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Sam Houston State University: Academics, Admissions & Tuition Info

Learn what degree programs Sam Houston State University offers. Research its academics, and read about its admission and financial aid info to make an informed education decision.

About Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University, often called Sam or SHSU, is a public university founded in 1879 in Huntsville, Texas, for the purpose of training teachers. Today, SHSU's main campus sits on 317 acres of land; the school opened its Northwest Houston Campus, which serves transfer and non-traditional students, in 2011. According to the school's website in 2012, SHSU has one of the strongest criminal justice programs in the nation, and it offers one of the only fully accredited master's programs in forensic science in the country. As of 2012, SHSU is also the only university in Texas offering the PGA golf management degree.


The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education classifies SHSU as a doctoral research university. The school offers a variety of programs, including undergraduate majors in accounting, agriculture, computer science, criminal justice, management, philosophy, sociology and victim studies. SHSU's average class size is 31 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22 to 1.

SHSU has a variety of online offerings, including a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice and 16 graduate-level programs. The university's website noted in 2012 that it has nationally recognized doctoral programs in business, education, criminal justice, fine arts and mathematics. In addition, SHSU's campus includes a planetarium and observatory as well as a student-published newspaper.


SHSU offers classes in the fall and spring semesters as well as two summer sessions. Undergraduate admissions requirements include an Apply Texas Application, ACT Composite or SAT I scores and a high school transcript. In addition, applicants must meet one or more of the State of Texas Uniform Admissions Policy standards. Students wishing to transfer must have at least 12 hours of coursework, complete the Apply Texas Application and provide college transcripts. Freshman orientation is required.

SHSU has an early admissions program, which allows qualified students to attend courses after their sophomore year of high school, as well as an international admissions program. Graduate students apply via the Apply Texas system; an official undergraduate transcript and additional materials determined by individual programs are required.

Tuition and Financial Aid

In fall 2012, per-semester tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students were $3,304 for in-state students and $7,516 for out-of-state students. In the same year, per semester tuition and fees for full-time graduate students were $2,998 for in-state students and $6,157 for out-of-state students. Undergraduate freshman are required to live on-campus; as of 2012, the estimated cost for one semester in a residence hall was $2,100. Undergraduate students may spend about $500 per semester on books and supplies.

A tuition payment plan is available for all students. In addition, SHSU students can apply for federal grants and loans as well as institutional loans, grants and scholarships.

School Type University, public*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's, doctorates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters*
School Setting Town: Remote**
Student Body 14,921 undergraduate students and 2,606 graduate students in 2011**
Student Housing 27 residence halls and apartments; freshmen undergraduates are required to live in residence halls*
Schools and Programs Seven schools; 79 undergraduate programs, 54 master's programs and 5 doctoral programs*
Student-Faculty Ratio 22 to 1**
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) 2010-11:
Bachelor's: Criminal Justice/ Safety Studies (472)
Master's: Educational Leadership and Administration, General (95)
Doctoral: Educational Leadership and Administration, General (17)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 22% in four years
45% in six years
48% in eight years**
Admission Rate 87% in 2011**
Entering Class Size 2,069 in 2012***
First-Year Retention Rates 73% for full-time students and 42% for part-time students**
Average ACT Score of Admitted Students 75th Percentile ACT composite score: 23 in 2011**
Application Due Dates Fall - August 1
Spring - December 1
Summer I - May 15
Summer II - June 15*
Decision Notification Date None given*
Tuition $3,304 per semester as of fall 2012 (undergraduate resident tuition and fees for 12 credit hours)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) In 2011: Federal grants (42%), state/local grants (51%), institutional grants (16%), federal student loans (53%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid In 2010-2011: 81%**

Sources: *Sam Houston State University, **IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics, ***The College Board.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Sam Houston State University, Undergraduate Admissions Office, Box 2418, Huntsville, TX 77341-2418
  • Phone: (936) 294-1828
  • Website:

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