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 2013 on a first-time-in-college and full-time basis was 72.25%.
General Degree Requirements
Students who enter Austin College in Fall 2019 or later, must fulfill the following requirements:1
- Complete a minimum of 34 course credit units, of which at least 17 must be earned at Austin College
- 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.
- Earn a 2.00 or better cumulative grade point average for all courses taken at Austin College
- Complete at least eight of the last 11 course credit units as a student at Austin College
- Complete the Compass Curriculum Experience Requirement
- Complete one Applied Learning Experience
- Complete three January term courses (students who enter as freshmen) or one less January term course than the number of fall terms enrolled (transfer students)
- Complete the First-Year Seminar (may be waived for transfer students)
- Complete the Compass Curriculum Engage Requirement
- 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).
- Complete one approved course to satisfy the Global Diversity Requirement
- Complete one approved course to satisfy the Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Requirement
- Complete the Compass Curriculum Discover Requirement
- Complete four courses in the Humanities from four different disciplines
- Complete two courses in the Social Sciences from two different disciplines
- Complete two courses in the Sciences, at least one with a lab
- Complete the Compass Curriculum Develop Requirement
- Demonstrate the required skills in written communication by completing one Foundation Writing (FW) course and two Advanced Writing (AW) courses
- Demonstrate quantitative literacy skills by satisfactorily completing an approved course that provides instruction in quantitative techniques
- Complete one course in Lifetime Sports
- Complete the Compass Curriculum Focus Requirement
- Complete a major with a 2.00 grade point average or better2
- Complete a minor (or second major) with a 2.00 grade point average or better2
- Students entering the college as freshmen: 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 fourth semester enrolled at the college. Before registering for their fifth semester, 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).
- Transfer students: 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 15 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.
1 Degree requirements for students who entered prior to Fall 2019 can be found in Bulletins for 2018-19 and earlier.
2 If students elect to complete the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program, a minor or additional major is not required for graduation. A 2.00 grade point average or better is needed for courses in the PPE program overall to meet graduation requirements.
The Experience Requirement consists of three elements: First-Year Seminar, Applied Learning Experience, and January Term.
First-Year Seminar (formerly 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 seminar instructor serves as the student’s faculty mentor and academic advisor. Faculty-student engagement established in the seminar initiates the conversation on how to use the Austin College curriculum to create the educational experience that enhances intellectual inquiry and critical thinking and leads to lifelong learning.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for First-Year Seminar Courses
The faculty teaching First-Year Seminar courses will promote the following student learning outcomes
First-Year Seminar 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.
Applied Learning Experience
Application of textbook or classroom knowledge to new settings is important for all liberal arts students. A liberal arts education should prepare students to be adaptable so they can navigate the multiple jobs, careers, and industries they are likely to encounter during their working lives and so that they can engage in the community as active citizens. Key elements of that preparation should include a broad education, as well as opportunities to practice the transfer of knowledge and skills into new settings. Providing opportunities for students to learn how to apply classroom skills and knowledge to real-world situations impacts students by providing pathways to productive careers and engaged citizenship.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Applied Learning Courses
The faculty teaching Applied Learning courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
Students are required to complete at least one approved Applied Learning Experience during their time at Austin College. The Applied Learning requirement must be completed at Austin College.
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 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 January Term Courses
The faculty teaching January Term courses will promote the following student outcomes with their pedagogy:
For international travel courses:
For all other courses:
Students who enter as freshmen must complete three January term courses during their time at Austin College. Transfer students must complete one less January term course than the number of fall terms they are enrolled, with three being the maximum required. January term 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
Under the Engage Requirement, students are required to demonstrate ability through the third semester of a language other than English, complete one course to satisfy the Global Diversity Requirement, and complete one course to satisfy the Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Requirement. While some courses are designated to satisfy the Global Diversity Requirement as well as the Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Requirement, each course is able to satisfy only one requirement.
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 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.
Global Diversity Requirement
The purpose of the Global Diversity Requirement is to foster every student’s learning in an academic context of material on people and/or people groups outside of the European or post-colonial North American cultural context. Such courses focus on cultures indigenous to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and/or Oceania. These courses are an exploration of the range of human experience including but not limited to artistic expression, religious traditions, ethical values, patterns of thought, historical events, political movements, social institutions, and/or cultural practices. While these courses may be comparative, the U.S. and Europe must not dominate the content of the class but must be weighted equally in their proportion of the course content and focus.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Global Diversity Courses
The faculty teaching Global Diversity courses will promote the following student learning outcome with their pedagogy:
And at least two of the following outcomes:
Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Requirement
The purpose of the Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Requirement is to foster every student’s learning in an academic context of material on historically marginalized people and/or people groups. Students will interrogate questions of justice, equity, and identity in relation to issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic status, and/or (dis)ability in order to provide context for critiquing institutional systems, public discourse, policies, social norms, and/or human behavior and challenge assumptions about how human society functions and this will be at least half of the course. These courses can focus on any country, region, or social group, and are not limited to any particular era past or present.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality Courses
The faculty teaching Systems of Power, Privilege, and Inequality courses will promote the following student learning outcome with their pedagogy:
And at least two of the following outcomes:
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 Discover Requirement (formerly the Breadth Dimension). Students who enter the college as freshmen may transfer into Austin College up to four courses in the Discover Requirement but must take at least half of the coursework required in each division at Austin College (e.g., only two of the four required Humanities courses can be transfer courses). Students who enter as transfer students may transfer in all eight courses. Only transfer credits completed prior to matriculating at Austin College can be used to satisfy the Discover Requirement. All students must 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. Discover Requirement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Courses taken for the Discover Requirement also may count toward either the major or minor. Specific courses approved for the Discover Requirement 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 Discover requirements (e.g., Social Science and a Science or Humanities and Science), each course is able to satisfy only one Discover requirement, not more than one.
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 Discover Requirement Courses
The faculty teaching Humanities Discover courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
Humanities courses that satisfy the Discover Requirement 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 Discover Requirement Courses
The faculty teaching Science Discover courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
The Discover Requirement of the Austin College curriculum requires two science courses, 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 Discover Requirement Courses
The faculty teaching Social Science Discover courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
The Discover Requirement 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).
As part of the Develop Requirement, students must satisfy requirements related to Writing, Quantitative Literacy, and Lifetime Sports.
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 matriculated prior to Fall 2018 are exempt from the FW and AW writing competency requirement, regardless of which Bulletin they adopt for graduation.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Writing Competency Courses
The faculty teaching Writing Competency courses will promote the following student learning outcomes with their pedagogy:
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.
Quantitative Competency 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 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.
|Possible Student Learning Outcomes for the Quantitative Competency Courses
The faculty teaching Quantitative Competency courses will promote the following student learning outcome with their pedagogy:
And at least one of the following outcomes:
Lifetime Sports Requirement
Austin College believes that physical fitness and an understanding of a healthy lifestyle should be an integral part of the overall educational experience. This requirement for graduation may be met by participation in a lifetime sports class, approved college transfer or for non-academic credit by successful participation in an intercollegiate varsity sport.
Before the end of their sophomore year, students declare a field to study in depth from the college’s list of more than 40 majors or alternatively, may create their own individualized major using the Special Program Option. Students also must complete a minor (or second major) in another field with more than 40 minors from which to choose. With proper planning students are able to integrate many of the course requirements of the Discover Requirement into their major and minor, giving their overall education greater coherence. Through the Discover Requirement, students encounter the different methodologies used by the humanities, sciences, and social sciences but are not required to take specific courses. Instead, students may select courses from the full range of disciplinary fields to develop a program that complements their major and minor but still adds breadth.
Undergraduate degree programs available to students as of the 2020-2021 academic year:
|Data Science and Analytics||X|
|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 Discover Requirement. 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 Discover 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 Discover Requirement or competency requirement and the major or minor.
Each student’s academic program is further supplemented by elective courses as needed for completion of at least 34 course credit units.