Texas Academy of Math and Science

Acting to stem a forecasted decline in the perceived quality of math and science education across the nation, a number of states decided to establish mostly residential, application-based public “academies” in math and science beginning in the mid 1980s.  The 70th Texas Legislature established the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) in 1987 at the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT).

A two-year, residential program open to rising juniors, the first class of students matriculated on August 22, 1988.  Unlike many students at peer academies, TAMS students (TAMsters) are concurrently enrolled in high school and in college.  They take all courses side by side with UNT undergraduate students and have the opportunity to earn more than 60 transferrable college credits by the time they graduate.

This profile is an excerpt from the Houston School Survey. See the most up to date research and analysis at HoustonSchoolSurvey.com

The Texas Academy of Math and Science

1167 Union Circle, Suite 202, Denton, TX 76203                                              Dr. Richard J. Sinclair, Dean

940-565-4955                                                                                          Dr. Brent M. Jones, Admissions Director


Religious Affiliation

As a public school operating on the campus of a public university, TAMS has no religious affiliation.  Per Texas state law, students may be excused from classes to observe religious holidays including travel time; however, the student is still required to satisfactorily make-up any missed assignments and/or exams in a timely manner.  TAMS students may join and participate in the activities of more than 30 spiritual and religious organizations active on the campus of UNT.

Location and Facilities

TAMS operates entirely within the campus and facilities of the University of North Texas.  Located approximately 40 miles north of downtown Dallas in the town of Denton, UNT’s more than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students occupy approximately 875 acres.  With an annual budget exceeding $850 million, the university possesses all of the facilities expected of such a large institution.  In particular, TAMS students enjoy access to the university’s four main libraries, $25 million, 138,000 square foot Pohl Recreation Center (complete with indoor lazy river and climbing wall), and expansive sports and outdoors space.

TAMS is a residential program only; as such, all students reside in UNT’s McConnell Hall.  Two students share a single dorm room; overnight guests are permitted by written permission only.  The dormitory is comprised of three floors, segregated by gender.  It includes a kitchenette, meeting rooms, and common rooms.  Students dine at any UNT dining hall of their choice.

Students are not permitted to attend certain areas of campus, Denton, and Dallas at any time of day including establishments and areas primarily known for drinking and partying.  Curfew Sunday through Thursday is 11pm; Friday and Saturday curfew is at 1am.


Out of more than 500 applicants state-wide, approximately 200 rising juniors are accepted to TAMS each year.  Unlike HISD magnet programs, every student is graded holistically without the use of computer programs or mathematical formulae.  Academically, the admissions department evaluates students based on SAT scores, grades, and teacher references; students must have completed geometry, algebra I, and algebra II prior to admission.  The average SAT score at admission into TAMS averages between 650 and 700 for math and 590 and 620 for verbal.  Students are evaluated on the basis of maturity, motivation, behavioral record, and a career interest in science, technology, and/or mathematics.  In general, TAMS looks for students who are capable of succeeding in college coursework and intend to utilize that advanced coursework at a professional level.  Five times a year, the school offers “Preview Day,” which is an open house for prospective families to come to campus and get to know the school better.

Just like college, TAMS offers early and regular decision application tracks.  Early decision applicants receive notification of admission earlier and have a marginally better chance of admission as they have more time and opportunities to demonstrate their interest and strength of candidacy versus regular admission prospects.  Applicants are required to attend an on-campus interview prior to admission.  Failure to make the interview will result in disqualification from the application process.  TAMS is actively recruiting female applicants as the gender distribution is generally about 55% male.

Tuition, course fees, and books are technically free of charge courtesy of the Texas state Foundation School Fund.  However, parents must still pay a $1300 “Parent Program” charge and approximately $7,000 a year for room and board.  Financial aid is available.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

TAMS offers only one academic track—undergraduate college courses at UNT.  Students may only enroll in UNT college courses; no “high school” level courses are offered.  Students take 12 core hours each semester and must complete the following courses to earn a TAMS standard diploma: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, two semesters of math pre-calculus or higher, English Literature, US History, and American Government.  They must also attend a bi-weekly seminar that covers a varying array of topics such as relevant research and technology topics.

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in the program; the ability to take electives is also determined by GPA.  Students are not allowed any electives their first semester, may take one elective if their GPA falls between 3.1 and 3.5 or two electives if their GPA falls between 3.5 and 4.0.  Students may earn an Honors Diploma by maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5, earning a grade in every course of at least a B, and completing at least 80 community service hours.

Students successfully graduating from TAMS are automatically admitted to the University of North Texas and receive full credit for complete coursework, upwards of 60 hours.  The amount of credit that transfers to other colleges depends on the specific policies of that institution.

Special Needs

Students with disabilities have full access to UNT’s Office of Disability Accommodations and receive all rights and privileges afforded to them by that office as is required by Section 504 of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.

Foreign Languages

Foreign language study is not a core requirement at TAMS; as such, students may only enroll in these courses as an elective.  Should they qualify to take an elective, they have full access to the university’s extensive offerings.


The study of arts is not a core requirement at TAMS; as such, students may only enroll in these courses as an elective.  Should they qualify to take an elective, they have full access to the university’s extensive offerings.


Students are not required but are encouraged to bring a desktop or laptop computer to campus with them.  Additionally, they have exclusive use of a computer lab in the dormitory that is not open to regular UNT students.  Students allowed to take electives may also choose from UNT’s extensive offerings in technology.

Extracurricular Activities

TAMSters may participate in just about any of the on-campus organizations at UNT.  They also elect one representative to serve on the UNT student government.  Additionally, there are a number of TAMS exclusive clubs such as Mu Alpha Theta, TAMS Medical Society, Student Council, Sports, and more.

TAMS stresses the unique potential for its students to win research scholarships and participate in projects being undertaken by university professors.  The fact that students are concurrently enrolled in both high school and college allows them to apply for a much wider range of scholarships and grants than if they were simply high school students.


Although TAMS does not field any interscholastic sports teams, students may participate in any intramural sport offered at UNT, which is extensive.  Additionally, TAMS competes once a year with a number of other boarding schools in a range of sports.

Parent Involvement

As TAMS is a residential program comprised of mostly of students not from Denton or the surrounding area, there are limited parent involvement opportunities.  However, parents of alumni are sometimes invited to serve on the admissions committee.


Fast Facts (Go to National Center for Education Statistics Website)

Overview Source
School Type Public Residential Magnet
Religious Affiliation None
Date Founded 1987
Endowment Texas Foundation School Fund
Grades Served 11-12
Enrollment 375
     Grade 12 175
     Grade 11 200
Student to Teacher Ratio NCES
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) School
Minorities in Student Body NCES
Academic Tracks Offered Undergraduate College Level
Advanced Placement Courses Offered N/A
Languages Offered UNT Full Course Catalog
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs None
Graduating Seniors
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) NMSC
Average SAT Scores 1918 (
     Mathematics School / College Profile
     Critical Reading School / College Profile
     Writing School / College Profile
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University School / College Profile
Admissions (Private Schools)
Prime Entry Points 11
Tuition Grades 9-12 $0
Parent Program Fee $1300
Room and Board $7000 – $8000
Students on Financial Aid School
Public School Stats (Public Schools)
Gifted and Talented Students NCES
Free and Reduced Lunch NCES
AYP (year) www.tea.state.tx.us
TEA Accountability (year) www.tea.state.tx.us

Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”


One Comment