HDO Master’s Student Handbook

This handbook’s content is for informational purposes only and is not an official publication of The University of Texas at Austin. For official rules, regulations, and degree requirements, please refer to The University’s Graduate Catalog and the General Information Bulletin, which can be accessed online or purchased at any University-area bookstore or from the Main Building Information Desk.


Program Overview

Program Overview

The Master of Arts degree in the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) provides working professionals with a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and experience as it relates to today’s global marketplace. To deepen students’ understanding of these principles, HDO courses also focus on conceptualizing and implementing organizational change.

HDO’s curriculum requires students to examine real-world challenges through a variety of disciplinary lenses. By acquiring skills central to specific disciplines, students are able to draw on a range of approaches to analyze, consider, and improve the structure and function of their organizations.

Most HDO graduate students are employed full time. Because of the high demands placed on employed students, HDO organizes its coursework to allow students to balance work and education.

This 15-month degree program offers classes on Friday evenings and Saturdays, twice a month, on the university’s campus. Each semester begins with an intensive week of study on campus.

For those unable to commute to Austin, HDO has developed a distance-learning program. There is a one-time $1,000 surcharge for distance-learners. This fee covers the technology that enables HDO’s distance learners to be fully interactive with their in-class colleagues from anywhere in the world. Distance learners attend class in real time via our virtual classroom and participate actively in classroom discussions. Distance learners are also required to be on-campus for the intensive weeks at the beginning of the Fall I, Spring, and Summer semesters; however, they may participate in all other class meetings virtually.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students should possess at least three years of professional experience in the private, nonprofit, government, and/or military sectors.

Other admission requirements include an above-average score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)*; a resume or curriculum vitae (CV); a bachelor’s degree and grade point average of at least 3.0; three letters of recommendation; and two essays. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all international students.

*HDO has received a GRE/GMAT waiver for qualified applicants. Please visit the HDO Admissions page to learn more. 

For more application information, see the Graduate School’s website. Click on the “Apply for Grad School” link on the right to access our application.

Program Requirements

The degree requires 36 credit hours spread across four successive semesters: Fall, Spring, Summer, and the following Fall. These classes include a two-semester core course; nine courses offering depth in topics relevant to the degree; and six Capstone Project hours completed during the last semester of the program. All courses are required.

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, The University of Texas at Austin confers a Master of Arts in Human Dimensions of Organizations.

Requirements include:

Orientation and Intensives: A mandatory five-day orientation session (running from Wednesday to Sunday), begins the first fall semester. During this time, new students will be introduced to UT Austin’s campus, meet HDO faculty, staff, and advisors, and discuss the details of the program’s academic requirements. Students will also begin their coursework during this period.

Note that similar five-day intensives are held the following January and June (at the start of spring and summer semesters). The final fall semester does not include an intensive period, rather it concludes with a graduation weekend that includes Capstone Project presentations and graduation ceremonies.

Courses: Classes meet every two weeks on Friday evening and Saturday. The five-day intensives (see above) will also include an introduction to each semester’s courses.

Capstone Project: HDO students’ final semester will be dedicated to completing a Capstone Project, which will consist of both a visual presentation and a written report. Before a student can begin their Capstone Project (referred to as a Master’s Report by the University), s/he must submit their topic and supervisor’s name to HDO staff.

Attendance: Attendance at all class meetings and intensive weeks is expected and required. Students are responsible for contacting individual faculty before any absence to arrange ways to make up any work missed.

Grade Maintenance: All students must maintain a B average throughout their HDO coursework. Failure in any class will result in expulsion from the HDO graduate program.


Note: Course Descriptions and Availability Are Subject to Change.

HDO285: Organizational Ethics (2 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course explore ethics as they pertain to organizational contexts. Students will understand the philosophical underpinnings of ethics, examine case studies of ethics in organizations, and develop an ethical stance in their own organization.

HDO287: The Structure of Organizations (2 Credit Hours)
Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how money, information, and influence flow through organizations and between related organizations. Students learn theories of organizational structure from disciplines including anthropology, political science, and sociology. They are exposed to methods for analyzing the structure of organizations and markets.

HDO 289: Writing and Researching Organizations (2 Credit Hours)
Students examine various approaches to organizational writing and research. They will learn how to plan, organize, and execute and organization-based research project.

HDO380: Cultural Perspectives on the Human Dimensions of Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
This foundational multidisciplinary course provides a survey of various group dynamics that affect the internal and external effectiveness of organizations. It balances breadth with depth and is designed to give a coherent overview of the HDO degree as well as a starting point for the capstone project.

HDO381: Individual Perspectives on the Human Dimensions of Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
This foundational course provides a general introduction to the roles of individuals’ relationships to organizations from a multidisciplinary perspective. It balances breadth with depth and is designed to give a coherent overview of the HDO degree as well as assist students in developing their capstone projects. The course focuses explicitly on managing large-scale projects that involve data.

HDO382: Approaches to Leadership (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course examine broad aspects of leadership in organizations through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Students will be encouraged to draw on a range of approaches and materials in considering and discussing what makes a leader effective and how circumstances influence a leader’s success.

HDO383: Society, Culture, and Diversity (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course examine multidisciplinary frameworks for understanding society and culture in organizations. Students will be encouraged to draw on a range of approaches and materials to consider how and why diverse groups intersect, fail, or succeed in group environments. The effects of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, and globalization on organizational change may be discussed.

HDO384: Organizational Inertia, Decision-Making, and Change (3 Credit Hours)
Students are exposed to theories and methods for understanding how organizational environments support habits, and how individuals and groups make decisions.  This work is then put into practice to explore methods for organizational change.

HDO386: Persuasion and Argumentation (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn how effective persuasion works within organizations and at the individual level. Drawing from multidisciplinary perspectives, students will also learn how to examine and evaluate persuasion, and how to persuade others.

HDO 390: Qualitative Research in Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn qualitative approaches to studying people in organizational settings. Approaches may include narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case studies, and others. Students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze qualitative research.

HDO391: Quantitative Research in Organizations (3 Credit Hours)
Students taking this course learn quantitative approaches for studying the human dimensions of organizations. They will examine the mechanics and assumptions of common methods in quantitative methods, including experimental design, survey research, and quantitative coding of archival data. The course emphasizes students’ ability to know and identify what types of research questions are best-suited to the different quantitative approaches. Students will also review the types of data that various designs produce, and learn about some basic statistical assessments of quantitative data.

HDO695: Capstone Project (6 Credit Hours)
With the approval of the graduate advisor, each student will complete a capstone project that must be written, submitted, and presented. This capstone project is the culmination of the work in the MA and, when possible, should consider a problem in the student’s own organization.

Administrative Basics

Graduate Student Responsibilities

You are responsible for understanding the rules and policies that govern your academic degree. HDO’s Graduate Advisor and Graduate Coordinator are available to answer questions. In particular, students must know and meet the requirements of his or her degree program; must meet prerequisites and take courses in the proper sequence to ensure orderly and timely progress; must seek advice about degree requirements and adhere to University policies when necessary.

There are two essential University references: The General Information Bulletin and The Graduate Catalog. Students must know and abide by the academic and disciplinary policies given in these publications, including rules governing quantity of work, the standard of work required to continue at The University, warning status and scholastic dismissal, and enforced withdrawal.

The Graduate School

As a graduate student, you are admitted to both the Master’s Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations and the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin. All graduate degrees are the responsibility of the Graduate School.

The Graduate School includes the Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School and staff, plus approximately 100 Graduate Studies Committees. The Graduate School can be reached at (512) 471-4511.

Each department or field of study offering a graduate degree has a Graduate Studies Committee composed of active assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors (tenured and tenure-track faculty). Each Graduate Studies Committee sets policy and supervises its graduate program.

Approximately 30 faculty members from various Graduate Studies Committees, plus six graduate students, serve as representatives in the Graduate Assembly, the legislative body of the Graduate School. There is also a student organization concerned with issues related to graduate study, called the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA). Any graduate student is welcome as a member.


All persons associated with UT Austin or who need to complete online transitions with the University will be assigned a UT EID. This electronic identifier (or “user name”) will serve as your primary means of identification for all UT Austin services.

When the UT EID and password have been assigned, it will be necessary to login to a secure UT web service and choose a new password. If there was not a password provided, it means a UT EID has already been activated with a self-chosen password.

Please include your UT EID along with your full name and address on all correspondence.

Personal Information

It is the student’s responsibility to give correct local and permanent addresses, telephone numbers and email address to both HDO staff and to the University’s Office of the Registrar. A student may update his or her local and permanent addresses and telephone numbers as well as email address listings here.

If any changes occur, please notify the graduate coordinator in addition to updating your information on UT Direct.


Students are required to monitor all HDO communication channels—email, listservs, Canvas, etc.—on a regular basis to keep current on issues and events pertaining to individual courses and to the program in general.

Email: If a University of Texas at Austin email has not been set up for you, visit this page for instructions. Click here to update your preferred email address for receiving correspondence. It is HDO’s policy to send all student correspondence (invoices, receipts, notifications, reminders, etc.) to the email address listed here.

The University’s email policy may be viewed here. The University of Texas at Austin views email as “a mechanism for official University communications to students.” It is the student’s responsibility to keep his/her email address updated with HDO and the University. Note that “e-mail returned to the University with ‘User Unknown’ is not an acceptable excuse for missed communication.” Students are responsible for checking their email on frequently to ensure that they are receiving important messages. Additionally, “undeliverable messages returned because of either a full inbox or use of a ‘spam’ filter will be considered delivered without further action required of the University.”

Listservs: HDO considers its listservs to be extensions of the email system. Listservs are used for student discussion on courses as well as for administrative notifications and reminders (faculty are not on the student listserv). Information on UT’s listserv system (UT Lists) is available here. All students will be automatically subscribed to the listserv for their class year and are expected to remain subscribed for the duration of their HDO education.

Canvas: Canvas is an online course management system used by many instructors across the University and allows “faculty and students to communicate and collaborate through real-time chats, threaded discussions, class email, and online file exchanges.” Further information regarding Canvas can be found here.

Social Media: HDO maintains an active social media presence on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Following these channels is optional for HDO Master’s students. However, given that news articles, blog posts, and events of interest to HDO students will be posted on these networks, students are encouraged to participate.

Academic Advising

The University provides information and academic advice to students to assist them in making proper academic decisions. The Dean of each college or school is responsible for providing an effective system of information dissemination and advising that is appropriate to the academic programs of that college or school. Each unit will seek to provide the most current and accurate information and advice possible. The student is responsible for seeking advice, for knowing and meeting the requirements of the degree program of his or her interest, for enrolling in courses appropriate to that degree program, and for taking courses in the proper sequence to ensure orderly and timely progress toward the degree.

Advising and assistance are provided to students in the HDO program through a combination of resources including the Graduate Advisor (David Beaver), the Assistant Graduate Advisor (Clay Spinuzzi), and the Associate Director (Amy Ware).

Registration Procedures

HDO courses are preset. An HDO staff member will register all HDO students in their appropriate courses. Students are not responsible for course registration. However, when an HDO staff member contacts you regarding registration for the upcoming semester (likely in October and March), it is important that you respond promptly so that you will be enrolled in courses by the University’s deadline.

Only students admitted to the Master of Arts degree in Human Dimensions of Organizations may be enrolled in our courses. Conversely, HDO students are not permitted to take courses outside this program of study. Students will not receive degree credit for courses taken in other departments at The University of Texas at Austin.

In the event that HDO staff is unable to register a student during the normal registration period due to a registration bar, late tuition payment, or for any other reason not due to staff error, the student will be charged a late registration fee in addition to normal tuition. See section Financial Information section below for details on these charges.

The HDO Program does not run on the typical UT Austin schedule. As a result, there will be times when students will attend class although they have not been officially enrolled in the courses. For example, the first HDO class session may begin on August 17 while the official UT Austin fall semester begins on August 27. Therefore, university databases might not be ready to accept and/or process data when HDO classes begin, which could complicate using some university resources such as the Library and Canvas system. Additionally, facilities such as the campus computer store, recreational center and health services center (including insurance) might not be accessible until the official start date of each semester.

Registration Bars

Students may acquire “bars” on their records, preventing course registration. These bars may arise from insufficient documentation at a University office, unpaid parking violations, library fines, or unresolved conditions of enrollment. If the program coordinator finds a bar on a student’s record that prevents registration, the student will be immediately notified. These must be cleared at once due to the time constraints of registration.

Career Coaching & Services

Career Coaching
All HDO Master’s students have access to individual and group sessions with a highly trained career coach. These sessions are included in program tuition. The career coach understands the HDO curriculum and philosophy and its applicability to the business, government, nonprofit, and military sectors.

Whether your goal is advancement within your current organization or moving on to a new job, these sessions will help you determine the best way to move forward after completing your HDO education. Schedule an appointment with a career coach to develop your career search strategy, create your application materials, research careers and connect with and apply for opportunities and prepare for interviews. To schedule an appointment, call 512-471-7900. HDO’s career coach will also hold group sessions with your entire cohort throughout the program.

Texas Recruitment + Interview Services
Graduate Students can use HireUTexas to search for professional job opportunities. New positions are posted daily. You may also participate in most of the Career Fairs on campus. See a list of upcoming fairs here.

Career Research
Explore the extensive career research resources below to help you consider your options, and learn how to best approach your goals.

  • The Versatile PhD: Online service for graduate students that demystifies non-academic careers and reveals many professions that can utilize the skills you are developing in graduate school. Sign up for the Versatile PhD.
  • Vault: Career information web site, providing employee surveys of top employers, career advice, job listings, and career guides to individual industries. Access the pre-paid Vault subscription via your BTT Gateway account using the Additional Resources tab.

  • Academic Policies

    Course Materials and Technological Equipment

    Human Dimensions of Organizations provides all textbooks and related course materials, including required software. The costs for all materials are included in the program fees. If a student drops a course or withdraws, they must return all textbooks and other materials. Failure to do so will result in the student being charged for these items.

    All students are provided with one copy of all course materials and/or technological equipment. Should issued items be lost, it is the responsibility of the student to replace materials/equipment at their own expense.


    Attendance at all class meetings and intensive weeks is expected and required. Students are responsible for contacting individual faculty before any absence to arrange ways to make up any work missed.


    All HDO students are held to the pedagogical and academic standards of the University. Students will receive a letter grade for each course. These grades are determined solely by HDO faculty. Each instructor determines grading metrics and what constitutes successful academic performance in his/her course relative to those metrics. Courses in the HDO program may not be taken on a pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. Official grade point averages are calculated by the registrar and appear on the student’s academic record maintained by the registrar.

    The grade point average does not include any graduate or undergraduate courses the student took at the university before enrolling in the UT Austin Graduate School, credit by examination, or courses taken at other institutions. The following numerical equivalents of letter grades are used in the calculation of the graduate grade point average:

    • A 4.00
    • A- 3.67
    • B+ 3.33
    • B 3.00
    • B- 2.67
    • C+ 2.33
    • C 2.00
    • C- 1.67
    • D+ 1.33
    • D 1.00
    • D- 0.67
    • F 0.00

    Required Grade Point Average: To graduate, all students must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.00 and make a “C” or better in all courses. If a student receives a C- in a course, they will have to re-take the course. Please note: Due to our class schedule, the course will have to be re-taken when it is offered again the following year. If, upon admission, you were notified of specific grading requirements, those supersede statements in this handbook.

    Obtaining Grade Reports

    Final course grades can be obtained here. The university no longer mails hard copies of grade reports to home addresses.

    To obtain an official hard copy of their grades, students need to request an official grade report each semester online via the link above. Requests must be made during the semester in question and retroactive requests will not be fulfilled. Official grade reports are mailed to the student’s permanent address on file with the university. Any student who misses the deadline to request an official grade report from the university must purchase a transcript once the semester ends for $10.

    Warning Status and Academic Dismissal

    A student who fails to meet admission conditions may be subject to dismissal. The standard Office of Graduate Studies admission conditions may be found here. The conditions state that a student must:

    1. Make satisfactory progress in fulfilling any conditional admission conditions that were imposed;
    2. Meet any requirements made in writing by your Graduate Studies Committee;
    3. Maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0; and
    4. Have approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.

    The student must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree as determined by HDO’s Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). If the GSC determines that a student is not making satisfactory progress, it may recommend that the student’s program be terminated. Please note that a student with a grade point average below 3.0 at the end of any semester will receive a warning letter from the Graduate School and must bring his/her cumulative graduate grade point average up to at least 3.0 by the end of the following semester in which the student is enrolled. Students under Office of Graduate Studies warning must have approval of the graduate dean to drop any courses in the warning semester.

    Leaves of Absence

    Students may apply for a leave of absence for no more than two semesters. A student on an approved leave of absence must apply for readmission in order to return to the University, but readmission during this approved period is automatic and the application fee is waived. A student on leave may not receive any privileges otherwise available to enrolled students.


    Students are permitted, with the approval of the graduate advisor and the associated faculty, to drop courses during an ongoing semester and re-enroll in them the following year. This is primarily intended as recourse for a change in personal circumstances and is not intended to be used as a means to “escape” an anticipated poor final course grade. Note that this action can also have significant ramifications in terms of eligibility for federal financial aid. Dropping an entire course load constitutes withdrawal from the university for that semester. To withdraw from the Graduate School, a student must first contact the program coordinator (for applicable procedures and deadlines) and then file a petition with the graduate dean.

    Academic Integrity*

    A fundamental principle for any educational institution, academic integrity is highly valued and seriously regarded at The University of Texas at Austin, as emphasized in the standards of conduct. More specifically, you and other students are expected to “maintain absolute integrity and a high standard of individual honor in scholastic work” undertaken at the university (Sec. 11-801, Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities). This is a very basic expectation that is further reinforced by the University’s Honor Code. At a minimum, you should complete any assignments, exams, and other scholastic endeavors with the utmost honesty, which requires you to:

    • Acknowledge the contributions of other sources to your scholastic efforts.
    • Complete your assignments independently unless expressly authorized to seek or obtain assistance in preparing them.
    • Follow instructions for assignments and exams, and observe the standards of your academic discipline.
    • Avoid engaging in any form of academic dishonesty on behalf of yourself or another student.

    For the official policies on academic integrity and scholastic dishonesty, refer to Chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities.

    *From the UT Austin Dean of Students website.

    Distance Learning

    HDO has developed a distance-learning program for its Master’s Degree students. There is a one-time $1,000 surcharge for distance-learners. This fee covers the technology that enables HDO’s distance-learners to be fully interactive with their in-class colleagues from anywhere in the world. Distance learners attend class in real time via our virtual classroom and participate actively in classroom discussions. Distance learners are also required to be on-campus for the intensive weeks at the beginning of the Fall I, Spring, and Summer semesters; however, they may participate in all other class meetings virtually.

    Austin-based students may attend class virtually once per semester without charge. If a student uses distance-education technologies more than once in the same semester, they will be charged the distance learning surcharge. These days do not accumulate (i.e., a student may not attend all classes in person through the fall and spring and then use all three distance-learning days during the summer semester).

    International Students

    International Students

    The UT Austin International Office provides a variety of services and programs for international students. They are located at 2222 Rio Grande Street, Suite 2.201C. For more information regarding activities of the International Office, please call 512-471-2477.

    International Check-In

    New UT Austin international students must bring their immigration documents to the International Office for “check-in” before they are allowed to register at UT Austin. International students will meet individually with an advisor who will answer questions about insurance, U.S. social security numbers, immigration transfer, English evaluation, registration, and other matters of importance.

    For more information regarding check-in and English evaluations please see the International Office’s website.

    The International Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Please check the website for walk-in advising hours as they change each semester: http://world.utexas.edu/isss/advising. Or, you may send your questions to their general email at hotline@austin.utexas.edu.

    Medical Documentation

    Shortly after acceptance to UT Austin, every entering student is mailed a Pre-Matriculation Health Record form. Please complete and submit these forms as soon as possible.

    Visa Issues

    Most students enter the U.S. in F-1 student status when enrolled in a full-time degree program. A Form I-20 (certificate of eligibility for an F-1 student visa) is issued to students by UT Austin for entry into the U.S. Dependents of an F-1 visa holder are classified as F-2 and are not permitted employment in the U.S.

    Some students enter the U.S. in J-1 student status. The J-1 visa is administered by the U.S. Information Agency and is used for a variety of educational purposes. Dependents of a J-1 visa holder are classified as J-2 and may apply for permission to work in the U.S.

    If residing outside the U.S., the UT Austin International Office will mail the certificate of eligibility (Form I-20 or Form IAP-66) once it has received the required evidence of financial support. The certificate of eligibility (Form I-20 or Form IAP-66) must be presented at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy when applying for a F-1 student or J-1 student visa, together with an unexpired passport and evidence of financial support.

    If an international student has not received the Form I-20 or Form IAP-66, s/he cannot enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 tourist visa because a change to F-1 student status can be difficult once in the U.S. If absolutely necessary to enter the U.S. prior to receiving the Form I-20 or Form IAP-66, a request should be made at the U.S. Consulate to have “prospective student” noted on the B-1/B-2 visa to make a change of status easier to obtain. Entering the U.S. on the visa waiver program is not allowed and therefore, a student will be required to leave the United States to change his or her status.

    If an international student is now studying at another U.S. university, the Form I-20 for UT Austin will be prepared and held at the International Office. If a student plans to leave the U.S. before enrolling, it will be necessary to request that the UT Austin Form I-20 be sent, so that it may be used for entrance into the U.S. and for application of a new visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, (if applicable). If an international student plans to remain in the U.S., INS regulations permit a transfer of immigration status to UT Austin provided that the student is in valid F-1 status at the school that s/he is currently attending. The foreign student advisor should be asked to complete and return to UT Austin, the UT Austin “Transfer Letter” or equivalent confirmation that the F-1 status has been maintained. The student should then receive the UT Austin “Transfer Letter” from the International Office after s/he has submitted the required evidence of financial support. The Form I-20 from UT Austin will be given to the student once the transfer is completed, which is usually at check-in at the International Office.

    Warning: Failure to complete the transfer process results in the violation of immigration regulations. Furthermore, a student may not work on campus until the transfer of immigration is processed. If a student is out of status, s/he is advised to discuss reinstatement with his or her current foreign student advisor or with an immigration advisor in the International Office. 

    If an international student is currently in the U.S. on another type of visa (F-2, J-2 or H-1) or s/he has applied for permanent residency, the university does not require the status to be changed to F-1 or J-1 student status to be enrolled. The student is required to present his or her immigration documents to an immigration advisor during check-in, and the International Office will assist with the change of status process should that be required or advisable. If a student would like to change from the present status to student or exchange visitor visa status, s/he should contact an immigration advisor in the International Office as soon as possible.

    For more information on visa issues, please contact the International Office at 512-471-2477 or http://world.utexas.edu/.

    Financial Information

    Program Fees

    The fee for the Master’s Program covers the following items for the entire 15-month program: lodging, lunches, and refreshments during orientation/intensive weeks, lunches and refreshments during classes, tuition and fees, textbooks, software and other course materials, report or projects course(s), graduation, a supplemental on-line learning environment, and access to The University of Texas at Austin resources.

    A non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,500 is due upon admission to the Master’s program in order to secure placement. This initial fee is applied to the total program fees and will be reflected on the first semester’s bill.

    The program fee by course of study is as follows:

    • Deposit $1,500* (due upon acceptance of admission)
    • Fall Tuition $16,500 (due August 1)
    • Spring Tuition $14,000 (due January 1)
    • Summer Tuition $14,000 (due May 1)
    • Fall Tuition $14,000 (due August 1)

    * Non-refundable; required to hold spot in class

    Note: A $1,000 surcharge will be included for distance learners. This one-time charge covers use of distance learning for the duration of the program.

    “What I Owe” and “My Tuition Bill”

    What I Owe: This is the most important page related to your HDO finances: This is where you will be able to make payments via a credit/debit card or e-check. The page reflects any outstanding balances that are owed to The University of Texas at Austin. All charges from HDO are grouped together and are typically titled “HDO MA Fees.”

    My Tuition Bill: HDO staff pays your tuition on your behalf (using your program fees). Students should focus primarily on the What I Owe page and less on the My Tuition Bill. At the start of each semester, however, be sure to check the My Tuition Bill page for a “Confirm Attendance” button. You will only need to click on this button at the start of each semester. If you do not complete this step at the beginning of each semester, you will be dropped from classes and assessed a late fee (be aware that a good bit of paperwork will also be required).

    Registration Bars

    A bar is a code placed on the records of students who have not met financial or non-financial obligations to The University. A financial bar is a delinquent debt, such as non-payment of tuition, library books or parking tickets. A non-financial bar may be caused by failure to turn in health center forms or visa information (international students). A bar on your record will prevent you from registering, adding classes, graduating and obtaining transcripts. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that all bars are cleared before each registration period begins. Plan to check your bars at this site prior to registration each semester.

    A student can pay for their financial bar online on the “What I Owe” page using their UT EID and password.


    An invoice for payment of program fees is generated for each student each semester. It is sent as a PDF attachment each semester to each individual student’s primary e-mail address around the following dates:

    • Fall: July 1 (Due August 1)
    • Spring: December 1 (Due January 1)
    • Summer: April 1 (Due May 1)

    Note: Receipts can be generated by HDO staff upon request.

    Student Acknowledgement

    Each semester, upon receipt of the invoice, it is the student’s responsibility to do two things:

    • Verify that the course offering(s) listed on the invoice are correct
    • Notify HDO regarding plans for payment, especially if any funds will be disbursed through the Office of Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, or through a company sponsorship program (vouchering or reimbursement).
    Payment Methods

    Office of Financial Aid: These are typically Stafford loans, and the student must coordinate with OSFS to ensure that proper procedures are completed in order to have your funds disbursed. Financial Aid is disbursed electronically directly to your “What I Owe” account to cover your fees. Disbursement occurs on a rolling schedule starting 10 business days prior to the first official UT class date each semester.

    Company Vouchering: This method typically proceeds as outlined:

    • The student requests company funding for their education and completes all company-required documentation according to the organization’s deadlines.
    • The company approves educational funding and sends the student a voucher verifying the amount of financial support.
    • The student forwards the voucher to HDO in advance of the payment deadline.
    • HDO invoices the company directly on behalf of the student.

    Note: Most employers will reimburse students upon completion of each semester, once a receipt has been provided.

    Self-payment: Electronic payments are submitted through the “What I Owe” feature of UT Direct.

    Student Payment Plans: HDO may offer payment plans to a student only with the approval of the program’s Associate Director. All semester fees must be paid in full by the end of that particular semester; if a student has an outstanding balance, a bar will be placed on her/his account and they will not be registered for the next semester’s courses until payment is made.

    In the case that a student does not fulfill their payment obligations during any single semester, they will no longer be able to pay via an HDO payment plan in the future.

    Financial Aid

    HDO does not provide direct financial assistance to students. Information about financial aid for U.S. students is available through the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS). This office has contact information for federal financial aid lenders, as well as information regarding the various resources available for graduate students to fund their studies.

    UT Austin Office of Student Financial Services
    Student Services Building Room 3.200
    (512) 475-6200

    The first step for any student seeking financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. If you apply for and are awarded financial aid through the Office of Student Financial Services at UT Austin using the FAFSA, the maximum loan amount will likely be less than HDO costs. You must inform HDO staff how you intend to cover the remaining fees for enrollment.

    When you receive notification of your financial aid award, you will receive an e-mail called the “E-Fan” that will ask you to select a lender. Please research the lenders carefully. Most lenders used by The University of Texas do not charge loan origination fees. Some lenders, however, charge up to 3% of the total loan prior to releasing the funds to UT Austin, thus reducing the amount of financial aid you will actually receive. Please note that regardless which lender you choose, you are still responsible for the total amount of the HDO Program Fee.

    Financial aid money is distributed approximately 10 business days prior to the official start date of the semester. Financial aid students should notify HDO staff each semester they will be using financial aid funds so payment deadlines can be adjusted to meet the financial aid distribution schedule. Any remaining balance not covered by financial aid will be billed to the student and payment must be made promptly. Note that these funds are intended to cover the program fees and not living expenses. Should you need additional funds for housing, meals, etc., you should investigate supplemental loan programs.

    Questions about financial aid disbursements or funds received from the federal aid program should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS) at Osfs.qc1@austin.utexas.edu. Please note: HDO Staff cannot access your financial aid account status and you must contact OSFS directly for all financial aid-related questions.

    Veteran’s Administration Information

    Eligible students in HDO can receive Veterans Administration benefits through the Office of the Registrar at The University of Texas at Austin. Please call 512-232-2835 for more information or visit the Dean of Students page for Veterans: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/veterans/index.php. General information regarding Veterans Administration benefits is available at the Veterans Administration websites: https://www.benefits.va.gov/muskogee/ (for UT Austin students) or http://www.va.gov (for other applicants).

    Please note that the Hinson-Hazelwood benefits are not available for students enrolled in the HDO Program because the program is self-supporting and does not receive State funding. HDO does, however, honor the spirit of the Hazelwood Act via reduced program fees. Contact us for more information.

    Late Fees

    A fee of 2% of the total outstanding tuition will automatically be assessed on late payments on the third business day following the payment deadline, and an e-mail will be sent to your primary e-mail address notifying you of the late fee. If payment is not received within two weeks from the date of the late fee notification e-mail, an additional 3% fee will automatically be assessed on the total outstanding tuition (bringing the total late fee penalty up to 5% of the total outstanding tuition.)

    All late fees and tuition must be paid in full or registration and graduation will not occur. In addition, when payment is not received prior to the normal registration period for any reason, the student will be charged The University’s late registration fee, which is as follows:

    • $25.00 through the 4th class day (2nd class day of a summer term)
    • $50.00 from the 5th through 12th class day (3rd and 4th class days of a summer term)
    • $200.00 after the 12th class day (after the 4th class day of a summer term)

    The above class days are determined by The University’s traditional semester calendar.

    Note: Late fees will be waived if funding can be confirmed through the Office of Student Financial Services, Financial Aid Services, or through the Office of Veteran Affairs.


    The following refund percentages are based on the semester’s tuition payment. The $1,500 deposit to hold an incoming student’s space in the class is nonrefundable.

    • 100% of semester’s fees – Seven business days before the start of the Intensive Week
    • 70% of semester’s fees – After the first class day of the Intensive Week
    • 30% of semester’s fees – After the completion of the Intensive Week and before the first weekend class meeting.
    • 0% of semester’s fees – After the first weekend class meeting

    When a student is only registered for a course that does not have class days (Capstone Projects), the following refund policy applies:

    • 100% of semester’s fees – Seven business days before the first day of classes according to the University’s academic calendar
    • 70% of semester’s fees – From the first through fourth class day
    • 30% of semester’s fees – From the thirteenth through sixteenth class day
    • 0% of semester’s fees – After the sixteenth class day

    Please note that this policy only applies when a student is registered for no other course than the HDO Capstone.

    1098-T Information

    The University releases 1098-T information on behalf of each student to the Internal Revenue Service each year in January. You may download your 1098-T for the previous year from UT Direct beginning in the first week of February. Please note that HDO reports all tuition as invoiced each semester minus the mandatory fees (the “Less Third-Party Billing” amount reflected on your “My Tuition Bill” page) as tuition. Any payments received on your behalf through company sponsorship are reflected as scholarship funds.

    Please note that the 1098-T information is not automatically released for International Students since many are exempt from filing US income tax. If you are considered an international student and do file US income tax you must request to have your 1098-T information sent to you in UT Direct.

    Tax Information for Graduate Students

    Please visit this site for information regarding tax issues for graduate students. Changes were made to improve the tax situation for graduate students when the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 came into effect. Please contact a tax practitioner about your personal income tax situations if you have questions.

    University Resources

    Student ID

    UT Austin provides each student with a picture identification card that enables use of many university facilities and services. Students should carry this card with them any time they are going to be present on the UT Austin main campus. UT Austin ID cards can be obtained from the ID Center on the first floor of the Flawn Academic Center. HDO students should obtain their ID Cards before the first day of the Intensive Week.

    To deactivate a lost or stolen ID card:

    • During normal business hours, contact the ID Center at 512-471-4334
    • Visit the Lost/Stolen ID Card web page at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/eid

    After deactivating the lost or stolen ID, the cardholder must go to the ID Center to reactivate the card, should it be found. Otherwise, a replacement ID card may be obtained at the ID Center during normal office hours. Photo identification (driver’s license, passport, or government issued ID) is required. A $10 fee will be charged for all replacement cards.

    Library Services

    All students are eligible for full UT Austin library privileges. This includes (but is not limited to) book borrowing, database access (such as LEXIS/NEXUS), subscriber access to a multitude of professional journals, research assistance, and study space. Real-time library assistance is also available via e-mail/IM during normal business hours. It is suggested that all students take some time at the start of the year to familiarize themselves with the basic research tools at http://lib.utexas.edu.

    The PCL also makes available student lockers and library study offices, which can be found at various points throughout the library stacks. In the lockers you may store your books. You may renew these lockers twice, keeping them for up to three semesters (the summer counts as one semester). Study offices are available to doctoral students in candidacy only.

    HDO Professional Seminars

    Master’s Program Alumni: After graduating from the Master’s program, you are eligible to participate in any of HDO’s one-day professional courses free-of-charge. There is a limit of three alumni in each course.

    Prospective Students: If you participate in one or more of HDO Professional Seminars and subsequently enroll in the Master’s program, you will be refunded the amount you paid for the seminar(s) on your first tuition bill (up to $1,000.00).

    Student Services

    Full-time students at UT Austin are eligible for a variety of academic, recreational and personal services, often at little or no cost. These may include:

    • Free access to writing assistance, ESL practice sessions and general learning assistance resources at the University Learning Center.
    • Discounted membership to Gregory Gymnasium and the Recreational Sports Center.
    • Ability to purchase tickets to UT Austin Athletics.
    • Discounted theater and performance tickets at Bass Concert Hall and other UT Austin performance venues.
    • Free access to basic legal services.
    • Access to UT health and pharmacy services.
    • Eligibility for membership in over 1,000 professional, academic and social student organizations.

    For a full listing of services and contact information, visit http://www.utexas.edu/student.

    Rec Sports

    The University Recreational Sports Center is located at San Jacinto and 21st Street. Students enrolled in the HDO program are eligible to use the Sports Center. For more information regarding use of the facilities, please check out their website.

    Tickets to UT Events and the Longhorn Sports Package

    The University of Texas at Austin has a number of different activities that occur on the campus throughout the year. These activities include athletic events such as: football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and many other activities; and performing arts events such as: theatre, dance, opera, symphony, and other musical performances. If you are interested in purchasing tickets to these various activities, please contact the Athletics Ticket Office at (512) 471-3333; or, for tickets to any performing arts function please call (512) 471-1444.

    In addition to individual tickets, as a member of The University of Texas student body you are also eligible to purchase the Longhorn All-Sports Package. Information regarding this economical package may be obtained at http://www.texassports.com under the heading “Tickets.”

    Please note that your program fees do not include the cost of tickets to any of these events or activities.

    Student “Perks”

    Both the City of Austin and the retail world at large are generally kind to college students. Many restaurants and movie theaters, among other establishments, offer discounts to students with a valid UT ID. Many publications and professional organizations also offer substantial subscription and membership discounts to students.


    Parking at The University of Texas at Austin is limited and somewhat pricey. Visit the university’s Parking Services site to view and purchase parking pass options.

    Students who present a current UT Student ID Card are eligible to ride free on all Capital Metro bus routes. Route maps and schedules are available at http://www.capmetro.org.

    Smoking and Alcohol Policies

    Effective April 9, 2012, UT Austin instituted a Tobacco-Free Campus policy that prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on University property. UT Austin policies regarding alcoholic beverage consumption are also very strict. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from university activities without express written permission and prior approval from the Office of the Provost.

    Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

    UT Austin is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature. The university encourages students who believe that they may have been subjected to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct by faculty, staff, students, visitors, or contractors to report it immediately to Dr. LaToya Hill (latoyahill@austin.utexas.edu), Assistant Dean of Students, at 471-5017. Students may also report such conduct to Linda Millstone (lindam@austin.utexas.edu), Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Workforce Diversity, Equal Opportunity Services, at 471-1849.

    Students with Disabilities

    The University of Texas at Austin has a written policy that states that students with disabilities will be provided appropriate academic accommodations. The purpose of academic accommodations is to assure equal access to and the opportunity to benefit from all educations program at UT Austin for all students. It is the student’s responsibility to identify himself/herself to the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office and to provide documentation of his/her disability. Strict documentation guidelines exist for different types of disabilities. Information on documentation guidelines for disabilities can be found on the SSD website or via phone at 512-471-6259.


    The University of Texas Office of the Vice President and Dean of Graduate Studies coordinate graduation ceremonies for all Master’s graduates university-wide. Information from the Office of Graduate Studies will be sent to you upon your certification of graduation.

    Regalia is required at these events and us available for rent or purchase from the University Co-op at the following locations: Graduation Store in the Co-op Outlet at 2304 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX, 512-476-7211, Ext. 8210; 2902 Medical Arts Street, Austin, TX, 512-472-6156; and 2237 East Riverside Drive, Austin, TX, 512-447-4376 or at http://www.universitycoop.com.

    Computer Store and Tech Support

    The UT Campus Computer Store offers special educational prices on new hardware and specialty software. Visit the store website or call (512) 475-6550. The Campus Computer Store is located in the Flawn Academic Center and open Mon-Fri from 8 am to 6 pm.


    Many graduate students have children and the rigors of maintaining a child or family coupled with graduate studies can be overwhelming. There are a number of childcare services in Austin. As a student at UT, you are also eligible to use the University Child Development Center.

    Health, Counseling, and Mental Health Services

    UT students have access to the services provided by healthcare professionals at Student Health Services. These include doctors in general medicine, sports medicine, women’s health, allergy and immunization, and a pharmacy. The university also offers counseling and other mental health-related care.

    •  UT Student Health Services
    •  UT Counseling and Mental Health Center


    The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement supports a broad range of campus-wide initiatives and organizations to advance socially just learning and working environments that foster a culture of excellence through diverse people, ideas, and perspectives. There are also a variety of centers and groups dedicated to providing support and outreach services:

    •  Multicultural Engagement Center
    •  Gender and Sexuality Center
    •  John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies
    •  Texas Center for Disability Studies
    •  Center for Mexican American Studies
    •  Center for Asian American Studies
    •  Empowering Leadership Alliance (ELA)

    The Texas Exes

    The Texas Exes, established as the Ex-Students’ Association in 1885, is one of the largest self-governed alumni organizations in the country. The association provides news and information about the university to its 71,524 members, promotes university activities, and offers benefits to members interested in specific university programs. The association also provides career services for alumni, including job listings, a resume database, career workshops, individual consulting and a network of alumni advisers.

    For additional information, visit the association’s web site at http://www.TexasExes.org or call 512-471-8839.

    Useful Phone Numbers & Websites