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UT Austin International Office International Student and Scholar Services


Taking classes at UT Austin has some considerations specific to reciprocal exchange students. This page details some things to keep in mind as a reciprocal exchange student.

Student Status

All reciprocal exchange students, except participants in the MBA, Law and LBJ School exchange programs, are considered to be undergraduate students, regardless of their status at their home university. Exchange students register at UT Austin as non-degree seeking students for one or two semesters. Academic work completed at UT Austin is credited towards the degrees at students’ home universities.


Most exchange students are pre-advised by their home university academic advisors before they come to UT and are aware of the appropriate academic program to follow. Exchange students and their faculty advisors should keep in mind that an important benefit of studying abroad is to experience a new educational system and to have the opportunity of taking courses different from those taught at home.

Learn more about UT Colleges & Schools

Course Availability

UT Academic departments make every effort to accommodate exchange students in their classes, but due to overcrowding and equipment constraints in some majors, they cannot always give students the courses they want.

  • Be flexible. If you need advance approval for UT coursework, ask your advisor to approve some alternate courses in case your first choices are not available.
  • Take a variety of courses. UT students rarely take four courses in the same department each semester. Look for appropriate courses in other departments in the college or school in which you will enroll.
  • Be aware of prerequisites listed for courses you want to take at UT. Academic departments expect students to have completed these required (or similar) courses before allowing exchange students to register for a more advanced course.
  • Have a list with a wide array of classes from which you can choose. Departments cannot commit in advance to saving you a space or promise that the course will even be offered.
  • If you plan to study at UT your last semester before graduation, be sure your graduation does not depend on a specific UT course which might not be available!

Registering for Classes

Review the UT Course Schedules and Catalogs. Course Schedules list courses offered each semester. The fall schedule is available in early April and the spring schedule is available in mid-October. If the course schedule for the semester you will be attending UT is not posted yet, you can review the course schedule for a previous corresponding semester. This won’t be 100% accurate, but it will give you a general idea for planning purposes.

Understanding How to Use the Course Schedule

Courses designated “restricted” require students to obtain permission to take those classes from the department advisor or course instructor. A visit with the appropriate academic advisor during registration week is necessary in order to register for restricted courses. Please view the advising page for your college or school for more information:

Catalogs have brief course descriptions and prerequisites listed for each course. Be aware that some courses listed in catalogs are not taught every semester.

You can search for examples of syllabi with detailed course descriptions and requirements from previous semesters; however, please be aware that these exact syllabi might not be used for the semester or particular course you wish to take during your exchange. Professors will distribute new and updated syllabi during the first week of classes. If your academic advisor at your home institution wants you to have detailed course descriptions, the information above is all that is available until registration week or the first day of class.

Before you register for classes, you will need to remove all registration bars. You may clear your bars only after you arrive in Austin.

Understanding the Course Numbering System

Understanding our numbering system is important for reading the course schedule and registering correctly. To explain see the three examples below:

  • HIS 309K Western Civilization in Medieval Times
  • CH 456 Analytical Chemistry
  • J 395 International Journalism

HIS = department designation for History
CH = department designation for Chemistry
J = department designation for Journalism

309K = the first digit "3" means the course is worth three credits and will typically meet three hours per week
456 = the first digit "4" means the course is worth four credits and will typically meet four hours per week

309K = the second and third digits "09" means the course is lower division; lower division courses are numbered from "01" to "19". Lower division courses are introductory and generally taken by American freshman and sophomores. The "K" is indicating some kind of sequence for a degree that is usually not relevant to an exchange student. 

456 = the second and third digits "56" means the course is upper division; upper division courses are numbered from "20" to "79". Upper division courses are more advanced and are generally taken by American juniors and seniors.

395 = the second and third digits "95" means the course is graduate level; graduate level courses are numbered from "80" to "99". Exchange students must obtain special permission to take graduate level courses in most cases. 

Required Fees

All exchange students are required to pay the following fees:

  • $125 Orientation Fee
  • $10 UT ID Fee
  • Health insurance approximately $1000 per semester (subject to change)

Fees can only be paid after course registration. It is not possible to pay the fees before registration.

Grading Scale

Understanding UT’s grading system

Grade Reports and Transcripts

As part of the general reciprocal exchange agreement, students’ unofficial grade reports will be sent to their home institutions each semester. Students who wish to obtain an official transcript must make the request from the Office of the Registrar.