Option III (Non-Formula-Funded) Graduate Programs

The usual method for delivering courses at the University is via formula-funded courses to students in a face-to-face format.  These traditional, formula-funded programs are called Option I. To meet market demand which cannot be accommodated by current formula-funded degree programs, colleges and schools may propose the development of non-formula-funded degrees and certificates. These are called Option III programs.

The Option III strategy allows the University to fulfill demonstrated higher education and workforce needs by allowing the University to serve a greater number of students than State resources will support. Although these programs receive no State support, they have the potential to generate resources that enhance the quality, accessibility and affordability of core academic programs and departments.

Option III programs offer graduate curriculum tailored to special needs in modes of delivery, student clientele, course design, class meeting times and locations. Courses for Option III programs may be 1) delivered in a face-to-face format on the UT Austin campus; 2) offered through an alternative mode of delivery such as online or hybrid instruction; 3) alternatively scheduled during evenings or weekends; and/or, 4) offered in alternative locations (off campus).

The Graduate Catalog contains requirements for all graduate programs, including Option III degrees and stackable certificates. Option III graduate programs and students are subject to Graduate School policies published in HOP 9-1240, The Graduate School, and the Graduate Catalog. Option III programs are subject to Graduate School oversight and review; and they are held to the same standards of quality as Option I programs.

Students enrolled in Option III programs are not eligible for university financial aid, graduate student academic appointments, and departmental fellowships. Additional policies related to Option III programs are available in the Guidelines for Option III Degree Programs and the Administrative Process Guide for Option III Programs.

Extended Education Ventures can provide support, or direct faculty to appropriate resources, for many of the services needed to develop and maintain Option III programs. Areas include market research, marketing, budgeting and accounting, recruitment and admissions, enrollment support, student support, administrative support and reporting. More information is available in the Extended Education Ventures Resources and Guide to Option III Programs.

Additional resources, including sample proposals, are available to UT Austin faculty and staff on request.

Early consultation with the Graduate School and budgetary approval from the Provost’s Office are required to explore the development of an Option III program. Final authorization to offer an Option III graduate credential requires approval by the Graduate Assembly, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, and the Provost. Some proposals may require further approval by the UT System, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and/or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).

For questions or to discuss the development of an Option III graduate program, contact Assistant Dean Michelle Broadway at mbroadway@austin.utexas.edu.