Sam Houston State University Review

Sam Houston State University, a large public school in Texas, is home to a very affordable, top-quality online graduate program in information security.

Learn More

The Good

Superb national reputation

In a recent survey of online graduate programs in the information science field, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Sam Houston State University (SHSU) information assurance and security program as the second-best in the nation. The program ranks in the top 15 in every category studied in the survey, including faculty quality, technology, student services, and admissions selectivity. Although other top-quality graduate programs offer more variety in degree subjects, few can match the quality standard that SHSU meets across all aspects of their program. As a student in the information assurance and security program, you’ll train to oversee and protect vital information resources by securing network systems, developing and implementing information security protocols, and planning for emergency situations. Most key courses in this program are delivered through the SHSU Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics, a nationally recognized training and research facility at the forefront of digital forensics science.

High level of student engagement

Sam Houston State University also overshadows most other top programs when it comes to the school’s student engagement efforts. The SHSU course delivery system allows you to easily interact with your course instructors and classmates using a variety of text-, audio-, and video-based communication technologies. Instructors are always available to help you with problems and to provide regular feedback on course assignments and projects. Most courses utilize collaborative assignments to encourage interaction among students and to help develop teamwork skills. As an SHSU student, you also have access to a full slate of online university services, from academic advising and career development services to technical support.

Very affordable tuition rates

The SHSU information assurance and security program ranks as one of the most affordable programs in the country, charging about $245 per credit including tuition and general student fees. In comparison, the mid-priced programs charge more than $700 per credit for tuition alone. Many top programs charge more than $1,000 or even more than $1,600 per credit, two to four times as costly as the SHSU information assurance and security program. When you consider the combination of quality and affordability in this program, it’s easy to see that it’s one of the very best in the field on a value-for-money basis.

The Bad

Just one degree subject available

The Sam Houston State University information assurance and security program is designed to train students for very specific careers in network and information security. While you are able to choose about 40% of your courses from a list of electives, you’ll find that the allowed topics do not stray far from the main focus of the degree. So, if you are looking to develop a broad base of skills applicable to many different information technology careers, this program is unlikely to be a good fit for you. Many other top online programs in the field allow for much more student input in the curriculum.

Prior experience in the field required

This degree program requires students to show a strong background in a technical field closely related to computer science or management information science. To gain acceptance into the program, you must have completed a major or a minor in an acceptable field of study or you must be able to show substantial professional work experience in a related field. Most other top online programs in information technology have much more lenient prerequisite requirements, so if you don’t qualify for SHSU’s program, you may have better luck with another school.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2009-2010
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $45
  • Location: TX
  • Number of Graduate Info Tech Programs: 1
  • Region: Southwest
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In-State: $245
  • Out-of-State: $245


  • Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security


  • Cyber Security
  • Data Assurance
  • Digital Investigation
  • Geographic Information Systems

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Average Student Age: 33
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.00
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: N/A
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 151
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 151
  • Gender Ratio: 25.7% female, 74.3% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Total Enrollment: 35


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 4 years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 9
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 0

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): N/A
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 75%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 89%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 68%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011):N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 75%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 10
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 51/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 13
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 76/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 1
  • Student Engagement Score: 100/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 4
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 71/100

Similar Products