Graduate Student Handbook - The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin
School of Nursing
Graduate Student Handbook
1700 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701
Contact Information for Graduate Student Affairs:
Offices: NUR 2.414, NUR 2.412, NUR 2.408
Phone: (512) 471-7927, (512) 232-4701; Fax: (512) 232-4777
At the dawn of the 21st century, many dramatic changes in American society will affect nursing:
increases in the number of elderly, major technological advances, the rise of newly identified
viral diseases, and severe repercussions from unhealthy life styles. These changes dictate that
the nursing profession increase its ranks. We will need more nurses prepared to become
leaders in all sectors of health care delivery, such as hospitals, community health agencies,
nursing homes, home health care, and schools of nursing. Most importantly, in the 21st century,
service professions such as nursing will determine the quality of American life.
The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, through its commitments and innovations
in nursing education, research, and service, will be at the forefront of the service professions.
Our School is energized by top-quality faculty, programs, students, staff, alumni, and community
support. For example, many of our graduate faculty are Fellows of the prestigious American
Academy of Nursing. Further, our School is consistently ranked in the top 3% in National
Institutes of Health funding among the approximately 420 schools with graduate programs. This
ranking means that graduate students have the opportunity to study with the nation's leading
nursing researchers. Our Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in
Underserved Populations provides additional educational opportunities and resources for all
students. Thus, our School provides an enriched, scholarly environment that benefits graduate
students who wish to become leaders in nursing practice, education, and research. Welcome to
one of our nation’s finest graduate programs in nursing and best wishes for your success.
Alexa Stuifbergen, Interim Dean
UT-Austin School of Nursing
Philosophy of the School of Nursing
We, the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, present herein our
shared values and perspectives so that these may guide us in our teaching, research, and
curricular decision making.
As faculty members of The University of Texas at Austin, a major research institution, we
believe that the advancement of the profession of nursing depends upon the generation of
knowledge through scholarly inquiry and its dissemination in curricula that prepare students for
excellence and leadership in nursing and society. The faculty is dedicated to providing an
environment of innovative educational excellence to prepare students for a complex and
As faculty members of a school of nursing, we believe that nursing is a caring health profession,
whose practice is built on knowledge, theory, and research. The nursing profession provides
indispensable health services to persons, families, groups, aggregates, and communities.
Those services emphasize the promotion, maintenance, and restoration of health in illness or
wellness contexts, as well as in health policy formulation. We believe excellence in nursing is
achieved by thoughtful use of the nursing process and attention to clients’ needs and values.
Further, we affirm the intrinsic dignity and worth of every person as a composite of unique
genetic and cultural attributes and with diverse physical, psychological, spiritual, and social
As health professionals, we recognize the complex nature of healthas a feeling of well-being,
as the capacity to perform to the best of one’s ability, and as adaptation to varying situations
throughout the life cycle. Health care for individuals, aggregates, communities, and society
requires the efforts of many professions. Among health professions, nursing contributes a
unique perspective by emphasizing a holistic view of each person within his or her family and
community environment. In that context, individuals have the right to participate in decisions
affecting their health care and well being, the right to function at their most independent level,
and the right to refuse care or services. Furthermore, specific nursing interventions should take
place within a recognized framework of cultural variations and norms.
As educators, we express a firm commitment to excellence within The University and, in
particular, to excellence in nursing scholarship. To foster that scholarship, we share with
students the responsibility to create an educational climate that reflects democratic attitudes and
beliefs, stimulates intellectual inquiry and creativity, and encourages the development of
students to their highest potential. As educators, we believe that critical thinking is a core
competency of all professional nurses and foster the development of these skills in all of our
programs. We, as a faculty, further believe that continued learning throughout a career is
essential to maintaining standards of professional competency for both faculty members and
alumni. We recognize and value the contributions of our clinical colleagues and collaborative
partners in the community who support our missions of education, research, and scholarly
As a teaching faculty within a professional discipline, we believe that degree programs which
provide entry into practice, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, should prepare
students to be accountable and knowledgeable members of the profession, and partners with
other professionals in planning, delivering, and evaluating high quality health care. Recognizing
the changing nature of occupations among adults, we support multiple degree pathways for
entry into professional nursing. Each must be based on sound educational principles and
encourage excellence and leadership in nursing.
Because nursing as a discipline has demonstrated tremendous scholarly growth over the last 20
years, we strongly affirm the belief that nursing education, including baccalaureate, master’s,
and doctoral, is founded on mastery of nursing scholarship. Nursing scholarship involves both
the theoretical and research contributions of nursing scholars, as well as processes of research
and intellectual inquiry which challenge those contributions. We encourage educational
experiences that clarify ethical issues. The baccalaureate program prepares nurses to practice
effectively as generalists within the health care system, functioning in roles as providers,
designers, managers, and coordinators of care. It provides students with the opportunity to
acquire theoretical knowledge and competence in the practice of nursing and an appreciation of
professional nursing’s historical, present, and potential impact on society. The baccalaureate
program fosters the development of professional values and value-based behaviors.
Further, because nursing is a professional discipline, clinical scholarship forms a core within
which graduate nursing education takes place. That core includes, but is not limited to, the
phenomena of concern to the nursing discipline: person, environment, health, and nursing. In
master’s education, the phenomena are examined in terms of scholarly clinical practice in
advanced roles, while in doctoral education the emphasis is on original research and theory
development related to nursing phenomena. We support the scholarly development of
advanced practice nursing professionals for future leadership roles in the delivery of health care.
In both master’s and doctoral education, phenomena of concern to nursing are studied
intensively, in a specific area of concentration, and broadly, within the context of nursing
education and health care delivery. To be responsive to graduate students’ goals, we, as
faculty, encourage flexibility about programmatic choices within curricular plans. In addition, to
participate fully in The University community, graduate nursing students should study scholarly
works of those other disciplines that share nursing’s broad concerns for individuals in families
and communities. As faculty, we encourage educational experiences that assist students to
develop skills as critical thinkers and ethical decision makers.
As a community of scholars, faculty members at all levels should demonstrate a spirit of
scholarly inquiry in teaching, research, and practice. We wish to be known for our intellectual
excellence and our collegial manner in human relationships.
Faculty, alumni, and students contribute educational, consultative, and health services to the
community. The faculty believes health policy is an integral part of effecting change in a
democratic environment. To that end, the faculty is committed to contributing to the formulation
of health policies at the local, state, national, and international level to optimize health care
Lastly, as faculty, we strive for excellence in educational programs that position our graduates
for leadership roles in health care settings of the future, able to adapt to and direct a rapidly
changing health care environment.
The purpose of the School of Nursing is to achieve excellence in undergraduate education,
graduate education, research, and public service advancing the missions of the University of
1. Preparing individuals at the baccalaureate level to assume roles in professional nursing
2. Preparing individuals at the graduate level to assume nursing roles in advanced practice,
public health, administration, education, and research;
3. Promoting excellence in nursing scholarship;
4. Advancing the health of the public through developing and disseminating new
knowledge about health, health care, and health care delivery through scholarly inquiry;
5. Providing consultation, health care programs, and health care services in response to
emerging and urgent public health needs.
School of Nursing Goals
The mission of the School will be met by working toward these goals:
1. Maintaining excellence in curricula at all levels.
2. Expanding recruitment efforts to enlarge and diversify the pool of well qualified student
3. Generating research and scholarship that advances knowledge for nursing and health
4. Actively recruiting a diverse faculty with a developing or established scholarship record,
and/or clinical expertise, whose professional goals are aligned with the mission of the
School of Nursing.
5. Fostering faculty growth and development.
6. Seeking endowments to support the mission of the School of Nursing.
7. Performing continuous quality improvement to maintain curricular responsiveness to a
constantly changing health care environment.
8. Maintaining strong liaisons and creative service partnerships with the health service
agencies, as well as other schools and disciplines.
9. Maintaining strong relationships with alumni, community groups, and other support
10. Upgrading facility, library, and other resource supports in accord with evolving needs.
Statement on Equal Educational Opportunity
The University of Texas at Austin is committed to an educational and working environment that
provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. In accordance with
federal and state law, the University prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, citizenship, and veteran status. Discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation is also prohibited pursuant to University policy.
Graduate Programs at UT-Austin
The Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin is composed of the Office of
Graduate Studies, which includes the Vice President and Dean of Graduate Studies and her
staff and approximately ninety Graduate Studies Committees. Each department offering a
graduate degree has a Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), composed of all faculty actively
participating in the graduate programs of the departments. All GSCs function within the policies
and guidelines of the Office of Graduate Studies. Graduate students in all disciplines are
admitted to the Graduate School and must conform to their requirements, as well as those
requirements which are distinctive to a particular discipline. In other words, graduate students
in nursing are subject to the policies of both the UT Office of Graduate Studies and the UT
School of Nursing. Complete information on the policies of the Office of Graduate Studies may
be found on their website, located at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/.
Graduate Programs in the School of Nursing
The School of Nursing has programs leading to two graduate degrees, the Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph.D.) and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). In addition, the School has a joint
MSN/MBA degree program with the McCombs School of Business. Both the Ph.D. and the
MSN programs have an Alternate Entry (AE) option for students without an undergraduate
degree in nursing. The School also offers two Post-Master’s Certificates. A complete program
listing may be viewed at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/academics/.
The Ph.D. program requires both doctoral coursework and the completion of a dissertation, an
original research study. This program prepares graduates for advanced positions in nursing
research, theory development, clinical practice, education, and administration. A curricular
pathway allows for a registered nurse holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to matriculate
directly into the doctoral program. These students complete 9 hours of master's level
coursework and then begin the Ph.D. curriculum.
The Alternate Entry Ph.D. program is designed for people who have no previous degrees in
nursing, who are interested in careers as nurse scientists, and who hold at least a bachelor’s
degree in a discipline other than nursing. The Alternate Entry Ph.D. student is eligible to take
the licensure examination to become a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN) in the state of Texas after
completing the foundation year (first fifteen months of the program). After attaining RN
licensure, the student is eligible to progress into the core courses of the program.
Ph.D. students who do not already have an MSN degree are able to pursue a master’s en route
to the Ph.D. if desired. Students are encouraged to discuss this option and its professional
outcomes at the very start of the program.
The MSN program offers several options for persons who hold a Bachelor of Science in
Nursing or a Registered Nurse license and a bachelor's degree in another discipline.
Concentration areas include:
• Adult Health – Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
• Adult Health
• Public Health
• Nursing Administration and Health Care Systems Management
• Child Health
• Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
• Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
• Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
• Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP)
Some of the concentration areas also include a role specialty in Public Health, Teaching, or
Of the concentration areas listed above, the following are advanced practice tracks:
• Adult Health – Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
• Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
• Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
• Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
• Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP)
Both the CNS and the NP tracks include the academic requirements for both national
certification and advanced practice designation in Texas.
Another option for students seeking licensure as a PNP, NNP, ACPNP or FNP is the Post-
Master’s Certificate program. This option is only open to students who already have an MSN.
Students in the Post-Master’s Certificate program will complete the didactic and clinical hours
necessary to take the national certification exam in their specialty area. They will not, however,
earn a second MSN degree.
The Alternate Entry MSN program is designed for persons who hold a bachelor's degree or
graduate degree in a non-nursing discipline. The Alternate Entry MSN student is eligible to take
the licensure examination to become a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN) in the state of Texas after
completing the foundation year (first fifteen months of the program). After attaining RN
licensure, the student is eligible to progress into the core and concentration courses of the
Concentration areas include:
• Adult Health – Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
• Adult Health
• Public Health
• Nursing Administration and Health Care Systems Management
• Child Health
Some of the concentration areas also include a role specialty in Public Health, Teaching, or
Of the concentration areas listed above, only Adult Health – Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is
an advanced practice track. The CNS concentration area includes the academic requirements
for both national certification and advanced practice designation in Texas.
The Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration is a joint degree
option for students who wish to pursue careers in high-level health care administration.
Objectives for the Master's Program
The graduate of the master's program in nursing is expected to:
1. Accept responsibility and accountability for practicing nursing at an advanced level in a
specific area of concentration.
2. Critically apply theoretical perspectives, research findings, and evidence-based
knowledge to professional nursing practice and health care situations.
3. Investigate problems encountered in nursing practice to promote the delivery of high-
quality health care.
4. Propose courses of action related to social, ethical, legal, economic, and policy issues
that contribute to the delivery of quality health care to the community with emphasis on
5. Practice advanced nursing according to professional and ethical standards.
Objectives for the DoctoralProgram
The graduate of the doctoral program in nursing is expected to:
1. Develop, test, or refine theories for nursing and healthcare.
2. Conduct research to advance knowledge and practice in nursing and healthcare.
3. Participate as a scholar in discussion of theoretical, ethical, and practice aspects of
nursing and healthcare.
4. Accept responsibility and accountability for disseminating knowledge.
5. Implement courses of action based on scholarly inquiry, related to social, legal, ethical,
economic, and policy issues that result in the delivery of quality healthcare to
6. Provide leadership designed to advance nursing and healthcare.
Master’s Thesis Option
A thesis is not required for the MSN degree, but all students have the option to complete a
thesis if desired. The thesis is appropriate for students who ultimately desire a career in
research. MSN students choosing the thesis option should anticipate that their programs are
typically lengthened by an average of one semester. The student electing this option is
encouraged to discuss ideas for a proposal with a potential Supervising Professor early in his or
her program. The Supervising Committee is typically made up of two persons: a Supervising
Professor and a committee member (reader). The Supervising Professor (i.e., Committee Chair)
must be a member of the Nursing Graduate Studies Committee (GSC).
Students choosing the thesis option must register for N 698A (Research and Data Collection)
and N 698B (Writing). N 698A must precede N 698B and may only be taken once. The student
must register for N 698B in the semester in which he or she intends to graduate. The Office of
Graduate Studies will not accept a thesis before the semester in which the student applies for
While the thesis process varies with Supervising Committees and topics, typically the student
works most closely with the Supervising Professor to develop a proposal, conduct research, and
write the report, proceeding only upon explicit approval. Other committee member(s) read and
approve the proposal and final report and may be called upon for advice regarding the research.
At the discretion of the Committee, formal meetings may be held to approve the proposal and
final report, as well as to discuss other aspects of the research. Prior to conducting any
research involving human subjects, formal approval must be sought from the Departmental
Review Committee. Information on this process, which may take from one week to one month or
more, is available in the Cain Center for Nursing Research
A booklet describing thesis requirements, entitled Format for the Master's Thesis and Report, is
available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/pdf/format_guidelines-m.pdf.
If a change in the membership of the Supervising Committee becomes necessary, a student must
submit a Petition for Change in Master's Supervising Committee form
(http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/pdf/mastcommchange.pdf) at least two weeks before the thesis
deadline specified in the Course Schedule (http://registrar.utexas.edu/schedules/). The form
should be submitted to the Graduate Student Affairs office so the Graduate Advisor may sign
before the student delivers it to the Office of Graduate Studies.
Portfolio Programs at UT-Austin
Portfolio programs are opportunities for students to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary
academic area of inquiry while they are completing the requirements for a master's or doctor's
degree in a particular discipline. A portfolio program usually consists of four thematically related
graduate courses and a research presentation; for master's portfolio programs, a practical
experience related to the portfolio program may replace the presentation. For a complete listing
of portfolio programs available at UT, visit http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/docport/.
UT students conduct much of their business with the University through a web-based system
called UT Direct. UT Direct is a customizable university portal that provides personalized
information based your EID. Students access UT Direct to register for courses, pay tuition,
view academic records, access grades, and more. The site may be accessed at
https://utdirect.utexas.edu/ with your UT EID and password (same EID and password used
during the application process). You may also wish to use the Do It Online page
(http://www.utexas.edu/student/online.html) to access the various features of UT Direct. For IT
support, contact the ITS Held Desk. The Help Desk provides support via phone, chat, and
email. Contact information is available at http://www.utexas.edu/its/helpdesk/contact.php.
Official Communication and Personal Information
Electronic Mail (email), like postal mail, is a mechanism for official university communication to
students. The University will exercise the right to send email communications to all students,
and the University will expect that email will be received and read in a timely manner. Every
student must provide the University with his or her official email address using the online update
form in UT Direct (https://utdirect.utexas.edu/). Graduate students in the School of Nursing
must also provide an official email address to the Graduate Student Affairs office. The student’s
official email address is the destination to which the University and the School will send official
SchoolEvents and Information
The School of Nursing posts items of interest to students on its homepage, located at
http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/. Students should be sure to access the site often to stay
informed about happenings in the School. Items of interest include dissertation defenses,
speakers, seminars, job postings, volunteer opportunities, scholarship information, and more.
All graduate students have mail folders in the Graduate Student Lounge on the 3rd
are used primarily for instructors to return papers.
Name and ContactInformation Changes/Restricting Accessto
Students are responsible for updating both the University and the Graduate Student Affairs
office with changes to personal information.
Any change to personal information other than a name change may be updated through UT
Direct (https://utdirect.utexas.edu/). Please note that updating your information with UT Direct
will only change your information for web-based systems at the University. You must inform the
Graduate Student Affairs office separately so that we may update our database with your new
information as well. A phone call or email is sufficient to update your contact information with
Graduate Student Affairs.
Students who have a name change must provide legal documentation of the name change to
the Registrar's Office, located in MAI 1 (http://www.utexas.edu/maps/main/buildings/mai.html).
Students should also inform the Graduate Student Affairs office about the name change via
phone or email. Documentation of the name change is not required by Graduate Student
Please be aware that personal information (such as home address, birthdate, and telephone
number) is public information UNLESS you restrict access to it. To restrict public access to your
personal information that is on file with the University, visit
Personal Identification Cards
OfficialUT ID Card
All students must obtain a high assurance UT ID card. The ID center is located on the first floor
of the Flawn Academic Center (http://www.utexas.edu/maps/main/buildings/fac.html). Visit the
UT ID Center website at http://www.utexas.edu/its/idcenter/ for office hours and additional
Schoolof Nursing ID Card
You should have your picture taken for your School of Nursing ID card after orientation. Once
the ID card has been produced, it will be placed in your mail folder in the 3rd floor Graduate
Student Lounge. If at some point you need a replacement ID, please sign up for a reprint in the
Media Center (NUR 5.196).
Each graduate student in the School of Nursing is assigned an academic advisor in his or her
concentration area. In addition, all students have access to the Graduate Advisor in the
Graduate Student Affairs office. In general, the concentration area faculty advisor assists
students with planning coursework and developing career goals. The Graduate Advisor in the
Graduate Student Affairs office assists students with issues related to administrative policies
To ensure appropriate selection of courses and timely progression through program
requirements, all nursing students, with the exception of doctoral students in candidacy, are
required to meet with a content area faculty advisor before registration each semester. Another
key function of these advising sessions is the discussion of career goals. Students are advised
about registration once each long semester (twice per academic year). Students are not
required to make separate advising appointments in order to be cleared for summer registration
because summer courses are planned along with fall courses. The School bars registration
until a student provides evidence of faculty advising. Advising for continuing students occurs
during specified periods of time. The Graduate Student Affairs office emails advising
information to all students prior to each advising period.
Advising is required twice per academic year, but students are free to seek guidance from
advisors at other times as necessary. If you wish to meet with your content area faculty advisor,
you should set up an appointment via email. A complete listing of faculty email addresses is
available at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/faculty/. If you wish to make an appointment
with the Graduate Advisor in Graduate Student Affairs, you should contact the Graduate
Program Coordinator to set up an appointment during office hours.
IndividualProgram of Work
All students have a paper Program of Work (degree audit) on file in the Graduate Student
Affairs office. This document lists all required courses for your degree and all courses you have
taken to fulfill those requirements. You may access your web-based Program of Work through
UT Direct at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/ogs/gdp/.
Part of the advising process for doctoral students involves the submission of an Annual
Portfolio. This must be submitted once per year by all doctoral students except those in the first
year of the program and those in candidacy. The Annual Portfolio documents all of a student’s
scholarly activities, including coursework, service, research, publications, and professional
Integrated Scholarly Portfolio Option for DoctoralStudents
The Integrated Scholarly Portfolio is an option for all doctoral students. An Integrated Scholarly
Portfolio provides students with a framework for beginning their research careers and also
provides for additional recognition upon completion of the Ph.D. At the completion of the
doctoral program, students are recognized for their accomplishments in an elected area of
expertise. This expertise is evident in their ability to conduct research, to communicate
information to a variety of audiences, and to provide service to the profession and community.
The interrelationship among these manifestations of expertise is inherent when research results
are communicated in manuscripts and in oral presentations that have been reviewed by peers,
mentors, and referees. These requirements are not the sole responsibility of the student or of
the advisor, but are a combined effort of all those involved in the doctoral program. The
Integrated Scholarly Portfolio is separated into nine items.
Items 1-5 are reviewed at the time of admission to candidacy (reviewed by the DQE committee
with a report to GAPC).
1. Curriculum Vitae.
2. Demonstrated Research Experience. This work must involve enrollment in a nursing
research practicum in conjunction with an ongoing research project.
3. Presentations (poster or paper) at Research Conferences (minimum of 2).
Numerous local, regional, and national opportunities exist to achieve this component.
4. Service to School and Profession. This aspect may include serving as an officer or
actively participating in the Association of Nurses in Graduate School (ANGS) and its
mentoring programs, and/or Sigma Theta Tau and its research mission.
5. Manuscripts in Review (minimum of 2), at least one of which is data based. These
manuscripts may be single- or-multiple-authored, collaborative works that emanate from
ongoing research undertaken as part of a course requirement, from work as a research
assistant, or as an individual effort.
Items 6-9 are reviewed from a revised C.V. at the time of application to defend the dissertation
(reviewed by the Dissertation Committee with a report to the GSC chair).
6. Revised CurriculumVitae
7. Submission of Research Grant Application for Dissertation Support. Examples of
funding sources to which students apply include the National Institutes of Health (e.g.,
National Research Service Award), private foundations, Sigma Theta Tau, American
Nurses' Foundation, American Association of University Women, and other public and
private sources related to professional specialty organizations.
8. A Draft Manuscript based on the Dissertation Research. This manuscript is to be
submitted to the dissertation committee at the time of defense.
9. Paper or Poster Abstract (dissertation) in Review for a Scientific Conference (such
as local, regional or national meetings).
Advising Procedure for Clearing Registration Bars
1. Pick up your Program of Work in the Graduate Student Affairs office.
2. Make an appointment to see your faculty content area advisor. Most faculty advisors
post sign-up sheets on their office doors for this purpose.
3. When you meet with your advisor, you should plan your course schedule for the next
semester(s). In subsequent semesters, verify the Program of Work, alter it as
necessary, and confirm courses for the following semester. Your advisor must sign and
date your Program of Work for each semester of advising.
4. Return the signed Program of Work to the Graduate Student Affairs office.
5. Upon receipt of your signed Program of Work, your advising bar will be lifted. You may
then register for courses during your assigned period.
Registration occurs each semester via UT’s web-based registration system, which may be
accessed at http://registrar.utexas.edu/students/registration/. There are specific times, called
access periods, when different students have access to the system.
Nursing students are encouraged to visit the School of Nursing website to view the latest
version of the course schedule. The School of Nursing schedule is usually updated more
quickly than the schedule posted by the Registrar. You may view the School of Nursing course
schedule at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/current/academics_course.html. Every course
on the schedule has an identification number called a unique number. This is the number
students use to register for the course.
PRIOR to the start of registration, you should view your Registration Information Sheet (RIS),
located at http://registrar.utexas.edu/students/registration/before/ris/. The RIS states your
access period for registration, and it lists any bars which will prevent you for being allowed to
register. Any bar on your registration must be cleared with the office that placed the bar. Be
sure to resolve all bars prior to the start of registration to ensure that you are able to register on
time and enroll in the courses you need. If you need help determining how to resolve bars at
various University offices, please contact the Graduate Student Affairs office or view the
information at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/current/academics_advising.html#problems.
If you must register after the deadline, please view the instructions at
http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/current/academics_advising.html#lategrad. Students are
urged to register on time to avoid late fees and to gain access to desired courses.
Graduate courses must have a minimum enrollment of five students; courses with fewer than
five enrollees will be canceled. Since cancellation decisions are frequently made after the first
access periods for all students have passed, it is wise to register at the first possible opportunity
or a course in which you wish to register may be canceled.
Courses also have a maximum number of students that can be accommodated. If a course you
wish to take is full, you may petition the instructor via email and ask to be given a place in the
class. If an instructor grants permission for you to register, you should seek help in the
Graduate Student Affairs office so you may be added to the course. Please keep in mind that it
is often not possible to accommodate such requests because the student/instructor ratio is
closely monitored, particularly in clinical courses.
Certain courses are restricted to student registration. These courses may include:
• Upper-division undergraduate nursing electives
• Independent Study courses
• Practicum courses
• Dissertation hours
• Courses restricted at the request of the instructor
If you need assistance registering for a restricted course, please contact the Graduate Student
Affairs office. If you know that the restricted course is an upper-division undergraduate nursing
elective, you may go directly to the Student Affairs office (NUR 2.104A).
This option provides an opportunity for the study of topics not available in scheduled courses. (It
is not intended as a substitute for enrolling in regularly scheduled core or concentration
courses.) Independent Study requires the agreement of a participating faculty member. Before
registering for the course, the student and faculty member must agree upon conditions for the
course (i.e., objectives, strategies, and criteria for evaluation). Enter the information on an
Independent Study form (available in the wall rack outside the Graduate Student Affairs office),
secure the faculty member's signature, and submit the form to the Graduate Student Affairs
office prior to registration.
Droppingand Adding Courses
Students may drop and add courses online at http://registrar.utexas.edu/students/registration/
until the web-based registration system is closed. After the system is closed, requests to drop
or add courses must be made through the Graduate Student Affairs office. Through the 12th
class day of a long semester or the 4th
class day of a summer term, you may drop a course with
a partial refund. From the 13th
through the 20th
class day of a long semester, or the 5th
class day of a summer term, you may drop a course with no refund and receive the
symbol Q on your transcript. After the 20th
class day of a long semester of the 10th
class day of
a summer term, you may only drop a course with the approval of your instructor. It is up to the
instructor to determine whether the symbol Q or the grade F will be recorded. Students should
keep in mind that dropping courses may impact financial aid, student employment, and student
visa status. If you are unsure about dropping a course, check with the Graduate Student Affairs
office prior to doing so.
Auditing a Course
Permission to audit a course entitles a student to attend class but not to hand in papers, take
part in discussion, or receive evaluations. An auditor does not receive University credit for the
course. If you wish to audit a course, you should obtain a Class Auditor Permit
secure the consent of the course instructor. The Class Auditor Permit must then be routed to
the Office of Graduate Studies for signature and finally to the Office of the Registrar.
Withdrawal and Leave of Absence
If you must drop all of your courses due to an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances,
you must complete at Withdrawal Petition and Refund Request Form (available in the Graduate
Student Affairs office). Prior to withdrawing, you must meet with the Graduate Advisor to
discuss your situation. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to make an
appointment with the Graduate Advisor. Students who withdraw will receive the symbol W
instead of a grade in all courses that were in progress for the semester. Further information
about withdrawal policies and procedures is available at
Students seeking a Leave of Absence (LOA) must meet with the Graduate Advisor to discuss
the circumstances surrounding the leave. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to
make an appointment with the Graduate Advisor. Requests for leave are approved on an
individual basis and may be granted for a period up to one year. Further information about
Leave of Absence policies and procedures is available at
In order to re-enroll as a graduate student after a withdrawal or Leave of Absence, you must
apply for readmission at
http://www.utexas.edu/student/admissions/gradreadmit/howtoapply.html, unless you are absent
only for a summer session.
Complete information on tuition payment schedules and options is available at
http://www.utexas.edu/business/accounting/sar/tuition_fees.html. Failure to pay tuition on time
will result in termination of registration. Students who have financial aid that covers all or part of
their tuition must authorize that money to be used for payment via the web-based system (even
if financial aid covers the entire amount and a student owes a zero balance). Students may
check tuition and fee rates at http://www.utexas.edu/business/accounting/sar/t_f_rates.html.
You may view your personal tuition bill, including other fees (library fines, parking tickets, etc.)
that you may owe, at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/acct/fb/my_tuition/my_tuition_home.WBX.
The grading scale and policies for each course are stated in its syllabus. Students are
responsible for adhering to all of the stated policies in nursing syllabi.
A maximum of 20% of the hours on a student's Program of Work may be taken on a Credit/No
Credit basis. This option is selected at registration; however, changes in grade status may be
made until mid-semester (check the Course Schedule at http://registrar.utexas.edu/schedules/
for deadlines each semester). Changes in grade status are made via the web-based registration
system (http://registrar.utexas.edu/students/registration/) until it is closed. After the system is
closed, requests to change the grade status of a course must be made through the Graduate
Student Affairs office. A grade of CR (Credit) will be earned if a minimum of C level work is
completed in the course. Course requirements and evaluation thereof are the same as for letter
grade status. CR and NC (No Credit) grades are not computed in the grade point average. The
symbol Z on a student’s schedule or transcript indicates that a course in progress is being taken
on a Credit/No Credit basis. The following may be taken as Credit/No Credit courses:
• Supporting courses
• N 396C Advanced Pathophysiology
• Dissertation hours
• Focused study courses
CourseworkOutside of Nursing
All graduate students in nursing are required to have six credit hours outside of the nursing
department on the Program of Work. Each student’s Program of Work contains instructions
which denote which courses should be out of department. Students who take either N 395C
Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics or N 395D Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology and
Therapeutics should be aware that these courses count as out of department. A total of six
hours may count in a degree program through University Extension courses. UTEX courses
must be approved in advance by the Office of Graduate Studies; the PDF approval form can be
found at thttp://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/ (“Graduate Student Request for University Extension
A nursing course that is cross-listed with a course in another department may be used to fulfill
EITHER an in department requirement OR an out of department requirement. When a course is
cross-listed, nursing students should always register for the course with the course number
assigned to Nursing. Nursing courses have an “N” prefix.
Electives are part of the Program of Work for all MSN programs in the School of Nursing. The
Graduate Advisor may issue a waiver for a required elective if a student has previously taken a
course which meets the following requirements:
• Was not counted toward another degree
• Was upper-division (junior or senior level)
• Was completed with a grade of B or better
If you took an extra course in a previous program and wish to seek an elective waiver, you
should contact the institution that awarded your degree. An advisor in your departmental office
or in a central advising office should print a degree audit which shows that the course was not
counted toward your degree. If a degree audit is not available, the advisor may provide a letter
stating that the course was not used as part of your previous program. This documentation
should be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator for verification before it goes to the Graduate
Advisor’s desk for approval.
Other Course Waivers/TransferCredit
Requests to have a course (other than an elective) waived or to receive transfer credit are
handled on a case-by-case basis. These requests should be made in the Graduate Student
The Office of Graduate Studies stipulates that no more than six credit hours of coursework may
be transferred onto a student’s Program of Work. To be acceptable for transfer credit, a course
• Be graduate level
• Be acceptable as a substitute course on the student's degree plan
• Be no more than six years old at the time of graduation
• Have been completed with a grade of A or B
• Not have been used toward any other degree
• Not have been taken at a foreign college or university
Transferred coursework will not appear on the UT transcript and will not be counted in the GPA.
Students who are unable to complete all required coursework by the last class day are
occasionally given an X symbol (temporary incomplete) instead of a grade. Students are only
given an X due to serious circumstances, such as debilitating illness or a family emergency. In
the case of a temporary incomplete, the instructor and student must document a future due date
for the coursework. If the work is not completed by the agreed upon time, the X will revert to an
I (permanent incomplete). The I symbol will become part of the student’s record and will
necessitate that the course be retaken if it is required for the student’s Program of Work.
Nurse PractitionerCourse Progression
A student must earn a minimum of a B in all required Nurse Practitioner courses in order to
progress in the program. Please refer to the course syllabi for further detail.
All graduate students at UT-Austin must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in the graduate
Program of Work. Failure to maintain the required GPA will result in academic probation and
may ultimately result in dismissal from the University. Detailed information on academic
probation and dismissal policies may be accessed in the Catalog
(http://registrar.utexas.edu/catalogs/) at http://registrar.utexas.edu/catalogs/grad07-
Graduate students in the School of Nursing must choose a concentration area at the time of
application. Requests to change to a different concentration area are addressed on a case-by-
case basis if space is available if the desired area. The School attempts to accommodate these
requests whenever possible, but placement in a new concentration is not guaranteed. Students
who wish to change concentrations must submit a revised Statement of Purpose to the
Graduate Student Affairs office. Letters of recommendation and an interview may also be
required for students who apply to change concentrations.
Time Limits for Degree Programs
The Office of Graduate Studies stipulates that the requirements for a master’s degree be
completed within a six-year period. The course requirements for a doctoral degree must be
completed within a six-year period, after which the dissertation must be completed within a
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition (APA, 2001) is
the official guide for all written work in the School of Nursing. Thus, all papers for courses,
theses, and dissertations are expected to conform to the writing and format requirements
specified in the Manual, and faculty may refuse to accept non-conforming work. APA Manuals
are available for sale in all campus book stores; all students are encouraged to purchase one
during the first semester of enrollment and to use it throughout their programs.
Scholastic Dishonestyand ProfessionalIntegrity
Because the value of a university degree is dependent upon the absolute integrity of the work
done by each student in completion of his or her degree of study, the University has established
strict guidelines regarding academic dishonesty. Any student who violates these guidelines is
subject to disciplinary action, including failure of the course in question or dismissal from the
University. The School of Nursing underlines the harm done by dishonesty to the individual, to
all students, and to the University and therefore strictly enforces all policies regarding academic
dishonesty. Scholastic dishonesty is defined as any act that gives a student an unfair academic
advantage. It includes cheating, collusion, falsifying academic records, unauthorized
collaboration, the abuse of online resources, and multiple submissions. Further information on
is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/ethics/transcripts/academic.html.
Plagiarism, a particular concern, is the submission of another person's work as one’s own. Ideas
are considered intellectual property and, as such, cannot be used without giving credit to the
originator of the idea. Content taken from a published work must be either quoted or
paraphrased in a subsequent paper. In either case, proper credit must be assigned. To do
otherwise is dishonest and the individual is subject to disciplinary action. For assistance in
learning how to properly credit or paraphrase the work of others, please refer to the Publication
Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition (APA, 2001).
In addition to all the University statements and policies on academic dishonesty, the School of
Nursing recognizes the strong link between honesty in academic work and professional
integrity. Any act of academic dishonesty, including fabrication of reports or records of
interaction with clients, is considered incompatible with ethical standards of nursing practice.
Students who engage in scholastic dishonesty may be subject to dismissal and may
jeopardize their eligibilityfor licensure as a registered nurse.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Honor Code applies to all Nursing students:
The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom,
leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the University is
expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward
peers and community.
Additionally, the School of Nursing has its own Honor Code:
As a student in The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Nursing, I pledge myself to be
honest in all of my student activities including, but not limited to, all of my scholastic work and
interactions with patients, members of the community, faculty, and peers. Furthermore, I will not
use any substance prior to or during my interaction with patients that could alter my judgment or
ability to render safe care. This includes, but is not limited to, any use of alcohol, illegal drugs,
and prescription or over-the-counter drugs that may impair my mental and/or physical abilities
required to perform safe patient care. I will disclose to my instructor any violations of the above
standards of conduct.
Clock Hour to CreditHour Ratio
The ratio of clock hours to credit hours is 1:1 for graduate didactic (i.e., lecture and seminar)
courses. Therefore, graduate didactic courses typically meet for an average of one hour per
week per lecture or seminar credit hour over a fifteen-week semester (e.g., a 3-credit seminar
course meets 3 hours per week for 15 weeks for a total of 45 hours).
The ratio of clock hours to credit hours is 4:1 for graduate clinical courses. Thus, each graduate
clinical course requires an average of four hours per week of practicum per clinical credit over a
fifteen-week semester (e.g., 2 clinical credits in a course requires an average of 8 hours of
practicum per week for 15 weeks for a total of approximately 120 hours). Graduate courses vary
with regard to the number of clinical credits per course.
The general rule-of-thumb is that average students are expected to spend a minimum of three
to four hours of preparation for each hour spent in a didactic (i.e., lecture or seminar) graduate
class. For example, a student enrolled in a seminar class that meets 3 hours per week is
expected to spend 9-12 hours in preparation for each class. Preparation for practicum
experience varies widely but is generally assumed to be at a lesser ratio than classroom
preparation. Students who are having difficulty in a course or who have minimal background in
the content should, of course, plan to increase their preparation time beyond the minimum.
UT Course NumberingSystem
The first digit of the course number indicates the credit value of the course in semester hours.
For example, N 395 is a three credit hour course because the first digit is a 3. The last two
digits indicate the rank of the course; if they are 01 through 19, the course is of lower-division
rank; if 20 through 79, of upper-division rank; and if 80 through 99, of graduate rank.
The School of Nursing offers a study abroad program each summer in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The program offers students a unique opportunity to study Spanish for health care
professionals, observe patients and practice Spanish in clinical settings, explore and research
community resources for health, learn about Mexico’s system for health care, and examine
social and cultural health beliefs of Latinos. All graduate students in good academic standing
are eligible. Alternate entry students who wish to study abroad should plan to wait until the third
summer of the degree program to participate in order to stay on sequence in the foundation
year courses. Program details change somewhat from year to year, but further information on
the current program is available at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/docs/guadalajara_ssa08.pdf.
Students who are interested in an individualized study abroad program should contact the
Graduate Student Affairs office.
Other Policies and Program Information
Compliance refers to fulfillment of the health, CPR, liability insurance, and licensure
requirements that apply to nursing students in clinical courses. Complete information is
available at http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/current/compliance_students.html.
Ph.D. students planning to enroll in a clinical course and all MSN students must have evidence
on file showing that the following health, CPR, liability insurance, and licensure requirements
are current throughout the subsequent semester:
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccinations
• Hepatitis B vaccination (2nd shot by 1st
day of class, 3rd shot by beginning of 2nd
semester; titer required after 10 years)
• Tuberculosis skin test
• Tuberculosis screening form (required annually)
• Proof of immunity to varicella (chicken pox)
• CPR certification – Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers (AHA)
• Basic First Aid Certification (AHA or EMS) (Alternate Entry students only)
• Professional liability insurance (purchased each year through the School)
• Background check (except RNs who received initial licensure after 2003)
• Orientation training modules
• Scholastic Dishonesty & Professional Integrity and Honor Code forms
• Licensure as a registered nurse in Texas (except for AE students in foundation
Failure to have current documentation on file will cause your registration to be canceled. Check
with the Student Affairs office (NUR 2.104A) for pre-semester deadlines for the submission of
Medicationsand Calculations Test
As a prerequisite to medication administration in clinical nursing courses, students are required
to pass a medications and calculations test with a grade of at least 90. Calculators may not be
used for any medication examination.
Declaratory Orderfor Alternate Entry Students
The Texas Board of Nursing has identified certain circumstances that may render a potential
candidate ineligible for licensure as a registered nurse in the State of Texas. The Board
provides individuals the opportunity to petition the Board for a Declaratory Order as to their
eligibility in accordance with Article 301.257 of the Nursing Practice Act.
If a student is required to answer YES to any of the questions below, he or she must fill out a
Declaratory Order Petition and return it to the Texas Board of Nursing. Depending on the
student’s circumstance, processing the petition may take six to twelve months, or longer, after
the student provides all required documentation. Once all requested documents have been
received, the student will be notified that the petition has been transferred to the Enforcement
Department for review.
If you answer YES to any of the following questions, you will need to file a request for a
1. Have you ever been denied licensure by any licensing/certifying authority in any country,
state, or province?
2. Have you ever had disciplinary action taken against you by any licensing/certifying
authority in any country, state, or province?
3. Have you ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation?
4. Have you been diagnosed with or treated or hospitalized in the past five (5) years for
schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality
disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder? (You may
answer NO if you have completed and/or are in compliance with TPAPN for mental
5. Have you been addicted to or treated for the use of alcohol or any other drug within the
past five (5) years? (You may answer NO if you have completed and/or are in
compliance with TPAPN for substance abuse.)
6. Have you ever been issued any order concerning your eligibility for examination or
licensure by this Board or have you ever received a proposal of ineligibility?
Some hospitals require criminal checks before permitting students to have clinical practice at
their institutions. Therefore, to ensure access to all required clinical courses and to avoid delay
or denial of licensure following the time and expense of completing a nursing education
program, or possible disciplinary action and criminal prosecution for later discovery of falsified
records, persons who answer YES to any of the above questions are strongly urged to
immediately apply for a determination of eligibility for licensure. A Declaratory Order takes a
minimum of six to nine months, so the request should be made promptly. The Declaratory Order
Petition form may be accessed at http://www.bon.state.tx.us/olv/pdfs/DOapp.pdf.
NCLEX-RN LicensureExaminationfor Alternate EntryStudents
The practice of nursing is controlled by state law. In the interest of public safety, state licensure
is required to be employed as a professional nurse and to use the designation Registered Nurse
or RN. One of the criteria for licensure is successful completion of the National Council
Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Eligibility for taking the licensure
exam is determined by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Students in the Alternate Entry
program take the NCLEX-RN after completing fifteen months of coursework (the foundation
year). Further information about the NCLEX-RN is available at
Students and faculty in the School of Nursing each have responsibility for maintaining an
appropriate learning environment. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students
with understanding, dignity, and respect and to guide the teaching/learning process. Students
are expected to refrain from behaviors in the classroom and clinical that may distracting to
others, such as, but not limited to, arriving late or leaving early, side conversations, offensive
language, text messaging, note passing, using laptops for non-academic purposes during class,
and answering cell phones or pagers. Students who persistently engage in such behaviors that
are disruptive to the teaching/learning process may be required to leave the setting.
Sex Discriminationand SexualHarassmentPolicy
It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin to provide an educational and working
environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sex discrimination and sexual
harassment. In accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits discrimination on
the basis of sex, including sexual harassment. Sex discrimination and sexual harassment will
not be tolerated, and individuals who engage in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary
action. Students are encouraged to report any instances of sexual harassment to the Office of
the Dean of Students. Contact information is available at
The faculty of the School of Nursing understand that professional nursing students face a great
deal of stress in their new roles. This stress may place them at additional risk for abusing drugs
and developing chemical dependency during their student experiences. Such abuse and/or
dependency is a major concern to University administrators, faculty, and the public. Nursing
faculty are responsible for assuring the safety of patients whose care is assigned to nursing
students. Moreover, the faculty are in a unique position to recognize early signs of abuse and
dependence and to refer the student to appropriate resources for assistance.
Nursing students are expected to comply with regulations of the health care facilities in which
they receive supervised clinical training from the faculty of the School of Nursing. They are
expected to report to class and clinical experiences in a drug-free, unimpaired state. If a
student’s behavior suggests possible abuse of any substance, whether prescribed or not, the
student will be removed immediately from the clinical site by the faculty member. The student
will be expected to provide documentation of assessment and successful treatment as
appropriate prior to being readmitted to clinical practice. Both the nursing faculty and the School
are required to report students impaired by chemical dependency to the Texas Board of
Students are encouraged to seek assistance for substance abuse from the UT Counseling and
Mental Health Center. Information is available at http://www.utexas.edu/student/cmhc/.
Attendance Policyin Skills and Clinical Courses
Students are expected to attend all clinical sessions. This includes classes in the Simulation
Lab and Clinical Practicum lab days in various clinical agencies and community settings. Failure
to appear for scheduled clinical sessions and tardiness are viewed as unprofessional behavior.
Students may be dropped from a course or may receive a failing grade for patterns of absences
or tardiness. Please consult the course syllabus for the specific attendance policy for each
If a student finds it impossible to be present for a clinical session, arrangements must be made
with the instructor AND the clinical agency in advance and may result in a reduction of one letter
grade from the final course grade.
If the University must be closed due to an emergency (such as inclement weather),
complete information will be posted at http://www.utexas.edu/emergency/.
Students wear white uniform tops with burnt orange piping on the collar, the longhorn logo on
the front, and the School of Nursing patch above the left pocket. The pants are burnt orange
scrub bottoms with an elasticized waist. UT uniforms are available at Co-op East. Students may
purchase personal equipment (e.g., stethoscope, bandage scissors, etc.) at the Co-op as well.
Hours and location information for the University Co-op may be accessed at
Students should adhere to the following uniform regulations:
• T-shirts or undershirts worn under the uniform must be plain white. Long sleeves for
cooler winter months are acceptable provided that they can be pushed up out of the way
during certain procedures and gloving.
• Public Health and Psychiatric settings usually do not require the standard uniform, so
professional street clothes are suggested. Students should consult professors in those
courses for specific requirements.
• Lab coats must have the School of Nursing patch sewn on the upper right side, and
visible photo ID is always required. Patches may be purchased at Co-Op East
• A lab coat may be worn instead of the uniform in some situations. A three-quarter length
or full-length lab coat is required with the School of Nursing patch. When a lab coat is
worn, appropriate professional clothing should be worn underneath. Shorts, low cut tops,
shirts with slogans, and jeans are NOT considered appropriate. In all clinical settings,
students must project a professional image and clearly be identified as a University of
Texas student nurse.
• Shoes must be all white (white leather athletic shoes are okay as long as they are clean
and all white). Heels of shoes are not to exceed two inches in height. Socks must be
white. Hose must be worn if wearing a dress or skirt and support hosiery is
recommended. Clogs and cloth/canvas shoes are unacceptable.
• Hair must be worn above the collar at all times when in uniform. If hair is long, it must
be tied back securely or put up in a manner that prevents it from falling below the collar,
dragging over open wounds, or getting in the way of sterile fields. Hair must be a natural
color (i.e., a shade of black, brown, red, gray, or blonde).
• Nails must be short enough to allow for deep palpation of the abdomen without leaving
fingernail marks in a client’s skin. Artificial nails and nail polish are not permitted in clinical
• Jewelry must be kept to a minimum. A watch with a second hand is necessary. Limit
rings to one with no large stones. Remember that hands will be going into gloves, sliding
under mattresses and giving care. Small stud-type or small hoop earrings are acceptable
in clinical. Large or dangling earrings may get in the way and often attract small children
and disoriented clients to catch hold and pull them through the earlobe.
• Body piercings, other than earlobe, must not be visible while in clinical settings.
• Tattoos must not be visible as they detract from a professional image.
• No perfume, cologne, or heavily scented lotions or hair spray may be used.
Any error related to patient care must be reported to clinical faculty, and the student involved
must complete a report detailing all aspects of the incident. In addition, a hospital incident
report must be completed. Severity of errors is analyzed by faculty and School of Nursing
administrators to determine a student’s progression in the course and in the program. Safety is
a critical element on all clinical evaluation tools.
Use of PersonalVehicles
Because clinical experiences are held throughout the Austin area, it is important for each
student to have his or her own transportation during the professional sequence semesters.
However, students are not permitted to transport clients or family members of clients in their
own or other vehicles at any time. Malpractice liability insurance does not provide coverage
should an accident occur while transporting a client. Students are encouraged to assist clients
with making transportation arrangements with family, friends, neighbors, volunteer agencies, or
public transportation resources.
To protect students and patients, students in all clinical courses are asked, not required, to
report any infectious diseases they are carrying at the time of clinical placement to supervising
faculty and the clinical agency. Students should not attend clinical experiences if they are febrile
or carrying any possibly communicable disease.
Guidelines for NursingStudents Following a ContaminatedNeedle
Stick or HazardousExposure to Blood or Blood Products While in
Clinical Learning Experiences
Students who have been exposed to needle sticks or to potentially infectious blood or blood
products should be evaluated and have treatment initiated within two hours according to
established criteria that conform to federal and state law, Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
standards, and University procedures.
Upon receiving a contaminated needle stick or exposure to hazardous blood or blood products,
the student will:
1. Report the incident to the clinical faculty member and the appropriate person in the
2. Have the wound inspected, cleansed, and dressed.
3. Complete the appropriate institutional incident report.
4. Seek treatment intervention from The University of Texas at Austin’s Health Services
Center or from a private health care provider within 2 hours of the exposure incident.
(Students seeking treatment should call ahead to their health care provider; if a student
chooses to be treated at the UT Austin Health Services Center, he or she should first
call the Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877 to arrange an appointment within the two
hour time frame.)
A graduate student has the right to seek redress of any grievance related to his or her academic
affairs. Every effort should be made to resolve grievances informally between the student and
the faculty member most directly involved; or, such efforts failing, by the Graduate Advisor, the
Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) Chair, the Division Chair, and/or the Dean of the School of
When serious issues cannot be resolved informally, the graduate student has recourse to formal
grievance procedures as outlined below. The precise procedure to be followed in adjudicating a
given grievance will depend on the particular circumstances surrounding the case. A student
may express a grievance with the assurance of timely and thorough consideration and freedom
from reprisal for the filing of grievance. All complaints must be in writing and initiated within six
months of the acquisition of knowledge of the grievance.
For grievances dealing with grade disputes that cannot be resolved informally, the student
should submit the grievance, in writing, to the Division Chair with a copy to the Graduate
Grievances dealing with dismissal from a graduate program that cannot be resolved informally
should be addressed to the GSC Chair with a copy to the Graduate Advisor. If the issue cannot
be resolved by the GSC Chair, he or she may convene an ad hoc panel of GSC members to
review the complaint and report to the GSC for disposition.
If the resolution is not satisfactory to the persons involved, an appeal may be submitted, in
writing, to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean may appoint an ad hoc committee to
review the grievance before rendering a decision. The decision of the Graduate School Dean
may be appealed in writing to the University President, who represents the final level of
Non-academic grievances that are not resolved informally should be submitted, in writing, to the
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Nursing. Appeals, in writing, may be directed
to the UT Vice President for Student Affairs and then to the University President for final
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Federal Grants and Loans
The Office of Student Financial Services offers various forms of financial assistance to students
who need help to attend The University of Texas at Austin. Aid awarded through this office falls
into two categories: 1) gift aid, which includes grants and scholarships, and 2) self-help aid, in
the form of long-term loans. Most financial aid awarded through the Office of Student Financial
Services is awarded as a loan based solely on documented financial need. To apply for financial
aid, a student must submit both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),
available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/, and The University of Texas at Austin Application for
Scholarships for Continuing/Transfer Students
(http://www.texasscholarships.org/apply/continuing/CSA.html). Students who have child care
expenses should inquire about receiving additional aid. For help with federal grants and loans,
students should contact the Office of Student Financial Services. Students who wish to be
considered for gift aid (in addition to self-help aid/loans) must apply by the priority deadline each
year. Further information is available at http://finaid.utexas.edu/index.html. To check the status
of your financial aid, visit the following link: https://utdirect.utexas.edu/faweb/cash/.
Schoolof Nursing Scholarships
The School of Nursing awards a limited number of scholarships each year to both graduate and
undergraduate nursing students, including international students. Although most scholarship
awards are based upon both demonstrated financial need and merit, some scholarships are
awarded on the basis of outstanding accomplishment and/or an interest in a specific area of
nursing. Application information is available at
Graduate School Fellowships
Each year, the Graduate Advisor in Nursing may nominate up to three students for the
university-wide competition for Graduate School Continuing Fellowships. The major criterion for
selection is outstanding accomplishment since entering Graduate School (e.g., research,
publications, public service). Both master's and doctoral students, including international
students, are eligible to compete, although preference is given to students who have been
admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Further information and the application are
available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/funding/fellowships/continuing.html. The Office of
Graduate Studies also awards Recruitment Fellowships, but students need not apply separately
for them. Applying for admission to the School of Nursing automatically puts students in the
pool for Recruitment Fellowships.
AdvancedEducation Nurse Traineeships(AENT)
The School of Nursing applies for and distributes the Advanced Education Nurse Traineeship
(AENT) grant annually. The amount of the monthly student stipend depends upon the amount of
the grant award and the number of qualified applicants. RNs enrolled full-time in graduate
programs may qualify if other eligibility requirements are met. Part-time students may qualify for
support only if they are in the last twelve months of study. International students are not
eligible. Alternate Entry students are not eligible for AENT funding until they attain RN licensure
after the foundation year (first fifteen months of the program). AENT support is limited to a total
of 36 months at all graduate institutions. Further information and the application are available at
The NursingFaculty Loan Program (NFLP)
The Nursing Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is funded by the Health Resources and
Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Professions. This program allows
nursing schools to provide financial loans to students enrolled full-time in advanced
degree nursing programs if they intend to teach in a nursing program after graduation.
Please visit http://www.utexas.edu/business/accounting/nflp/ to learn more about the
program and to submit an application.
Scholarshipsfor Disadvantaged Students (SDS)
The School of Nursing was awarded federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students. Full-time students
who are in good standing and who demonstrate financial need by submitting a Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/) are eligible.
International students are not eligible for SDS. Applicants must be from a
disadvantaged educational background (e.g., first person or first generation in your
family to attend college; lack family support; graduated from a high school or from a
geographic area where college education is not common), OR from a disadvantaged
financial background (i.e., from a family with an annual income below the federally-
defined threshold for the family size). In addition to the FAFSA, applicants should
submit a Financial and Educational Background form
(http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/docs/sds_form.pdf) and submit it to the Student Affairs office
Professional Development Awards are small grants (usually under $500) made to graduate
students to help with transportation costs to professional meetings where they will present
papers based on their own research. The money comes from allocations made by the Office of
Graduate Studies to each department. Professional Development Awards are distributed once
each semester (fall, spring, and summer). The Graduate Student Affairs office emails students
with Professional Development Award application deadlines each semester. Students may not
receive more than one Professional Development Award per academic year. The application is
available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/pdf/prof_dev.pdf.
AdditionalFinancial Aid Resources
School of Nursing Website
Financial Aid Search Tools
Exemptions and Waivers
Short-term Emergency Loans
Applications for student positions in the School of Nursing are distributed to all graduate
students via email prior to each semester. Available positions may include Teaching Assistant,
Skills Lab Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, Medications Assistant (open only
to licensed RNs), and Assistant Instructor (open only to Ph.D. students who hold an MSN and
meet certain other requirements). Alternate Entry students are not eligible for student
employment during the first summer of the program.
Students who work a total of ten hours per week in a long semester receive some tuition
assistance. Students who work a total of twenty hours per week receive additional tuition
assistance and employee benefits, including health insurance. Since positions within the
School of Nursing are limited, students who wish to work are encouraged to seek positions in
other University departments as well. Hours in different departments may be combined to
receive the benefits mentioned above. More detailed information about student employment,
tuition assistance, and employee benefits is available at
Additional Information for Ph.D. Students
All Ph.D. students must successfully complete a Doctoral Qualifying Exam (DQE) as part of the
eligibility requirements for entering candidacy. The purpose of the DQE is to determine the
adequacy of the student's background in the general scholarly areas of nursing and in the area
of the student's proposed dissertation research. Students should complete all core and
substantive concentration courses before attempting the DQE (typically toward the end of the
second year of full-time doctoral study or its equivalent).
The DQE is an individualized exam including both written and oral components. DQE policies,
procedures, and forms may be accessed at
http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/current/academics_doctoral.html. The student must submit
an Intent to Take the Doctoral Qualifying Examination form, with specified documentation and
signatures, a minimum of one month before the DQE semester begins. After approval, the
student must also submit an Independent Study form signed by the DQE Exam Chair and
register for independent study on a Credit/No Credit basis. All paperwork for the DQE should
be submitted to the Graduate Student Affairs office.
After successfully passing the DQE, a student may apply for doctoral candidacy. The on-line
candidacy application is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/candidacy.html.
Five members typically make up the Supervising Committee for a dissertation, at least three of
whom must be UT Nursing Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) members, and one of whom
must be from outside the UT Nursing GSC. A non-UT or non-GSC scholar may serve as a
Committee member if the person has expertise pertinent to the research. If a non-UT faculty
member serves on the Committee, a copy of the person's C.V. and a letter indicating willingness
to serve at no expense to the University must accompany the completed application. A
template is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/pdf/no_cost_letter.pdf.
Students should identify the expertise needed to guide them in their proposed research and
match the needs with backgrounds of persons being considered for the Committee. Once a
Supervising Professor (i.e., Committee Chair) is selected and agrees to serve, this individual
can usually guide the student in the selection of other potential Committee members. When
asking prospective committee members to serve on a dissertation committee, it is helpful to
provide them with a one-to-two page preliminary description of the proposed research intent. All
candidacy paperwork should be submitted to the Graduate Student Affairs office.
The application is independently reviewed for accuracy by the GSC Chair and the Graduate
Advisor. If the abstract, proposed committee, and/or coursework are not approved, feedback will
be provided to the student for revisions. After approval in the School of Nursing, the student is
notified to submit the on-line candidacy application for final approval by the Graduate Dean. The
student will receive email notification of advancement to candidacy directly from the Office of
Graduate Studies. Because the candidacy approval process involves a number of people, it
normally takes approximately two to four weeks once the application is submitted to the
Graduate Student Affairs office before it is ready for delivery to the Office of Graduate Studies;
approximately two to five days are required for processing in the Office of Graduate Studies.
A student may not register for dissertation hours until officially admitted to candidacy. In some
cases, a doctoral student may register for Independent Study courses as placeholders for future
dissertation hours. Once the application for candidacy is approved, the independent study
courses will be dropped and the dissertation hours will be added in their place. Students should
seek help with adding and dropping placeholder classes in the Graduate Student Affairs office.
Unless granted a Leave of Absence, doctoral candidates must continuously register for
dissertation hours in long semesters until they graduate. Summers are excluded from
mandatory registration; however, no faculty guidance may be provided if a student is not
registered; if students want faculty guidance in the summer, they must register for N 399R or
399W. Nursing students must register for a minimum of six credits of dissertation during each
long semester. Students should register for N 699R during the first semester; N 699W is taken
during each successive semester. Students requiring full-time status should register for N 999R
and N 999W, respectively. No grade is submitted until the dissertation is completed, at which
point the grade of Credit or No Credit is automatically assigned for all dissertation courses.
Doctoral students who have entered candidacy no longer have advising bars placed on their
registration. All students in candidacy should notify the Graduate Student Affairs office about
the number of dissertation hours desired for each semester. Graduate Student Affairs will then
register each student.
International students who expect to be out of the country for a semester (e.g., while collecting
or analyzing data), may request permission to register for six credits of dissertation instead of
maintaining full-time status. A written request to the Graduate Advisor, which includes dates
expected to be out of the U.S., is required. If appropriate, he or she will prepare a
recommendation for personnel in the International Office who make the final determination.
Complete information on the dissertation process, along with forms and deadlines for each
semester, is available at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/#df. The doctoral student is expected
to work closely and consistently with the Supervising Professor to write a proposal, conduct
research, and prepare the final report; however, other Supervising Committee members may
also be consulted, with approval from the Supervising Professor.
A formal Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Meeting is held for the Committee to discuss, make
suggestions, and approve the research proposal, which typically consists of the first three
chapters of the dissertation. At the discretion of the Supervising Professor, a preliminary
meeting may also be held in the early stages of proposal preparation. It is the student's
obligation to contact Committee members to arrange meeting times, schedule rooms, and notify
Committee members several weeks in advance. In addition, the student is expected to provide
each Committee member with a copy of the proposal at least two weeks prior to the scheduled
After the proposal is approved, any research involving human subjects must be approved by the
Departmental Review Committee before the student may proceed. Packets describing the
process, which may take from one week to one month or more, are available in the Cain Center
for Nursing Research (http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/html/research/cain.html).
Following completion of the research and writing of the final draft of the report, the Final Oral
Defense is scheduled with Committee members and the Office of Graduate Studies. At least
four members must be physically present at the defense. The Request for Final Oral
Examination form (http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/inst_final_oral.html) must be signed by each
Committee member after the Defense meeting is scheduled and then signed by the Graduate
Advisor. This form, one copy each of the dissertation abstract, the vita, title page, and
Committee Certification of Approved Version (unsigned) for a format check must reach the
Office of Graduate Studies a minimum of two weeks before the date of the Final Defense.
Copies of the final draft of the dissertation should be distributed to Committee members four
weeks in advance of the Defense meeting.
At the Defense meeting, the student should be prepared to give a brief oral summary of the
research and answer questions from Committee members. The Committee may accept, reject,
or require revisions of the final report of the dissertation. Another oral defense may also be
Candidacy expires at the end of three years unless an extension is recommended by the GSC
and approved by the Graduate Dean. Extensions are granted for a period of up to one year.
Students are expected to work consistently on their dissertation research and to complete the
degree requirements in a timely manner.
Any student whose initial candidacy or extension is expiring at the end of the semester must
coordinate with the Supervising Professor and submit a written request for extension to the
Graduate Advisor. The request should include: a) a status report on progress of the research; b)
rationale for the needed extension; and c) a plan with deadline dates for how the requested
extension would be used.
The GSC has the option to recommend: a) extending candidacy for a period of up to one year;
b) requiring the student to complete additional courses; c) specifying other additional
requirements (e.g., being in residence for a semester); or d) terminating candidacy. The final
decision regarding candidacy extensions is made by the Graduate Dean.
A recommendation to extend candidacy after three years is typical if the student is making
satisfactory progress. An extension after four years is not unusual; however, an extension after
five years is unlikely and termination of the student will be considered seriously. An extension
after six years in candidacy is considered only under extraordinary circumstances such as
Students who accumulate more than ninety-nine doctoral semester credit hours may be
charged the nonresident tuition rates irrespective of student residency status or any
appointment, fellowship, or other circumstance that would normally entitle them to resident
tuition rates. Further information on this policy is available at
Any changes in membership of the dissertation committee must be submitted on the Petition for
Change in Doctoral Committee form
(http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/pdn/pdf/pet_change_comm_doct.pdf), signed by both the
Supervising Professor and the Graduate Advisor. The form must be filed in the Office of
Graduate Studies a minimum of thirty days before the Defense.
At the beginning of the semester in which you plan to graduate, visit
http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/student_services/convocation/ to obtain information on procedures,
forms, and deadlines for graduation. Failure to meet university deadlines may result in a delay
The University holds commencement exercises once a year at the end of the spring semester.
Students who graduate in the preceding summer or fall semesters are eligible to attend the
exercises. In addition, both the School of Nursing and the Graduate School hold convocation
ceremonies each December and May. (Students who graduate in the preceding summer or fall
semesters or who anticipate graduating the following summer may participate in the Nursing
convocation of their choice as long as they notify the Student Affairs office at least four weeks
prior to the ceremony.)
If you wish to join a student organization and need assistance or contact information, please
contact the Graduate Student Affairs office. The following organizations are open to students in
the School of Nursing:
The African AmericanNursing StudentAssociation (AANSA)
The African American Nursing Student Association (AANSA) is a support group for African
American nursing students at all levels. The purpose is to provide a sense of community and
support for these students. Activities include program meetings with topics of special interest to
this group. African American registered nurses in the Austin area serve as mentors. Members
also interact with students from local high schools and Huston-Tillotson College who are
interested in nursing careers. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome.
Association of Hispanic Nursing Students (AHNS)
Spring 2001 marked the initiation of the Association of Hispanic Nursing Students (AHNS).
Although AHNS is currently inactive, the original goals of the organization encourage social
networking, mentoring, development of leadership, and interaction with the Austin community.
Students interested in activating the organization should inquire in the Student Affairs Office
The Longhorn Association for Menin Nursing (LAMN)
The mission of the Longhorn Association for Men in Nursing (LAMN) is to foster nursing
education, facilitate unity among our future colleagues and leaders in nursing, encourage men
to consider nursing as a career, and promote a positive image of men in the field of nursing.
Association of Nursesin GraduateSchool (ANGS)
All graduate students in the School of Nursing are automatically members of the Association of
Nurses in Graduate School (ANGS). ANGS provides services and support for graduate
students and represents the student body on a number of School and University committees.
This representation allows academic and professional issues impacting graduate nursing
students to be brought before the faculty and the administration. For more information, please
visit the ANGS website at http://www.nur.utexas.edu/angs.
The Green Team is an organization of School of Nursing staff, faculty, and students who are
interested in protecting and promoting the health of the environment at all levels. The mission of
the Green Team is to reduce the school's environmental impact and promote environmental
stewardship. For more information, please visit the Green Team website at
SigmaTheta Tau International
Sigma Theta Tau International is the honor society for nursing. The Epsilon Theta Chapter of
Sigma Theta Tau International was chartered May 16, 1980 at the UT School of Nursing. The
purposes of Sigma Theta Tau are to recognize superior achievement, promote the development
of leadership qualities, foster high professional standards, encourage creative work, and
strengthen commitment to the ideals and purposes of the nursing profession. Examples of
activities include program meetings, conferences and conventions, and awarding of
scholarships and research grants. Members receive a monthly journal as a benefit of
membership. Graduate students become eligible for membership when they have completed at
least one grading period of their academic program and have a GPA of 3.6.
Phi Kappa Phi
Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society recognizing academic achievement in all fields. It
selects members twice each year. Membership is open to students in all departments and
schools within the University. To be eligible for membership, master's degree candidates must
have completed at least eighteen semester hours of graduate credit toward the degree with a
GPA of 3.80 or above. Doctoral candidates must have at least twenty-four semester hours of
graduate credit toward the degree with a GPA of 3.80 or above.
The Texas NursingStudentAssociation (TNSA)and the National
The Texas Nursing Student Association (http://www.tnsa.org/) is the statewide organization of
nursing students. The organization addresses statewide issues, holds an annual state
convention, and sponsors councils for training new officers of the individual school
organizations. The National Student Nurses Association (http://www.nsna.org/) is the national
organization of nursing students. The organization addresses national issues important to
nursing students and also holds an annual convention. Officers for each organization are
elected from member schools of nursing, and resolutions and bylaws are passed at the state
and national conventions.
These two organizations are important because they socialize nursing students into
membership and activism in the professional organizations of nursing (Texas Nurses
Association and American Nurses Association). Through participation, students learn to become
politically active, and they become conversant with the ways in which membership in a
professional organization can give them a voice in their chosen profession.
The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is one of three student leadership organizations at UT,
including Student Government and the Senate of College Councils. GSA reports to the Vice-
Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and is considered an official element of the UT structure.
GSA is the principal body for the representation of graduate student interests on campus.
Members serve on committees around campus to ensure that graduate needs are being met.
For more information, visit the GSA website at http://www.utexas.edu/studentgov/gsa/.
• Resources for Graduate Students: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/gradstudents/
• Materials on Reserve: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/services/reserves/
Locations and Phone Numbers for UT Libraries:
Main telephone number: 495-4250
Schoolof Nursing Learning Center
Point of Contact: Dr. Betty Skaggs (email@example.com)
Learning Center Main Telephone: 232-4773
• Houses Computer Laboratory/Instructional Resource Center, Simulation Laboratory,
Multimedia Production, and Learning Enhancement Services
Learning CenterComputer Laboratory/Instructional Resource Center
Online Resources and Research webpage: http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/norr/
Point of Contact: Nancy Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Internet ready student use computers
• Materials available for checkout
• Anatomy models
• Online research help (CINAHL, MEDLINE, full text online journal articles, etc.)
• Online exercises/quizzes required for lab sessions accessible in the Computer Lab
Blackboard is a web-based communication tool that students and faculty use to view and submit
course material, send and receive individual and group emails, and post and view course
grades. For assistance with Blackboard, contact the ITS Help Desk
(http://www.utexas.edu/its/helpdesk/contact.php) at 475-9400.
Simulation Laboratory(Sim Lab)
Point of Contact: Kathleen Hansen
The Sim Lab has three separate simulated patient care environments with six beds each and
one simulated exam room with four exam tables. Instructor-led class sessions are held in the
Sim Lab, and open lab time is also scheduled each semester to allow students extra time to
practice new skills or review previously learned skills. Open lab days and times are posted each
semester outside the Sim Lab office. It is best to make an appointment prior to coming to open
lab to ensure that space is available and to give the lab staff time to prepare supplies and
equipment. A student who is referred by a faculty member must make an appointment.
Point of Contact: Dr. Patricia Castaneda-English
• Academic counseling
• Study skills workshops
• Graduate Student Writing Services:
JES A332 (http://www.utexas.edu/maps/main/buildings/jes.html)
The UT Learning Center provides academic counseling, study skills training, and individualized
writing consultations for graduate students across all disciplines. Students may bring in any
writing project, ranging from a fellowship application or C.V. to an article for publication, a
master's thesis, or even a dissertation. This service is designed to foster better academic
writing, but it is not to be used for proofreading and editing. Interested students must visit the
Learning Center office to register. After registering, students may book appointments with
writing consultants via the web.
Student Services and Other Resources
The list below is a sampling of University resources that you may wish to access at some point
during your program. As always, if you have a problem and are not sure how to resolve it with a
University office, please seek assistance in Graduate Student Affairs.
UniversityServices and Resources for Students
• Comprehensive list of University services and resources for students
Do It Online
• Directory of web-based services at the University
Web-based Graduate SchoolOrientation
• Useful information specific to the graduate student community
• The catalog of the University is the document of authority for all students.
Schoolof Nursing Website
The Coordinator of Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students works
with campus and community organizations to provide a number of services to assist students