Programs and Centers
The James W. Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling in the School of Undergraduate Studies provides learning-centered, developmentally based academic advising and career counseling services to students in the School of Undergraduate Studies and students interested in changing majors at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Vick Center is an integrated advising and career counseling center in which students are assigned both an academic adviser and career counselor and is the only place on campus to assist students with major and career exploration. Academic advisers and career counselors serve on cross-functional teams who bring knowledge and expertise about major and career exploration together to better assist students with educational and career planning.
Academic advisers and career counselors help students define short and long term goals and identify satisfying and fulfilling major and career options. Through purposeful and intentional interaction with academic advising and career counseling professionals, students learn about themselves, their skills, their personalities, and their values on the path to determining a choice of major and career.
After a period of exploration and strategic advising, students enrolled in the School of Undergraduate Studies choose a major in one of the University’s other colleges or schools. Students have up to four semesters to select a major. More information about the James W. Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/csacc/ .
Sanger Learning Center
The Sanger Learning Center is the primary provider of academic assistance to University students. To help students reach their highest potential in their personal and academic development, the center provides a variety of services and resources in the areas of mathematics, science, learning strategies, and graduate and professional school planning and preparation. The center also offers content-based discussion sections, study groups, and tutoring for difficult courses. Services are free to currently enrolled students in all schools and colleges (some restrictions may apply).
- Appointment Tutoring provides one-on-one tutoring for more than 70 courses as well as writing consultation for graduate students. Appointments help students tackle difficult homework problems and review course concepts in one-hour sessions. Tutors work with students on a consultancy-basis after passing a rigorous hiring and training process certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA).
- Drop-in Tutoring provides tutoring for lower-level math, physics, and chemistry courses without the need to make an appointment. Tutors assist students in a small group setting in the David Drum Tutoring Center during designated hours. Sanger’s Tutorial Services also creates small group tutoring opportunities by request.
- Supplemental Instruction is a nationally recognized program aimed at improving student performance, increasing retention, and enhancing teaching. The program targets historically difficult entry-level courses by offering students regularly scheduled discussion sections led by trained undergraduate and/or graduate students.
- The Sanger Learning Center's classes and workshops also meet a broad spectrum of student needs, ranging from mathematics and science reviews to general study strategies as well as writing consultation for graduate students.
- Peer-Led Undergraduate Studying (PLUS), a program that aims to support student performance and motivation in historically difficult courses by offering class-specific weekly study groups. Group leaders offer a collaborative group study experience tailored to the needs of their classmates.
- In addition to managing its programs, Sanger Learning Center’s professional staff members take individual appointments assisting students with study-related questions or concerns.
- Peer Academic Coaching, a program certified by the CRLA at the master tutor level, offers structured guidance over time to students needing assistance with skills such as reading efficiency, note-taking, time and project management, test taking, and test preparation.
More information about the Sanger Learning Center is available at http://lifelearning.utexas.edu/ .
The 360 Connections initiative strives to help first-year students integrate socially, academically, and developmentally to ensure a smooth transition to college life on our campus, leading to academic success and on-time graduation. By participating in a 360 Connection (which may be a cohort, program, community, group, class, or similar group), students receive a holistic, 360° view of life as a Longhorn.
More information about the 360 Connections is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/360 .
First-year Interest Groups
A First-year Interest Group (FIG) is a group of 18-25 first-year students who take two to four classes together during their first fall semester at UT. Each group attends a weekly seminar led by a peer mentor and a staff facilitator. FIG students develop a sense of community as they attend classes, study, and participate in various activities and events with their mentor and fellow first-years.
More information about FIGs is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/fig/ .
Bridging Disciplines Programs
The Bridging Disciplines Programs (BDPs) support students in becoming versatile thinkers with the skills to collaborate across disciplines and cultures. The BDPs are designed to complement a student’s major with an individualized plan of study leading to an interdisciplinary certificate in one of the following areas:
- Children and Society
- Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
- Cultural Studies
- Digital Arts and Media
- Ethics and Leadership
- Film Studies
- Global Studies
- Human Rights and Social Justice
- Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
- Public Policy
- Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits
- Social Inequality, Health, and Policy
Each BDP is overseen by an interdisciplinary faculty panel that sets policy, approves courses, and selects students. Within each broad area, students choose a strand of specialized courses drawn from disciplines across the University. Students are encouraged to use the BDP theme to select courses and integrate degree requirements; to this end, courses taken to fulfill core curriculum requirements, courses fulfilling major requirements, and electives may also be counted toward a BDP. Participation in undergraduate research and internships is also central to the design of the BDPs.
All degree-seeking undergraduates at the University are eligible to apply for the BDPs. With careful planning, a BDP can complement most degree plans. However, because the BDPs build on core requirements and electives, students are encouraged to start early in their University careers.
Undergraduates who complete BDP requirements in conjunction with their degree requirements or within one year after earning the degree receive a certificate and recognition on the University transcript; students in integrated undergraduate/graduate programs must complete certificate requirements within one year after they complete their undergraduate degree requirements. A maximum of nine semester hours of the certificate coursework may be taken after the student has earned the undergraduate degree. At least half of the required certificate coursework must be completed in residence at the University.
A student may not earn a certificate in the same field as his or her major, and at least one certificate course must be outside the requirements of the major. However, certificate courses outside the major may be counted toward other degree requirements.
Students should apply for the certificate when they apply for graduation or when they complete the certificate program, whichever is later. Transcript recognition is awarded at the end of that semester or summer session.
In order to earn a BDP certificate, students must satisfy the following requirements:
- At least nineteen semester hours of coursework. The distribution of coursework varies by specialization, and students should consult the BDP office for the requirements of each program. For all specializations, the coursework requirements consist of the following:
- Foundation Courses: One to ten hours in foundation courses that introduce key concepts and methodologies related to the interdisciplinary concentration.
- Connecting Experiences: Three to nine hours in undergraduate research, internships, and/or independent creative project courses that connect students’ interdisciplinary concentration to their major.
- Courses in a Strand: Six to twelve hours in courses in a strand, which allows students to focus their remaining BDP coursework. Course listings for BDP strands are located on the BDP Web site at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/bdp/ .
- A three- to four-page integration essay in which students reflect on what they have learned and accomplished through their BDP experience. These essays will be reviewed by members of a BDP faculty panel. Additional guidelines are available from the BDP advisers.
- Students must earn a grade of at least C- in each of the courses taken to fulfill BDP requirements and the cumulative grade point average in all courses counting toward a student’s BDP certificate must be at least 2.00. All but one of the courses taken to fulfill BDP requirements must be taken on the letter-grade basis.
- At least half of the required course work in the BDP certificate must be completed in residence at The University of Texas at Austin.
- Completion of the requirements of a major.
More information about BDPs is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/bdp/ .
Office of Undergraduate Research
The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) supports student engagement in the research and creative activity of the University. We foster undergraduate participation in research across the disciplines by raising the visibility of undergraduate research on campus, facilitating students' searches for research opportunities related to their interests and goals, and helping students share their work with others.
Services offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research include weekly information sessions on how to get involved in research, individual advising sessions, and workshops on a variety of topics tailored to the needs of student groups and advisers. The office also offers a workshop series that guides students through the process of designing and presenting a poster about their research, and it coordinates the University's annual Research Week, a week-long celebration of undergraduate research and creative activity across the disciplines.
To facilitate involvement in undergraduate research, the Office of Undergraduate Research offers several courses that students may take to receive credit for research experiences with University faculty members: Undergraduate Studies 310, and 320, and Undergraduate Studies 320F. Undergraduate Studies 320F satisfies the Independent Inquiry flag requirement. Enrollment in these courses is coordinated through the Office of Undergraduate Research.
The Office of Undergraduate Research also oversees EUREKA , a Web site devoted to undergraduate research resources and opportunities at the University. The site provides a searchable database of about three thousand faculty research profiles and a list of faculty projects with opportunities for undergraduates.
More information on the Office of Undergraduate Research is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/ugr/ or by phone at (512) 471-7152.
University Honors Center
The University Honors Center in the School of Undergraduate Studies is a focal point for interdisciplinary honors activities at the University. The center offers a variety of enrichment programs for undergraduate honors students and support to the campus activities of several national honor societies including: Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi.
More information about the University Honors Center is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/uhc/ .
Discovery Scholars Program
The Discovery Scholars Program (DSP) is a four-year, learning community program for select students in the School of Undergraduate Studies. Students are invited to participate, and the DSP staff provides support for their transition from high school to college and connects them to campus resources. Students are also encouraged to take responsibility for their individual educational journey. Benefits include individualized educational planning and advising, small-section course options, tutoring, mentoring, community programming, and a focus on academic and civic development.
More information about the Discovery Scholars Program is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/dsp .
Texas Success Initiative
The Texas Success Initiative is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. The two components of the program are:
- Assessment of each student's basic skills in reading, mathematics, and writing, and
- Developmental instruction to strengthen academic skills that need improvement.