Prospective Students

Beyond Business Magazine

For Prospective Students...What You Need to Know

Admission Requirements

What are the requirements for admission?

Please refer to our admissions checklist (to be linked) for a complete table comparing requirements of each of our three graduate programs: MBA, MS in Project Management (MS PGMT), and MS in Accounting (MS ACCT).

What is the specific formula used for determining admission?

Each of our programs utilize the same basic formula of (GPA*200) + GMAT score, although the minimum score for each program and other admission requirements may vary. Please refer to our admissions checklist for details (to be linked).

Is the GMAT required?

Yes, the GMAT is required for all COBA graduate programs regardless of the delivery method. There are a few exceptions:

  • For the MBA or MS ACCT programs, applicants with an undergraduate GPA from their degree granting U.S. institution of 3.5 or higher or who hold an advanced degree will be admitted without a GMAT score.
  • For the MBA program, applicants who have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 from their degree granting U.S. institution and have at least three years of significant managerial experience may be admitted without a GMAT score, typically through a review of the applicant's resume.
    • GMAT waivers based on experience are NOT granted automatically. To be considered for a GMAT waiver based on experience, email your request to with a copy of your resume and unofficial transcripts.
  • GMAT waivers are NOT available to applicants with a degree from outside the United States for any of our graduate programs.

May I start the program without taking the GMAT?

Students with a U.S. degree who have stem requirements to complete may apply for and be admitted as a post-graduate student prior to taking the GMAT for the purpose of enrolling in the stem courses only. This does not guarantee admission into the program; a final admission decision will be made with submission of the GMAT score.

What if I do not have an undergraduate degree in business?

A student with a non-business baccalaureate degree or a degree from an institution located outside the United States will be required to complete stem (preparatory) courses. Currently, not all stem courses are available online; however, strategies for completion of these courses in a distance format exist. However, not all courses are available online every semester.

Can the stem classes be waived?

The stem classes serve as prerequisites for the graduate business courses and are required for students who did not take the equivalent courses as part of their baccalaureate program and for students with a baccalaureate degree from a non-U.S. university.

While the stem courses may not be waived, students may "test out" of a number of stem courses by a combination of CLEP and/or validation tests. CLEP tests accepted by SHSU include: ACCT 2301, BUAD 2301, ECON 2301, and ECON 2302. Validation tests for MGMT 3310, MKTG 3310, MGIS 3310, and ACCT 2302 will be available to admitted students. Validation tests must be scheduled in advance and completed onsite at either the Huntsville or The Woodlands Center locations.

Additionally, stem course requirements do not have to be completed at SHSU; they can be transferred in from a recognized, accredited U.S. university. And 2000-level courses can be completed at community college. Official transcripts will be required for any stem courses not completed at SHSU.

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Application Process

What are the steps in the application process?

Generally, an application, GMAT scores, official transcripts of all college/university work, resume, and application fee must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

The MS in Project Management (MS PGMT) and the MS in Accounting (MS ACCT) have additional requirements; please refer to our admissions checklist (to be linked) for a table comparing the various program requirements. Please also refer to the graduate catalog entries for the MBA, MS PGMT, and MS ACCT.

Additionally, international students must also submit an official GMAT score of 450 or higher, an official iTOEFL score of 79 or higher (or IELTS score of 6.5 or higher), and a transcript translated into English.

What is the deadline for applications and when should I apply?

COBA graduate programs follow the application deadlines established by the University, regardless of delivery method. A complete application must be received by:

  • August 1 for fall semester entry
  • December 1 for spring semester entry
  • May 15 for first summer session entry
  • June 15 for second summer session entry

International students have deadlines that are usually 60 days earlier; specifically, all application materials must be received by:

  • June 25 for fall semester entry
  • November 12 for spring semester entry
  • April 9 for first summer session entry
  • May 10 for second summer session entry

Applicants are encouraged to submit all required material as soon as possible because of the limited number of seats in both the online and face-to-face classes.

How long does it take to process an application?

Once a completed application (including ALL required documents) is received, it takes approximately two weeks to fully process an admission decision.

During which semesters are students admitted?

Students are admitted into the three programs for any semester. However, to complete the MS in Accounting in one year, students should apply for a summer or fall semester start due to sequencing of classes.

How many students are admitted to the COBA graduate programs per semester?

There is no actual limit to the number of students admitted to the programs. However, for the MBA and MS PGMT, there are a limited number of online courses offered each semester with each course having its specific capacity.

Entry into all classes, regardless of delivery method, is on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are encouraged to apply and register as soon as possible.

Can I transfer in courses from another graduate institution?

The College of Business Administration will allow up to nine semester credit hours of graduate course work to be transferred in to the MBA program with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. It is suggested that applicants contact the Graduate Coordinator prior to enrollment to discuss any desired transfer credit.

What if I apply for a semester, and I'm admitted, but then I can't attend?

Per University policy, a new application for admission and the application fee must be submitted if the student fails to attend during the semester of admission, fails to attend for one calendar year, or seeks admission into a different degree program.

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Online & Face-to-Face Programs

Which COBA graduate programs are offered completely online?

Currently, the MBA and the MS in Project Management (MS PGMT) are both available in a completely online format. However, not all courses are available online every semester. Additionally, the stem classes for the MBA program are available online.

The MS in Accounting (MS ACCT) is NOT available online or at The Woodlands Center. All classes in the MS in Accounting program are taught at the Huntsville campus during the day.

The EMBA, which specializes in banking and financial institutions, is offered in a hybrid format and is subject to a different fee structure. See the EMBA website for more details.

Can students take on-campus classes in conjunction with the online courses?

Yes, to provide the greatest flexibility, students may enroll in online courses and/or face-to-face courses. The majority of our graduate courses taught face-to-face are taught at The Woodlands Center, approximately 40 miles from Huntsville.

Are the COBA online programs different from the traditional programs?

There is only one degree but with different delivery methods available to students. Whether attempted in the online format or face-to-face format the degree plans remain the same, as do the length of semesters, course content, and other academic requirements. The availability of online courses simply allows students flexibility of when and where to attend classes.

Are the online programs accredited?

All graduate programs in the College of Business Administration are fully accredited by both AACSB International, the premier accrediting body for schools of business world-wide, and the regional accrediting body the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

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General Information

How many hours are required to complete the MBA program? MS PGMT? MS ACCT?

  • The MBA requires 36 graduate hours including 24 hours of core courses and 12 hours of electives.
  • The MS PGMT requires 36 graduate hours of core courses.
  • The MS ACCT requires 30 graduate hours including 24 hours of core courses and 6 hours of electives (this requirement changes in fall 2013 to 27 hours of core courses and 3 hours of electives). Please also note that this program is not available online or at The Woodlands Center.

There is no difference in the number of hours required based on the delivery method chosen (online or face-to-face).

For a sample degree plan, choose the appropriate program:

Where can I find course descriptions and a schedule of courses offered?

Course descriptions for all of the courses in our graduate programs can be found in the University's Graduate Catalog. The schedule can be found here.

Can I specialize in an particular area or field of study?

In the MBA program, students are not required to, but may opt to use their elective courses to complete twelve (12) graduate credit hours in a specific academic field to satisfy the requirements for a concentration area. Currently, we offer concentrations in Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, Management, or Marketing. Additional concentrations are being considered at this time for future incorporation. Accounting concentrations are not optional as we have an MS in Accounting program.

What are your course enrollment maximums?

Generally, the maximum number of students allowed in online graduate classes will vary between 25 and 35 depending on the nature of the course. Courses with heavier writing or analytical requirements will generally be limited to 25 students, while others are typically limited to 35. Students wishing to attend classes in the online format are encouraged to enroll in classes as soon as possible.

What are the grade requirements?Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on all graduate level coursework. Students who earn one grade of "F" or three grades of "C" in 5000-level courses (including stem courses) will be terminated from the program.

Is there a thesis requirement?

There is no thesis requirement for the MBA regardless of the delivery method.

What is the maximum number of hours per semester students are allowed to take; how many hours should I take?

At the graduate level a student is considered full-time if they are enrolled in nine semester hours. However, for a full-time student who is not employed, twelve semester credit hours would be an acceptable load in graduate school. For a student who is employed at some level the maximum number of hours is dependent upon the number of hours being worked, the types of classes being taken, and other commitments such as family.

Many students who are employed on a full-time basis find that three to six hours (1-2 courses), depending on the type of classes, is a load that allows them to get the most out of the learning experience of graduate school and perform well in their job.

How long will it take to complete the program?

For a student who is employed at some level the maximum number of hours is dependent upon the number of hours being worked, the types of classes being taken, and other commitments such as family.

For the MBA program, a fairly realistic timeline to complete is approximately two years. The MS ACCT can be completed in one year, with a summer or fall semester start.

Is there a minimum number of hours required to be taken each semester?

No, there is no requirement for a minimum number of hours to be taken in any semester.

Is there a maximum time allotted to complete a graduate program?

Unless granted an extension, any master's degree at Sam Houston State University must be completed in six years from the initial semester of acceptance.

Will my diploma indicate that my MBA degree was earned online?

There is no difference in the wording on the diploma or transcript of a student who completes the MBA or MS PGMT programs either completely online, face-to-face, or a combination of delivery methods. What is earned is an MBA (or MS PGMT).

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Financial Information

What is the cost of the program?

A tuition and fee schedule.

Are there additional costs?

Tuition and fees vary by location and/or delivery mode. For instance, courses taken at The Woodlands Center incur a fee of $50 per credit hour. Similarly, online courses incur an additional charge of $101 per credit hour. These additional fees are offset by the convenience of taking courses online or nearer to work or home. In addition, if a student enrolls in only online courses, several other University fees are waived.

Is financial aid available to students admitted to the online MBA?

Yes. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Are scholarships available?

Graduate students are eligible for scholarships but they are very limited. Students can apply for scholarships using ScholarX.

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Tel: (936) 294-1239 Fax: (936) 294-3612 E -mail: Mailing Address: P. O. Box 2056, Huntsville, TX 77341-2056

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