Austin College offers excellent pre-professional preparation for law, medicine, dentistry, the ministry, engineering, and other professional schools as well as graduate schools. The primary and common prerequisite for admission to the professional and graduate schools is a sound liberal arts education. The student, in consultation with the faculty mentor, selects an appropriate major in keeping with professional school requirements. Special pre-professional advisors have been designated for each area.
Austin College offers a Dual-Degree Program in Engineering (sometimes referred to as the 3/2 or 4/2 Engineering Program). This program provides students the opportunity to earn two undergraduate degrees by obtaining a liberal arts background before specializing in an engineering field. Students attend Austin College for either three or four years and then attend an engineering school for two to three years. At the end of this time, they receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the cooperating institution.
Austin College is one of a select group of liberal arts colleges that have cooperative agreements with Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia University in New York. Both universities offer a wide range of programs in engineering and the applied sciences. These special agreements offer certain advantages to students, but it is possible for students to transfer to a variety of other engineering schools, both in the state of Texas and elsewhere, provided sufficient advance planning is undertaken in the first two years at Austin College.
An important part of this advanced planning is the Declaration of Dual-Degree Program, which shows how all Austin College requirements for graduation will be met. This Declaration must be filed concurrently with the Major Declaration. Upon completion of the requirements for the degree at the engineering school, the student also is awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College.
Although Austin College does not offer on-campus engineering courses, students acquire a strong foundation of physics, mathematics, and chemistry to prepare them for engineering programs. While at Austin College, qualified students may earn an engineering course credit from Washington University by enrolling in a special off-campus course during January term. Costs for this, like other special off-campus January term courses, are not included in the basic tuition fee.
The Dual-Degree Engineering Program assumes the same academic preparation prior to admission to Austin College as that required of students admitted directly to the engineering school as freshmen. For example, the student should be ready to enter calculus and physics during the first term of the first year. A student not so prepared may need to take extra courses in a summer term or an extra fall or spring term. It is important that the interested student consult with the pre-engineering advisor in the selection of all courses to be taken at Austin College.
Pre-Health (Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Allied Health)
The mission of the pre-health program is to educate students about different career opportunities in healthcare and assist them in the application and interview process for professional schools. Austin College has a long history of excellence in preparing students for entry into a variety of health professions programs throughout the United States. The program focuses on providing students with a solid background in the sciences, while placing this background in the context of a broad liberal arts education. Students also are strongly encouraged to gain field experiences through internships or volunteer work so they can apply their education in a healthcare setting. Students may select a major in any discipline; however, they also must complete certain courses that are required for entry into the specific professional school. The director of Pre-Health can provide information about prerequisites for specific programs. Students are encouraged to seek a major that is of genuine interest to them. The overall strength of the program lies in the development of the whole person: a student’s intellect, experiences, and social values.
JanTerm is an excellent time to complete a Career Study Off-Campus (CSOC) experience in a healthcare field. Special CSOCs in January include internships at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas; UT Health Center at Tyler; Medical City in Dallas; Texoma Medical Center in Denison; Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital – WNJ in Sherman; and Texoma Neurology in the north Texas area. The Wright Health Sciences Program provides some financial support for summer internships for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the allied health sciences.
Austin College and Texas Tech School of Medicine (TTSOM) have established an early decision/acceptance program for Texas residents. Students who enter Austin College with an SAT of 1360 (verbal + math) or ACT of 29 (single administration of either exam) and who then maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.7 and a science GPA of 3.6 during the first two years at the college are eligible to apply for the program. Selected students will then receive an interview at the medical school in the fall of the junior year. If accepted into TTSOM, the student will not need to take the MCAT, but must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.7 and science GPA of 3.6 through the senior year in addition to completing the Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College. All courses must be completed at Austin College. The student will enter TTSOM in the fall following graduation from Austin College.
Austin College also has two Gateway agreements with Oklahoma City University. Students who complete the required courses and maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and a science GPA of 2.5 are eligible for direct entry into OCU’s Accelerated BSN program following graduation from Austin College. A guaranteed interview with OCU’s PA program is available for students who complete the required courses and maintain 3.0 cumulative and science GPAs.
Austin College has a long and successful track record in preparing students for careers in the legal profession. A thorough liberal arts education is the best foundation for students to attain both their personal and professional goals, and law schools respond most favorably to this educational philosophy. The Austin College pre-law advisor aids students in degree planning, law school selection, and the application process. Austin College has a high acceptance rate of its graduates by law schools in Texas and throughout the nation. The Austin College Pre-Law Society strives to provide students with an understanding of the law and the legal profession as well as information about law schools. Throughout the year it brings to campus guest speakers, such as lawyers, judges, law professors, law students, and law school admissions personnel. To further help students discern their suitability for a career in law, the Austin College Pre-Law Society and the Austin College “L” Association (our alumni lawyer association) each year sponsor the Dr. Kenneth Street Law Symposium, which draws to campus leading members of the bench and bar to discuss pressing legal issues of our time. The Symposium provides both students interested in the law and practicing attorneys the chance to engage leading figures of the legal profession in a forum dedicated to the discussion of issues that form a bridge between the theoretical world of the liberal arts and the practical world of the legal profession. Students have a further opportunity to explore their interest in the legal profession through participation in the College’s Moot Court, Mock Trial, and Mediation programs.
Throughout its history, Austin College has played a vital role in the education of students preparing for ministerial professions and church vocations. The Department of Religious Studies offers a wide range of non-confessional, critically engaging, multi-faith courses and perspectives in the liberal arts and humanities tradition that a student could utilize to enhance her or his preparation for ministry in its diverse forms.
Students who are interested in pursuing a graduate seminary (M.Div.) degree or more general professional training for a church vocation should register with the college chaplain. Individual mentoring is available with members of the religious studies faculty and the college chaplain.
Each year, representatives from different theological seminaries visit the campus. Please contact the college chaplain, John Williams, for more information.