(a) Every college and university receiving state support or state aid from public funds shall give a course of instruction in government or political science which includes consideration of the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states, with special emphasis on that of Texas. This course shall have a credit value of not less than six semester hours or its equivalent. Except as provided by Subsection (c), a college or university receiving state support or state aid from public funds may not grant a baccalaureate degree or a lesser degree or academic certificate to any person unless the person has credit for such a course. The college or university may determine that a student has satisfied this requirement in whole or in part on the basis of credit granted to the student by the college or university for a substantially equivalent course completed at another accredited college or university or on the basis of the student's successful completion of an advanced standing examination administered on the conditions and under the circumstances common for the college or university's advanced standing examinations. The college or university may grant as much as three semester hours of credit or its equivalent toward satisfaction of this requirement for substantially equivalent work completed by the student in the program of an approved senior R.O.T.C. unit.
(b) The requirement of Subsection (a) that the required course must include special emphasis on the Texas Constitution does not apply to a degree granted on completion of an academic program offered by a medical and dental unit, as that term is defined by Section 61.003 , to a student who is a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the reserves or national guard, if:
(1) the program is operated by the medical and dental unit under contract with the United States Army;
(2) the program requires less than two years of residency in this state; and
(3) the principal participants in the program are military personnel stationed outside this state.
(c) The governing board of a general academic teaching institution that offers a joint baccalaureate degree program under a contract with a foreign college or university may exempt a student enrolled in the joint degree program from the course requirement prescribed by Subsection (a) if the student:
(1) enrolled in the foreign college or university before enrolling in the joint degree program or is otherwise considered to be primarily a student of the foreign college or university; and
(2) successfully completes the American Way course described by Subsection (d) at the institution the student attends or, with the approval of that institution, at another general academic teaching institution that offers the course.
(d) The American Way course authorized by Subsection (c)(2) must be designed to provide a foreign student with a familiarity and understanding of United States government and civic life and their sources, development, and character. The course must concentrate on important texts, including the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, on the works and contributions of influential authors, political and cultural leaders, and other important figures, and on important events and developments in United States history. The course must cover important developments in human and civil rights, including the civil rights movement and the history of women's rights. The course must cover the history and development of the State of Texas and its place in United States history and culture. The course must consist of four semester credit hours, with one semester credit hour in practicum activities intended to provide the student with experience in the three branches of government through participation at the federal, state, or local level. The course may not be taken for course credit by a student other than a student described by Subsection (c).
(e) In this section, “general academic teaching institution” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003 .
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