Founded in 1947, Texas Southern University (TSU) has been known by several different names since its inception, most of which were a clear indicator of the racial divide that existed in the United States.
TSU traces its roots to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, which, in 1925 started extension classes for African-Americans in the Houston area who desired to obtain a teaching certification. This extension led to the establishment of the Houston Colored Junior College in 1927. The school was known by that name until 1934, when it was renamed Houston College for Negroes.
The college was later elevated to university status and renamed TSU for Negroes in 1947 – the University of Texas then would not admit African-Americans. This name remained in use until 1951 when the students at the university petitioned the Texas legislature to remove the offensive “for Negroes” from the university’s name and since then it has been known as Texas Southern University.
At its founding, this historically black university had only one permanent building and various temporary structures. From 1947 to date, TSU has made enormous strides in both student enrollment and capital investment so that today, its campus is home to more than 40 modern buildings built on 150 acres of land.
TSU is a public co-educational institution that offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees in more than 100 programs. The university has more than 10 different colleges and schools covering most of the programs that a modern university should have. These include the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (BJML), the College of Continuing Education, the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Technology, the School of Communication and the Graduate School.
At BJML, both undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered to students preparing for careers in the public service. Undergraduate programs offered in this school include Administration of Justice, Political Science, Public Affairs and Military Science courses. Some graduate degrees that the school offers include Administration of justice, Public Administration and Urban Planning.
The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers certificates, undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse areas such as environmental health, clinical laboratory science, pharmacy, health information management, respiratory therapy and pre-health sciences among others.
The College of Science and Technology is divided into over ten departments covering such diverse areas as aviation science and technology, chemistry, biology, computer science, engineering technology, transportation, mathematics and physics.
The diversity of the programs offered at TSU is also seen in the university’s School of Communication which is divided into four departments – communication arts and sciences, entertainment and recording, journalism and radio, TV and film. The school offers education leading to the award of B.A., M.A. and M.S. Students enrolled in this school have first-hand experience with the tools of the trade courtesy of the university’s own radio station, KTSU 90.9 FM, a TV station, electronic classrooms and research media labs.
Law degrees are offered by the university’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
In summary, the range of graduate and undergraduate programs at TSU is truly diverse and caters for most academic needs.
Most Popular Fields of Study
To obtain admission into TSU, the applicant is required to provide official high school transcripts showing graduation date or, in their place, a GED test report. Applicants must have obtained a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and they should also present their SAT or ACT scores.
Applicants without a high school diploma could also get admitted on production of a GED report from a private or public high school in the State of Texas. Such applicants must show evidence of having resided in Texas for a minimum of three consecutive years before their date of graduation and must sign an affidavit stating that at the earliest possible opportunity, they will apply to become permanent residents.
Transfer students are required to submit official transcripts from all schools and colleges or universities previously attended. Transcripts must show grades for all courses attended, the date of issue and the seal of the issuing institution. Transfer applicants are required to have completed at least 15 semester hours and to have obtained a GPA of 2.0 or higher, an ACT score of 17 and a SAT score of 820 (composite of math and reading). TSU does not accept transfer applicants who are on academic probation or suspension from another institution.
International students seeking admission into TSU are required to submit original official records of all their academic work (the college does not accept duplicates). Where the documents are not in English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Applicants who are non-native speakers of English are required to pass their Test of English as a foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 500 (paper-based version) or a score of 173 (computer-based version). The university also requires such applicants to have a SAT score of 820 or a composite ACT score of 17.
The sources of financial aid available to students attending are many and include many state, departmental and outside scholarships and grants.
The Teach for Texas Conditional Grant is a $5,000 grant awarded each year to students who are studying to become certified teachers. This State grant is meant to encourage more Texans to become teachers and an applicant stands a good chance of winning it when his or her field of study is one that has an acute shortage of teachers. Applicants must be resident in Texas and must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Students who are members of the Texas National Guard could apply for the Texas National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (TXNG-TAP). The program assists applicants in meeting some of their tuition expenses.
Texas high school students with good academic records could also apply for the Early High School Graduation Scholarship which is awarded to students who have completed the requirements of high school graduation in a period of 36 months or less. The scholarship provides for a $1,000 exemption from paying tuition fees and is only open to residents of Texas who have attended public high schools in the State.
Other State scholarships and grants include the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, the Fifth-Year Accounting Student Scholarship, the License Plate Insignia Scholarship and the Top 10% Scholarship among many others.
Many of the departments have departmental scholarships. The Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering Program awards over $3,000 per year to a student majoring in computer science, mathematics or engineering. The business department has three scholarships – gold ($6,000), silver ($3,000) and bronze ($1,000). Very substantial amounts are also offered by the President’s Award, the Provost’s Award and the Dean’s Award.
Other sources of financial aid for students include student employment, federal grants (such as Pell grants and SEOG) and federal student loans.
Student Financial Aid Details
The student population today is a mixture of youthful high school graduates and returning students old enough to be the parents of the freshmen. With close to 10,000 students and nearly 1,500 faculty, TSU is big community representing people from all U.S. states and over 50 nations. This is a multi-racial community and, while the majority of the students are natives of Texas, some come from such far away places as Africa, Europe, China and the Caribbean.
Student activities are coordinated by the Student Government Association (SGA) which also provides a forum for students to air their opinions, aspirations and views. It is also the objective of SGA to protect the welfare of the students and to enable them to achieve their full potential.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Both male and female students have a wide range of athletic activities to participate in. These include baseball, basketball, football, golf, cross country, volleyball, soccer and track and field. In total, there are seven men’s athletic teams and nine women’s teams. The university’s athletic teams are known as the Tigers and are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). They compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
The performance of the Tiger teams has struggled in the past but they seem to have been recently rejuvenated. In 2010, the university’s softball and baseball teams won the SWAC’s Western Conference Division titles. In the same season, the men’s basketball team reached the SWAC tournament championship after more than seven years while the women’s basketball team reached the semi-finals – a feat it had not achieved for close to twenty years.
Carrie Petersen earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and a Masters of School leadership at Northern Illinois University. Carrie likes to travel with her husband and two sons.