So I am using a student version of Maya 2012 on my laptop, I am noticing slight differences in the interface than on the desktops at school. I need to create some UV's but when I open the UV texture editor there is no drop down menu set in the shelf, only the expected manipulator icons. Where else is the menu hiding? Is the interface different because it's a student version or because it's on a laptop? Is there a preferences setting that I am overlooking? I am missing the drop downs in the shelf of my standard viewer too, help?
Try going to Window > Settings/Preferences > Interface and checking the 'Show menubar: > In panels' checkbox.
Note that you could also have accessed the same menu via the hotbox (hold down space) or a marking menu (right-click in the UV texture editor). Maya's interface is very flexible and allows you to tune it to suit your own personal preferences.