Incoming Exchange Students

  • Welcome Students!

    Welcome Students!

Welcome to Sam Houston State University! We are honored that you are considering coming to SHSU as an exchange student. Please use this website as a guide to get you through the (sometimes) complicated process of applying to SHSU, getting your I-20 sent to you, registering for classes, finding housing, turning in the Proof of Meningitis Vaccination Form, and paying fees.

*Before beginning the exchange application process, please ensure that you are not a US citizen.  US citizens cannot study at SHSU under the auspices of an international exchange program.  No exceptions will be considered.

*If you are a graduate exchange student, please understand that there will be additional steps related to academic requirements that are necessary to complete.  These steps can lengthen the overall application process.

STEP ONE: Home University Nomination

Have your home university submit the exchange student nomination form to the Study Abroad Coordinator in International Programs ( or send an email with your name, home country, and home institution to initiate the process.


Apply to SHSU through the ApplyTexas portal. Be sure to choose "Non degree-seeking" and either "International Freshman" if you are an undergraduate student or "International Graduate" if you are a graduate student as the application type. DO NOT PAY THE APPLICATION FEE! At the end of the application, you will be asked for a payment option. Choose to "pay with a check or money order." You will NOT be charged the application fee, but you must choose this option or we will not be able to view your application. It is very important that you enter a correct email address in the application because you will receive further instructions at that address once you have been accepted.

Apply Here

APPLICATION DEADLINES: November 1 for Spring Semester and May 1 for Fall Semester

Once you have submitted your ApplyTexas application, you will get an email from Pat Herrington (undergraduate advisor; or Justin Ball (graduate advisor; They will let you know the next steps in submitting supporting documentation (Step Three).

STEP THREE: Submit Supporting Documentation

With the exception of the English Proficiency Scores, these documents can be submitted via email to Pat Herrington or Justin Ball. For TOEFL or IELTS scores, please request that the scores be sent directly to SHSU when you take the test. If you have already taken the test by the time you apply, please mail the scores to SHSU at the mailing address at the bottom.

Some of our partner universities have alternative agreements regarding English Proficiency. Please consult with your home university on the language requirement.

  1. Proof of English Proficiency: TOEFL (550 paper-based or 79 IBT) or IELTS (6.5). At this time, no other English proficiency tests are accepted.
  2. Transcripts from your Home University: Must be translated into English, and should show titles of courses taken and grades earned.
  3. Proof of Financial Support: This is the amount you must show in a bank account in order for SHSU to issue the I-20 (the document you'll need to get your visa). For the Academic Year, you'll need to show US$9000 and for one semester it will be US$4500. Please use this FORM.
  4. Color Copy of your Passport: Be sure that your passport will not expire for at least 6 months AFTER your scheduled departure date. If it will, you will need to renew your passport before applying for your visa.

Once we have received all your documentation, and as long as your English proficiency meets our standards, you will be academically accepted to SHSU as an Exchange Student.

STEP FOUR: Pay for I-20 Shipment

Once you have been academically accepted, Pat Herrington or Justin Ball will notify you by email that it is time to set up your E-ship Global account and pay to have the I-20 shipped to you. Set up your E-Ship Global account HERE.

It is important to do this promptly after you are notified of your acceptance so that you will have enough time to apply for and receive your visa.

STEP FIVE: Set up SHSU Computer Account & Access MySam Portal

Once you are accepted to SHSU, you will be emailed instructions on what your user name is and how to set up your computer account. This email should be sent within 24 hours of your acceptance. You must follow this procedure in order to be able to register for classes and apply for on-campus housing. This email will be sent to the email address you supplied in the ApplyTexas application.

STEP SIX: Apply for Visa

As soon as you receive the acceptance packet from SHSU, read ALL the contents carefully and arrange to visit your nearest U.S. Consulate for your visa interview.

STEP SEVEN: Get Meningitis Vaccination & Submit Proof to Health Center

All incoming SHSU students are required to show proof for a Bacterial Meningitis vaccination (for students under age 22). For more information, click HERE. You will turn in proof of your vaccination to the SHSU Health Center BEFORE the first day of class to avoid the loss of class schedules.

STEP EIGHT: Register for SHSU classes through the MySam Portal

Once you have set up your computer account (Step 5) you will have access to the MySam Portal. The link to MySam can be found at the top of the SHSU homepage. You will use this portal to access all your information relevant to SHSU, and to register for courses. It is VERY important to start the registration process as soon as you are accepted because many classes fill up fast. To learn how to register, WATCH THIS VIDEO.

You WILL receive registration errors. Please send screen shots of these errors to Each error will have to be addressed individually, and can sometimes take several days to resolve. This is due to the fact that our system does not recognize credits you have taken at your home university, and will often say that you do not have the proper pre-requisites for a course. I will review your transcript for each request and determine if you are actually eligible to take the course.

We identify courses in two ways- either by a 4-letter and 4-number combination (ex: ENGL 2000) or by the CRN- a 5-digit number unique to the section of the course (ex: 23562). Please use either of these descriptors when asking questions about a course.

To determine the difficulty of a course, look at the 4-number code (ex: ENGL 2300) the 2000 level indicates it is a second year course. 1000 level courses are typically for first year students, up to 4000 level courses for fourth year students. 5000, 6000, and 7000 courses are for graduate and doctoral students.

To maintain visa status, you must register for a minimum of 4, 3-hour courses, equaling a total (usually) of 12 credits. You may take one online course (3 credit hours), but the other courses must be on-campus courses. This is an average course load for students in the U.S., and what we recommend for all exchange students.

*Please note - you must be enrolled in a full-time schedule (at least 12 credit hours) by 15 November for spring semester or 15 May for fall semester.  Students are not permitted to arrive on campus for their program without being enrolled in 12 credit hours.  If you are not enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours by the deadlines given, you will not be permitted to attend Sam Houston State University.  You may still be able to make adjustments to your schedule after arrival, but you cannot be signing up for courses for the first time past the dates above.  No exceptions are possible.

*Please note - it is highly recommended that you enroll in courses that do not have prerequisite requirements.  These requirements are rarely waived because we must be able to verify with appropriate documentation that you meet academic standards necessary to succeed in the course.  This is not to be difficult or to cause problems, but to make sure that you are prepared to have a rewarding classroom experience.  The Study Abroad Coordinator can request overrides from instructors in the case of a prerequisite block, but there is ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE THAT AN OVERRIDE WILL BE GRANTED.  You should identify and enroll in alternative coursework in case your override request is denied.  Note that it is not the Study Abroad Coordinator that grants or denies these overrides, but the instructor for the course.  You are also able to request these overrides from course instructors yourself and are encouraged to do so.

STEP NINE: Find Housing

Exchange students have two options for housing: on-campus housing or off-campus apartments within walking distance. On campus housing is etremely limited and not guaranteed.  There is currently a housing shortage for all SHSU students.  It is important to apply for the housing as soon as you are academically accepted.

Apply for on-campus housing HERE. If you choose to live on campus, a meal plan must also be purchased. Cost information can be found here.

If you would rather live off-campus, there are several apartment complexes within walking distance to SHSU, or which have a shuttle service to the campus, offer short-term leases, furnished apartments, and roommate matching services. You can access this list here.

STEP TEN: Arrange for International Student Orientation & Airport Pickup

It is highly recommended that you arrive in time to attend the International Student Orientation. Orientation is the Monday BEFORE class starts.

Once you have reserved your flight, fill out the airport pickup form here. You will need to complete this 7 days before your departure to request this service.

IMPORTANT: There are two airports in the Houston area- we ONLY provide airport pickup from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (code IAH). If you mistakenly fly into the other airport (Hobby) you will be responsible for arranging your own transportation to Huntsville. This can be very expensive (around $100) and should be avoided.

STEP ELEVEN: Make Payments

Exchange students are required to make 2 payments:

1. New International Student Service Fee (undergraduates only). Pay $125 online here.

2. SHSU International Student Health Insurance. For students staying a year, a $1,453 charge will be placed on your account. For students staying for the fall semester, a $566 charge will be placed on your account. For students staying for the spring semester, a $900 charge will be placed on your account (for spring & summer).

NOTE: The health insurance must be paid BEFORE the first class day or schedules will be dropped. You can setup a payment plan to pay in installments, if needed.


1. Though your main purpose is to study at SHSU, if you are looking for a part-time job, exchange students who are on an F-1 Visa can work on campus up to 20 hours per week. To search for part-time job postings at SHSU, you will create an account through JOBS for KATS.

Office of International Programs
Farrington Building, Suite 116, Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: 936-294-4737

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