Liberal Arts Colleges in Houston, TX with Degree Program Overviews

The Houston, Texas, area has several colleges that offer liberal arts degree programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all less than 15 miles from downtown, to make an informed education decision.

Houston Liberal Arts Colleges

The metropolitan area of Houston is home to many colleges and universities. This article looks at three schools within 20 minutes of the city center. Two are small colleges, while the other is a large public research university. All offer a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in areas of study such as English, art, communication, history, political science and sociology. In addition to providing a look at the schools and their programs, this article also includes a table of information that prospective students should consider, such as school size, tuition and graduation rates.

  • The University of St. Thomas, about three miles from downtown, offers several bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in liberal arts subjects.
  • Houston Baptist University offers bachelor's and master's degree studies in many areas. This school is approximately 13 miles from the city center.
  • University of Houston also offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs through its College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The university is about five miles from downtown Houston.

Comparison of Schools

Students who are deciding on a school need to look at many factors. This table presents information about each school and offers a simple way for students to compare them.

University of St. Thomas Houston Baptist University University of Houston
School Type 4-year private not-for-profit university 4-year private not-for-profit university 4-year public university
Total Enrollment (Fall 2014)* 3,448 3,128 40,914
Campus Setting Large City Large City Large City
Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)* $30,310 $29,800 $8,759 in-state; $20,519 out-of-state
% of Students Receiving Financial Aid (2013-2014)* 78% 95% 59%
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (Fall 2014)* 79% 36% 63%
Retention Rate (for students who began in Fall 2013)* 88% full-time; 50% part-time 66% full-time 86% full-time; 64% part-time
Graduation Rate (for students who began in Fall 2008)* 52% 45% 48% (20% transfer-out rate)

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of St. Thomas

A Catholic Basilian institution, the University of St. Thomas offers small class sizes with a 9:1 student/teacher ratio. The School of Arts and Sciences houses 17 academic departments offering 25 undergraduate majors.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts (BA) have a wide variety of options for programs, including a multidisciplinary BA in Liberal Arts program. Other programs include a major in international studies, which is offered through the Center for International Studies and covers topics such as comparative political systems, intercultural issues, religion and international politics. Undergraduates may also choose to complete cooperative programs in areas such as law, health or engineering.

Graduate Degree Programs

The School of Arts and Sciences offers several Master of Arts (MA) programs, including programs focusing on faith and culture, pastoral studies and theological studies. Graduate students may also pursue a Master in Liberal Arts through a program that blends graduate courses with upper-division undergraduate courses. Student in this program choose one or two areas of concentration out of 19 areas of study, completing a variety of seminars on topics such as third-world politics, American family studies and genre fiction.

Houston Baptist University

Houston Baptist University is a small Christian liberal arts university with history dating back to 1963. The university is home to both the Smith College of Liberal Arts, which offers undergraduate coursework encapsulating general studies requirements for all majors, and the School of Humanities, which offers several undergraduate degree programs.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

The School of Humanities offers concentrations in English, Spanish, government, history and philosophy with minors in speech communication and sociology. Undergraduate students may also pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics or sculpture. For those in the School of Humanities with an interest in the speech communication minor, the school houses the Speech and Debate Club and a Mock Trial Team.

Graduate Degree Programs

At Houston Baptist University, graduate students can pursue an MA degree, a Master of Education (M.Ed) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) with specializations in two-dimensional or three-dimensional artwork, as well as a classically-based interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts (MLA). For MFA students, the university offers private studio space and an Artist in Residency program.

University of Houston

A public research university founded in 1927, the University of Houston houses the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The college is home to 14 academic departments as well as the Moores School of Music and the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. Other notable research and performance centers include the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, the Language and Culture Center, the Center for Public History, the Hobby Center for Public Policy and the Center for the Americas.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Undergraduate students can earn BAs in fields such as anthropology, African-American studies, Latin-American studies and liberal studies. Other undergraduate majors include classical studies, political science, journalism, economics and music theory. Undergraduate students may also participate in faculty-assisted research in areas such as cognitive development, political science, industrial-organizational psychology and educational psychology.

Graduate Degree Programs

Graduate students at the University of Houston may pursue master's and doctoral degrees through one of 31 areas of study. In addition to an MA degree, students may choose to pursue a M.Ed., MFA, Master of Music (MM) or a Master of Public Administration. Doctoral degree seeking students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree through the Moores School of Music.

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