Student Review of University at Texas,Arlington: Insights and Experiences

UNIVERSITY REVIEW: Abhishek Nagaraja : UT Arlington - MS Computer Science

Introduction and Decision Factors:

● Please introduce yourself with your course and graduation year. What influenced your decision to choose this university?

I am Abhishek Nagaraja, Graduate student at University of Texas at Arlington, Pursuing Master’s in Computer Science, I will be graduating in 2025 May. The state of Texas provides two educational advantages, 1. In-State Tuition for students if they can achieve a scholarship. 2. In-State Tuition fee for students who can get Graduate Research AssistantShip/Graduate Teaching Assistantship, with a monthly stipend. Other advantages of Texas is the ecosystem, business growth among companies, and weather.

Texas is growing in terms of businesses, many companies are building their working hub in major cities such as Dallas, Huston and Austin. Additionally, Texas has no individual income tax. With these benefits in mind, I chose to apply to the universities of texas. UTA is situated in the location of Arlington which is close to Dallas, and it’s tuition is affordable compared to other universities in Texas. I chose Computer Science as my program, as I wanted to pursue my career as Project Manager in the IT sector and I can also get an idea on all the core topics as software engineer, and the courses that are available in UTA under computer science will help me achieve a job as Project Manager.

Academic Environment and Faculty Interaction:

● How would you describe the academic workload and the faculty’s approachability for guidance?

There are two course credit possibilities, 30 credits and 36 credits. The default credit system as a computer science student is 36, Unless you meet some criterias to qualify for a 30 credit course. The professors decide the syllabus and you can access them before selecting the course. Majorly there will be Assignments, Quizzes, Final Exams, Projects and Paper presentation. The amount of work depends on the professor, course and syllabus. If you’re in 30 credit hours, you will have 10 courses in the span of two years, 3 courses in the first 3 semesters (2 falls and 1 spring, or 2 springs and 1 fall semester) and 1 course the next semester. If it’s a 36 credit hours course, you will have to complete 12 courses, 10 courses related to your master’s program and 2 from any other school, 3 courses for 4 semesters. Before registering for courses, the research would be helpful, and the courses I have chosen, the syllabus is not too hard and the assignments are related to the course curriculum so, it’s not too hard and not too easy. Every Course Professor will have their own structure of grading and grade division among the work.

Every Professor will have their office hours for doubts and queries, and they will have their Teaching Assistant for every course, and the TAs will have their own hours. For doubts and queries in the syllabus, subject or exams, first we will have to contact the TAs through mails or Microsoft teams, if the response is not satisfied or not in the bounds of TA, then we can contact the professor through mail, or take an appointment to meet them at their office. Every university either has Microsoft Teams or other communication platforms.

Campus and City Life:

● Can you share insights about campus life, extracurricular activities, and the overall student vibe in the city/town?

Campus life is interesting and exciting. I started my own organization here which helps me engage and network with other students on campus. I am also part of other organizations and its activities, which keeps us engaged. There is a gym or Maverick Activity Center which has almost all indoor and outdoor games and fitness center.

There are events and sessions organized by university and different department on different topics almost every week in order to upskill and upbuild the students of the university. Other students are open to engaging and there are many international students from different countries to engage with. Library is the best place to study individually or in group. There are so many silent individual places where you can sit and study for hours without any external distractions and disturbances.

Arlington is a cool place but also need a car to travel to places. There are many other cities near by where a lot of activities and restaurants are available. Texas is known for its bars and there are quite many here.

Accommodation Insights:

● What accommodation options are available for students, and do you have any tips for choosing the best place to live?

There are two types of accommodation, On-Campus accommodation and Off-Campus. On-Campus accommodation are listed out on the university website, and we will have to book or register a few months prior to get a room, which has less probability as almost all the students of UTA will be trying for. On-Campus accommodation will contain students and staff of UTA only. On-Campus accommodation application lease will only be for a period of time, such as one year, or two semesters, and you will have to reapply again.

Off-Campus accommodation is open to all, and will have many options. Off-Campus will have rules, and restrictions. There are two types of off-campus, one is with a limited time lease, and other without any time limit. If it’s a limited time lease which is mostly valid till a year or two semester, you will have to apply again, and the one’s which are not limited time lease, you will not have to worry about it, and even stay after graduation.

In my opinion, checking the lease time period, room space, living room space, kitchen space is important, and also the number of people. I prefer off-campus accommodation without lease time period, as I won’t have to move to another house even if there is no lease time period, and comparatively cheaper and more space to on-campus accommodation.

Program Strengths and Unique Opportunities:

● What are the main strengths of your program, and are there any unique opportunities it provided you with?

I am in Master’s of Computer Science, and I have 36 credit course work. I.e. I can take two more courses extra compared to regular 30 credit course work. I get to choose my own subjects, major and minor in the program. With the extra two courses, I am choosing to take business and IT related courses, which will help me in my Program Manager Job Role which I am interested in. I chose Software Engineering, and Cloud and Big Data. UTA Career Development Center has affiliations with many companies and there are many technical networking sessions happening in Dallas, and Job Fairs in the university every semester for achieving an internship or Co-Op.

All the courses which are available are theoretical and practical related courses. We will have assignments and projects related to the subject which are practical work individually or group which are based on business requirements. There are always GTAs and GRAs positions available on-campus with program related professors.

Balancing Theory and Practice:

● How does the curriculum balance theoretical knowledge with practical experiences?

All the programs have a lot of theoretical and practical work courses based on syllabus. Theoretical exams and quizzes. Practical assignments and projects.

Career Preparation:

● Could you discuss the internship and job opportunities facilitated by the university during or after your course?

If you are a fall semester student, after two semesters, you can start working on summer internship and next two semesters Co-Op. You need to start applying for summer internships by the end of the first semester. Prepare your resume with all actionable and projectable and valuable numerical values related to the job position you are applying for. Having prior work experience would be helpful for getting an internship. If you have a reference in any company, that would also be helpful. Use the first two months to upskill, work on projects and credible certifications based on the job you want to get.

If you are a spring student, you can’t get a summer internship in the first summer you spend, as you would have only completed one semester course. But the advantage a spring student can have is, You can upskill, work on projects, and research papers in the first two to three semesters, and try for Co-Op from third and 4th semester which you can convert directly to full time based on your performance and company’s satisfaction.

There will be a career development center in all universities, they will be organizing sessions about how to apply for jobs and how to prepare for resumes, and more, which will help you in all aspects of internships/job application. Usually they will also be sending our weekly or a regular period of emails with internship/job opportunities you can apply for.

Working with the professor based on the job role and subject will be helpful, they will redirect you to the projects, certifications and resume which will be useful. They might also help you connect to student alumni who are in the same field who can help you get an internship or job or advice on getting these opportunities.