Frequently Asked Questions

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In order to complete the MA degree in History, must students attend the campus in Huntsville, Texas?

No. All courses may be completed on-line. Students may complete the degree without ever visiting the campus.

Is the degree accredited?

Yes. The degree has been formally approved and accredited by the Texas State University System, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (the gold standard of accreditation).

How much does each course cost?

The fees change from year to year and are set by the Texas State University System. To view SHSU Tuition and Fees information, please go to the SHSU Bursar's Office homepage or contact their office for more information.

Is a thesis required?

No. There is a non-thesis degree plan available.

Are there time limits for completion of the degree?

Yes. A Master of Arts degree at Sam Houston State University must be completed within a six-year period between the time the first class is taken and the awarding of the degree. Under certain circumstances, extensions can be given.  The six-year rule applies to all transfer credits as well.

How many on-line courses can be taken at one-time?

Three on-line graduate courses are considered a full-time load. In other words, a student taking three on-line courses should expect to spend 30-40 hours per week to complete them. Most students take one course at a time. Occasionally, a student will take two courses, but most find that a very daunting proposition, especially if they are working at full-time careers.

Can students begin and finish a course on their own time-table?

No. Courses follow the semester calendar. The Sam Houston State University calendar is available in the university catalog on the university website.  

How do on-line courses work?

The courses vary from professor to professor. Some are very sophisticated requiring interactive dialogue, chat rooms, and access to other on-line collections. Other classes are very self-contained and work more like an e-mail correspondence course between student and professor. All courses, however, are writing intensive.

It should be pointed out that 100% of our courses are led by our in-resident, tenured or tenure-track faculty members, each of whom hold the terminal degree in their field of expertise.  Your work will be read and evaluated by a recognized expert in the field, not a third-party instructor or academic coach. 

When do I apply for graduation?

It is the responsibility of the student to apply for graduation the semester before he or she expects to graduate. Information about the application process can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. The university also requires that a student be enrolled in at least one class during his or her semester of graduation.

Do I need to select a thematic track?

If you began the program in Fall 2018 or beyond, you are required to select a thematic track to organize your coursework.  You are likewise required to follow the appropriate degree plan.  Students who began the program prior to Fall 2018 are not subject to the thematic tracking.

Can students with limited academic backgrounds in history be admitted to the program?

Yes, under certain circumstances. We require the equivalent of an undergraduate minor (at least 18 semester credit hours) or major in history. In assessing eligibility, we will take into account undergraduate courses taken from other departments if the course had a history focus, such as art history, constitutional law, US foreign policy, and musicology. Students without eighteen semester credit hours in history at the undergraduate level may be probationally admitted to the program after a holistic review of their application materials.

Do I need to take the GRE if I wish to gain acceptance to the MA program?

No. The GRE is no longer required for admission to the program.

I have attended many universities/colleges, sometimes only for one course. Do you need transcripts from each of them?

Yes. We require transcripts from every university or college you have attended, regardless of the number of courses taken at each institution.

I have earned graduate credit at another university. How much can I transfer?

SHSU will normally accept up to six hours of graduate history transfer credit for the thesis degree plan, and nine hours of graduate history transfer credit for the non-thesis degree plan. Students must earn at least a B in any course considered for transfer credit; further, the course must satisfy a requirement on our degree plan (meaning we must have an equivalent course in our catalog). All transfer credits are subject to the six-year rule.

I took a break from the program last spring semester. Do I need to resubmit a full application to continue taking classes?

Yes. If a student is returning after not taking any classes during two long semesters, Fall or Spring, they must submit a new application. We accept applications at any time.

Is it possible for me to take a semester off?

Yes, though a student must take at least one course per academic year in order to remain active in the program.  Failure to do so will necessitate re-application.

Do I need to sit for the portfolio defense while still actively enrolled in coursework?

Yes. Under no circumstances may a student complete coursework and then apply for the portfolio defense.  The portfolio defense must take place during the final semester of regular coursework.

I have a question that has not been addressed above, or a concern about my progress in the MA in History program. Who do I contact?

The director of the MA in History program is Dr. Pinar Emiralioglu. Please reach out to her at 936-294-2583, or at