Sam Houston State University

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Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston University ranks as one of the oldest colleges in Texas. Founded in 1879 as the Sam Houston Normal Institute, it was one of the only western colleges in the country at the time devoted to the education of future teachers. After becoming a state teaching college in the 1920s, the college transitioned from diploma and certificate programs to degrees. By the 1960s, the college offered enough programs outside of teaching ones that it adopted the name Sam Houston State College. It retained that name for just four years before adopting its current name in 1970.

Many students choose SHU because of its close proximity to Houston. They can reach the larger city in just an hour from campus. Many also appreciate the gorgeous and sprawling campus, which is home to both modern and historic buildings. Academy Award nominated director Richard Linklater attended SHU as did journalist Dan Rather. The university also has a long history of students graduating and entering the professional sports world. Several alumni play or played for major teams in the NFL or coached athletes at the professional level. SHU ranks nationally, according to reports released by U.S. News and World Report and Forbes. Enrollment climbed to more than 20,000 students since the university created an online program that allows students to take classes over the Internet.

Sam Houston State University Accreditation Details

After looking at the programs offered by a college, the type of dorm rooms available and the clubs they might participate in, students should always look for the accreditation a university has. Sam Houston University has both institutional accreditation and program accreditation. Institutional accreditation, which some call general accreditation, comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Students interested in particular programs available online or on campus should consider whether those programs have accreditation as well. Organizations that granted SHU accreditation for those programs include:

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

Sam Houston State University Application Requirements

The admissions policies held in place by SHU differ based on whether students apply for an undergraduate or graduate program. Each graduate program has the right to implement different requirements as well. Those applying to graduate school will need to complete the application, which is available via the Apply Texas website. This website gives students the chance to create an account that they can alter and change as needed to apply to different colleges across the state of Texas. They must also pay an application fee of $45, which is due at the same time that they complete and submit the online application.

All graduate students must submit two letters of recommendation as well. SHU suggests that students ask for letters from professors they had a working relationship with or someone who oversaw fieldwork or an independent study project. An official score from the GRE and an official college transcript are also required. Those entering the history graduate program must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and a transcript that shows they took a minimum of 18 credits of history classes. The history department also asks that those who apply submit a writing sample that shows they have strong research skills and a good understanding of the English language.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Graduate students attending SHU pay different tuition rates depending on whether they are a Texas resident taking classes on campus, if they moved from outside of the state to campus or if they take online classes only. Texas students taking classes on campus pay around $4,600 a semester for a full course load of 12 credits. The cost for out of state residents increases to around $9,300 a semester. SHU offers reduced rates for those who enter one of its online programs. taking 12 classes online will cost students around $5,600 a semester. The cost rises for all students when they factor in their personal expenses and any supplies or textbooks they might need.

Whether enrolling as an online or traditional student, all students must complete the FAFSA and list the school code for SHU on that form. Graduate students usually qualify for loans from the federal government in the form of unsubsidized loans that accumulate interest while the student is still in school. SHU also offers some work-study jobs on campus that let students work a job on campus. After filling out the FAFSA and the online application, SHU will notify students about the amount of aid they will receive, if they qualify for any scholarships and if they should apply for jobs on campus.

Master of Arts in History

Sam Houston University developed its Master of Arts in History program to meet the needs of students interested in studying at the advanced level. The program prepares students for teaching at the high school or community college level. Graduates may also enter jobs in public history fields or work for the military or government. SHU also guarantees that students will gain the skills necessary to go on to a PhD program later. Those who complete a thesis will take 30 credits of classes, while those who do not write a thesis will need to complete a total of 36 credits. Students who select a minor in or out of the history department will also need to take 36 credits of classes.

SHU is unique in that it gives students the chance to focus on a specific field of study within history or on a specific era. Students may focus on the cultural history of the United States, world history, military history, the American South or 19th century history. Whether or not students write a thesis, they must also sit for two examinations before graduating. The first is a written exam that they take in front of a proctor. Students will then complete an oral exam in front of professors working within the department. Sam Houston University offers its MA in History degree program both on campus and through its online system.

Can I Take Several Years to Complete a Master's Degree?