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Academic Advising for MSIS Students

Faculty Advising

MSIS students may choose to meet with an iSchool faculty advisor to plan their courses. Academic advising is optional. If you choose to meet, contact your faculty advisor by email to set up an appointment time.

Remember that you can switch your faculty advisor. You must let your current faculty advisor know, get approval from your new faculty advisor, and send an email about this change to the graduate program administrator: gradoffice@ischool.utexas.edu. Remember to always include your UT EID, full legal name, and course unique number (when relevant) in your communication.

If you choose to meet with your faculty advisor:

  • Arrive prepared. Create a draft list of courses you would like to take over the next semester. If you are meeting with your faculty advisor during the spring semester, you will be discussing classes you might take in the summer as well as classes you might take in the fall semester.

  • Share your goals and preferences. Helping your faculty advisor understand your schedule, learning style, and career plans will allow them to more effectively help you plan.

Regardless of whether or not you meet with your faculty advisor, remember that students are responsible for finding the registration access period. Find out all about registration here.

Planning Your Course of Study

Review Degree Requirements: Be sure to review the requirements for your MSIS degree first. Make sure that you select courses for letter grades. The only credit/no credit (pass/ fail) course that will count toward the 36 hours of your MSIS degree is your Capstone option. You must take graduate level courses in the iSchool. Each course is listed with a three-digit number. For graduate courses, the second digit is 8 or higher (e.g., 380C). Learn more about the course numbering system. 

A full graduate course load is nine (9) credit hours, typically three courses, during a long semester and three (3) credit hours, typically one course, during the summer. Full time enrollment is required for academic graduate appointments (e.g., teaching assistant, research assistant, assistant instructor, or graduate assistant) and fellowships. MSIS students need to be continuously enrolled in courses during the fall and spring semesters. Summer enrollment is optional. You must complete all thirty-six (36) credit hours toward your MSIS degree within six (6) years. Leaves of absence do not stop the clock.

Take the core course (INF 380E) early in your program. It is intended as a foundation course. The core course is usually offered in two sections during the fall/spring terms and may be offered during the summer. If you wait too long to take the core course, you run the risk that the course might be full or offered at a time when you are unable to take the course.

Plan Your Schedule: Look at the course offerings for the next semester and review this online course list regularly in case of any changes/updates. Find out details about courses by reading their official descriptions and reviewing course syllabi from previous semesters. In creating your draft list, also identify two or three other classes that serve as backups in case you are unable to enroll in one or more of your first choices. There is no stable rotation of courses so do not plan on having any specific courses offered in any given semester. The only courses you can count on being available in a given long fall or spring semester is the core course. Remember: availability of any course during the summer sessions is also not guaranteed. 

Sometimes a course you want to take is full. Remember that class registrations change as other students add and drop classes. The best option to gain entry into a class that is currently full is for you to join a waitlist. More details on using waitlists can be found on the registrar’s website.

You may also have additional options for taking courses. This includes taking individual studies within the iSchool and taking courses outside of the iSchool. For details on Individual Studies, see the appropriate section (these are differentiated by the number of semester hours your study will substitute) under the course list. Take special note of the details on submitting the proposal for an Individual Study. MSIS students need formal GSC approval for taking more than six hours of Individual Study in their academic programs. 

Taking Courses Outside of the iSchool: Students may take up to twelve (12) graduate credits OR up to nine (9) upper-division undergraduate credits at UT Austin outside the iSchool. No more than six (6) upper-division undergraduate credits may be from any one (1) department. An outside course may help you fill a gap in your program of studies. Look into outside courses very carefully. Pre-requisites, grading, rigor, focus, interdisciplinary engagement, and theoretical foundations vary so widely that a conversation with the instructor is often essential to find a good fit. You will find course descriptions in the Graduate Course Catalog.

For inclusion on the Program of Work, outside electives must have faculty advisor approval. The faculty have pre-approved a set of outside electives (see table below) that iSchool students frequently take.  Courses on this list may be taken and counted toward an MSIS degree without any additional approval or permissions. Any courses that do NOT appear on this list require completion of an Outside Elective Approval Form, approved and signed by your faculty advisor. Approval must be submitted to the graduate student affairs office.

Consult the iSchool website to see if you might benefit from an  Endorsement of Specialization (EOS), dual degree, or portfolio.