09:26 AM

UST Launches One-of-its-kind Associates of Applied Science in Pragmatic Studies

Teacher and studentIn spring 2021, University of St. Thomas Houston will offer an academic lifeline to students with learning differences, which have interfered with their success in a traditional college setting. The new Associates in Applied Science in Pragmatic Studies is a full-time, two-year, face-to-face program.

This is the only program of its kind in Texas, and only one other exists in the entire United States.

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, 2.3 million children in public schools have learning disabilities, including dyslexia, executive functioning disorders, autism, and/ or attention issues that can be prohibitive and crippling in academia.

Dr. Tera Torres, UST’s chair of the program, said, “Often, these students are too high-functioning to enter vocational training programs and generally don’t qualify for vocational rehabilitation services. Conversely, they struggle to pass college entrance exams and subsequently have significant difficulties in academia due to the level of support required. Yet these students can learn, create and contribute. They can make a difference in society as a whole.”

Degree Details: An Opportunity like Never Before

As part of this 62-credit hour program, students also fulfill an internship with a local business so that upon completion, graduates have both a college degree and work experience that will facilitate employment and future upward mobility in the workforce.

“The purpose of the program is to prepare and influence socially responsible citizens who will transform and sustain communities,” Torres said. “Graduates will possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to meet postsecondary goals and increase employment outcomes. Graduates will also demonstrate that learning differences are no longer a hindrance to success.”

UST’s social justice tenets encompass and drive everything the University does.

“ALL people have a right to an education, and ALL people are valuable, and ALL people can contribute meaningfully to their communities in a way that glorifies God,” Torres said. 

Apply Now

Admission to the program requires high school completion and a current full and individual psychoeducational evaluation (FIE). Applicants must take the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSI) to assist in determining current skill level as this is required for all students entering college in the state of Texas. Furthermore, an interview between the program faculty/ staff and the student applicant will be required for admission. For more information, go to www.stthom.edu/pragmaticstudies or call Dr. Tera Torres at 713-899-0690.  The program is pending SACSCOC approval.


The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 70 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.