Opened in 1903, the purpose of Texas Normal School was to educate teachers. Over time, the school’s academic scope broadened. Each period of growth was accompanied by a new name and a new mission for the school. In 1916, the name was changed to Southwest Texas State Normal College. Seven years later, the school became the Southwest Texas State Teachers College. After a few more changes, the Texas State University (TSU) at San Marcos was christened in 2003. In 2013, San Marcos was dropped from the university’s name, giving it its current designation.
The university is located in San Marcos, with a branch campus in Round Rock. TSU is a member of the Texas State University system. The university awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Texas State defines itself as a “public, student-centered, doctoral granting institution dedicated to excellence in serving the educational needs of the diverse population of Texas in the world beyond.” Counted among its alumni is Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States.
Texas State’s academic offerings are provided through its seven fundamental colleges, the Graduate College, the Honors College, and the University College, established in 1986 to provide general education courses and meet all students’ educational needs. Keeping to its academic roots, Texas State educates more teachers than any university in the state. Other programs of note include the geography, biochemistry, and physics. Faculty from the areas of geography, communications, business, and mathematics have all been nationally recognized as outstanding in their particular fields.
Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in a number of different disciplines, including agriculture, criminal justice, education, music, theater, art, anthropology, geography, international studies, sociology, philosophy, social work, radiation therapy, and healthcare administration.
Master’s degrees are awarded in accounting, applied mathematics, education, creative writing, geography, healthcare administration, industrial mathematics, interdisciplinary studies, music, family nurse practitioner, and social work, among others.
The school offers 10 PhD and EdD degrees in programs as diverse as aquatic resources, adult, professional, and community education, criminal justice, and environmental geography.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Creative Writing MFA Program at Texas State has been lauded by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, putting the university squarely on the map for literary arts at the state and national level. The program’s literary journal, “Front Porch,” is managed entirely by MFA students. Creative Writing faculty have claimed prestigious awards.
Texas State is home to the only sound recording technology program in the southwest United States. The Bachelor of Science in Sound Recording Technology, as part of the TSU School of Music, prepares graduates to work as music producers, live sound technicians, music editors, and so on.
Texas State bases admissions primarily on academic performance and considers extracurricular and other factors to a lesser extent. Depending on an incoming freshman’s class rank, the minimum required ACT score could range from 20 (top 25% of class) to 29 (bottom 25% of class), or from 920 to 1270 for the SAT. Students who rank in the top 10% of their graduating class are held to no minimum test score requirements. In addition to the application form, students must provide an application essay and high school transcripts. Applications can be submitted online on on paper.
Graduate students must provide the following for admissions to the graduate school: application, appropriate test scores to include GRE, subject GRE, or discipline-specific tests (GMAT, etc.), and transcripts. Individual programs may have further requirements. Decisions on graduate admissions are generally finalized within a month of the department receiving all materials.
Financial aid, both merit and need based, is available to students via a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.
Federal programs include the Pell Grant, the Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, all of which represent gift funds. On the other hand, Stafford Loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, must eventually be repaid. State programs include the TEXAS Grant, the Texas Public Education Grant, and the Texas State Tuition Grant.
Scholarship opportunities at Texas State begin with the Texas Common Scholarship Application, found at www.applytexas.org. All incoming freshman applicants must submit an essay to be considered for scholarships.
Student Financial Aid Details
All unmarried students who have completed less than 56 hours of study must live in TSU-provided housing. While some students may consider this a negative, at Texas State it is definitely a positive experience. Having grown from a student body of 330 in 1903 to one of the largest universities in the state of Texas, TSU has vastly improved both its campus and its student life accommodations over the years.
Regardless of where students live, the most popular recreational activity by far is the San Marcos River. Students can rent tubes and spend their free time simply floating down the river and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Many students pack lunches and beverages in personal coolers, strap them to their ankles, and spend whole days enjoying the lazy journey downstream.
If a student prefers to stay on dry land, Texas State offers a thriving Greek community that always offers entertainment. There are more than 200 student organizations available for various social, religious, or political interests, and the town of San Marcos offers many restaurants and shopping facilities for students to browse.
In addition to the numerous classroom, dormitory, and administration buildings, Texas State University has a music building recital hall, an outdoor theater, and an auditorium.
The university library offers electronic catalogs and on-line databases, in additional to physical volumes stored on site. Special collections include the Southwestern Writer’s Collection, University archives, and a gallery of Southwestern and Mexican photography.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Texas State Bobcats are a Division I university and compete in Division I-AA in football. The university offers 16 different intercollegiate sports: seven men’s sports and nine women’s sports. For those who do not participate in the intercollegiate competitions, there is a wide array of intramural and club sports available too.
Sports facilities include a football stadium, a coliseum, a baseball field, a softball field, a soccer complex, tennis complex, and a basketball and volleyball arena. The university also maintains an athletic academic center, which includes a computer lab and cubicles for tutoring. Student-athletes who earn a 3.0 semester GPA are honored at a spring reception.
The Texas State campus is capped off with the Old Main, the University’s first building, constructed in 1903. Its red roof and towering spires rise high above the campus’s many trees as a landmark for the entire town of San Marcos.