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BDP Application Tips & Criteria

Review the BDP application tips and criteria to help you to prepare your best BDP application.

For All BDPs

On your application essay:

  • Make sure that you clearly articulate your learning goals for the program. This essay should be more focused on your future academic and career goals related to the BDP topic than focused on your past accomplishments
  • Articulate interests in your essay that align with the subject and scope of the BDP to which you are applying
  • Address how the interdisciplinary nature of the BDPs will enhance your degree and your understanding of the BDP topic
  • Discuss your course choices and Connecting Experience ideas in your essay. Be sure to use the full name and course number when referring to courses
  • Check to make sure that the courses you discuss in your essay match the courses listed on your online application form

On your course and Connecting Experience choices:

  • Choose courses from a variety of disciplines and colleges, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the BDPs
  • Follow the strand course instructions on your curriculum sheet
  • Propose specific Connecting Experience ideas
  • Make sure that your course and Connecting Experience choices relate to the learning goals you describe in your application essay

Tips for Each BDP

Children & Society
Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies
Design Strategies
Digital Arts & Media
Environment & Sustainability
Ethics & Leadership
Human Rights & Social Justice
Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Museum Studies
Public Policy
Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits
Social Inequality, Health & Policy

Children & Society

  • Children & Society is one of the largest BDPs. Due to higher demand for this program, the application process for Children & Society is more competitive. Applicants must meet specific criteria (PDF) in order to be admitted to the Children & Society BDP. In your application essay, be sure to address how you meet the criteria.
  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selection, and to articulate interests and choose courses outside of your major. This is true for all applicants, but Psychology, Education, and HDF majors in particular should pay special attention to this.
  • Your Connecting Experience ideas, in addition to your course choices, need to align with the strand concentration you choose. Be sure to select a strand that is a good fit with your Connecting Experience ideas.
  • This topic is huge in scope, and in your application you should be sure to go beyond general statements about your interest in working with children. Be sure to articulate particular areas of interest within the topic.

Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies

  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selection, and to articulate interests and choose courses outside of your major. This is true for all applicants, but Communication Studies and Sociology majors should pay special attention to this.
  • In your application essay, be sure to describe your particular area of interest within this topic. For instance, describe which potential type of conflicts you might be interested in mediating and the role you would like to play as a mediator.

Design Strategies
Accepting applications Spring 2018. Pending final approval by UT Austin, the University of Texas System, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selections.
  • In your application essay, you should articulate your particular areas of interest within this topic.

Digital Arts & Media

  • Digital Arts & Media is one of the largest BDPs. Due to higher demand for this program, the application process for Digital Arts & Media is more competitive. Applicants must meet specific criteria (PDF) in order to be admitted to the Digital Arts & Media BDP. In your application essay, be sure to address how you meet the criteria.
  • The emphasis of this program is on building skills and tools that allow you to create innovative, interactive digital art. Address what skills you would like to build in your application essay.
  • Be sure to describe Creative Project ideas that are in line with the focus of this BDP. Examples of appropriate focus areas for this BDP might include game development, UI/UX and front-end design, sound design and engineering, interactive journalism and infographics, mobile application development, projection design for live performance, etc. On the other hand, the following interest areas would not be an appropriate fit for this BDP: live action film, web development (unless you are interested in highly interactive, visually rich sites), and graphic design for print.

Environment & Sustainability

  • Your strand course selections should reflect a mix of science and non-science coursework.
  • This topic is huge in scope. In your application essay, you should articulate your particular areas of interest within this topic.

Ethics & Leadership (all programs)

  • In your application essay, you should explicitly address your interest in both ethics and leadership.
  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selection, and to articulate interests and choose courses outside of your major.

Human Rights & Social Justice

  • This topic is huge in scope. In your application essay, you should articulate your particular areas of interest within this topic.

Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship

  • This program focuses on how to start a business, start-up culture, and innovation. You should be sure to address these interest areas in your application essay.
  • Entrepreneurship is only one focus of this BDP. In your application essay, think about how to also tie in creativity and innovation with your interests.
  • Be sure to describe Connecting Experience ideas that are in line with the focus of this BDP. Examples of appropriate internship ideas for this BDP include companies that are currently in the startup phase of their business or companies that aid or invest in startups and entrepreneurs (such as Capital Factory, IC2 Institute, ATX Seed Ventures, etc.).

Museum Studies

  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selections.
  • This topic is large in scope. Though the BDP title references museums, many sites of collection could be considered. In your application essay, you should articulate your particular areas of interest within this topic.

Public Policy

  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selections.
  • This topic is large in scope. In your application essay, you should articulate your particular areas of interest within this topic.

Social Entrepreneurship & Non-profits

  • In your internship Connecting Experiences ideas we will want to see examples where the bulk of time would be spent on behind-the-scenes work, where you could deepen your understanding of non-profit or social enterprise administration, rather than on direct service.
  • Your strand topic should align with the causes or populations you would like to address through non-profit work or social entrepreneurship. Your Connecting Experience ideas should relate to your strand concentration, so we can see how you plan to use the Connecting Experiences to deepen your understanding of non-profit or social enterprise administration, as well as your strand topic.
  • In your application essay, be sure to address your most relevant previous experiences as a volunteer or intern with non-profit organizations, and what you learned from those experiences.

Social Inequality, Health & Policy

  • Be sure to be interdisciplinary in your course selections. It is especially easy to select many Sociology courses for this certificate, but be aware that you can only take two courses from a single discipline.
  • If you are selecting the Public Health strand, note that for this BDP, Public Health refers to a specific focus and way of studying health. It deals with the health of populations, rather than looking at the health and healthcare of individuals. So shadowing a doctor, for example, would not be an appropriate Connecting Experience for this BDP, but health education or studying population health trends would be.