ATEC Program Overview
There is only one degree and one major offered within the School of ATEC: the Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication. Within that major, all students start on a degree plan that allows them the flexibility to combine one or more focus areas with a solid foundation in applied design. Students with particular interests and talents in the areas of Animation & Games or Critical Media Studies will have the opportunity later to apply to a specialized concentration (also called a pathway), which will allow them to focus on their concentration area even further.
ATEC Degree Overview
The ATEC degree can be divided into five categories:
- Core classes (42 hours; core complete status at another institution will be honored)
- Lower-level major requirements
- Upper-level major requirements
- Prescribed Electives, all upper-level
- Free Electives, mostly upper-level
A student may complete all of their core at another institution. However, if a student completes all core off-campus, they will likely not have room on their degree plan for any lower-level electives. This is because ATEC typically uses ones of our Lower-level major requirements (ATCM 2300 Intro to Technoculture) to satisfy one of the 090 Component Area Core Requirements, allowing students to free up an elective spot because ATCM 2300 satisfies two requirements. Students who are bringing in two 090 courses will use one of their 090 courses for core credit, and they will use their other 090 core credit to satisfy the lower-level elective--meaning they will not have any room for any additional lower-level electives at UTD.
The only additional courses that have a lower-level equivalent outside the ATEC department are the required computer science classes. Each student must get credit for our CS 1335 Computer Science I for Non-Majors as part of their lower-level major requirements. However, there is also a pre-requisite to that course, CS 1334 Fundamentals of Programming for Non-Majors, that students must take if they do not place out of the prerequisite via exam or otherwise get permission to go straight into the second course. Technically, the ATEC degree plan has room for TWO lower-level electives, but the overwhelming majority of our students end up taking Fundamentals of Programming, which fills up one of those elective slots. On the ATEC degree plan, we even pre-fill-in Fundamentals of Programming to show students where it will go, since it's so common for our students to take it. Most students, therefore, will take two programming classes (Fundamentals and Computer Science I), and will only have room for a lower-level elective if they aren't finished with both 090 Component Area Core requirements (see the Core Status discussion above). Both programming classes may be completed off-campus.
Sample OUTDATED Degree Plan
While we do not encourage students to look at past degree plans, since the ATEC degree requirements can change significantly from year to year, it may be useful to see a general overview of what classes transfer. We have filled out transferable classes in orange on the ATEC degree plan for students who started in Fall 2019 here. Students will receive a similar electronic degree plan, based on the requirements for the year in which they start in ATEC, during their first semester in the program.
Course Planning for ATEC-Bound Students
Are there particular core classes students should take?
The only specific core requirement for ATEC is RHET/ENGL 1302. That course is a prerequisite for an upper-level ATEC requirement, so students must complete that course even if they have already completed their core. Beyond that, students are welcome to take any classes that fulfill their core requirement.
What classes can transfer to fulfill requirements on the ATEC degree?
- All core
- Equivalent of CS 1334 Fundamentals of Programming (often COSC 1336/1436)
- Equivalent of CS 1335 Computer Science I (often COSC 1337/1437)
Are there additional classes that would count on a specialized concentration?
Students are discouraged from taking classes that would only fulfill requirements on a specialized concentration, since acceptance onto the concentrations is competitive and not guaranteed. However, there is an additional lower-level course that students could complete off-campus after being accepted onto the Animation & Games concentration:
- Equivalent of CS 2335 Computer Science II (often COSC 2336/2436)
Are there additional classes that might help a student feel more prepared, even if they do not fulfill requirements?
While workforce classes under prefixes like ANIM, ARTC, ARTV, and GAME will not transfer for credit at UTD, some ATEC students have found that the skills they developed in those classes eased the transition into ATEC coursework. However, ATEC does not require students to complete coursework that does not transfer, and students should not feel like they must take such coursework in order to succeed in ATEC.
Who can a student talk to directly to get their transcript articulated before transferring?
The UTD Admissions Advisors will sit down with prospective students and complete a full articulation, if requested.
Where can students see the ATEC degree plan ahead of time?
ATEC students are preparing to enter industries that are constantly changing due to technological advancements. To keep up with the changes in industry, the ATEC program is constantly evolving and making slight changes to ensure our students are industry-ready when they graduate. That means, however, that the requirements listed for the ATEC degree at the time a student begins their community college coursework may no longer be applicable at the time that student transfers to UTD. Students are discouraged from relying too heavily on degree plans posted in UTD catalogs prior to starting classes at UTD, since students must follow the requirements listed in the catalog for the year they transferred to UTD. Students are encouraged to focus on core and computer science prior to beginning their ATEC coursework at UTD. To provide context, we have filled out transferable classes in orange on the ATEC degree plan for students who started in Fall 2019 here.
General Questions for ATEC-Bound Students
When should a student transfer?
Since ATEC is a skills-based major that leads into portfolio-based industries, students are encouraged to begin their ATEC-related coursework as soon as possible. Building skills requires time and cannot be condensed beyond the student's abilities and available time, so many students find it easier to keep up with the rigorous project-based classes in ATEC if they are able to spread those course out over three or more years.
Can ATEC students continue to take classes off-campus after they enroll at UTD?
Absolutely! ATEC students often complete their core during summers, or by taking one course off-campus while also completing ATEC coursework at UTD. ATEC Academic Advisors regularly work with students who plan to complete their core off-campus and are well-versed in the various approaches to building ATEC skills gradually while still progressing toward degree completion.
Who can a student talk to directly to learn more about the ATEC program and what it's like to be an ATEC student?
ATEC Advising Peer Mentors meet with all ATEC prospective students, since as students themselves they can provide a more nuanced perspective on what it's like to be a part of ATEC. They are also trained to assist current students with schedule planning, so prospective students will continue to see their Peer Mentors after arriving on campus. Peer Mentors can discuss the ATEC program, degree requirements, extra-curricular opportunities, student life, and can even provide a tour of the ATEC building.
What if a larger group, such as a class, wants to visit ATEC?
For groups of prospective students, we hold an event called About ATEC. Offered on select days each semester, students attending will tour our facilities and labs, talk with peer mentors, network with undergraduate advisors, and get to know our faculty members one-on-one. Registration in advance is required, and spots are limited for each event.
Can ATEC students who started at a community college complete a Reverse Transfer?
Yes! ATEC Academic Advisors understand the reverse transfer process and have assisted students with transferring their UTD credits back to their original institution to complete their Associates degree.
How can students learn more about the life of an ATEC student?
The ATEC Academic Advisors provide information to current students several ways, one of which is the ATEC.io website. While the information on ATEC.io is targeted towards current students, it can be a useful tool for prospective students to gain a broader perspective on the kinds of events, requirements, and opportunities that will be part of their ATEC experience. We provide a semesterly calendar to ATEC students, which shows some of the major events and deadlines that occur each term, as well as a general overview of a student's time in ATEC. Because the overview is based on a student who starts in ATEC as a freshman, prospective transfer students can easily see what they should be working on prior to starting in ATEC. Finally, we have created an Advising Glossary filled with terms commonly used in ATEC advising, which may assist students in making the transition.
What events does ATEC have that would be good for interested students?
Additionally, we highly encourage prospective and incoming students, as well as current students, to attend the Capstone Celebration (the date is available on the semester-at-a-glance calendar). Students in ATEC complete a large-scale independent project during their final semester in ATEC, and the Capstone Celebration is the opportunity for students to showcase their work. It's a fantastic way to see all the different focus areas available within ATEC, as well as see the quality of work being produced by students who have been through the ATEC program. Capstone Celebration is held every fall and spring semester.
What happens if a student isn't accepted into their concentration of choice?
They can still take classes in that field and can still graduate with an ATEC degree. The majority of our students will graduate without being part of a specialized concentration. The foundational ATEC degree plan requires students to take applied design classes, but it also allows students to choose one or more focus area from within ATEC's offerings. If a student is not accepted into their specialized concentration of choice, they can still take courses in the area of that concentration--they will simply do so while following the foundational degree plan. Acceptance into the specialized concentration allows students to take additional coursework in the area, and allows access to upper-level courses without the need to apply for entrance into each advanced course.
What is Critical Media Studies?
Critical Media Studies is the analysis of the societal, cultural, political, and technological implications of media. "Media" includes both specific instances of media, like a particular movie or video game, as well as forms of media themselves, such as virtual reality or mobile games. Critical Media Studies students primarily focus on thinking about and writing about media, though there is also a creative expression component. Due to its emphasis on reading, writing, logical thought (through the computer science requirement), and in-depth analysis, ATEC with a concentration in Critical Media Studies is one of the best pre-law majors on the UTD campus.
Who can I contact to get more information about the ATEC program or transferring to ATEC?
General questions about ATEC, including questions regarding transferring, can be sent to ATECadvising@utdallas.edu. This email is staffed by all Advising Peer Mentors and Academic Advisors, so we'll get you the answer you need (or find out who has it)!