About Us

The Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities (TALH) is a highly selective, early college entrance program for gifted and talented students eager for an enriched intellectual program enhanced by the disciplines of the humanities.

Created in 1993, the Academy is one of only two residential programs for gifted and talented high school-aged students recognized by the Texas State Legislature.

Academy students are expected to cultivate their leadership abilities by investing a portion of their out-of-class/study time in volunteer organizations, community service, and in activities and programs sponsored by the Academy. The ultimate aim of the program is simple: to cultivate the intellectual and ethical virtues of our state and nation's future leaders.

Our students have been accepted to the nation’s finest colleges and universities including Ivy League schools like Princeton, Harvard and Yale; the South’s best like Duke, Washington and Lee, Vanderbilt and Tulane; powerhouses like the Universities of Chicago, New York, Stanford and Southern California.


Who can apply to TALH?

Application is open to Texas residents enrolled in the tenth grade or equivalent.

What are the requirements for admission?

All applicants must complete and file application through ApplyTexas for admission to Lamar University. In addition to the ApplyTexas application, applicants must also submit the TALH Enrollment Application form online through the TALH website.  We also require additional documentation, including school transcript; an autobiographical essay; letters of recommendation from the student's principal or counselor, and English teacher. Application instructions, TALH Enrollment Application Form and additional required documents may be found on our Apply Now page.

The SAT score required for consideration is no less than 580 on the Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (EBRW) and 550 on Math of the college admissions test. TALH also accepts ACT scores. An applicant must score at least a composite score of 23 with a minimum of 19 on the English test and 19 on the mathematics test to be considered for acceptance. TALH administration conducts a personal interview with the applicant and parents prior to admission. Applicants are also required to complete a Texas Success Initiative college-readiness test required by the Texas Education Code Sec. 51.3062 using an approved assessment instrument.

What is the application deadline?

Early notification deadline is December 6. Rolling application deadline.


How much are the tuition and fees for the Texas Academy?

Texas Academy students are awarded Tuition Scholarships for tuition and fees for a course load of 15 credit hours. The current value of the TALH Scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year is $10,341.90 ($5170.95 per semester). Students are responsible for the costs of credit hours in excess of 15. Students are also responsible for room and board, books and miscellaneous supplies.

Is there any other financial aid available?

Qualified students may apply for full financial aid including Pell Grants, student loans, and Lamar University scholarships. For more information, please contact the TALH office.

How much is room and board?

The cost for a Cardinal Village Morris Hall suite with living room, bath, and private bedroom is $5,868 for the full 2019-2020 academic year. ($2934 per semester)

Meal plans for 2019-2020 range from $1,355-$1,645 per semester. Most of our students prefer a plan with a declining and renewable balance to give them more dining options. There are a number of meal plans specially designed to fulfill your student’s individual needs.

How much will my books cost?

Depending on your student’s course load and availability of used textbooks, his/her costs for books generally range from $500 to $600 per semester. Costs may be reduced significantly by renting textbooks. Many of our students are able to sell their books back at the end of the semester.

What miscellaneous expenses can we expect?

In the course of a semester, you may have additional expenses not covered above like rental of a post office box, parking, TALH field trips, personal entertainment, as well as school supplies, pharmaceuticals and personal expenses.


What type of courses will I take?

All TALH students are enrolled in Lamar University core curriculum courses. A first term TALH student will typically be enrolled in English, Math, History, Science, and a Foreign Language. Individual graduation plans may vary depending on coursework already completed at prior school.

What will my required load be?

All TALH students are considered full-time college students and are required to take 15 hours. Any additional hours must be approved in writing by the director.

Since TALH is a humanities program does it require math and science?

Yes, TALH students are required to take math and science per the university core curriculum. TALH provides an enriched humanities focus through a weekly humanities course, ethical issues course, field trips, futurism symposium and special events.

What is the grading system?

Grades are based on the standard university 4.0 system. However, in order to smooth the transition to college academics, TALH has instituted a number of innovations to support student success.
  • Study hall is held Monday through Thursday night for all first semester students. This arrangement allows students to learn the concentrated study skills necessary to succeed in college.
  • Progress reports are solicited from TALH students' professors and that information is both used by the TALH counselor for a proactive approach to student success and to allow the parents to monitor their student's progress.
  • Tutors are available for TALH students.


How is the program administered?

TALH's administration is as unique as the program itself. While the Academy is part of the Lamar University System under the Provost, we have our own handbook that has been reviewed and approved by the university system's legal counsel.

How is the program's administration organized?

The TALH program is under the direction of a director. There are four other full time administrators including a counselor, assistant director, student services coordinator, and administrative coordinator. This equals one administrator for every 10-12 students, an impressive ratio in terms of today's super high schools. Resident assistants and security officers provide extra support staff.

Living Arrangements

Where will I live?

TALH students live in their own building in Cardinal Village Morris Hall. For more info about TALH residential building security, please visit our residential life page. To learn about Lamar University dorm life, visit the Housing and Residence life website.

Do I need to bring my own computer?

Although Lamar University maintains computer labs, it is recommended that each student bring their own computer.

What else should I bring?

Going away to school is both an exciting and challenging adventure. So many new experience await you - the first of which is living away from home. One of our most frequently asked questions is, "What do I bring?" Here is an extensive list of suggested items to bring.

What is campus life like outside of class?

The Academy is a close-knit community designed to provide leadership and education through a variety of ways. First, our students can participate fully in the Lamar University campus activities, including the student government association, student events like film festivals, sports events, guest lectures, plays, and cultural celebrations as well as campus-wide student organizations like the orchestra and band, campus newspaper, Springfest and Homecoming.

Within the Academy itself, the academic year's calendar is planned to include cultural field trips to the opera, ballet, and the theater, as well as trips to regional events that spark our students' interest such as a particular exhibit at a Houston Museum or exploring another culture at a regional fair. TALH also offers a series of lectures and learning opportunities through two programs: Think Tanks, and Keys to Success. The first program, Think Tanks, brings expert lectures to the Academy to discuss such diverse issues as world religions or the stock market. Keys to Success is a pilot project where TALH students polish their communication skills in presentations of their chosen topic. Through Think Tanks and Keys to Success, our students stretch their learning beyond the classroom.

Students may also participate in TALH organizations like student government, journalism, literary journal, yearbook, social justice, and JSA. We also have an active social calendar, which features dances, dinners, picnics, retreats, prom, films and even shopping trips.

TALH students strive for the ideal of compassionate leadership through weekly volunteer opportunities. Again, these are carefully matched to our students' interests, skills and ambitions to provide the maximum benefit. This year our students served as tutors and mentors in at-risk schools, turned their performing arts talents into service in a year-long season entertaining retirement and nursing homes, shadowed physicians weekly at the region's largest hospital, and volunteered in area hospice, the epilepsy and cystic fibrosis foundations, the federal attorney's office, the campus writing lab, and the regional humane society.

What about rules and discipline?

While TALH was established for gifted and talented high school aged students who want more then a traditional high school offers, our student community still consists of minors. The safety and security of our residential students are one of our foremost concerns. While our students generally experience more freedom than typical high school students, they also are expected to abide by more structured sets of rules than the average college student. These include (but are not limited to) curfew, visitation, health and safety, and travel.

TALH has an official handbook that outlines the general code of behavior expected of our students. The handbook also includes a guide to the disciplinary system.

Enrollment in TALH should be understood to be a privilege, not a right and students who find the guidelines expected of a successful TALH student too restrictive are strongly encouraged to seek other educational opportunities.