Through piles of paperwork and binders filled with course notes, you would never know Julie Daniels is an online student.

“I’m really weird, and I don’t like reading off the computer,” says Daniels. “I still have to print everything out because I like it in front of me.”

online learningLast semester, when Daniels took nine credit hours, this resulted in three binders full of PowerPoint presentations and class notes. If she has a paper due, Daniels writes it out first in hand, edits it, and then transcribes it into the computer.

“I don’t know how many other people this would work for, but I’m just used to paper and pencil,” says Daniels. “There’s still some old-fashioned in me.”

At 61, Julie Daniels is the ideal online student. She’s driven, works hard in her classes, completes assignments ahead of time, and gets As and Bs. However, that wasn’t always the case.

“I went to college when I first got out of high school, but I wasn’t serious. I was only going because my parents wanted me to, so I blew it off,” explains Daniels. “You know, boyfriends, frat parties, all that kind of stuff got in the way of school.”

A mother of five adult children and grandmother to 12 grand- and great-grandchildren, ages 3-25, all of that changed about four and half years ago.

“I wanted it for me, for a sense of accomplishment, but I wanted to show my parents that I could do it, “ says Daniels.

As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places.

A resident of San Antonio, Texas, Daniels stayed local, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Mary’s in 2014. While there, Daniels received a Presidential Scholarship, and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average. Still, her journey was met with some adversity. Her parents passed away within a year of each other and she was often the oldest student in her face-to-face courses.

“I got teased a lot,” admits Daniels. “The kids would look at me, and they would say, why are you here? I told them, because when I was their age, I messed around and didn’t think school was important. But they would answer, No, why are you here, you’re too old.”

As an online graduate student in SHSU Online’s Sociology program, age is not an issue for Daniels nor her classmates; they come from as varied a background as she does, are diverse in age, and hail from far-flung places (at least from San Antonio’s perspective) like Japan, France, Puerto Rico, and closer to home, Houston.

“It’s very interesting, the amount of distance that was between some of us and then some of us were as close as Houston,” says Daniels.

While Daniels hasn’t completely embraced all the digital tools available to her, she still thrives in an online environment, utilizing group discussions in Blackboard and email to communicate with her classmates and to sort out questions and problems. It is this communication, Daniels believes, that is one of the keys to success in online classes.

“If you have good communication with your fellow classmates, you’ll do a lot better,” says Daniels.  “A lot of us could figure things out without involving the professor. What’s even nicer is when you have the same classmates a couple of times you get to know them. Hopefully, one day we all will get to see each other.”

If all goes according to plan, that could be Spring 2016 at graduation. She will also be 62 years old.

If you’re interested in returning to school, no matter what your age, visit Online Programs and Degrees Programs to find the right online educational opportunity for you.

The Sam Houston State University motto, “The Measure of a Life is Its Service,” resonates deeply with SHSU Online student Peary Perry.

Perry, 73, a Houston resident, has lived a full life. He served his country in the United States Army as a tank commander, worked in the Houston Police Department as an undercover vice squad officer, and acted as president of several successful companies across a multitude of industries.

Peary-PerryWhen it comes to pursuing his online Master of Arts in History degree, Perry makes the case for online learning, coupled with hard work and dedication, to help individuals overcome adversity to achieve their goals.

“I hear a lot of people say ‘I’m too old to go back to school, or I should have gotten my degree but I didn’t,’ and what I’m trying to emphasize is that you’re never too old to learn, you’re never too old to get a degree, and there’s always an opportunity out here for you if you want to take advantage of it,” he says. “I’m not your normal master’s student, but this is a professional opportunity and a challenge for me to pass on to others that you’re never too old to learn.”

Admittedly, getting back into higher education was a transitional period for Perry. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Edward’s University in 2008, attending both online and on-campus courses. He enrolled in SHSU’s online master’s program in fall, 2014, and was pleasantly surprised to see the technological advancements in his online courses.

Perry says his courses are immersive, with a variety of classwork that utilizes several mediums.

“What brought me to SHSU was the ease of enrollment, the description of courses, and the references that I found from prior students made me think this was the place I needed to be,” he says, “But the style of learning is what got me hooked. Today there is more encouragement to participate in classes, which I enjoy much more because you are encouraged to express your feelings about certain subjects.”

SHSU has received numerous awards for their student engagement within online programs, promoting quality participation in courses, providing students opportunities to both readily interact with their instructors and classmates, and allowing students to complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

Perry is not alone in his educational journey; in fact, his support system acts as an inspiration for him completing his degree.

“The reason this is important to me is because I have four sons, my oldest is 51 and my youngest is 39, and I have three granddaughters, 22, 10, and 2; I think it is very important for them to know they are never too old to learn, whether it’s cooking, history, or economics,” he says. “My experience has been, the more you exercise your brain, the more alive you are.”

SHSU offers over 40 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit

The Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology at SHSU will be bringing a whole new kind of online degree program – the Master of Agriculture in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Environment (SAFE) – to SHSU this fall.*

Unlike many other master’s degree programs which are generally intended for students pursuing academic or specialist careers, this unique, non-thesis 36-hour distance education program is designed to prepare working professionals for studies in agrSAFE_icon_greenwords_verticaliculture that focus on sustainable practices.

The program’s curriculum will explore a variety of modern agricultural pursuits framed by sustainable practices, including non-traditional and viable enterprises in agriculture, alternative value-added products, modern farming techniques, food safety, and small business marketing. This makes it an ideal choice for small landowners, urban farmers, value-added and cottage food makers, educators, government agents, or anyone interested in local food production.

Dr. Stanley Kelley, chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology, says: “We know our students have unique needs and interests in the field of agriculture. That is why we are excited to offer a fully online degree program that is relevant to modern agriculture with sustainable practices,” and adds, “SHSU is a leader in online education that has received national recognition. Our faculty are ready to engage you no matter where you live.”

The department will also offer a new Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture.* This 12-credit hour online program will build student’s competencies in the most current aspects of the agricultural industry, including agricultural advocacy, alternative agricultural enterprises, entrepreneurial activities, agritourism, conservation, and innovative marketing strategies.

For more information on enrollment, contact Dr. Kelley at 936-294-1189 or

*New programs for Fall 2015 pending approval from The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Forensic science is under the popular-culture microscope, thanks to programs such as Law and Order, CSI, and NCIS playing on millions of television screens across the world. But long after the glow of Hollywood’s lights have dimmed and actors have returned to their trailers, an assistant professor in SHSU’s Department of Forensic Science is bringing the reality of forensic science to life in the online platform.

Dr. Jasmine DrakeAssistant Professor Jasmine Drake, Ph.D., a Louisiana native who came to SHSU by way of the Drug Enforcement Administration as a forensic chemist, developed and teaches an online Ethics and Professional Practice course to be used for the Minor in Forensic Science program. She says the concept and capabilities of online learning allow for instructors to impact a larger number of students in a global economy.

“Although an online platform may not be appropriate for particular courses in forensic science, such as those requiring the learning of lab-based concepts, there are many fundamental courses across various forensic science disciplines which can be effectively taught online,” she says. “One thing I enjoy the most about teaching online courses is that it gives me the opportunity to interact with and impact a larger group of students. Many of the students enrolled in my online course are non-traditional students who would not otherwise be able to attend the same courses in a traditional classroom setting.”

Additionally, the Department of Forensic Science offers an online “Introduction to Forensic Science” course, where instructors with experience as practitioners use their experience in the field, along with the technological capabilities of online learning, to deliver a stimulating and flexible learning environment for students.

Drake says when it came to developing the course, she utilized several technological applications with assistance from the CJ Online Instructional Design Team, including lecture materials, video content, web-based links, and audio recordings.

“I believe it is my responsibility as an online instructor to effectively deliver course materials and learning objectives in a fashion that would mirror the face-to-face instruction found in a traditional classroom setting,” she says. “One challenge to online teaching is achieving a sense of community, but I was able to address this challenge by integrating discussion topics and forums to increase the sharing of ideas and communication between individual students.”

​The minor in Forensic Science caters to criminal justice majors who have a general interest in forensics and intend to apply for graduate programs in forensic science or pursue investigative or forensic career paths.

Drake says students interested in pursuing online learning must take the time to understand their courses and plan their time appropriately to succeed.

“I think that technology is rapidly changing the face of education, and I would advise any students interested in pursuing an online education to be sure to keep an open line of communication with their professor to ensure they understand the learning objectives and specific rubrics for course assessment,” she says. “They should also pay very close attention to the course schedule and timelines for mastering concepts, since it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to manage their time in an online course, which is self-paced.”

For more information about SHSU’s Department of Forensic Science  or the Minor in Forensic Science, visit

OnlineMastersPrograms.Org recently ranked Sam Houston State University’s Master of Education in Administration program #36 in the nation among their “Best Online Education Master’s Programs” category.

According to OnlineMastersPrograms.Org’s ranking methodology, thousands of programs were assessed across the nation, but only 46 programs made the cut, meeting the below assessments:

rankings-badgeOur rankings methodology begins with two crucial factors: The school’s commitment to consistently rewarding degrees and The school’s commitment to online graduate education.

From there, we confirmed that the school offered the following services, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS):

  • Academic/Career Counseling Service
  • Employment Services for Students
  • Placement Services for Completers

These services are the essential indicator that a school understands how to bridge the gap between their online master’s programs and the working world. Any school lacking in these basic services was not included in our final list.

SHSU Online is proud to receive this recognition, and congratulates the Department of Educational Leadership for the achievement.

View the complete rankings of OnlineMastersPrograms.Org’s Best Online Education Master’s Programs at

summer-classroomRegistration for summer courses closes in two weeks… As an online student, you have the benefit of choosing your classroom. Where will yours be this summer?

With more than 25 degree programs and dozens of professional certifications and graduate certificates offered 100% online, you can make educational choices that suit your personal, academic, and professional goals.

Catch up while others are cooling off and find a program that’s right for you at

Sam Houston State University Online students come from many different places and life situations, and all face unique challenges as they work to earn their degrees. Angela Cravens, who just graduated this past week with a bachelor’s degree in general business administration, has successfully balanced work in the information technology sector and raising a young family while also earning her online B.B.A. at SHSU… and she intends to take her education even further.

Cravens had previously attended SHSU as a traditional student, but had discontinued her earlier studies due to financial constraints. She earned a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation while working at global software firm BMC in Houston, and her company also encouraged her to seek a bachelor’s business degree.

Cravens2She was quick to select SHSU’s online B.B.A. program. “I have attended many other state universities in the past, and SHSU by far offers more interaction and technology to accommodate the best online experience,” Cravens notes. “I also liked the fact that if needed, I could be advised via Skype or phone, or even drive to campus if absolutely necessary. Either way, there was always a way to get the guidance I needed.”

Flexibility was also very important to her. “I chose the SHSU Online degree program for convenience and well-rounded nature of the program,” she says. “As a full-time working professional with children and work-related travel, having the flexibility to do my studies was key.”

Another factor in favor of SHSU Online’s program for Cravens was her ability to transfer a generous number of hours from Lone Star Community College, and to take courses at the University Center. As she says, “I was able to maximize my hard-earned educational dollars.”

Though online learning by its nature involves a large amount of solo effort by students, Cravens was also able to make some important connections with fellow students as she approached the final year of her B.B.A. program. “It was in my final year of studies that the assignments required heavier collaboration in a team structure for projects, and I’m still in contact with several classmates outside of school as a result,” she notes. “There were many working adults, parents, and non-traditional students that I could identify with in the online program, and we inspired and encouraged each other along the way.” She also appreciated many professors in the online program, including Mrs. Cathy Lockwood (statistics), Dr. Robert “Chip” Matthews (entrepreneurship), and others who, she says, “inspired me to examine things from different angles and try my very best.” Cravens3

On May 8, Cravens celebrated her graduation with her husband, Aaron J. Cravens (SHSU ’11 and U.S. Army veteran), her two children, and her grandmother—who, she notes, grew up working on a cotton farm and did not have the chance to attend college. “Ever since I was a little girl, she has very much inspired me to become a woman in business,” she says.

While achieving her B.B.A. is an important milestone that she hopes will help advance her professional IT career, she already has a further goal – she hopes to return to SHSU to earn a master of business administration degree in the future. Cravens believes SHSU Online’s program is one of the best in the nation for both the quality of education and the ability to meet the needs of returning or continuing students.

OnlineColleges.Net recently ranked Sam Houston State University #14 in their “Most Affordable Online Colleges in Texas” category.

According to OnlineColleges.Net:

logo-nav-2x“Our affordability rankings are compiled using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Using their online data tools IPEDS and College Navigator, we pulled a master list of accredited, not-for-profit schools offering degree programs online… Schools are ranked by affordability.
Tuition rates reflect the annual cost of enrolling
full-time as an in-state student.”

SHSU Online is proud to receive this recognition, which reflects the university’s continuing commitment to provide outstanding online degree programs at the most affordable prices possible.

The full rankings of Most Affordable Online Colleges in Texas is available at

The online Doctorate of Education in Instructional Technology degree is a unique program that prepares students to be leaders in merging technology with learning.

“This program consists of a unique collaborative curriculum between the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Computer Science Department, offering a meaningful blend of technical application and instructional theory,” says Marilyn Rice, Ph.D., doctoral director of the Doctorate in Instructional Technology program.

Faculty in the Instructional Technology program have been pioneers in the online teaching and learning environment, having taught elements of courses online dating back to 1999.

shutterstock_154665698“The program follows the cohort model, where students move through the coursework together,” says Rice. “Having used this approach for many years in other programs, we find that the cohorts help develop an atmosphere of a cohesive classroom culture even though all courses are online.”

By completing the program entirely online, students are able to pursue their degree without the having to relocate due to the restrictions of residency requirements

Dr. Rice says the experience and enthusiasm of online learning is evident in the Doctorate of Education in Instructional Technology program, utilizing a variety of online learning resources.

“We’ve found the communication and collaboration opportunities among people from various walks of life and cultures provides a secondary level of learning for our students that is not attainable in most face-to-face programs,” says Rice.

Graduates of the program are poised for success in a variety of applications, such as leaders of instructional technology, guiding their organizations toward achieving meaningful integration of technology, or as instructional technology leaders working in school districts, community colleges, universities, or businesses in support and service roles regarding instructional design, assessment of learning/management systems, networking, and assessment/implementation of instructional software.

Applications for the program are due June 1.

For more information about the online Doctorate of Education in Instructional Technology degree visit

The College of Health Sciences’ Master of Arts in Kinesiology (Sport and Human Performance) program combines SHSU’s online course delivery with individual, on-campus instruction to create a flexible degree plan personalized to suit multiple career paths.

The program allows students to complete their coursework entirely online while visiting the SHSU campus once a semester for lab work, opening the door to careers in personal training, college coaching, commercial wellness, and more.

hispanic-male-tablet“The inclusion of lab days provides us the opportunity to deliver much of the course content online, allowing students maximum flexibility and the option of keeping a full-time job while maintaining the hands-on component that is critical for our discipline,” says Dr. A. Page Glave, academic advisor of the program. “The combination of hands-on lab time and the utilization of web-based evaluations gives students a well-rounded education that allows them to tailor the program to best match their career aspirations.”

Lab activities are dedicated to learning how to utilize equipment used in sport and human performance for research, clinical, and applied applications. Students are first introduced to lab equipment through online videos and other presentations and then given hands-on time with the equipment during lab.

Glave says the foundation of the program is the Department of Kinesiology faculty, who are dedicated to utilizing the online format to guide students into careers as developing practitioners in research, clinical, and applied settings.

“We recently updated the curriculum of our program to help increase the marketability of our students after graduation while continuing to provide multiple options to fit the career goals and schedules,” says Glave. “Through our program, we give our students full access to work closely and develop mentoring relationship with our faculty, who are subject matter experts with real-world experience and backgrounds in many areas of sport and human performance.”

Visit to find out more about the online Master of Arts in Kinesiology (Sport and Human Performance) degree offered through SHSU Online, and see what you can do to get started today!



2015-USNews-Web-Hero(NoSwoosh)-1940x746For the fourth straight year, Sam Houston State University has earned national recognition in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of online education programs.

2014 was the first year that SHSU was invited to participate in the ranking process for Best Graduate Online Criminal Justice degree programs, and the university came in at #5 in the nation.  In the Student Services and Technology area of the ranking dimensions for this program, SHSU is second nationwide. The Student Engagement and Faculty Credentials and Training dimensions of the rankings also contributed to the program’s overall top-shelf ranking. And the new student retention rate for this program is 85 percent for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Another standout ranking for SHSU was in the Graduate Online Information Technology Program listing. Here the university notched a rank of #7, again with exceptional scores in Student Services and Technology, Student Engagement, and Faculty Credentials and Training. This program has earned similar high rankings in past years in the U.S. News & World Report listings. SHSU’s overall rank of #7 places the school in the top sixth, or top 16 percent, of all schools included in the ranking report for Graduate Online Information Technology Programs nationwide.

In the rankings of Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs, SHSU fell within the top 25 percent of all universities included in the survey. Similarly, in the Best Online MBA Programs rankings, the university’s rank is comfortably in the top third (31 percent) of all schools surveyed.

Bill Angrove, associate vice president for distance learning, says: “The #5 ranking of the Best Graduate Online Criminal Justice degree programs is especially rewarding to me as this is the first program to be put online after my arrival at SHSU Online in 2009. In helping to develop this program, I was honored to work closely with the former Dean of the College of Criminal Justice, Dr. Vincent Webb, and I am sure he is as thrilled as I am to receive this recognition. It’s also an honor to be recognized by U.S. News and World Report with high rankings for so many additional online degree programs.”

SHSU Online’s service plays a key role in the university’s placement regarding U.S. News & World Report’s “Student Services and Technology” indicator by providing student support and highly accessible technologies and services and strong support to its students.

U.S. News & World Report’s “Student Engagement” indicator measures the degree to which programs promote quality participation in courses, allow students opportunities to both readily interact with their instructors and fellow classmates similarly to a campus-based setting, and allow students to complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

SHSU offers more than 35 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit

A complete listing of the U.S. News and World Report online rankings can be found at

shutterstock_194704859Although online education has gained significant popularity in recent years, the processes of obtaining a degree online as opposed to taking classes on campus still raises doubts for many.

However, a recent white paper from Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, titled “Equal Opportunity in Higher Education: Understanding Rigor and Engagement Across Learning Modalities,” found that there are strong similarities between the quality of on-campus and online courses:

  • Online students write and read as much as traditional students
  • Faculty members for online courses provide the same amount of feedback as faculty in traditional classrooms, and possibly more quickly

The report, combining data from a survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) as well as Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences (OCS), obtained results from more than 500 institutions nationwide and 27 in Canada, and 1,500 individuals nationwide, respectively.

Through comparing the results of the NSSE and OCS surveys, it was found that across nearly all the questions examined, there were little to no significant statistical differences in academic rigor or faculty engagement between the groups. However, there were some directional trends and conclusions that did emerge, including:

  • Online students are writing just as much as, and possibly more than, NSSE students.
  • Online students are preparing just as much as NSSE students, but may be spending more of this preparation time reading.
  • Online students report feeling less challenged by their online coursework
— perhaps due to their age and life experiences they bring into the classroom.
  • Online faculty are providing the same amount of feedback, but may be doing so more quickly.

Our student stories speak for themselves, but SHSU Online is dedicated to providing modern technological applications and support to the university’s award-winning distance education programs. Visit our Awards and Recognitions page to see how SHSU Online stacks up against academic institutions across the nation.

SHSU offers more than 35 fully online degree programs, including two doctoral programs, as well as 24 online certificate programs. For more information on any of SHSU’s online programs, visit

decor-christmas-tree-in-bearkat-plazaFrom all of us at SHSU Online, have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.

We’ll see you again in 2015 as we continue to share insight and information about our growing number of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as professional certificates.

Thanks for visiting and making 2014 a year to remember.

SHSU Online Student Tam Pham

Tam Pham is currently pursuing at Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice while serving in the U.S. Army.

A first-generation American, Tam Pham’s parents came to the United States after the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War.   The youngest of three boys, Pham joined the U.S. Army immediately after high school, shocking his parents in the process.

“Coming from a middle-class family with strong Vietnamese roots, joining the service was out of the question,” says Pham. “So imagine my mother’s objection when I told her I was not going to college but instead enlisting.”

After many months of arguing then suffering through the silent treatment, Pham’s mom finally got a promise from her son.

“I promised her that I would pursue my degree when I was able, and I would not give up on my education,” says Pham.

And he hasn’t, turning to SHSU Online to help him keep that promise.

Pham, now 27, has been pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice for the past decade. He tried, and failed, to complete traditional courses while on base but his schedule simply wouldn’t allow it.

Pham is currently stationed in Oahu, Hawaii as a Squad Leader in a Light Infantry Battalion with the 25th Infantry Division. When he’s not on base, he can spend up to nine months in training followed by twelve months or more of overseas deployment.

“Many times I had to explain to my professors that I would be unable to turn in assignments because I would either be in a different state training or out of country,” says Pham. “It made a pursuit of a traditional education difficult.”

In 2012, Pham transferred to SHSU Online for its highly rated undergraduate criminal justice program and because online courses allowed him the flexibility to pursue his education along with his primary commitments.

Pham was also pleased with the support he received from recruiters in the Veteran’s Resource Center.

“I had honestly never had a Veteran Affairs rep that understood the complexity of how an active duty soldier’s life was and how to help me succeed in my future endeavor with SHSU.”

Still, Pham had to learn how to be a full-time online student with a full-time job.

“I believe to be an online student, there is a level of discipline and dedication to stay on track and complete your work,” says Pham. “Finding that balance came with time. It took a lot of growing up and deciding what a priority was and what was not.”

It helped to remember the promise he made to his mother and his own professional goals.

SHSU Online Student Tam Pham hiking

Tam Pham hiking in Oahu, where he is stationed.

“My mother has worked the same occupation for 30 years and has never complained once, and although I am the youngest of three, I will be the first to get a degree in our family,” says Pham. “I want to set a standard for my future family and show that although our lineage started off as refugees, you can still be so much more.”

When he graduates, Pham hopes to pursue a career in the Federal Law Enforcement sector and earning his degree online while completing his military service can help him do that.

“[My degree] also allows me several opportunities to pursue a career outside of the service so I don’t fall behind my peers in the job market. I’ll have the best of both worlds: a degree and experience.”

SHSU Online is proud to support active military students like Tam Pham as a military-friendly university, and we’re committed to supporting other student veterans with the very best in online programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. We offer several online programs highly ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of 2014 Best Online Programs for Veterans, including Best Online Bachelor’s, Graduate Education and Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs. To see these and other degrees, visit our degree programs page.

Are you active military or a veteran?
Contact the Veterans Resource Center

How to Contact Us:
ABIII, room 116
Open Mon-Fri
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 936.294.1046
Fax: 936.294.4921

shutterstock_71599324Sam Houston State University’s acclaimed College of Criminal Justice recently expanded their online programs to include a Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies degree and two online certificates, catering to the growing demand for professionals in the field.

The program utilizes a broad educational objective, including national security, cyber security, and emergency management, to develop graduates who can be leaders in the field in theoretical and experiential dimensions of security management.

Following the frenzied events of September 11, 2001, the scope of homeland security was redefined to include both the public and private sector to regulate responses to natural disasters, airborne illnesses, and terrorist attacks. The bridge between the sectors and the united front created a need for professionals prepared to face a multitude of threats.

The degree consists of 36 credit hours, and courses in the Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies include:

  • Intelligence and Counterintelligence in National Security
  • Global Terrorism
  • Security and the Future
  • Digital Forensics Investigation
  • And more

For working professionals seeking to explore online courses for the first time or to add a specialization to their skill set, the College also offers two graduate certificates: Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Both certificates consist of 18 credit hours, allowing students to complete the program in one calendar year by enrolling in two courses per semester, and places graduates halfway to receiving their MS in Homeland Security Studies.

For more information about the online Master of Science in Homeland Security Studies, or the graduate certificates in Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection, visit

1. Our Faculty and Students.  Without the dedicated faculty from all seven colleges and numerous programs across campus, there is no SHSU Online. Students pursue degrees online at SHSU because of the faculty’s dynamic programs, challenging curricula, and engaging coursework. But even more than that, it’s their commitment to student success. 

2. Steady Support. When you have ambitious goals, you have to be prepared to make them a reality. We’re thankful that SHSU’s leadership not only provides steady support but the right tools to make these goals a reality. That’s a powerful combination.

3. Ambitious Goals. Bigger isn’t always better, but better is always better. We’re grateful for the forward and ambitious thinking of SHSU and a leadership team that believes there is always room for improvement–for SHSU faculty who teach online, online students, and SHSU staff.

Halloween Party at Murff Building

4. Co-workers Who Dress. You never really know someone until you see him or her in a Halloween costume. At SHSU Online, we’re more than our job titles and we’re grateful for any opportunity to step away from our ordinary day to day to really get to know our fellow co-workers—whether it’s their creative costume idea, or their mean three-cheese macaroni and cheese recipe. What we discover about them often makes us like them even more.

5. New Leases. Change isn’t easy, but it’s always an adventure worth having. This past October, 75 percent of our staff moved into a new building just off campus. For the first time, the staff is interacting on a daily basis rather than an occasional one. There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in the air with all this creativity and talent under one roof. The result is more ideas, more creative exploration, and more good work.


Advance registration for the Spring 2015 semester is open.  Keep the sweaters, scarves, and jackets in the closet, but bundle up with a variety of online learning options to heat up your career.

Whether you’re starting your academic journey, picking up where you left off, or taking courses to advance your education, SHSU Online’s got you covered.

We have online undergraduate degrees, online master’s degrees, and more to further your education without compromising your lifestyle or schedule. Find a program that’s right for you at

SHSU President Dana Hoyt was recently on the set in Florida with former Entertainment Tonight host Julie Moran to record an episode of “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. The two discussed SHSU Online as well as a number of different ways online education can be beneficial for women, namely flexibility, affordability, and quality.

“The Balancing Act” is currently in its sixth season and focuses on topics that are relevant to women and their busy lifestyles. This particular episode takes a deeper look at the subject of Online Education and the burgeoning population of female online students.

Be sure to check out the show above featuring Dr. Hoyt and SHSU Online!

More than 90 percent of SHSU’s online students live and work in Texas, with more scattered around the US, and a few who live even farther afield, like SHSU Online student Tony Tovar who is pursuing a principal certification.

For the past 12 years, Tony Tovar has made Shanghai, China his home with wife Yun Yang and daughter Noelle, teaching sixth grade language arts, history, and drama at Concordia International School Shanghai.

Tovar admits that his early college years weren’t very focused.

“I basically majored in Ping-Pong, pool, and sleeping,” says Tovar. He took three years off before returning to school with a much more serious outlook, one that eventually led him to education.

“I started out as a communication major, switched to English, and then decided to add secondary education as a fallback, and I discovered I loved teaching.

He switched his major to elementary education, graduated and went on to earn his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction ten years later. He’s now pursuing a Principal Certification from SHSU Online, to take his career in education to the next level by becoming an administrator.

“After 20 years of teaching, I’ve decided that I want to move into administration,” says Tovar. “I want to take my influence beyond the classroom and help shape a new generation of teachers and learners. It’s the logical next step for me.”

Tony Tovar with his wife, Yun Yang, and daughter, Noelle

Tony Tovar with his wife, Yun Yang, and daughter, Noelle

While Tovar admits that he’d prefer sitting in a classroom, learning together with a group of people, his Shanghai address made that difficult.

“My teaching license is in Texas. In order to have principal certification added to my license, I needed to take courses from a program approved by the Texas Education Association. However, they don’t approve universities in Shanghai, China.”

With no immediate plans to return stateside, Tovar looked at his options from an international perspective, turning to US-based, accredited universities with online programs.

Fortunately for Tovar, he was no stranger to online education, having completed his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction online. Before completing his research, Tovar outlined his specific needs relative to his online education.

“I was looking for program that I could complete in two years or less and for a program with classes that interested me.”

But, more importantly, he wanted a program that took into account that he already had a Master’s degree.

“The main thing that made me choose SHSU was that it gave me credit for my previous education and experience,” says Tovar. “SHSU is giving me the tools to get my principal certification without having to work on a second master’s degree.”

Tovar still experiences hurdles similar to those other online students may have, like balancing a full-time job, his family life and demands of schoolwork. Tovar tries to take advantage of quiet, early mornings, planning time during the school day, and lulls in action between when school lets out and dinnertime.

For Tovar, the fact that he lives in Shanghai, China and not in the United States has not changed his online learning experience.

For example, Tovar especially enjoys being able to think about his responses before giving them.

“A nice part of taking online classes is that I have more time to craft answers. In the classroom, the teacher or a classmate asks a question, and you have to formulate an answer quickly or you don’t always get to share,” says Tovar. “With the discussion board format, I can look at someone’s post, think about it, and come back later that day or the next day and give a response that is more thoughtful.”

Along with these benefits, Tovar does experience one unique advantage of taking online courses while living in China: the International Date Line.

“Shanghai is 13 or 14 hours ahead of Huntsville,” says Tovar. “If an assignment is due on Friday at midnight, for example, I can wake up on Saturday morning, have a cup of coffee, and put the finishing touches on it before I turn it in, and it’s still on time.”

Are you an American living and working overseas looking to further your education? Or perhaps you’re an international student looking for an accredited university program? Explore our many online degree and certificate programs.

Life can be complicated. Between professional responsibilities, family commitments, and financial obligations, it can be hard to find time for anyone to chase their dreams. This reasoning was dismissed by Terri Allison, who returned to school to pursue an undergraduate degree through SHSU Online despite an abundance of commitments.

Allison, a mother of three and case manager for the Aggie Honor System Office at Texas A&M University, is pursuing an online B.S. in Criminal Justice to explore her passions and to be an example for her children.

“Part of it is the feeling that you have to finish what you start, and trying to impart to my kids you’re not always going to have a straightforward path; you’re not always going to graduate high school, do four years of college, and begin your career,” she says. “Letting them see that, even at my age, I could go back and I could get my degree is important.”

Allison’s family, daughters Tegan and Kristen, son Charlie, and husband Randal, have been an essential support system for her online education, but a promise made to her stepfather, Don Wood, remains in the forefront of her mind years after his passing.

“My stepfather was dyslexic at a time when no one really knew how to treat the disease, so he dropped out of high school at 17; three days after his 18th birthday, he was at Pearl Harbor when the attack happened,” she says. “He never did any college credit, and that was why it was so important for all of his children to get their degree. I promised him I’d get my bachelor’s completed eventually, and he said ‘Don’t let it get away from you.’”

Allison was pursuing her Associate in Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies at Blinn College at the time of his passing.

When it came to finding the right fit for her personal life and professional aspirations, she says SHSU was the clear choice for her.

“I looked at a lot of schools, and Sam Houston State University has by far the best reputation for criminal justice. It really dovetails with my paralegal background,” she says. “After taking one of my first classes, Corrections, I definitely knew this was for me. It’s a perfect setup. SHSU has everything I want right there.”

With an expected graduation term of Spring 2016, Allison says the journey that has taken her to this point gives her the conviction to succeed and continue to develop personally and professionally.

“I’ve been at my job for more than 20 years, and I could easily stay with my current job and retire comfortably, but that’s not where my passion lies,” she says. “I want to do more and give back to those who helped me. I want to continue my education for a Masters in Mediation and then work in Restorative Justice, a field I like and a field that’s changing. I want to be part of those changes.”