Student Achievement

The University of Texas at Austin places strong emphasis on continually enhancing the student experience and student learning. Administrators, faculty, and staff gather many types of data in order to document, analyze, report on, and improve student success and achievement.

Undergraduate Education

The University has set goals for undergraduate student achievement in several key, interdependent areas:

  1. Four-year graduation rate
  2. Percentage of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students with cumulative grade point averages below 2.0 in freshman year
  3. FTIC student progress toward degree (PTD) in freshman year
  4. FTIC student second-year retention rate
  5. Number of bachelor’s degrees conferred

Four-year graduation rate

In 2011, the University set out to improve its four-year graduation rate to 70% by 2016-2017 and has devoted significant resources to achieving that goal. Recent results suggest that the University’s efforts in that regard have been effective. 

Academic Year Four-Year Graduation Rate
2015-2016 60.9%
2016-2017 65.7%
2017-2018 69.8%
2018-2019 69.9%
2019-2020 72.2%

FTIC freshman grade point average

In order to meet its goal of a 70% four-year graduation rate, UT Austin needs to ensure that no more than 5% of FTIC freshmen earn less than a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) during each semester of their first year. Meeting this goal helps to minimize freshman attrition. The figures in the table below mark the percentages of FTIC freshman students who achieved a GPA of less than 2.0 in each semester. As the table indicates, the University has been successful in meeting its goals on this measure for six consecutive semesters.

Freshman Cohort Year Fall Achievement Spring Achievement
2015 2015: 4.5% 2016: 4.6%
2016 2016: 3.6% 2017: 4.4%
2017 2017: 3.3% 2018: 3.9%
2018 2018: 3.4% 2019: 2.3%
2019 2019: 3.3% 2020: 1.0%


FTIC freshman progress toward degree

Freshman progress toward degree (PTD) is obtained by calculating the number of semester credit hours successfully completed by FTIC students in their first year and dividing it by the number of semester credit hours that most baccalaureate degrees require (120). To increase the likelihood that they will graduate in four years, FTIC students need to complete 12.5% of their degree requirements by the end of their first year. In order to meet its goal of a 70% four-year graduation rate, the University needs to ensure that 75% of freshmen achieve a PTD of 13% or greater during their first semester in order to keep the cohort on pace for timely graduation.

Freshman Cohort Year FTIC Freshmen with PTD of 13%
2015 77.2%
2016 80.1%
2017 79.0%
2018 76.1%
2019 78.5%


Second-year retention rate

The transition from the second to third year of college has traditionally seen the second highest attrition rates (after that from the first to second year). A consistently strong second-year retention rate helps maintain a high four-year graduation rate. UT Austin aspires to have a second-year retention rate among FTIC students of 90% or higher.

Freshman Cohort Year FTIC Second-Year Retention Rate
2015 91.95%
2016 91.5%
2017 92.4%
2018 not available
2019 not available
2020 93.4%


Number of bachelor’s degrees conferred

The Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan for 2015-2030, 60x30TX, set a goal that 60% of Texans would have a postsecondary degree by 2030. In order to achieve that goal, the plan calls for colleges and universities in Texas to increase enrollment and confer more degrees. As the state’s flagship University, UT Austin has an obligation to respond to that call, while maintaining an appropriate balance between increasing capacity and enhancing excellence. Thus, the University seeks to maximize enrollment within the upper limits of the campus’ physical space and instructional resources. To that end, UT Austin has set a goal of 9,500 bachelor’s degrees conferred annually.

Academic Year Number of Bachelor’s Degrees Conferred    
2015-2016 10,290    
2016-2017 9,897    
2017-2018 9,882    
2018-2019 10,114    
2019-2020 10,874    


Graduate Education

Number of graduate degrees conferred

For graduate student achievement, UT Austin tracks the number of degrees awarded. The University strives to award graduate degrees to approximately 2,900-3,000 master’s candidates and 800-900 doctoral candidates annually. These goals have been established with careful attention to balancing competitive financial aid packages against cohort size.

  2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 5-year average
Master's 3,007 2,934 3,087 2,969 3,118 3,023
Doctoral 867 843 879 855 813 851


Licensure examination pass rates

The Graduate School also has set goals for licensure examination rates that relate to graduate and professional programs. The pass rates are evaluated through statewide comparisons. The expected level of achievement is that UT Austin student scores will fall at or above statewide levels. This standard reflects the university's competitive status compared to its state peers. The university's students consistently score above statewide averages.

  2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Education 99% 94.7% 91.9% 90.8% 89.2%
Engineering 92% 89.39% 90.6% 92.1% 91.5%
Law 93% 92.65% 90.0% 92.1% 91.8%
Nursing 90% 97.67% 94.9% 96.5% 96.2%
Pharmacy 98% 96.32% 97.4% 93.5% 91.6%



In summary, these seven undergraduate and graduate student achievement measures allow UT Austin to evaluate success consistent with its mission.