1. When will I be assigned an advisor?

When a student is accepted at the university, he/she will meet with an advisor who will guide the student academically and discuss matters relating to his/her academic program.

2. What do I need to bring to an advising session?

If you are a transfer student, you should bring all information concerning courses currently being taken as well as all courses already completed for your other institution(s). If you are a beginning student, you should make sure all your preliminary entrance tests are on file with the Undergraduate Admissions office and check your SHSU e-mail BEFORE you come to your advising meeting. We cannot advise and clear you if the proper test scores are not posted to your permanent SHSU transcript and should you be lacking test scores, you will be notified via SHSU e-mail.

3. How long does an advising session last?

The first advising session may last anywhere from 20-30 minutes, depending on the questions asked and the information desired. Usually, students are shown a degree plan for their proposed major and the degree plan's structure is explained so the student can use it as a reference. Students are encouraged to bring in an updated degree plan with them at each advising session and familiarize themselves with Degree Works.

4. What is the core curriculum and how many classes are required for completion?


The core curriculum, mandated by the Texas Coordinating Board, consists of 42 hours of college-level courses which must be completed along with requirements for the student's chosen major and minor (if applicable). The core curriculum consists of six hours of English composition (English 1301 and 1302), three hours of mathematics (course determined by major), eight hours of lab science (choices), three hours of language, philosophy, and cultural studies (choices), three hours of creative arts (choices), six hours of American history (History 1301 and 1302), six hours of political science (Political Science 2305 and 2306), three hours of social and behavioral science (choices), three hours of communication OR language, philosophy, and cultural studies (choices), and a one hour required courses (KINE 2115, NGLI 1101, or ECON 1100).

5. What is TSI and what are the requirements for completion?

TSI stands for Texas Success Initiative and involves either scoring high enough on a state or national test or being exempt from the test because of earlier testing (such as TAKS, SAT, or ACT). If a student has taken any of the state approved tests (the THEA, Accuplacer, ASSET, or COMPASS) and has scored at or above the required score, then the student is ready to take college-level courses in English, mathematics, and reading-intensive courses. Important information can be found at this website and all students are encouraged to look at this information:


Information about the THEA and Accuplacer tests can be obtained from SHSU's Testing Center at this location:


6. Can I test out of courses and receive college credit?

Yes.  Information about the tests available can be found on SHSU's Testing Center website:


7. Where can I get a copy of my degree plan?

The DegreeWorks degree plan program is web-based and available to all enrolled students. The program can be accessed through each student's MySam account. Log-in to MySam, select the Students Tab, then select the link that says Access to Degree Works.

Degree Works

8. When can I register for my classes?

Each long semester there is an early registration period which is normally in November and March. Once a student has been advised and cleared, that student may register for classes when his/her last-name letter is scheduled. Early registration is arranged by classification with seniors registering on the first day, then juniors, sophomores, and freshmen on following days. All registration is online. Days and times can be found on the Registrar's Office website.

9. When can I be advised?

Advising begins for future semesters soon after the current semester begins. Once the schedule of classes is put online by the Registrar's Office, students may be advised and cleared. All students are encouraged to be advised as early as possible in the semester to avoid having to wait once early registration approaches. Follow the Sam Center on Facebook, Instagram (SHSU_SamCenter), and Twitter to stay up to day on early advisement periods and other pertinent information.

10. Who must be advised?

All students are encouraged to be advised to assure that they are taking classes relevant to their individual degrees. There are five categories of students who fall under mandatory advisement:

  • Students with no SHSU GPA (all new freshmen and transfer students)
  • Students who have below a 2.5 overall GPA.
  • Students subject to TSI requirements.
  • Students who have 90+ hours, including the current semester. This is to assure that they are on the right track towards graduation.
  • Students who have no major on file and are listed as General Core once they have earned 45 hours.

11. How do I figure my GPA?

GPA's (Grade Point Averages) are figured by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of hours attempted. For example, if you are taking four, three-hour courses and earn C's in all of them, you will have earned a 2.0 GPA [24 grade points divided by 12 hours.] To determine the grade points earned, multiply the number of hours for a given course by the number of the grade earned. I.E. 3 hour course x 2 grade points earned for a C= 6 grade points for that course. Grade points awarded by letter grade are below:

A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

(multiplied by the number of hours for course = grade points earned)

Online Grade Calculators

Maintained GPA Calculator
Semester GPA Calculator
Target GPA Calculator

12. Can I repeat a course I failed for a better grade and will this help my overall GPA?

Yes. You may repeat a course in which an F was received. If a higher grade is earned, that is the grade that will count for the course. The course can be taken at SHSU or at another college or university. If the course is taken at another institution, the grade at SHSU will no longer count in the SHSU GPA and this will cause your SHSU GPA to change. For example, if you receive an F in ENGL 1301, you can repeat the course at another institution and if you earn a higher grade, that course will count. The three hours taken at SHSU will no longer be part of your SHSU GPA, but you will have three hours you have transferred back to SHSU. You may also repeat other courses for higher grades if you choose.

13. If I go on probation, what do I do?

All students who are put on academic probation will receive an email from the Registrar's Office after the close of the semester indicating that they must be re-advised and re-cleared in order to keep the next semester's schedule they already have or to register for the upcoming semester. Probationary students must meet with an advisor to determine the best course of action to take to return to good standing by the end of the upcoming semester. If students on probation do not return to good standing (2.0) by the end of the next semester they take courses, they are placed on suspension. In most cases, advisors will suggest that you repeat courses, which is the quickest way to bring up your GPA. Advisors may also suggest to probationary students that they meet with a mentor to ensure that they stay on track with their studies throughout the semester.

14. What happens if I am placed on suspension?

All students placed on suspension must meet with the Dean of their major college for re-admittance. If the student has early-registered for classes and is suspended, the schedule is dropped until the student is re-admitted. If the Dean allows the student to be re-admitted, then the student must be  re-advised by an academic advisor. If, however, the student on suspension has not been in courses for more than one year, they will still need to meet with the Dean for re-admittance and will then need to reapply to SHSU if re-admittance is granted. Many times students on suspension are put into the SAM Center's MAP program as part of their re-admittance conditions.

15. What is the MAP program?

The MAP (Monitored Academic Progress) program is designed to help all suspended students receive the support they need to return to good standing. Depending on the grade point deficiency of the student, a MAP program is specially designed for his/her needs, which may consist of periodic visits with a trained academic mentor, grade check forms, and other support services which can aid the student to be successful.

16. How are courses at SAM Houston numbered?

Courses have a four-digit designation, such as ENGL 1301. The four letter prefix designates the subject area i.e. English. The first number indicates the level of the course: 1-freshman, 2-sophomore, 3-junior, 4-senior, 5 and above-graduate. The second number indicates the number of credit hours: 1 = 1 hour credit; 2 = 2 hours credit; 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 = 3 hours credit; 4 = 4 hours credit. A zero as the second number indicates that the course can be taken for varied credit from 1 to x hours. The third and fourth numbers are reserved for the department to indicate either a sequence of courses (English 1301 and English 1302) or level of course.

17. Are there any prerequisites for advanced courses?

Most departments will design their programs so that courses are taken in a particular order, therefore, many advanced courses will have prerequisite courses on a lower-level. These are indicated in the catalog following course descriptions. 

IMPORTANT: There are five core curriculum courses which must be taken before any advanced courses can be taken. Those classes are English 1301 and 1302, a college-level math course (not including Math 0331 or 0332), and one lab science.

18. What are some other programs offered by the SAM Center designed to help students succeed with their academics?

First Alert is a program by which professors refer students to the SAM Center who are doing poorly in their classes or are not attending. The staff at the SAM Center contacts the students to meet with them to determine the best course of action to take in order to succeed in that class.

Study Skills classes are offered to all students. These are six one-hour classes which meet weekly for six weeks and cover such topics as procrastination, note-taking, stress management, time management, and reading textbooks.

VIP (Voluntary Intervention Program) is for students to put themselves in a monitored program with the help of a mentor at the SAM Center. All the student needs to do is come to the SAM Center and request a meeting with a SAM Center mentor and the student will be accommodated. There are VIP forms available across campus in classrooms and also in residence halls.

19. What are other programs offered by the SAM Center to enhance the student's college experience?

GRE Preparation.  These intensive sessions are offered free to SHSU students to prepare them for these graduate tests. Offered each semester, students register for the review classes and are committed to recommended preparation and scheduled session attendance. These sessions are also offered to students at the University Center in The Woodlands.

Grassroots is a special speaker program designed to allow students to interact with distinguished, successful men and women of underrepresented populations.  Once each month, in the Olson Auditorium, a guest visitor will interact with students with ways of becoming successful and share his/her story with the audience. Following each Grassroots program, there is a reception in the SAM Center so that the guest can meet casually with students.

20. In what situations would I need to take study skills?

You might be referred to take study skills by an advisor, a dean, or a faculty member, but you can also volunteer to take study skills if you feel that you need to refine your note-taking abilities, relieve stress, adopt better time management, or read textbooks with more accuracy.

21. When is the best time to be advised?

Advising for the next semester begins early in the current semester. For example, advising for the spring semester usually begins in mid-September and advising for the summer and fall semesters begins at the beginning of February. These beginning times coincide with the availability of the schedule of classes online for the semester for which you will be advised.

22. How do I get in contact with my advisor?

Advisors can be contacted by email or by coming by the SAM Center for a one-on-one session.

23. How do I drop a class?

Dropping classes can be done online until near the end of the semester. After the cut-off time for drops, students must go to the Registrar's Office for a drop form.

24. How do I register?

Registration is online. Log into Sam Web, choose "Student Records", then "Registration." Follow the instructions to register for classes. If you have any questions, please contact the Computer Services help desk at 936-294-1950 or by email at helpdesk@shsu.edu.

25. When can I make an appointment and how do I set one up?

No appointments for advising are necessary. We have advisors on hand from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 7:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays during the long terms. There is a particular time during the semester when appointments need to be made for Interdisciplinary Studies (Education) advisement. It is best to call the SAM Center at 294-4444 for these times.

26. What are some other university offices I need to contact?

Undergraduate Admissions
Career Services
Financial Aid
Registrar's Office
Visitor's Center (tours)
Correspondence Office
Honors Program
Residence Life
Testing Center
Campus Map
Bearkat One Card
Transfer Students
Joint Admission
Transfer Equivalence Guide


If you have any questions not answered here, please send them to samcenter@shsu.edu.