Institutional Mission Statement

This is an archived copy of the 2023-2024 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Mission Statement

Sam Houston State University is a student-centered, community engaged institution whose mission is to offer accessible, quality higher education. The university offers a variety of innovative and flexible degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels focused on career readiness, personal and professional development, and service. SHSU provides integrated academic and student success services designed to support traditional and non-traditional students from diverse backgrounds. 


  • Student Success and Support
  • Academic Excellence 
  • Service and Community Engagement
  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Collaborative Environment
  • Honor
  • Creativity and Innovation

Vision Statement

Sam Houston State University will provide a transformative environment that enables students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders who serve their families, communities, and professions. We aspire to make SHSU both the best value in higher education and the top regional public university in the state of Texas. We will accomplish this through providing high quality, innovative, and flexible academic programs; a commitment to student success, scholarship and creative works; and engagement that solves the most critical challenges facing the world.

Strategic Priorities

  • Prioritize student success and student access. 
  • Embody a culture of excellence.
  • Elevate the reputation and visibility of SHSU.
  • Expand and elevate our service to the state and beyond. 


Sam Houston State University, located in Huntsville, Texas, is a member of The Texas State University System. The school was created by the Texas Legislature in 1879 as Sam Houston Normal Institute to educate teachers for the public schools of Texas. The baccalaureate degree was first awarded in 1919.

In 1923, the institution’s name was changed to Sam Houston State Teachers College. Two years later, the college was admitted to membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as an accredited institution of higher learning. A graduate degree was authorized in 1936, and the curriculum was expanded to emphasize preparation in a variety of fields.

Following World War II, an increase in students and faculty as well as a wide range of faculty-research activities provided impetus for the continued emergence of a multi-purpose institution. In recognition of these developments, the institution’s name was changed by the Texas Legislature to Sam Houston State College in 1965. The number of graduate degrees conferred increased significantly in the late 1960s; and the Texas Legislature, recognizing the changes that had taken place, changed the name of the institution to Sam Houston State University in 1969.

In the 1970s, the University was granted permission to offer its first doctorate, a PhD in criminal justice. This program grew to be one of the largest and most recognized doctoral programs in the country. In the 1980s and 1990s, the University completed a number of academic, athletic, and support facilities. With the improvement of faculty and facilities, the University set a vision to become one of the best regional universities in the country.

During the last five years of the twentieth century, the University expanded its reach by offering programs online, at The Woodlands in a multi-institutional teaching center, and various other off-campus sites. Beginning in 2000, the University expanded its building program and committed resources to develop and maintain nationally-recognized academic support programs. Sam Houston State University increased the number of doctoral programs, including programs in education and psychology, and experienced a tremendous surge in enrollment and name recognition.

Currently Sam Houston State University is organized academically into seven colleges: Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Education, Fine Arts and Mass Communication, Health Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sciences. Students are offered an extensive range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as doctorates in selected areas. The faculty and the University are recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally.