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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send an email with your name, home country, and home institution to initiate the process.
STEP TWO: Apply to SHSU
Apply to SHSU through the ApplyTexas portal. Be sure to choose either "International Freshman" if you are an undergraduate student or "International Graduate" if you are a graduate student as the application type. Select the major that most align with your major at your home university. 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. You will receive an email from our office that your application as been received with a reminder to pay the application fee. This email is automatically sent to all new international students. As an exchange student your application fee is waived. Do not pay the application fee!
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 the Office of International Programs (OIP). We 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 the OIP. For TOEFL or IELTS scores, please request that the scores be sent directly to SHSU when you take the test. SHSU's institutional code is 6643. If you have already taken the test by the time you apply, please release your scores to SHSU through your TOEFL account.
- 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. Please make sure you have released the scores to Sam Houston State University so we can view them digitally.
- Transcripts from your Home University: Must be translated into English, and should show titles of courses taken and grades earned.
- 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$9,000 and for one semester it will be US$4,500. Please use this FORM.
- 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, the OIP 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 must turn in proof of your vaccination to the SHSU Health Center BEFORE you can register for courses.
STEP EIGHT: Register for SHSU courses 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 Malin Hilmersson. 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. We 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 December 1st for spring semester or May 15th 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 extremely limited and not guaranteed. There is currently a housing shortage for all SHSU students. It is important to apply for 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 unless you live in Bearkat Village. 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. There are also several that 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
You must arrive in time for and attend the New International Student Orientation. Orientation is the Monday BEFORE class starts. You must register and pay the fee for orientation here.
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:
- New International Student Service Fee (undergraduates only). The $125 fee will be placed on your account.
- SHSU International Student Health Insurance. For students staying a year, a $1,646 charge will be placed on your account. For students staying for the fall semester, a $623 charge will be placed on your account. For students staying for the spring semester, a $1,203 charge will be placed on your account (for spring & summer). SHSU International Student Health Insurance can only be waived if one of these criteria are met:
Student is sponsored by the U.S. or a foreign embassy, recognized by the US and are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the sponsor will guarantee 100% payment of all health care expenses including medical evacuation and repatriation.
Student is covered by a U.S. employer health insurance plan or by a parent/spouse’s U.S. employer health insurance plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
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.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION:
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.