University of St. Thomas

  • University of St. Thomas

    Houston, TX

  • University of St. Thomas

    Houston, TX

  • University of St. Thomas

    Houston, TX

  • University of St. Thomas

    Houston, TX




Catholic Faculty


Catholic Students


On-campus students in single-sex dorms


Located in the heart of Houston, Texas, on a 19-block campus, the University of St. Thomas (UST) has a goal of becoming no less than “one of the great Catholic universities of America.”  Launched in 1947 by the Basilian Fathers, UST boasts a solid liberal arts education and remains the only Catholic university in Houston—the fourth largest city in the United States.

The University has five schools—arts and sciences, business, education and human services, nursing, and theology (offered at nearby St. Mary’s Seminary). About half the students at UST are enrolled in graduate programs.

Among the 36 majors are theology, international studies, and studio arts programs. Many minors are available, including Irish studies and creative writing. There also are many joint majors, and students have the opportunity to pursue a Western Civilization-oriented honors program focused on the Great Books.

Eighty-nine percent of UST undergraduates are Texans, while the remaining students come from 34 other states and 61 foreign countries.  More than 60 percent of undergraduates live off campus and commute to UST.  Sixty-six percent of alumni have settled in the Houston area. 

Over half the students are minorities (Hispanic, African American, Asian American, and Native American), and many of these are first-generation college students. Under Title V of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, UST is identified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, reflecting its greater than 25 percent Hispanic student population. Houston is the most culturally diverse city in the U.S., and UST reflects Houston.

The University is most certainly a college on the move. In 2016, the St. Thomas Cameron School of Business achieved re-accreditation through the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). UST also opened a new $75 million Center for Science and Health Professions in April 2017.  The University partners with the Harris County Hospital District for a nursing preceptor program, which allows students to work and learn one-on-one with expert clinical nurses. UST is a member of the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest medical center in the world. UST STEM students conduct research there.

University regulations require the president to be a Catholic. In fact, six of the nine UST presidents have been Basilian priests. Dr. Richard Ludwick was inaugurated as UST’s ninth president in October2017.  Dr. Ludwick’s background includes practicing law, leading the Independent Colleges of Indiana association, and serving briefly as provost at Newman Guide-recommended St. Gregory’s University. Dr. Ludwick told the Newman Society“The way forward is clear, we must continue to build upon our Catholic identity by fidelity to the magisterium of the Catholic Church.”

The board of trustees is primarily comprised of lay members, although a third of the members are either Basilians or Basilian appointees.

The Catholic identity of UST is apparent. Eleven Basilians reside on the main campus, and they are involved with teaching classes, celebrating the sacraments, and helping with campus ministry. The School’s price and financial aid package for the average student are roughly equal to the average for private colleges and universities in Texas. Tuition, room, and board cost $42,360 in the 2018-2019 year. 


While many schools are opting toward curricula emphasizing vocational education, UST places emphasis on the continuing importance of a liberal education and the role of theology and philosophy. The UST core curriculum includes 21 credits of theology and philosophy. Even transfer students must take at least six credits in theology and in philosophy.

Besides the theology and philosophy  requirements the UST core curriculum includes credits distributed among English, foreign languages, history, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, fine arts, and oral communications.  This overall core of 59 hours is larger than average among colleges that offer multiple majors.

The theology courses include two that are required for all students and set a clear tone for the curriculum: Teachings of the Catholic Church and Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures. The third course is selected from several options within the field of moral theology.

The philosophy requirement is satisfied by taking three mandatory courses in a systematic sequence (Philosophy of the Human Person, Ethics, and Metaphysics) or in a historical sequence (ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy).

Most unique is the synthesis course which brings philosophy or theology into conversations with a student’s academic major.  This course is selected with the help of an academic advisor and there are a wide variety of options.

Incoming freshmen participate in the Freshman Symposium: Educating Leaders of Faith and Character, a program that introduces students to the University by focusing on St. Thomas’ mission to educate leaders who can think critically, communicate effectively, lead ethically, and succeed professionally.

The University also has cooperative agreements for dual-degree programs in mathematics and engineering with The Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame, as well as additional universities. There are several other pre-professional programs in dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, and pharmacy.

The majority of UST faculty members are Catholic. All faculty members are expected to actively engage and advance the Catholic identity of UST. Theology professors must be faithful to Church teaching and are required to receive the mandatum from the Cardinal Archbishop of the Houston-Galveston Diocese.

UST offers a study-abroad program in every region of the world, including  China, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay. About 10 percent of the students take advantage of these opportunities. The First Year Experience Study Abroad with Rome and Costa Rica focuses on Church history and service learning.

To encourage practical experience in the local community, UST offers a service learning program. Students can ask professors for service placements in the local community, perform service hours for a nonprofit organization, and often write a paper or otherwise reflect on their experiences.


Religious life revolves around the small, attractive stucco Chapel of St. Basil, which is an architectural icon for UST and Houston’s Museum District.  The chapel offers more than 15 weekly Masses during the academic year. Confessions are heard Monday through Friday. Sunday Masses are well-attended, and there are also Latin, Spanish, and French Masses. Three times a semester, a student group sings Gregorian chant for a traditional Extraordinary Form Mass.

Adoration and benediction are held every Monday, and Adoration is also held on Wednesdays at 8 a.m.

The presence of approximately 10 priests on campus, mostly Basilian Fathers, is important in creating the nurturing spiritual environment that exists. TheBasilian Fathers’ North American Seminary relocated from Canada to UST’s campus in 2014, showing the order’s commitment to the University. There also is a nearby convent of Vietnamese Dominican Sisters, and these religious participate in campus activities and take classes.

Social service programs are offered through Campus Ministry, but the University also has a Center for Social Justice, which offers internships and other opportunities for service.


Fifty percent of freshmen students live on campus.  But overall, more than 60% of undergraduates live off-campus in apartments or commute from home to UST.  Residences on campus are co-ed with men and women separated by wing or by floor, and there are private bathrooms in student rooms. There is also a residence hall for upperclassmen and graduate students on campus.

For students’ medical needs, UST has a partnership with the University of Texas Health Services, which is not Catholic. Students are also referred to local Catholic and secular facilities nearby campus.

Students gravitate to the many cultural, sports, and social offerings that are available in the adjacent museum district and within a short distance from campus. These include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Menil Collection, the Houston Zoo, and several major shopping areas. The Houston Space Center is the top local tourist attraction.

Houston is a major transportation hub, and students have access to two major airports (George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby), east/west Amtrak service, several major highways, and an extensive bus service. Houston relies heavily on car transportation.

UST has been rated one of the safest campuses in Texas and rarely has more than one incident per year. However, Houston has a large population of about two million and a crime index rate of about double the national average.


More than 80 campus groups provide students with extracurricular opportunities that include typical clubs as well as several targeted to various ethnic groups. Among the Catholic-oriented groups are the theology club Chi Rho, a Knights of Columbus council, a pro-life club, and the Society of Macrina.

Chi Rho sponsors an annual career and volunteer fair for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and a “Theology at the Lab” series in which professors are invited to give talks to students in a local pub.

The University of St. Thomas Celts for Life Club participates in the Texas Rally for Life in Austin and approximately 30 students attend the March for Life each year in Washington, D.C. Students also pray weekly at a local Planned Parenthood facility.

UST’s young athletics department joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Red River Conference in 2011. The Celts compete in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf. Men’s and women’s cross country teams will be added in fall 2018.  There are also 11 sports clubs, ranging from coed fencing to men’s rugby, and intramural activities as well.

The monthly Summa newspaper reaches 3,000 students. The Laurels literary magazine and a new features magazine, Thoroughfare, provide additional outlets for student writing. A University committee reviews student publications.

Various dramatic and musical performances are offered by the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the campus’ Jones Theatre.

Students can volunteer at the nearby John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science. They assist with Head Start programs there and with other activities.

UST sponsors occasional recreational trips, such as rock climbing, horseback riding, and sailing. There are also several fitness classes available. The Jerabeck Activity and Athletic Center includes a large gym, racquetball courts, a weight room, a fitness room, a dance room, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and an outdoor basketball court.

Bottom Line

The University of St. Thomas is an excellent liberal arts-oriented institution. Its extensive core curriculum provides graduates with a well-rounded education. The School continues to place a strong emphasis on its Catholic identity, which is reflected in its faithful theology and philosophy departments and by the way that Catholicism permeates the campus.

UST is unique among most of the Newman Guide colleges with its racial diversity and small portion of students living on campus. Students reluctant to attend a small college but wanting a solid Catholic education may be especially attracted to UST.

Hewing to its 70-year-old tradition—and building on it—the University of St. Thomas is poised for growth. Local, first-generation college students from the area will continue to benefit, but so will those from around the country looking for a quality, faithful Catholic education at an urban university.

Questions & Answers

Each year, the Newman Society asks the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to answer the following questions. Below you will find the responses that we received directly from the University of St. Thomas.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

The University of St. Thomas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the BA, BA/BFA, BBA, BS, BSN, MA, MAFC, MAPS, MBA, MDiv, MEd, MLA, MSA, and PhD degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of St. Thomas.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges – approved by the U.S. Dept. of Education

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (Cameron School of Business) – Formerly recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education*

American Chemical Society – Not recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education*

Teacher Education Accreditation Council – Recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education*

Association of Theological Schools (School of Theology) – Recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education*

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education – Recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education

*Department of Education offers recognition, but does not approve accreditors

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

87% of UST graduates are employed or pursing an advanced degree. 

The success of our graduates can be measured in percentages in recent years:

-57% of medical school applicants are admitted to medical school (average of the past five years).
– 80% of UST pre-law students who apply to law school gain admission.

– 95% of School of Education’s certified graduates find jobs in an educational setting and/or are accepted into graduate school.

They are admitted into some of the best known colleges and universities for graduate school, including UT Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, Georgetown University, Catholic University, Boston College, Thunderbird (The Garwin School of International Management), Mayo Clinic Medical School, Notre Dame University, Rice University, UT-Austin Law School, Yale, Harvard and South Texas College of Law.

In addition, our graduates launch their careers at prominent corporations and organizations such as Texas Heart Institute, PricewaterhouseCoopers, ExxonMobil, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Pfizer, just to name a few.

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

Ranked by The Princeton Review as Best in the West in its Best Colleges: Region by Region 2018 online profile found at 

Ranked 26th among universities offering master’s degrees in the Western region by the U.S. News & World Report 2018 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” 

Without neglecting difficult topics and ideas, how does your institution avoid leading students into serious error and spiritual harm through blasphemous, dissident, or heretical material in the bookstore, library, lectures, and course content?

At UST, all conversations about material whether blasphemous, dissident or heretical are always framed from the Catholic perspective and guided by Catholic teachings.

With regard to lectures and course content, we hire toward mission with the expectation of all faculty that, even if they are not Catholic, they will respect the teachings of the Catholic Church in their professional duties at UST and not attempt to undermine the University’s stated mission or the teachings of the Catholic Church (UST Policy F.32.01; F.06.01). Deans and chairs are responsible for vetting faculty syllabi and course content each year as part of the faculty evaluation process.

To ensure that our library collection reflects Newman standards, our collection development efforts include generally recognized book review resources such as CHOICE and Library Journal.  In addition, as Library Dean, I review all purchased book titles and remove any titles that do not reflect our University’s ethos or fail to support our curricula.  Removing titles is a rare event but it has occurred.  Removal of titles must be carefully weighed against the library’s goal to provide a collection that presents alternative viewpoints with respect to the full range of human experience.

How are the insights of the Catholic faith integrated throughout the curriculum and course content in all subject areas?

In accordance with the Application to the Unity States of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, UST strives “to recruit and appoint Catholics as professors so that, to the extent possible, those committed to the witness of the faith will constitute a majority of the faculty (Part II, Article IV.4.a; UST Policy F.02.01). As teachers, faculty are to pursue learning and truth among their students, holding before them the highest scholarly standards of their discipline and adhering faithfully to their role as intellectual guides and advisors. Because Catholic teaching is not contrary to science and natural law, faculty are encourage to integrate Catholic teaching whenever possible and appropriate. In addition to the annual reviews of faculty performance, the academic units also perform annual assessment of student learning outcomes. The integration of the University’s mission and insights of the Catholic intellectual tradition with the student learning outcomes is an expectation of all units, and Deans work with the chairs on this integration.

How does the institution’s academic program form students in love and knowledge of God, for sainthood?

The principal means by which the University forms students in virtue and prepares them for cultural renewal is the core curriculum. Such are explicitly expressed in its goals that are assess annually. Deans work with chairs to ensure the integration of these outcomes in the major programs.

How does the institution’s academic program prepare students for the renewal of culture in the light of Christ?

The principal means by which the University forms students in virtue and prepares them for cultural renewal is the core curriculum. Such are explicitly expressed in its goals that are assess annually. Deans work with chairs to ensure the integration of these outcomes in the major programs.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


How are faculty members informed of this responsibility?

UST Policy F.06.01 states the “[academic] freedom is never an absolute, however, and must be accompanied by an equally demanding understanding of responsibility. The University will not condone attempts to undermine its stated mission or the teachings of the Catholic Church. It affirms the concept of academic freedom stated in the Ex Corde Ecclesiae and in the American Bishops’ application of the apostolic constitutions to the Catholic colleges and universities in the United States.”

Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to be faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church in all teaching activities? (Yes/No)


UST Policy F.06.01 states the “[academic] freedom is never an absolute, however, and must be accompanied by an equally demanding understanding of responsibility. The University will not condone attempts to undermine its stated mission or the teachings of the Catholic Church. It affirms the concept of academic freedom stated in the Ex Corde Ecclesiae and in the American Bishops’ application of the apostolic constitutions to the Catholic colleges and universities in the United States.”

Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to conform to Catholic moral teaching in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Do all Catholic faculty members make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)

All Catholic faculty members in the Theology Department are expected to have the Mandatum and adhere to the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity. Per UST Policy F.06.01, all faculty members expected to respect and not undermine its stated mission or the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Oliva Mirela, Secretary, American Catholic Philosophical Association; Dr. Steven Jensen, Treasurer, American Catholic Philosophical Association; Dr. Clint Brand, member of the Pontifical Council for the Anglican Ordinariate; Dr. Dominic A. Aquila, Chair of the Council of Scholars, and member of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Liberal Education; Dr. Albert Ribes-Zamora; Dr. Beena George, Dean, Cameron School of Business; Dr. Paul Paese, Dean, School of Education & Human Services; Dr. Poldi Tschirch, Dean, Nursing Program; Dr. Christopher P. Evans, Dean, School of Arts & Sciences; Dr. John Hittinger, professor of philosophy, was named an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Additional Faculty information, clarification or description (optional):

94% of Full Time Faculty have earned terminal degrees in their field.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

THEO 2301 Teachings of the Catholic Church (Dr. Chris Evans, Sr. Chau Nguyen, Dr. William Diem, Sr. Albert Marie Surmanski). 

THEO 1301 Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures (Dr. Charles Sommer, Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, Sr. Albert Marie Surmanski). 

THEO 3349 Christ and the Moral Life (Dr. Andrew Hayes, Dr. Randall Smith). 

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

While many schools are opting toward curriculums emphasizing vocational education, UST places emphasis on the study of theology and philosophy. In these two disciplines, 21 credits are required for graduation: nine in theology, nine in philosophy, and another three in a synthesis course that brings philosophy or theology into conversations with a student’s academic major. Even transfer students must take at least six credits in theology and in philosophy.

The theology courses include two that are required for all students and set a clear tone for the curriculum: Teachings of the Catholic Church and Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures. The third is a required course in moral theology.

Additional Theology information, clarification or description (optional):

Chi Ro Theology Club – opportunity for interested students to get together and discuss theological topics.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

Theology (6 credit hours) – must take in order
THEO 1300/3300 – Teachings of the Catholic Church
THEO 2300/3310 – Intro to the Sacred Scriptures

Moral Theology (3 credit hours) – choose one of the following
THEO 3349 – Christ and the Moral Life
THEO 3351 – Prophets and Ancient Israel
THEO 3352 – Paul: His Letters and Theology
THEO 4323 – Teachings of Jesus
THEO 4325 – Faith and Moral Development
THEO 4334 – Social Justice and the Church
THEO 4348 – Theology of the Body

Philosophy (9 credit hours) – must take in order
Systematic Sequence
PHIL 1311 – Phil of the Human Person
PHIL 2314 – Ethics
PHIL 3313 – Metaphysics
Historical Sequence
PHIL 1315/3315 – Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 2316/3316 – Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 3317– Modern Philosophy

English (9 credit hours) – must take in order
ENGL 1341 – The Classical Tradition: Literature & Composition I
ENGL 1342 – The Middle Ages: Literature & Composition II
ENGL 2312 – The Modern World: Literature & Composition III

History (6 credit hours)
HIST 1335 – World Community I
HIST 1336 – World Community II
HIST 2333 – United States to 1877
HIST 2334 – United States since 1877

Social & Behavioral Sciences (6 credit hours)
Choose from economics, geography, international studies, political science, psychology and sociology

Oral Communication (3 credit hours)
COMM 1331 – Public Speaking
COMM 2332 – Persuasion and Argumentation
Cameron School of Business

MGMT 3320 – Business Communication
Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credit hours)

Natural Sciences (8 credit hours)
Two 3-credit hour lectures with corresponding 1-credit hour lab
Choose from biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, physics & astronomy
Modern and Classical Languages (6 credit hours)
Choose two sequential courses in one language. Courses must be completed in the approved order. Choose language options from French, Spanish, (Classical) Greek, Latin, Irish, Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian or other available language.
Natural Sciences (4 credit hours)

Mathematics (3 credit hours)
Choose any college-level mathematics course except the following two courses:
MATH 1325 – The Nature of Mathematics and MATH 2437 – Contemporary Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

Fine Arts (3 credit hours) – choose one of the following
ARTHS 1350 – Introduction to the Visual Arts
ARTHS 2351 – Survey of Art I
ARTHS 2352 – Survey of Art II
Any upper-division Art History course
DRAM 1330 – Introduction to the Theatre
DRAM 3329 – Screenwriting
DRAM 3331 – Playwriting
DRAM 3340 – Theatre History I
DRAM 3341 – Theatre History II
MUSC 1331 – Introduction to Music
MUSC 2362 – Basic Musicianship I
MUSC 2363 – Basic Musicianship I for Music Majors
MUSC 3340 – Music and Western Civilization
Upper-division Music course
School of Education
MS 3376 – Essentials of Fine Arts

Freshman Symposium (1 credit hour) – required for all entering freshmen
UNIV 1111 – Freshman Symposium: Educating Leaders of Faith and Character

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

Synthesis Course (3 credit hours) – choose one of the following in consultation with academic advisor

CS 3310 – Opening to Transcendence: Rediscovering Symbol
CS 3320 – Re-Connecting Catholicism with the Social and Natural Sciences
CS 4300 – Catholic Impact on the Professions
PHIL 3314 – Business Ethics
PHIL 3318 – Bioethics
PHIL 3336 – Political Philosophy
PHIL 3350 – Contemporary Logic
PHIL 4318 – Contemporary Philosophy
PHIL 4331 – Philosophy of Art and Beauty
PHIL 4335 – Analytical Philosophy
PHIL 4337 – Philosophy of History and Culture
PHIL 4340 – Phenomenology and Existentialism
PHIL 4350 – Philosophy of Law: Tradition of Natural Law
PHIL 4352 – Philosophy of Science
PHIL 4354 – Philosophy of Saint Augustine
THEO 3321 – Apologetics
THEO 3322 – Theology of Creation
THEO 3331 – Catholic Church: Origin, Structure and Mission
THEO 3336 – Christian Spirituality
THEO 3345 – Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas
THEO 3346 – Christian Vocations: Paths to Holiness
THEO 3363 – Church History I
THEO 3364 – Church History II
THEO 3375 – Eastern World Religions
THEO 3376 – Western World Religions
THEO 4324 – Christian Ethics and the Law
THEO 4327 – Sacred Arts in the Church
THEO 4334 – Social Justice and the Church
THEO 4336 – American Catholic Heritage
THEO 4347 – Fathers of the Church
THEO 4374 – Modern Challenges to Christianity

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

126 credits    45%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

The first three above mentioned courses (9 hours) are required in the core curriculum. These three courses relate to the sub disciplines of systematic theology, biblical studies, and moral theology. A Synthesis Course either in Theology, Philosophy, or Catholic Studies is also required in the core curriculum. Students have the option of taking a number of interdisciplinary theology courses to satisfy this core synthesis requirement.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


Additional Core Curriculum information, clarification or description (optional):

The integration of knowledge, and the integration of faith and reason are hallmarks of the core curriculum of the University of St. Thomas.

All First Year students enroll in a 1 credit Freshman Symposium that is part of the University’s Core Curriculum.  This symposium is an introduction and focused study on the mission of the University of St. Thomas, with special emphasis on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the Basilian Charism in Education, and the relation of Faith and Reason.

List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

UST now offers 36 majors:

Accounting, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Cooperative Engineering, Criminology, Law & Society, Drama, Economics, Education, English Literature, English Writing, Finance, French, General Business, General Studies, History, International Business, International Development, International Studies, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Music Education, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Spanish, Studio Arts, Theology

Minors: Accounting; Applied Statistics; Art History; Biology; Catholic Studies; Chemistry; Classical Languages; Communication; Computer Science; Creative Writing; Drama; Economics, Education; English; Finance; Free Enterprise and EntrepreneurshipFrench; General Business; History; Human Services Management; International Studies; Irish Studies; Latin American and Latino Studies; Leadership Studies, Marketing; Market Analysis, Mathematics; Medieval Studies; Music; Philosophy; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Public Administration; Russian Studies; Social Justice; Spanish; Studio Arts; Theology; Women, Culture and Society 

Pre-professional programs: Pre-Law; Pre-Dental; Pre-Medical; Pre-Optometry; Pre-Pharmacy; Pre-Physical Therapy; Pre-Physician’s Assistant; Pre-Veterinary; Post-Bac Pre-Health; Cooperative Engineering Program

What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Biology – 11.61% 

Psychology – 8.87% 

Nursing – 7.78% 

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

Aquinas Lecture Series, Archbishop Miller Lecture Series, Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series, Msgr. Steele Lecture Series

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


If yes, please describe.

Yes. Interdisciplinarity and the integration of knowledge are strategic priorities for the University of St. Thomas. Two centrally important instances of integration occur in the core curriculum: (1) the coordination of philosophy and theology core courses, and (2) a capstone core course that integrates philosophy, theology or Catholic studies with the student’s major area of study.

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

Study Abroad: The University was recognized by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with a “Seal of Excellence.”  

The University of St. Thomas has a unique program in social entrepreneurship that incorporates a robust program of micro-credit and micro-finance.

Does the institution have one or more priest chaplains on campus for the Sacraments and spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


On average, how many hours per week is a priest chaplain on campus and available to students?


Please describe the priests who minister to students and celebrate the Sacraments on campus.

The Campus Chaplain is a member of the Congregation of St. Basil, the founding order of the university. Other Basilians and priests on faculty celebrate the Sacraments on campus.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does the institution have one or more campus ministers on campus (lay or religious, but not priests) who are available to students for spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


Please describe the campus ministers who are not priests.

Lay campus ministers are faithful Catholics in good standing with the Church who have Master’s level education in theology and pastoral ministry.

Does your institution offer Mass to students at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?


Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students? (Yes/No – if yes, when and how often?)

Yes – weekly on Friday mornings

Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male only

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

Tu 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

We 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

Th 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)

Fr 7:30 a.m., 11 a.m., Latin (Extraordinary Form), 12:30 p.m.

Sa 12:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. Vigil

Su 10:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m.

All English Masses are Roman Rite and traditional music is used.
French Mass is celebrated twice a month on Sunday.  Traditional music, Roman Rite used

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Mo 12 p.m.

Tu 12 p.m.

We 12 p.m.

Th 12 p.m.

Fr 12 p.m.

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Wednesdays, 8 a.m.  5 p.m. 

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Wednesday Eucharistic Adoration 

Weekly Bible studies through our Peer Ministry program 

Nightly Rosary group and liturgy of the hours groups that pray morning and night prayer 

Weekly mass in the residence hall 

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

We do not have any formal program that fosters vocations. We do host an Archdiocesan Fair every year on campus that all students are encouraged to attend. The Basilian Scholastics live on campus, attend classes at the university, and collaborate with Campus Ministry and various student clubs.

Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Eduardo Rivera is a second-year theology Scholastic in the Congregation of St. Basil. 

Matthew Suniga will become a priest in June 2018. 

Fr. TJ Dolce is the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

Does your institution limit religious services and activities on campus (not including private prayer and devotions) to faithfully Catholic activities? (Yes/No)


Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

The Basilians Fathers, founders of the university, hear confessions five times a week at 12 p.m. Our students practice this sacrament on a regular basis. The Basilian Fathers are also available 24 hours, 7 days a week for counseling and confessions. The Fathers also do hospital visits to members of the university community.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

The University of St. Thomas offers students four exciting and yet different communities to choose from. All residence halls offer a convenient, safe, fun on-campus environment for our students. Located around our Student Life and Academic Malls, our residents have easy access to their classes and campus activities. Living on campus allows UST students to take part in fun planned events, which meet their spiritual, academic, and social needs. It is our hope that all students build positive relationships with faculty and staff, form “life-long” friendships, and build a strong respectful community rooted in the Catholic Tradition.

What percentage of students reside in housing offered by your institution?

For all degree seeking undergraduates full time only it is 23%

For all degree seeking undergraduates it is 21%

For all undergraduates it is 18%

For undergraduate and graduate together it is 11%

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

All students
Any Student who wishes
X No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


If your institution offers co-ed residence halls, how are students of the opposite sex separated (choose all that apply):

Co-ed residence halls are divided by wing or by floors.

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

There is not a time designation. All common areas are open and visible at all times.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

With the prior approval of their roommate(s)/housemate(s), residents of Guinan and Young Hall may host non-resident guests and guests of the opposite gender in their contracted room/unit during the following designated visitation hours: Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-midnight; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m. All guests are required to register with the front desk.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.


How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

In coordination with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free School and Communities Act of 1989, the University of St. Thomas believes the unlawful use of drugs and the excessive use of alcohol are inconsistent with the behavior expected of the members of a university community. The University is committed to the development and maintenance of a drug free environment on the campus as well as an environment that prohibits abuse of other drugs and alcohol. The University is committed to the expansion of a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program and to the dissemination of drug awareness information to the members of the entire University community. In addition, the University is committed to enforcing the provisions of the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free School and Communities Act of 1989 and believes that these acts and their implementation regulations provide a proper framework for the drug and alcohol abuse policies of the University.

B. University Initiated Assistance
a. On-campus speakers presenting programs related to drug and alcohol abuse prevention, recognition or treatment.
b. Brochures describing drug and alcohol abuse prevention.
Information and Referral
a. The University’s Office of Health Promotion and Wellness makes available information about drug and alcohol abuse prevention.
b. The Counseling and Disability Services Office makes information available about local community drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs.

Students found to be in possession of drugs may be suspended from the residence hall.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

Campus Ministry supports the Theology of the Body (TOB) club on campus. The TOB has equipped several members of the Residence Life program to explain TOB to any residents should the situation arise. We are equipping young people to live chastely and to go out and proclaim that message of true love in the way they dress and live their lives.  TOB has and will continue to host lectures for our students on the virtue of chastity.

How does your institution foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?

There is a chapel located in the traditional Residence Hall where Mass is celebrated. There are four residential Peer Ministers who live within the Residence Halls and program especially for students. After Sunday mass on campus there is a “Sunday Social” where students can enjoy fellowship and spiritual reflection. We have residential household program on-campus that allows residents to live in community with one another. Each household hosts a Spirituality and a Community night each week to help students grow. Within the Residence Life curriculum, there is a component which requires RAs to include spiritual elements in their hall programming. All Residence Life student leaders are encouraged to work with Campus Ministry to create spiritual programs that support a life of prayer, reflection, and a concern for the “least of these.” The Residence Life Office works with the Campus Ministry Department to promote and provide events on campus including daily Mass, retreats, speakers etc. At the beginning of each year, the residence halls are blessed by the Campus Chaplain.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

We have the Knights of Columbus – A Catholic men’s organization that fosters discipleship in Jesus Christ.  We have the Catholic Daughters who are also concerned with fostering discipleship in Jesus Christ.  We have the Legion of Mary that promotes devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Campus Ministry offers the RCIA program for those who desire to enter the Church.  This program is also open to Catholics who want to grow in the faith.  We have 2 choirs that support and enhance our liturgies.

engage in corporal works of mercy:

The Theology department sponsors a club “Chi Rho” which conducts canned food drives and other activities to help the needy.  The Knights of Columbus raise funds to help the needy.  The Celts for Life are active in providing assistance to various groups whose mission relates to the sanctity of life as taught by the Catholic Church.  Campus Ministry does various corporal works of mercy.

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Bottom of the Cup Lecture Series- lecture series dealing with physical and spiritual concerns for young Catholics. Celts for Life- Pro-Life Student Group.

address issues of social concern:

Veterans’ Association, Best Buddies, Environmental Concerned Organization of Students (ECOS), Health Awareness Club, Students Working Against Human Trafficking (SWAT), First Friday Forum Lectures on social justice issues facing Catholics today.

address particular academic interests:

Accounting Society, American Chemical Society, Association of Texas Professional Educators, Bilingual Education Student Organization, Bioinformatics Club, Cameron Business Society, Chi Rho Theology Club, French Club, History Society, International Studies Society, Irish Club, Math Club, Model UN Club, Pre- Health Professions Society, Graduate Accounting Group (GAAP), Society for Physics Students, Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Student Organization), Texas Club (study of Texas history).

address particular cultural interests:

Muslim Student Association, Association of Latino Professionals of Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), African-American Union, Brazilian Students Association, International Student Association, Filipino Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association, Crossroads Cultural Center (part of the Communion and Liberation Movement).

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Women’s Volleyball, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Baseball Club, Cheerleading Club, Fencing Club, Martial Arts Club, Rugby Club, Running Club, Soccer Club, Surfing Club, Table Tennis Club, Tennis Club, Ultimate Frisbee Club.

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.)  

The University of St. Thomas is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). 

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?  

UST offers Women’s Volleyball, as well as Men’s and Women’s basketball, cross country, golf and soccer.  

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes?

The daily preparation and participation in classwork and athletics consistently challenges our physical and mental person. As teachers, coaches and mentors we also encourage and challenge our UST student-athletes to grow spiritually during their time as Celts. 

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

Student Government Association, Student Activities Board, Sports Club Association.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

The Office of Student Activities works closely with Campus Ministry and specifically, the Director of Campus Ministry when questions arise concerning student clubs and/or programs that may conflict with Catholic teaching.

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website is reviewed when seeking information for programming, such as movie reviews for films being shown on campus.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


How does your institution restrict student access to obscene and pornographic material, including computer and network access, the library, and the bookstore?

The university blocks offensive sites through the use of a firewall.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

We are the University of St. Thomas, the Catholic university in the heart of Houston. We are committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. By pursuing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service, we embody and instill in our students the core values of our founders, the Basilian Fathers: goodness, discipline, and knowledge.

We foster engagement in a diverse, collaborative community. As a comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts, we educate students to think critically, communicate effectively, succeed professionally, and lead ethically.

Does your institution have a written policy prohibiting awards, honors, or speaking platforms for individuals or organizations that defy, by public action or statement, fundamental Catholic moral principles including the sacredness and dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage? (See United States bishops, “Catholics in Political Life.”)(Yes/No)


Please give or explain your campus speaker and honoree policy in light of Catholic moral teaching:

Exerpt from the policy: The University of St. Thomas is committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. By instructing students in analytical and logical thinking, we assist in the preparation of UST graduates for important roles in civic leadership and in their quest for truth. Our community is guided by the Basilian values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge. We are also committed to the vision and norms for education as set out in Ex corde ecclesiae, 2 and we seek to act in accord with the statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops concerning Catholics in political life.3 To serve these objectives, members of the University community must be free to engage the full range of views on a variety of subjects and must also strive to maintain clarity about the identity of the University. Speakers may be invited to campus and events produced on campus that promote the University’s values, as well as to events that involve the expression of ideas or opinions that are contrary to Catholic doctrines and teachings. From time to time speakers or events can be problematic because they compromise our Catholic identity or offend our core values.4 In such cases the following considerations, modifications, or reasons for prohibition will apply.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 2,047

62% Female; 38% Male

Baptist 3.2% 
Buddhist 0.6%
Catholic 52.8% 
Episcopalian 0.8% 
Hindu 0.3% 
Jewish 0.3% 
Methodist 1.3% 
Muslim 2.7% 
Mormon 0.1% 
Orthodox 1.3% 
Other 3.7% 
Protestant 6.3% 
Unitarian 0.2% 
Unknown 26.4% 

Total states represented: 34 

Total countries represented: 61 

Type of high school: 
Catholic 2.79%
Home school 1.13%
Private 6.44% 
Public 31.38% 

Most up-to-date information provided by the University

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


A Message from the President

Dear Parents and Prospective Students, 

As the University of St. Thomas celebrates its 70th year of providing a Catholic liberal arts education, we are truly honored to once again be recommended by the Cardinal Newman Society. UST firmly embodies the principles of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and is committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. We prepare graduates for success in the modern world through innovative programs and facilities that are grounded with strong theology and philosophy programs, and built upon the foundation of the Basilian Fathers’ values of goodness, discipline, knowledge, and community. 

A visit to our campus, located in Houston’s beautiful arts district, will show you what sets the University of St. Thomas apart. We are blessed to be positioned in the heart of the Innovation Corridor, where opportunities for business, technology, arts, and culture abound. With a diverse student population representing over 60 countries and 34 states, UST clearly reflects the face of the church. That human family flourishes here in rare display. We hope you will join us as we go boldly forward in the Catholic intellectual tradition. 

In peace and unity, 

Richard Ludwick

Visit Campus

Get in touch with the University of St. Thomas to schedule your campus visit:


3800 Montrose
Houston, TX 77006

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