There’s a new student body showing up at UT Austin. This class of more than 109,000 learners is diverse, career-focused and determined to tackle their futures on their own terms. These non-traditional students are focused on career changes and shifting workforce demands, driven by new and evolving industries and job growth across Texas. 

The University of Texas at Austin is welcoming them as it purposefully evolves a catalog of lifelong learning programs parallel to its stature as a premier research university.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates everyone will have at least 12 jobs in their lifetime. The desire for more pay, upward mobility and greater job satisfaction will each play some part in these career shifts.

“The trend over the last 30 years has been for people to increase the number of jobs they have over the course of their lives,” said Art Markman, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. “That, combined with the pace of technological change means they can’t rely on their four-year college education to sustain them throughout their careers. Universities have had to step up to provide lots of different kinds of training.”

Photo courtesy of UT Extended Campus

“People tend to think of the university primarily as a place for 18- to 22-year-olds and obviously it is, but it’s also a great place for a wide range of learners. Engaging people across the lifespan is central to the university’s mission for the Extended Campus—our gateway to the many continuing and professional education programs that UT Austin has to offer,” he said. 

Who are these non-traditional UT students?

  • The 50-something who saw her hospitality job evaporate during the pandemic and enrolled in online training to become a paralegal.
  • The 24 Texas National Guard soldiers who completed a rigorous 60-hour Project Management Certificate Program designed by UT to enhance their military missions as well as civilian careers.
  • The dozen Workforce Solutions Capital Area scholarship recipients enrolled in Coding Boot Camp to add high-demand technical skills to their resumes.
  • The Lieutenant in the Travis County Sheriff’s office who enrolled part-time in Cybersecurity Boot Camp to advance his career with an IT role.
  • The recent college grad who took the Master of Science in Nutritional Science online program and gained the flexibility to work full-time while pursuing her degree, culminating in admittance into her top-choice internship program.

By creating a pathway for Longhorns to reengage with the university throughout their careers, UT Austin will equip and inspire students for a lifetime of success, leadership and impact on and beyond the campus.

The university’s Extended Campus offers more than 200 professional education courses, certificate programs and graduate degrees to help learners upskill, reskill and stay ahead. They are taught by the same faculty and industry experts available to the university’s traditional degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students. 

Photo courtesy of UT Extended Campus

To meet the needs of career-focused learners across Texas and elsewhere, many Extended Campus programs are offered online. For example, the College of Natural Sciences currently offers two online Masters of Science programs, in computer science and data science, with a third program focused on Artificial Intelligence set to begin accepting applicants by the summer of 2023. 

Pryzant earned his degree in just two years and immediately got a job at Microsoft making twice his previous salary.

Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s career opportunities.

Extended Campus combines these enhanced learning opportunities, credentialing programs and career-focused graduate degree programs with access to the university’s distinguished lecturers, researchers and professors to meet increasing demand from professionals seeking a destination for lifelong learners. More information is available at a new web-based program finder tool where learners can find courses to help them upskill, reskill and stay ahead of an ever-changing work environment. After all, everyone could use a little burnt orange on their resume.