Talk About Rigorous: New UT Austin Honors Program in Computer Science AND Business

Unlike most universities, UT Austin does not have one overarching honors college or program but, instead, offers 10 honors programs that vary according to academic emphasis:

  1. Canfield Business Honors Program
  2. Engineering Honors Program
  3. Turing Scholars Program (computer science)
  4. Dean’s Scholars Program (scientific research)
  5. Health Science Scholars
  6. Polymathic Scholars (science plus interdisciplinary)
  7. Human Ecology Honors (family studies and relationships)
  8. Plan II Honors (core and multidisciplinary, one of the oldest and most distinguished programs in the nation)
  9. Liberal Arts Honors (LAH) (core liberal arts);
  10. and, recently, the Computer Science and Business (CSB) joint honors program.

“Texas CSB provides a rigorous four-year undergraduate curriculum aimed at preparing students for top technology careers. The Texas CSB offers distinct benefits for students looking toward careers in today’s tech-focused business world. University leaders anticipate that it will attract high-achieving students with strong quantitative and technical skills from across the nation. The program is a particularly attractive opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and for students interested in data and marketing analytics, financial engineering, and leadership roles in tech companies.”

(Here is an excellent “inside” guide to UT’s honors programs.)

Rest assured that the selection process is extremely rigorous. The CSB will have to approximate the standards of the Turing Scholars Program and the Business Honors Program. “Turing denies 85% of valedictorian applicants. That means it’s especially important that you demonstrate a breadth and depth of commitment in computer-related activities.” The average SAT for the BHP is north of 1500; the same is true for CSB. Only about 12% of applicants gain admission to the BHP.

Turing Scholars at UT Austin

“Our top-ranked faculty push students to think outside the box and learn the varied business and computer science disciplines,” according to the website. “The curriculum is comprised of 44 classes, taken with 30-40 students, exposing students to all facets of business and computer science.

Most students in the CSB will have to take about 17 credits each term and enroll in at least one summer session to complete the program in four years. The CSB curriculum alone appears to be almost full-time.  Here is a link to a sample course sequence for all four years.  It is not for the faint-hearted.

Below is a list of courses required of CSB students.

Computer Science Courses

Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science (CS 311H)

Algorithms & Complexity (CS 331H)

Data Structures (CS 314H)

Computer Organization & Architecture (CS 429H)

Principles of Computer Systems (CS 439H)

Matrices or Linear Algebra (M 340L/SDS 329C)

Introduction to Probability & Statistics (SDS 321)

Computer Science Upper Division Electives


Math Requirements

Advanced Calculus Sequence (408C and 408D)


Traditional Calculus Sequence (408N, 408S, and 408M)

Business Courses

Business Communications (BA 324H)

Financial Accounting (ACC 311H) and Managerial Accounting (ACC 312H)

Introduction to Information Technology Management (MIS 301H)

Statistics & Modeling (STA 371H)

Corporate Finance (FIN 357H)

Operations Management (OM 335H)

Organizational Behavior (MAN 336H)

Introduction to Marketing (MKT 337H)

Business Law (LEB 323H)

Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MAN 327H)

General Management & Strategy (MAN 374H)

Microeconomics (ECO 304K)

Macroeconomics (ECO 304L)

Human Behavior (ANT/PSY/SOC)

Business Upper Division Electives

In addition, students must complete the university core curriculum, including courses in government, history, and composition.

UT Austin Announces Significant Increase in Financial Aid

UT Austin President Gregory Fenves notified alumni and contributors on April 20 that new, four-year financial aid awards will begin in the fall of 2018 and be distributed to new UT students to help them graduate on time and with less debt. The need-based funds are for in-state students and will benefit almost 3,000 additional UT students per year.

“The Texas Advance Commitment (TAC)ensures that Texas students with family incomes of up to $100,000 (Adjusted Gross Income), who have financial need, will receive guaranteed gift aid,” Fenves said. “Eligible students with family incomes up to $30,000 will receive, at a minimum, enough aid to completely cover their full tuition costs.”

In 2016, UT Austin implemented a $15 million increase in financial aid that benefited thousands of current UT students. “This year, we will make that funding permanent,” Fenves said.

According to the TAC website, the amount of funding a student will receive will depend on how much their family AGI is, as well as how much financial aid they have already received through grants and other scholarships.

“For Texas families with an AGI up to $30,000, awards range from $300 to more than $11,000 per year to ensure that tuition is completely covered.

“For Texas families with an AGI between $30,000 and $100,000, award amounts will range from $300 to $2,000 per year depending on the student’s financial need to cover tuition.”

These are four-year renewable awards. To renew the award and remain eligible, a student must:

  • Submit a FAFSA or TASFA every year
  • Continue to have a family adjusted gross income of up to $100,000
  • Continue to have financial need, as demonstrated on the FAFSA or TASFA
  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA and remain in good standing

The most prestigious merit award at UT Austin is the full-ride Forty Acres Scholarship, provided to 14-18 outstanding applicants each year from a list of more than 50 finalists. About 90 percent of the finalists are from the state of Texas. Students in the UT Plan II Honors Program are well-represented.

The extremely competitive Business Honors Program and the Engineering Honors Program also have Forty Acres Scholars, and Engineering Honors also awards more than $5 million in merit scholarships on its own each year. Most of the honors programs at UT can grant a very  limited number of OOS tuition waivers.

Other recent aid initiatives include Completion Grants in varying amounts, awarded to students who are close to graduating but have unmet financial need that would keep them from finishing their degrees.

Impact Scholarships “recognize high potential students from across the state who are making an impact in their local community, who will make an impact on the Forty Acres, and who will make an impact in their communities when they graduate. More than 30 incoming 2018 freshmen were surprised with a $48,000 scholarship ($12,000 per year) to cover the cost of their tuition for the students’ four years at UT Austin.”
RaiseMe Collaboration

“UT Austin has collaborated with RaiseMe to encourage students to consider the university when they begin their college search. The RaiseMe UT Austin collaboration encourages students early in their high school careers to engage in activities to encourage college-going behaviors, while earning micro scholarships for college. This platform enables students to earn up to $2,000 ($500 per year) in scholarship dollars when they attend UT Austin.”

Most UT Austin Forty Acres Scholars Major in Plan II or Business Honors

The most prestigious scholarship–a rare “full ride”–at the University of Texas at Austin is the Forty Acres award. Only 15-20 of these scholarships are granted in any given year. One notable fact about the scholarships is that more than half are awarded to Plan II Honors and/or Business Honors Students. One of the most common majors of Forty Acres Scholars is the combined Plan II/Business Honors major.

Bear in mind that Plan II only has about 700 students out of 39,000 undergrads on the UT Campus, which was originally assigned to, yes, forty acres of land in Austin. About three quarters of all Forty Acres Scholars are in some kind of honors program, with Plan II predominating. Others are engineering honors and the Turing Scholars program for computer science.

Both Plan II and Business Honors are highly selective. In this post on UT’s Business Honors Program, we wrote that by “’highly qualified’ we mean enrolled students with an average ACT of 33, and SAT of 1477 (higher than the 1466 average for the Wharton School at Penn), and an average high school class standing in the top 2.27%.”

For Plan II, the admissions statistics show that enrolled students had middle 50 percent SAT scores of 2090–2270 and middle ACT scores of 32–34.

It is likely that many Forty Acres Scholars have even more impressive credentials. The most recent group of scholars with Plan II, Business Honors, or both majors is below:

Susie and John L. Adams Forty Acres Scholarship
Henry Boehm
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Waco, TX
High School: Vanguard College Preparatory School

Ray and Denise Nixon Forty Acres Scholarship
Michael Everett
Major: Business Honors
Honors Program: Business Honors
Hometown: Southlake, TX
High School: Carroll Senior High School

BHP Forty Acres Scholarship
Chevron Enrichment Award
Alejandra Flores
Major: Business Honors
Honors Program: Business Honors
Hometown: Laredo, TX
High School: United South High School

Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Forty Acres Scholarship
Chandler Groves
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Southlake, TX
High School: Carroll Senior High School

Elizabeth Shatto Massey Forty Acres Scholarship
Mandy Justiz
Majors: Biochemistry; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Dean’s Scholars; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Austin, TX
High School: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Barbara and Alan Dreeben Forty Acres Scholarship
Seth Krasne
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: El Paso, TX
High School: Coronado High School

Charline and Red McCombs Family Forty Acres Scholarship
Alex Rabinovich
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: McAllen, TX
High School: McAllen Memorial High School

Lowell Lebermann Scholarship
Francesca Reece
Majors: Government; Plan II Honors
Honors Program: Plan II Honors
Hometown: Euless, TX
High School: Trinity High School

Madison Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship
Audrey Urbis
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Brownsville, TX
High School: Los Fresnos High School


Texas A&M BBA Honors Program: Selective and Rigorous

The state of Texas is fortunate to have two flagship schools whose business honors programs are among the best four-year choices for extremely talented applicants who know from the get-go that business will be their chosen career.

In a previous profile of the UT Austin Business Honors Program, we noted that the average SAT score of BHP students was higher than students at Penn’s famed Wharton School.

The Texas A&M BBA Honors Program is also highly selective. Although the minimum requirement is 1300 SAT or 30 ACT plus a high school rank in the top 25%, the average scores and gpa’s of 2014 applicants were 1423 SAT and a high school rank in the top 3.75%. Since the the A&M BBA Honors Program is smaller than the UT Austin BHP, the selectivity percentage is even lower than for UT: In 2914, BBA Honors had 850 applications and enrolled only 76 students.

Once enrolled, students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of honors coursework to graduate with business honors. The 30 hours include 9 hours of required courses, 15 hours of business common body of knowledge courses, and 6 additional hours of the student’s choice.

Students must also maintain a 3.5 cumulative gpa; attend a minimum of 4 of the 70 professional development events offered each year; and complete an internship for credit and a summer reading assignment each year.

The Mays Business School also has merit scholarships available; BBA Honors students receive strong consideration for these awards.

“Our graduates take on challenging positions with well-respected companies, including major energy companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell, consulting firms such as Bain & Co. and Boston Consulting Group, banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, retailers such as Wal-Mart and Nordstrom, and professional services firms such as PwC and Deloitte,” according to the BBA Honors site.

“Graduates also have found employment by not-for-profit organizations such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board and Teach for America as well as governmental agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security.”

The number of BBA Honors grads who complete graduate or professional school is very impressive:

“Within five years of earning a BBA in Business Honors, 70% of our graduates are enrolled in or have completed a graduate program, including those in business, law, and medicine. Our graduates go on to top graduate programs at Harvard, Stanford, Rice, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Vanderbilt, George Washington, William and Mary, New York University, the Wharton School of Business, and the University of Texas School of Law.”

The program also offers exciting opportunities for studying abroad. The Center for International Business Studies not only offers study abroad programs geared for business students but has classes in international business, foreign internships, and scholarships for studying abroad.

Honors News is a regular (not always daily) update, in brief, of recent news from honors colleges/programs and from the world of higher ed. Occasionally, a bit of opinion enters the discussion. These brief posts are by John Willingham, unless otherwise noted.

Honors News: August 23, 2015

Average GMAT Scores from 25 Top MBA Programs

Although our main focus in the near future will be on undergraduate business honors programs at public universities, we like to post stats and news about leading MBA programs as well.

Below is a list of 25 prominent MBA programs, both public and private, with the average GMAT score (2014) for each:

University MBA ProgramGMAT Avg
Chicago 724
UC Berkeley714
North Carolina697
Carnegie Mellon693
Michigan State666

Honors News: August 21, 2015–Business Honors Programs

We are expanding our interest in public honors programs to include undergraduate honors professional programs, beginning with business honors. In the near future, we will begin a series of posts on the subject, centering for now on the 35 programs listed below. Business honors programs received some mention in A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs but only if they were an option for a university-wide honors students.

If we do another edition, we will likely include reviews, with ratings or otherwise, of some business honors programs.

In the meantime, you can use this list to begin your own searches. Please bear in mind that half of these are open only to sophomores or upper-division students who have already completed first-year and/or second-year courses with very high grades, typically a 3.5 gpa or better. Such programs are the business major versions of “departmental honors” upper-division tracks in other academic disciplines. There are good reasons for variations in the length of business honors programs. Some prefer that students have shown their commitment and ability in college before moving into the honors track. Others want to launch students as quickly as possible into honors. Business honors programs that have one or more four-year options are in bold below.

McCombs School, Business Honors Program—UT Austin
College of Business Admin Honors Academy–Nebraska
Robert H. Smith School of Business—Maryland
Lundquist College of Business—Oregon
College of Business-Iowa State
Bauer Business Honors Program—Houston
Business Honors Program—South Florida
David Eccles School of Business, Honors Program—Utah
Business Honors Program—San Diego State
Honors in International Business Program—Florida International
Fisher College of Business—Ohio State
Collat School of Business—Alabama Birmingham
Business Honors Program—Miami OH
Business Honors Program—UNC Charlotte
College of Business Honors, Georgia State
Kelley School, Business Honors Program—Indiana
W.P. Carey School, Business Honors Program—Arizona State
Rutgers Business School, Accounting Honors Program—Rutgers
BBA Business Honors Program–Texas A&M
Undergraduate Business Honors Program—Kansas
Sam W. Walton College of Business, Honors Program—Arkansas
Tippie College of Business, Undergraduate Honors Program—Iowa
Fox School of Business Honors Program—Temple
Carl H. Linder College of Business, Honors Programs—Cincinnati
Business Honors Program—Stony Brook
School of Business Honors Programs—George Mason
College of Business, Honors Program—Louisville
Culverhouse College of Commerce, Honors Program—Alabama
Eller College of Management, Honors Program—Arizona
College of Business, Honors Program—Ohio University
Foster School of Business, Honors Program—Washington
School of Business, Financial Analysis Honors, U at Albany
Gatton College of Business, Honors Program, Kentucky
Honors Program in Business, College of Charleston
College of Business, Business Honor Program, Illinois

Honors News is a regular (not always daily) update, in brief, of recent news from honors colleges/programs and from the world of higher ed. Occasionally, a bit of opinion enters the discussion. These brief posts are by John Willingham, unless otherwise noted.

UT Austin Business Honors Program: A Great Launching Pad

The McCombs Business School at the University of Texas at Austin consistently ranks among the leaders in the nation for both undergraduate and MBA programs, but the Business Honors Program (BHP) for highly qualified applicants can lead to jobs and salaries that rival those of the leading private university business schools.

And when we say “highly qualified” we mean enrolled students with an average ACT of 33, and SAT of 1477 (higher than the 1466 average for the Wharton School at Penn), and an average high school class standing in the top 2.27%.

The acceptance rate for the incoming class of 2015 was 17.6%, with total applications of 1,354.

The overall program size is approximately 500 students, with 120-130 enrolled students in each class year.

The McCombs School as a whole has ten business specialty programs ranked in the top 10, according to U.S News: Accounting (1), Marketing (3), Management Information Systems (4), Finance (5), Management (6), Real Estate (7), Entrepreneurship (8), Insurance (9), Production and Operations Management (9), and Quantitative Analysis (9). This means that students can change their minds about a business specialty and still receive equivalent classroom opportunities.

Another key factor is that BHP students can also jointly enroll in the nationally renowned Plan II honors program.  Indeed, the Plan II-BHP combination is chosen by about one-third of BHP students.

If the qualifications of students and quality of specialty programs in the BHP are as high as most other business schools, so are the salaries earned upon graduation, with a mean salary of $65,879 for 2014 grads. And the placement rate for grads seeking full-time employment: 100% for the last four years.

Additional features include classes that are significantly smaller than regular undergrad business classes. BHP classes are capped at 40 students per section; many have 20-25 students enrolled. The case study approach used by many MBA programs is also used in a lot of the BHP classes.

According to the BHP, its 2015 graduates “went to work for the top banks, consulting firms, accounting firms, tech firms and others. They are now working for Credit Suisse, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, E&Y, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Facebook, Amazon, Visa, Shell, Chevron, Southwest Airlines, Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola, 3M, General Electric, and the like.

“They are starting their own businesses and working for nonprofits in India. They are going to med school, law school, and graduate business schools. The BHP degree is a versatile degree and a great launching pad for many different industries and pursuits.”

Princeton Review: Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, UT Austin “Great Schools” for Business Majors

The 2015 edition of the Princeton Review takes the most popular college majors and then matches them with the 20 leading universities for those majors, as determined by student surveys and by advisers that the Review uses to assist with the rankings.

Four public universities–Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, and UT Austin–made the top 20 lists for all three business-related majors covered by the Review: Accounting, Business/Finance, and Marketing.

In addition, James Madison University, the University of Houston, Michigan State, and Miami University made the top 20 lists in at least two of the business-related fields:

James Madison and the University of Houston–accounting and marketing; Michigan State–accounting and business/finance; and Miami University–business/finance and marketing.

Fifteen additional public universities made one of the top 20 lists:

Clemson, College of Charleston, Penn State, Temple, Texas A&M, Illinois, and UT Dallas–accounting.

Arizona State, Christopher Newport, CUNY Baruch, CUNY Brooklyn, Florida State, Portland State, Ohio University, and UC Berkeley–business/finance.

Central Florida, South Florida, and Mississippi–marketing.






Bloomberg Business Week: Top Undergraduate Programs 2014

The 2014 Bloomberg Business Week Top Undergrad Programs list is out, and 21 of the top 50 business schools are at public universities.  For the second year in a row, Notre Dame was number 1 and UVA was number 2.

Student and recruiter surveys have a major impact on the Bloomberg rankings, while the U.S. News rankings of undergrad business schools depend heavily on feedback from deans.  The Bloomberg rankings can vary significantly year to year, primarily because of the responses of employers and recruiters.  About 250 employers responded this year, and about 28,000 students participated, a response rate of about 33 percent.

Bloomberg considers SAT scores, student/faculty ratio, class size, internships, and hours spent on classwork to determine the academic quality of a program.

The Bloomberg rankings include test scores and, more importantly to many, median starting salaries, teaching “grade,” and placement rates.  All of the top 12 programs listed below have A+ placement rates except Washington U St. Louis (A).   Miami OH, Penn State, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Georgia also have A+ placement rates.

All of the public programs in the top 50 have median starting salaries of $50k or more, with UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce leading the way with $70,000 (tied with Penn’s Wharton School).

Here are the top 50, according to Business Week:

1. Notre Dame

2. UVA

3. Cornell

4. Boston College

5. Washington Univ

6. UT Austin

7. Penn

8. Indiana

9. Emory

10. North Carolina

11. Wake Forest

12. Michigan

13. Brigham Young

14. NYU

15. UC Berkeley

16. Richmond

17. Carnegie Mellon

18. Georgetown

19. Northeastern

20. Bentley

21. SMU

22. William & Mary

23. Boston Univ

24. Villanova

25. Miami OH

26. Babson

27. TCU

28. USC

29. Texas A&M

30. Penn State

31. Lehigh

32. Ohio State

33. Wisconsin

34. Illinois

35. RPI

36. UMass

37. Georgia Tech

38. Fordham

39. Maryland

40. James Madison

41. Univ of San Diego

42. Michigan State

43. Santa Clara

44. Florida

45. Elon

46. Minnesota

47. Loyola

48. Georgia

49. Bryant

50. Case Western

U.S. News Best Undergrad Business 2014: Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Maryland Gain the Most

The 2014 U.S. News Best Colleges report lists the top schools for undergraduate business majors, and this year Florida made the biggest advance in the rankings –up 9 places– followed by Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Maryland, each of which gained 4 spots.

Other notable changes involving public universities were the additions of Georgia State University, Miami of Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah to the top 50.  (The state of Georgia now has three public undergrad business programs in the top 50.)

Public universities with number one business specialty programs in the nation are as follows: UT Austin (accounting); Georgia (insurance); Michigan State (supply chain management/logistics); South Carolina (international business); Michigan (management); and Wisconsin (real estate).

As we have noted elsewhere, changes of four to six places can occur with only minor statistical changes.

Below are the public universities that made the top 50 list in 2014.  We will use the symbols (+, =, -) to indicate whether a school rose, remained the same, or dropped in the rankings compared to 2013.  Schools that gained four or more places will be in all caps.

+UC Berkeley–2014 (2); 2013 (3)

+Michigan–2014 (2); 2013 (3)

=Virginia–2014 (5); 2013 (5)

=North Carolina–2014 (7); (2013 (7)

-UT Austin–2014 (8); 2013 (7)

+Indiana–2014 (10); 2013 (11)

-Illinois–2014 (16); 2013 (14)

-Ohio State–2014 (18); 2013 (17)

+Maryland–2014 (18); 2013 (21)

-Minnesota–2014 (18); 2013 (17)

-Wisconsin–2014 (18); 2013 (17)

-Penn State–2014 (22); 2013 (21)

-Purdue–2014 (22); 2013 (21)

+Arizona–2014 (22); 2013 (24)

+Washington–2014 (22); 2013 (24)

-Arizona State–2014 (27); 2013 (24)

+GEORGIA TECH–2014 (27); 2013 (31)

-Michigan State–2014 (27); 2013 (24)

-Texas A&M–2014 (27); 2013 (24)

+FLORIDA–2014 (27); 2013 (36)

+GEORGIA–2014 (27); 2013 (31)

+Iowa–2014 (34); 2013 (36)

+William & Mary–2014 (38); 2013 (40)

-Colorado–2014 (38); 2013 (36)

+South Carolina–2014 (38); 2013 (40)

-Vermont–2014 (43); 2013 (40)

+GEORGIA STATE–2014 (47); 2013 (not in top 50)

+MIAMI OF OHIO–2014 (47); 2013 (not in top 50)

=Arkansas–2014 (47); 2013 (47)

=Connecticut–2014 (47) 2013 (47)

+OKLAHOMA–2014 (47); 2013 (not in top 50)

=Oregon–2014 (47); 2013 (47)

=Pitt–2014 (47); 2013 (47)

=Tennessee–2014 (47); 2013 (47)

+UTAH–2014 (47); 2013 (not in top 50)