Completion or Graduation Rate
In accordance with the Student Right-To-Know Act, the six-year completion rate for students who entered Austin College in 2011 on a first-time-in-college and full-time basis was 67.32 percent.
General Degree Requirements
Students must fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete a minimum of 34 course credit units, of which at least 17 must be earned at Austin College
- Earn a 2.00 or better cumulative grade point average for all courses taken at Austin College
- Complete the Foundation Dimension
- Complete a major with a 2.00 grade point average or better*
- Complete a minor (or second major) with a 2.00 grade point average or better*
- Complete the Breadth Dimension
- Complete three January term courses, or one for each fall term in residence
- Complete one course in Lifetime Sports
- Demonstrate ability in a modern or classical language, other than one’s own, through the third semester of college-level study at Austin College, or by transfer credit from another institution for an equivalent level of study, or acceptable performance on an approved equivalency test. The requirement also can be met by successfully completing the third semester of American Sign Language at an accredited college or university. Those students for whom English is a second language may satisfy the language competency requirement with evidence of suitable proficiency in the native language (e.g., proficiency test, particularly when administered in that language at Austin College; school records).
- Demonstrate the required skills in written communication by completing an approved course(s) equal to one full course
- Demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills by satisfactorily completing an approved course(s) that provides instruction in quantitative techniques
- Up to three graduate-level course credits (or nine semester credit hours) can be applied to the undergraduate degree plan. Graduate-level courses transfer into Austin College as one course credit unit.
- Complete at least eight of the last 11 course credit units as a student at Austin College
* If students elect to complete the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program, a minor or additional major is not required for graduation. A 2.0 grade point average or better is needed for courses in the PPE program overall to meet graduation requirements.
The choice of a major and a minor (or PPE program) may be made at any time after initial registration, but not later than the close of the sophomore year (i.e., in which 17 course credits are completed and enrolled in). Before registering for the first term as a junior, each student must file in the Registrar’s Office a declaration of major and minor approved by the appropriate department chairs or program directors (more information on the major/minor declaration process on the Registrar’s Office website). Students must have a major declared in order to declare a minor and may not declare a major or minor after they have graduated.
Ordinarily students will follow the curricular requirements of the Bulletin in effect at the time of admission. When the college career is unavoidably interrupted, this principle will be followed as far as possible. If a student is readmitted following withdrawal, current requirements will apply.
The freshman seminar, Communication/Inquiry (C/I), serves as a foundation for an Austin College education. The course provides an important transition to the expectations of college-level work and available academic services. The seminar topics vary with the interests and specialization of the instructors, but through rigorous engagement with materials appropriate for an introductory class, each seminar section emphasizes the enhancement of skills of information literacy and critical thinking, and abilities in oral and written communication. The C/I instructor serves as the student’s faculty mentor and academic advisor.
Potential Student Learning Outcomes for the Foundation Dimension Courses
The faculty teaching Foundation Dimension courses will promote the following student learning outcomes
with their pedagogy:
- Students will demonstrate appropriate oral communication skills.
- Students will demonstrate appropriate written communication skills.
- Students will demonstrate appropriate information literacy skills.
- Students will demonstrate appropriate critical thinking skills.
The C/I course may be waived for individuals who have been enrolled as a full-time matriculated student at another accredited college or university for at least one semester.
An eight-course distribution over the three academic divisions (i.e., Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences) of the college establishes the minimal requirement for the Breadth Dimension. Students may transfer into Austin College up to four courses in the Breadth Dimension. Only transfer credits completed prior to matriculating at Austin College can be used to satisfy the Breadth Dimension. Students must take half of coursework required in each division of the Breadth Dimension at Austin College and also meet the requirements stated below for each division. Courses and AP/IB equivalencies that satisfy this requirement have been approved by the respective academic divisions and are on a list available in the Registrar’s Office. Breadth Dimension courses must be taken for a letter grade. Courses taken for the Breadth Dimension also may count toward either the major or minor. Specific courses approved for the Breadth Dimension are indicated each term on the course registration schedule in WebHopper and in the course descriptions of the Bulletin.
It is important to note that, while some courses are designated to satisfy multiple Breadth Dimensions (e.g., Social Science and a Science or Humanities and Science), the course is only able to satisfy one Breadth Dimension requirement, but not both.
The humanities disciplines of art, art history, classical and modern languages, communication, media studies, theatre, English, history, music, philosophy, and religious studies present a broad array of approaches to the understanding of culture and to the search for meaning. Courses in the Humanities Division foster students’ appreciation of creative work and its processes, raise their awareness of perennial questions, and promote the spanning of interpersonal, intercultural, and chronological distances. Familiarity with humanities disciplines and their methodologies is integral to a liberal arts education and helps to prepare students for a complex and changing world.
Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Humanities Breadth Dimension Courses
The faculty teaching Humanities Breadth courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
- Student will demonstrate an ability to arrange, define, and describe important ideas and/or experiences from various cultures and/or the historical past.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to produce creative work and/or appraise and critique the creative process of others.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze, test, and/or question humanistic interpretation, and to
deploy those skills effectively through written and/or oral communication.
Humanities courses that satisfy the Breadth Dimension engage students in how people think about or create from the world and human experiences. These courses foster skills in critical reading or interpretation, synthesizing information, effective oral and written communication, creative expression, and thoughtful analysis. In doing so, they develop the ability to form meaningful questions and exercise independent judgment. Students are required to take courses in four different disciplines to expose them to the diverse subjects and methodologies within this division.
Requirement: Four courses must be from four different disciplines (e.g. ART, SPAN, ENG, PHIL).
The methods used by science are the most reliable known for understanding the natural world. Science and the technology stemming from scientific knowledge have profound effects on nearly every aspect of modern life. Advancements in such diverse fields as health care, food production, communication, and transportation all depend on scientific knowledge and understanding. At the same time, scientific innovations have important societal, ethical, and moral implications. Therefore, understanding scientific methodology, contributions of science to modern civilization, and strengths and limitations of the scientific approach are of great importance for all students in becoming responsible citizens. The faculty believes that in order to fully understand science, students must be actively engaged in doing science. Thus, scientific inquiry through laboratory experience is viewed as an essential component of science education.
Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Science Breadth Dimension Courses
The faculty teaching Science Breadth courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
- Students can use observational or quantitative data to test hypotheses or to demonstrate sound scientific reasoning.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between science and culture.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the scientific process.
- Students will communicate scientific information and ideas effectively.
The Breadth Dimension of the Austin College curriculum requires two science courses, with at least one with an associated laboratory. The requirement may be met by a specially designed non-majors course in the natural sciences with an associated laboratory, or by other designated laboratory courses regularly offered in biology, chemistry, and physics. The science requirement ensures that all Austin College students have experience using the scientific process to solve both theoretical scientific questions in the classroom and practical hands-on problems in the laboratory.
Requirement: Two courses including at least one course with an associated laboratory. The two courses may be from the same discipline.
The social sciences investigate and educate students about individual and group behavior in different social and cultural contexts. Through the application of a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, the social sciences strive to explain the variables that affect human decision-making, patterns of social, economic, and political development, and conflict and cooperation across the globe. Further, the social sciences explain how people allocate scarce resources in the framework of different social, governmental, and commercial institutions. A central component of the liberal arts, the social sciences contribute to an understanding of the historical development and contemporary structure of the global environment and provide an essential intellectual foundation for informed and engaged global citizens.
Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Social Science Breadth Dimension Courses
The faculty teaching Social Science Breadth courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
- Student will identify and describe one or more methodological approaches used in the Social Sciences.
- Students will describe individual and/or group behaviors using disciplinary appropriate language.
- Students will explain how cultures and institutions inform society.
The Breadth Dimension of the Austin College curriculum requires two approved courses from different disciplines in the social sciences. Approved courses will foster student understanding of individual and group behavior in different social and institutional settings. Social science courses also emphasize effective written, oral, and methodological skills.
Requirement: Two courses must be from two different disciplines (e.g., PSY and ECO).
Undergraduate degree programs available to students as of the 2018-2019 academic year:
|East Asian Studies||X||X|
|English with an emphasis in Creative Writing||X||X|
|Exercise and Sport Studies1||X|
|Global Science, Technology, and Society||X|
|Health Care Administration||X|
|International Economics and Finance||X|
|Latin American and Iberian Studies||X||X|
|Nonprofit Organizations and Public Service||X|
|Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)6||X|
|Southwestern and Mexican Studies||X|
|Western Intellectual Tradition||X|
1 Austin College offers an interdisciplinary major that methodically combines courses from multiple departments to create a major. See the Special Program Option.
2 See Chemistry Department for degree information.
3 Offers general Biology major and major with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology.
4 Students earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for program completion.
5 See the Special Program Option for more information. Must also meet requirements for a major and minor described below.
6 Students completing the PPE degree program take 16 courses from philosophy, politics and economics and are not required to complete a minor or additional major to meet graduation requirements.
Major and Minor General Program Requirements
Requirements for the major consist of at least eight but not more than 11 course credit units, approved by the department chair or program director as described in the Courses of Instruction section of this Bulletin. Courses in the major may be counted toward meeting the requirements of the Breadth Dimension. At least three course credit units must be taken at Austin College from courses numbered 300 or above.
A minor consists of five to seven courses credit units, approved by the department chair or program director. The minor affords students the opportunity to combine an in-depth study of a second area while also broadening their education. Courses in the minor may be counted toward the Breadth Dimension requirement. At least two course credit units must be taken at Austin College from courses numbered 200 or above.
The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) program engages students in an 8-4-4 course format that fulfills the graduation requirements replacing the traditional major/minor or double major requirement.
No course may be counted toward meeting the requirements stated above for more than one major or one minor. However, it is acceptable for a course to meet both a Breadth Dimension or competency requirement and the major or minor.
January Term, often referred to as JanTerm, is an expression of the college’s commitment to life-long learning. It incorporates intensive month-long courses that emphasize experiential learning and experimental formats and topics. The program has three goals:
- That Austin College graduates know how to engage experiential and non-traditional learning styles and integrate them with traditionally gained knowledge and skills
- That more students have international educational experience than would otherwise be the case
- That Austin College faculty gain experience with experiential and non-traditional learning styles and how to engage them
During January, students take only one course. This academic term provides a change of educational pace, more concentrated involvement in one area of study, and a greater emphasis on exploration and experiential learning. Courses during the January term focus on unique topics in depth. Off-campus courses include independent study and career exploration; they also include courses with cross-cultural exploration and language immersion experiences.
Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the January Term Courses
The faculty teaching January Term courses will promote the following student outcomes with their pedagogy:
For international travel courses:
- Students will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes consistent with intercultural competence.
- Students experiencing language immersion will increase their fluency in a foreign language.
- Students will thoughtfully articulate the relationship between their international experience and their studies on campus.
For all other courses:
- Student will demonstrate skills and attitudes consistent with lifelong learning.
All undergraduates must complete one January term course for each fall term they are enrolled, with three being the maximum required. JanTerm courses will generally use an S/D/U grading system; some courses may provide students with an option for letter grades if those courses include a substantial graded component.
Each year, the majority of the student body, including nearly all first-year students, remains on campus to pursue a January term course or project.
With few exceptions, courses offered in the January Term are specially designed so that offerings vary significantly from one January to the next. A special online bulletin of January term courses describes the offerings each year.
Examples of On-Campus January Term Courses
Collecting Culture: Museums
Prohibition, Then Craft Beer?
Science Behind Digital Media
Ethics and Politics
Sports in Society
Examples of Off-Campus January Term Courses
Comparative Democratization (Europe)
Deep in the Heart of Mexico
The Space-Ious Southwest
Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica
Rome: The Eternal City
Coffee & Café in Paris and Vienna
Scotland: Castles, Crosses, Kilts and Celts
Quantitative Reasoning Requirement
Quantitative reasoning means the ability to apply the tools of mathematics, including statistics, in some area or areas of discourse. This requirement is met by the satisfactory completion of an approved course(s) in which the student must demonstrate the ability to understand and utilize quantitative data and analysis to construct and to assess arguments and to solve problems. Approved courses are marked each term on the course registration schedule in WebHopper and in the course descriptions of the Bulletin.
Potential Student Learning Outcomes for the Quantitative Competency Courses
The faculty teaching Quantitative Competency courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
- Student will construct and test formal hypotheses.
- Students will demonstrate logical or mathematical reasoning using symbolic proofs.
- Students will use statistical or graphical analysis to draw conclusions from numerical data.
- Students will solve problems using mathematical methods and data.
- Students will successfully implement computer algorithms.
Writing Competency Requirement
For students entering Austin College Fall 2018 or thereafter:
Writing competency means demonstrating consideration of the context, audience, and purpose of the writing task; exploring ideas supported by appropriate, relevant, and convincing evidence in an effectively focused and organized manner, deploying consistent use of important conventions particular to a specific discipline and/or writing task, and using language that generally conveys meaning to readers and is largely free of errors.
This requirement is met by the satisfactory completion of an approved “foundation writing” course, which should be taken no later than the first semester of the sophomore year, and by the satisfactory completion of two approved “advanced writing” courses in two different disciplines. Advanced writing (AW) courses should normally be taken after satisfactory completion of a foundation writing (FW) course, and only one advanced writing course taken prior to the satisfactory completion of a foundation writing course may count toward the writing competency requirement.
Approved courses are marked each term on the course registration schedule in WebHopper. Course guidelines and a list of approved courses are available in the Registrar’s Office. Note: All students who matriculate prior to Fall 2018 are exempt from the FW and AW writing competency requirement, regardless of which Bulletin they adopt for graduation.
Transfer Policy for Writing Competency
Incoming Freshman Students: For incoming freshman students, a score of five on the AP English Language and Composition exam or a score of five or higher on the HLS English exam for IB will be articulated as meeting the FW competency. Students matriculated at Austin College may not transfer credit from another institution.
Transfer Students: Transfer students must meet the writing competency through one FW course and two AW courses, following the same rules about sequence listed above. ENGL 1302 (or equivalent) may transfer to meet FW credit. AW credit may not be transferred insofar as AW is an Austin College designation.
For students entering Austin College before Fall 2018:
Students entering AC prior to Fall 2018 fall under previous writing competency requirements that required students to complete either one Full Writing (W-designated) course or two Half Writing (R-designated) courses. These course types are still available for search in WebHopper to help students meet their writing competency requirement. Students under the old writing competency requirements who wish to take an AW or a FW course to complete their writing competency requirement can file a petition for consideration by the Academic Standing Committee. Refer to the Bulletin for the year entered Austin College for full writing competency requirements.
Language Competency Requirement
Students must show competency for at least three semesters of college-level language other than English. Students with high school experience in a language who want to continue coursework in that language should adhere to the following guidelines: one year – begin in the 101 course, two years – begin in the 102 course, three or more years – have placement checked prior to registering for first semester of classes to determine the level of proficiency as compared to the Austin College languages curriculum. Students who have taken a college-level language course or courses should be sure that their official transcripts have been sent to Austin College Registrar’s Office. College-level language courses are standardized as Beginning I and II for the first two semesters and Intermediate I and II for the third and fourth semesters and correspond to the first four semesters of classes at Austin College. Therefore, students with transfer credit from another college or university may simply register for the next course in the sequence, or start a new language at the 101 level.
Students who wish to complete or believe they have completed the language competency in a language not taught at Austin College (one other than Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Japanese, or Spanish) will need to show transcripts or placement documentation from another institution to have the language competency requirement waived. These students will need to have the chair of the Classical and Modern Language department approve the waiver.
Each student’s academic program is further supplemented by elective courses as needed for completion of at least 34 course credit units.