If you are looking for an urban university large enough to be culturally and educationally diverse, Texas A & M may be a good choice. The university is the largest in Texas and the fourth largest in the country. Texas A&M has a student body of more than 56,000. This is a coeducational, public university that awards associate through doctoral degrees and certificates. It was founded in October of 1876 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, but in the beginning it offered no degrees in agriculture. This school is one of the top 20 schools in the United States for money spent on research; it has contributed greatly to research in several areas, including space under NASA. The US News and World report ranks the school #70 of national Universities.

Texas A&M Accreditation Details

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of the Commission on Higher Education. The Forensics Department, including online degrees, is accredited by the Forensic Sciences Educational Programs Accreditation Commission. The Business programs are accredited by the AACSB. The Engineering program is accredited by ABET. The Computer Sciences programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Texas A&M Admissions Requirements

First-time freshmen should apply through the online portal “ApplyTexas.” The university accepts no applications through email, but will accept them through traditional mail. It does prefer the online portal, however. If you are applying as a freshman, you will need to complete essays in two required areas. If you are admitted conditionally, you will complete a third area essay. You are also required to have your high school submit an official transcript including your class rank. ACT or SAT official scores will need to be submitted by the testing agency to the university. There is a $75 non-refundable processing fee. Transfer students will complete the online application and submit it, along with one essay, the $75 fee and official transcripts of all college work completed. Graduate students also complete the online application and submit it with a $50 processing fee. Their official college transcripts must be submitted to Texas A&M by their former colleges.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The tuition for two terms at Texas A&M varies for undergraduates and graduates, resident and non-resident students. Resident undergraduate tuition is $10,030. Students also pay $10, 368 for room and board and additional costs for books, personal expenses and fees. The total estimated cost of attending Texas A&M for a resident undergraduate student is $27,272 per year. Tuition for non-resident undergraduates is $29,668 per year, making their total $47,448 for the two terms. Graduate tuition is $6,918 for residents, making their estimated costs $26,650 per year. Non-residents pay $14,220 in tuition, so their estimated total is $33,592. Specialized degree programs differ as well. Resident students in the nurses program pay $9,023 a year, while non-residents pay 15,363 in the RN to BSN program. MBA students pay $47,666 the first year and $21,028 the second. Non-resident MBA students pay $61,510 the first year and $25,972 the second year.

College educations are expensive, and most students require some type of financial aid to help pay for them. If you need help, your first step is to complete the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid uses your financial information to determine how much you and your family can be expected to pay toward your educational expenses. Then the program subtracts that amount from what it actually costs to attend the school. The resulting number is your amount of financial need. The FAFSA program awards grants, loans and work-study opportunities for which you are eligible.

Your next step at Texas A&M has already been taken: your school application contains a section used to qualify you for state and school grants and scholarships. Texas sponsors the Texas Public Education Grant, the Texas Grant and others along with state-awarded loans. There are several scholarships and grants available from the university as well. Some of these are needs-based and some are academic. Several colleges and departments at the university also sponsor scholarships. Veterans are eligible for special funding too. Some corporations and professional groups offer scholarships to students enrolled in programs preparing them for careers in those fields. There are diversity scholarships for people based on ethnicity, race, gender and other considerations. All of these can be researched online. If you find yourself still in need of assistance, you might consider a student loan, which is a low-interest loan that allows borrowers to defer repayment until after graduation.

Online Degrees Available

The online component of Texas A&M University is called Texas A&M University Commerce. The university offers more than 36 degrees programs in the Business, Education and Human Services, Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts, Sciences and Engineering and Agriculture colleges. The school is ranked #44 nationally for the best online graduate education program. In addition to that degree, however, you might elect to earn a Master’s in Social and Criminal Justice. The degree program is multidisciplinary and science-based.

You can get a Master of Arts or a Master of Science depending upon whether you wish to teach in a university or to work in the field. You might, for instance, earn a Master of Science in Applied Criminology. This is a 36 hour degree program that includes seminars in corrections, criminology, law and court systems and policing and law enforcement. You might also consider a Master of Science in Computer Science. You can choose from several tracks like Artificial Intelligence, Computer Networks, DataBase and Information Security. This degree contains core classes everyone takes plus electives and track specialization courses. The Master of Computer Science program is so popular that the university is not accepting applications for the online degree for spring of 2016.

What Careers are Available with a Master’s in Criminal Justice?

If you are interested in a degree in sports management, you might think about Texas A&M’s online Master of Science in Health, Kinesiology and Sports Science. This degree program prepares students for a variety of careers in the sports field. The exciting thing about the degree is that is requires an internship and, because the school is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, there are ample pro sports opportunities. If you elect a sports and recreation management degree program you will take 50 percent of your courses online and complete a thesis. The sports administration track is completely online and requires no thesis.

This large school also has ample social opportunities as well as career-based clubs. Although the university has no religious affiliation, it is ranked as one of the highest in students who pray daily. If you want an urban, slightly conservative yet diverse educational environment, you may find Texas A&M is the right school for you.