selection on time to graduation. Engineering students can access G4 online at .

Counseling and Referral Services

The Office of Student Affairs advises and counsels students about problems or concerns they have about their academic work or life in the school.

In addition, University counseling services are available from the Counseling and Mental Health Center, the Telephone Counseling Service, the Sanger Learning Center, and University Health Services. These offices are described in General Information .

Student Organizations and Programs

Engineering Student Life

Founded in 1999, Engineering Student Life (ESL) was the first leadership development office in an academic unit at the University of Texas at Austin. ESL programs provide various opportunities for engineering students to develop skills in leadership, teamwork, communications, and ethics outside the classroom, in addition to involving students in the Cockrell School community. Some of the programs include Gone to Engineering, Ramshorn Retreats, and the LeaderShape Institute. ESL is the Cockrell School’s primary liaison to the over eighty-five engineering student organizations. Many organizations are student chapters of national professional engineering organizations.

More information about Engineering Student Life, its programs, and engineering student organizations is available in person in the Engineering Student Services Building, or online at .

Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program

The Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program invites students to become part of an exciting community that focuses on academic success and personal growth. EOE initiatives such as the Fall Kick-Off, First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs), and Engineering Peer Leaders help students establish a strong academic foundation and promote the formation of a peer support network. In addition, EOE provides students with access to tutoring, undergraduate research opportunities through the Texas Research Experience (TREX) program, and professional development workshops. In partnership with Pi Sigma Pi Minority Academic Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the EOE Program builds a network that makes it easy to meet other engineering students, form study groups, and develop friendships that last well after graduation.

The Cockrell School established the EOE Program in 1970 to promote the recruitment and academic development of African American, Hispanic, and Native American students interested in pursuing careers in engineering. Since that time, EOE has expanded its goals and now seeks to increase the diversity of its student body by supporting students who come from historically underrepresented population groups in Texas or who have backgrounds or experiences that will contribute to the overall diversity of the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Additional information about the EOE Program is available in person on the first floor of the Bridgeway Building (BWY), online at ; by phone at (512) 475-5953; and by e-mail to .

Women in Engineering Program

The Women in Engineering Program (WEP) has a goal to increase the overall percentage of women enrolled in and graduating from the Cockrell School of Engineering. WEP connects students, educators, and professionals to the world of engineering through recruitment initiatives, supportive structures, and educational services to promote the success and advancement of women in engineering.

WEP’s First-Year Initiative (FYI) provides academic and peer support to connect first-year students to the engineering community. The Women in their Second Year of Engineering (WISE) and Consider Every Option (CEO) programs and workshops provide career exploration opportunities to help second-year students and beyond discover possibilities and make informed decisions for the future. Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE) gives students opportunities to gain practical research experience, and WEP leadership and career development seminars help prepare students for leadership roles in the engineering profession.

Additional information about WEP is available in person in Bridgeway Building (BWY) 109, online at ; by phone at (512) 471-5650; and by e-mail at .

Career Services

The Engineering Career Assistance Center (ECAC) assists engineering students preparing for a job search through counseling, workshops, and a comprehensive on-campus recruiting program. Students should register with ECAC beginning in August each academic year to receive full benefit of the center’s services.

ECAC offers individual career counseling services to engineering students on a walk-in basis and by appointment. Topics addressed in individual counseling sessions and workshops include résumé and cover letters, interviews, dressing for success, site visits, evaluating salary offers, job search, and career exploration.

The center hosts interviews in its twenty interview rooms throughout the fall and spring recruiting seasons. Interviewers represent employers that seek graduating students, co-op students, and summer interns in all engineering disciplines.

Students can visit the ECAC Office in person in Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall (ECJ) 3.256, online at , by e-mail at , or by phone at (512) 471-1915.

Cooperative Engineering Education Program

The Cooperative Engineering Education (Co-op) Program is an academic program that allows undergraduate students to obtain full-time engineering experience before they graduate. Students gain work experience directly related to their field of engineering by alternating semesters of full-time campus study with training in industry.

To realize the full academic and professional value of the Co-op Program, students complete either two or three semesters with the same employer in a cooperative engineering position. Students receive two or three hours of letter-grade credit that may be applied toward the engineering degree. Students should apply for the Co-op Program at least one semester before planning to begin a co-op work term.

Students may apply for the first work term after completing twenty-eight semester hours of basic sequence coursework, which includes eight hours of physics, eight hours of calculus, and at least one course in the selected engineering major. Students must have an overall University grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.50, a GPA in the major area of study of at least 2.00, and at least twelve semester hours of degree-applicable coursework left to complete after the final co-op term. Students may apply for the program after one semester at the University.

Students can visit the Co-op Program Web site at , in person at Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall (ECJ) 3.256, by e-mail to , or by phone at (512) 471-5954.


UTeachEngineering is an innovative program that prepares engineering students to teach mathematics, physical science, and engineering to students in grades eight through twelve. The program, a collaboration between the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Education, and area school districts, seeks to attract interested students to explore teaching in conjunction with their undergraduate experience. Upon completing the program, students graduate with a bachelor’s degree and are recommended for a secondary school teaching certificate. The UTeachEngineering program invites students to explore their interest in teaching as early as the freshman year.

Key features of the program include field experience, mentorship, seminar instruction, cohort support and innovative use of technology. UTeachEngineering students gain experience in public school classrooms as they teach progressively longer lessons under the guidance of a mentor teacher. By working with some of Texas's most respected secondary school teachers, students quickly learn whether they are suited for the teaching profession.

More information about UTeachEngineering is available online at

Study Abroad

International Engineering Education has study abroad programs designed specifically for Longhorn Engineers so they can experience a culture first-hand without delaying graduation. Participants remain enrolled at the University while studying abroad and therefore apply their scholarships and financial aid loans to all necessary costs including tuition, travel, insurance and living expenses. All of the engineering courses are taught in English by University and/or local professors. Some of the programs also allow taking a language course and exploring innovation, entrepreneurship, and service.

Engineering is an increasingly international profession with a central role in the globalized marketplace. Industry leaders and government experts want engineers to immerse themselves in other cultures to learn to effectively collaborate with international peers on special projects, products, and solutions for the global challenges of the twenty-first century. Engineers lead the world in developing and managing high technology and find solutions that affect the quality of life, security, and world peace. The Cockrell School of Engineering, as all high-ranking engineering schools, leads in providing international education opportunities for its students.

A variety of programs are available for engineering majors and levels of expertise. Several short summer courses under the mentorship of outstanding University faculty are available to students beginning as early as the end of their first year. Students may study for short or long semester periods and may participate in more than one study abroad program during their time at the University. 

The longer semester bilateral exchanges are notable for providing more advanced students with an excellent and affordable opportunity to distinguish themselves from their peers by taking semester courses at a carefully selected, prestigious international partner university.

Apart from traditional short or semester study abroad, International Engineering also offers programs that provide professional experience and research opportunities. Projects in Underserved Communities, a two-course fall and spring civil engineering and mechanical engineering course sequence focuses on project development and project management to prepare students for a summer implementation phase at a community abroad.

Global Research matches students with researchers at laboratories of select partner universities to collaborate and be mentored by research faculty. BE Global Engineering provides a customized professional experience inside an industry, laboratory, or small company while teaching intercultural communication skills and exposing students to the basics of another language.

All engineering students interested in going abroad are encouraged to meet with the International Engineering Education Office program coordinator, who can help them decide which program will best suit their needs. More information is available at .