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 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 17 semester hours of coursework without an approved application to do so. Application is made online at https://students.engr.utexas.edu/policies-forms
  2. No student may register for more than 21 semester hours of coursework during any long-session semester.

Rules for the Summer Session

A student may not receive credit for more than 14 semester hours during a 12-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 the General Information Catalog.

Repetition of a Course

An undergraduate in the Cockrell School may not enroll in any lower division courses in engineering, geology or natural sciences 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. Undergraduates will receive a secure academic note (SAN) with permission to enroll in a course for a third attempt if the student has a symbol Q or W in earlier attempts that 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 https://students.engr.utexas.edu/policies-forms. A student may receive departmental advisor 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 advisor 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 eligible 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

All degree programs in the Cockrell School have specific expectations regarding portable computing devices. For more information, please see the catalog sections for these programs.

Academic Standards

In addition to the scholastic standards described in the General Information Catalog, the Cockrell School imposes the following academic standards. Students who fail to meet the standards stated in the General Information Catalog 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 engineering probation 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 and required under the student’s engineering degree plan. For specific degree plans, there are additional courses included in the "major area of study":
    • For architectural and civil engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in both architectural engineering and civil engineering;
    • For environmental engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in architectural engineering, civil engineering and environmental engineering;
    • For aerospace engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in both aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics;
    • For computational engineering majors, the major area includes all courses in computational engineering, 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.

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 advisor in the Engineering Student Services Office. Call (512) 471-4321 to set up an appointment with an academic advisor.

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 or if it meets the requirements for the Cockrell School of Engineering's semester exchange grading policy for study abroad. 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 30 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 https://students.engr.utexas.edu/policies-forms.

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

Grade Policy for Semester Exchange (Study Abroad) Students

With permission of the undergraduate advisor in their department, engineering students may elect to place up to four exchange courses on their records with a CR, rather than a University of Texas at Austin letter grade. The following restrictions apply:

  1. Only courses completed on a semester exchange at a Cockrell School of Engineering partner institution qualify.
  2. Students must choose the Pass/Fail option by the usual University mid-semester deadline given in the academic calendar and must have prior permission of their undergraduate advisor before doing so. If the exchange university does not follow the same academic calendar at The University of Texas at Austin, the student must make this request before 60 percent of the course completion (usually about nine weeks from the start of class).
  3. The corresponding course in The University of Texas at Austin degree plan will determine the minimum grade requirement to obtain the CR grade (i.e., if the University course required a C- or better, the student must have earned the equivalent of C- or better on the exchange course to receive a CR; in the absence of a specified minimum grade requirement, the standard is an equivalent of D- or better.
  4. Courses in the engineering degree program taken on exchange programs with the CR grade option may be counted toward any requirements for the degree except courses being applied toward the 42 hour, University Core Curriculum requirements.
  5. No matter how many exchange courses a student takes, no more than two exchange courses per semester and no more than four total exchange courses with the CR grade can be applied toward the degree.
  6. Once a course is place on The University of Texas at Austin record, the grade designation may not be changed.


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 the General Information Catalog.

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 the General Information Catalog.

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 EHP.
When submitting an admission application to the University through ApplyTexas or the Coalition for College Access, Affordability, and Success application, 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 24 hours in residence and rank in the top 10 percent of their class and major. Eligible students must have at least 60 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 https://students.engr.utexas.edu/academics-advising/honors-program.

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 24 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. Kappa Theta Epsilon is the cooperative engineering education honor society for all engineering majors who participate in the cooperative engineering program.

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 https://students.engr.utexas.edu/student-life-resources.