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 related to grade point average impact academic warning programs dismissal, internal transfer (change of major), admission to the Engineering Honors Program, eligibility for graduation, and eligibility for graduation with University Honors.

Quantity of Work Rule

Maximum Number of Hours in the Fall or Spring

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 fall or spring semester.

Rules for the Summer Semester

A student may not receive credit for more than 14 semester hours during a 12-week summer semester 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 Engineering Student Services. This policy is designed to maximize student success and minimize time to graduation. Students are encouraged to speak with their engineering academic advisor before making decisions regarding Q drops or withdrawals. 

To request permission to enroll in a course for a third and final attempt a student must submit a written appeal at https://students.engr.utexas.edu/policies-forms. A student may receive departmental advisor and Engineering Student Services advising approval to enroll in a course a third and final attempt if the student has a substantiated nonacademic reason for not successfully completing the course in earlier attempts. Documentation may be required to support the substantiated nonacademic reason.  A third and final attempt is firm, regardless of new or ongoing nonacademic circumstances that occur during the semester or term. If the student is denied approval to enroll in a required course, the student 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 they earned a grade of C- or better.  If a student repeats a course and has two or more grades, all grades and all semester hours are used to calculate the University grade point average and to determine the student’s scholastic eligibility to remain in school. The official grade in a course is the last one assigned.


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 also monitors academic standards. Students who fail to meet the standards stated in the General Information Catalog are placed on “academic warning” by the University. The warning status is given to those who fall below 2.0 UT cumulative, major, and technical grade point averages. In cases with extenuating circumstances, the student may appeal to Engineering Student Services (ESS) Advising.

A student seeking to reenter the school after having been academically 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 they 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 their 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 fall or spring 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 the Common App or ApplyTexas 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.

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.

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.