Government 312 and 310 are the most frequently transferred courses at UT, and with the rising cost of education and a desire for increased flexibility, hundreds of students are enrolling and transferring these government course credits to UT from outside classes.
Last fall semester, 8,777 undergraduate students transferred credits, with a total of 121,212 credit hours transferred, according to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. The top three courses for credit transferred in were U.S. Government, Texas Government and Rhetoric 309, all of which are core requirements at UT.
Business honors sophomore Kaylen Combs said she liked taking her government credit online through community college because it easily fit with her work schedule.
“It was definitely a much lighter workload than we’re used to at UT,” Combs said. “All I had to do were online discussion boards with my other classmates, which were mostly based on outside research, and we had four exams to take at ACC testing centers. We received all the questions beforehand as ‘practice questions,’ so all I did to study was look through the answers.”
For government sophomore Jordan Laughlin, her decision to take a government class online in May stemmed from a combination of finances and her experience of taking one at UT during the year.
“I took (government) at UT and kind of struggled in it, and my community college at home offered it as a three-week minimester for cheaper, so I decided to do that,” Laughlin said.
Laughlin said she earned an A in the online course and finished the three week coursework in about four to five days. She said the difference in the community college course was that the work was self-paced, and the workload was much less because it was mainly quizzes and discussion boards.
Every student at a Texas public university is required to take both U.S. and Texas government, according to state law.
“I think the idea the legislature had was that it’s important for all students to know something about our governmental system to teach them to be good citizens, to understand politics and of course, this being Texas, they also wanted them to know a lot about Texas politics and political institutions,” government professor Raul Madrid said. “I think it makes sense as a requirement.”
Madrid, faculty undergraduate advisor for the Department of Government, said many government classes for government majors at the University require you to have taken GOV 310 and GOV 312 already. Topics including the functions of political parties, theories of electoral behavior, electoral institutions and the main institutions of American politics that students learn in these courses can be relevant for other classes, Madrid said.
“I don’t think (these topics) are covered to the same degree of depth that they are covered to if you take them here,” Madrid said. “The advantage of taking it here is (that) you’re taking it from top class researchers as opposed to … community colleges, and so it’s really not the same quality of course I would argue in general that you’re getting outside of UT.”