Graduate Study

The University of Texas at Austin, established in 1883, is a major research institution. It is the largest member of The University of Texas System. The University has grown from one building, two departments, eight faculty members, and 221 students on a 40-acre tract to a campus of more than 350 acres, with more than 110 buildings. The enrollment is about 50,000.

The faculty includes Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winners and members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The University awards one of the largest number of doctoral degrees in the United States and is one of three southwestern members of the Association of American Universities.

The Graduate School was established in 1910 as the Graduate Department, but the first master’s degree was awarded in 1886. The first doctoral degree was awarded in 1915. More than 11,000 graduate students are now enrolled, and more than 800 doctoral degrees and 2,800 master’s degrees are awarded each year.

The administration of the Graduate School (which does not include the School of Law) is the responsibility of the vice provost and dean of graduate studies. Graduate degrees are available in about a 100 fields. Each academic area that offers a graduate degree has a Graduate Studies Committee, a group consisting of all the assistant, associate, and full professors who are active in that graduate degree program. The Graduate Studies Committee recommends students for admission to the program, sets program-specific requirements for the graduate degrees in that area, and recommends students for admission to candidacy for degrees. Graduate education is the responsibility of the members of Graduate Studies Committees. One member serves as the graduate adviser to register and advise all graduate students, to maintain records, and to represent the Graduate School in matters pertaining to graduate work in that area.


The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of The University of Texas at Austin.

The Nature and Purpose of Graduate Work

Graduate work at the University is divided into disciplines. These are normally associated with departments; they may, however, be broader in scope, involving courses and research in several departments. The candidate for an advanced degree presents work done in a chosen major area but is usually also expected to have done supporting work on an advanced level (upper-division or graduate) in one or more relevant areas. There are three components of graduate study: coursework, independent study, and independent scholarly research leading to a report, thesis, recital, dissertation, or treatise. In some areas, internships, field studies, and other professional experiences may also be an integral part of the program. The proportion of each type of study varies according to the previous training of the student and the nature of the major area.

The objective of graduate study is to develop the intellectual breadth and to provide the specialized training necessary to a career in teaching, research, the arts, or the professions. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge, methods, and skills needed for scholarly teaching, original research and problem solving, intellectual leadership, creative expression, and other modes of achievement in the student’s discipline.