Research Centers and Institutes

A university’s academic pursuits are supported and expanded by Centers and Institutes, which provide faculty and students venues for collaborative, (often interdisciplinary) research, support, and engagement. Centers and Institutes also provide thought leadership to the community and can serve as critical points of interaction between the university and the community. When partnered with business, Centers and Institutes can be utilized to research, investigate and explore initiatives aimed at solving complex programs and translating to practical solutions for the common good.

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Center for Research Computation

Center for Research Computing

University-Wide, Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The center is an interdisciplinary research center devoted to the application of computational techniques to problems in mathematics, engineering, and applied sciences.

Dr. Suku Nair

AT&T Center for Virtualization


Communications company AT&T and higher education leader SMU are collaborating in a unique research center that will deliver solutions to critical industry needs, educate the next generation of virtualized network technology experts and support Dallas’ emergence as a global information technology hub.

Children in classroom

Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE)

University-Wide, Education, Simmons

The Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) in the Simmons School of Education conducts high quality research and evaluation to drive positive and sustainable change in the community, as well as providing internal research support to the SMU faculty and staff.

Two woman in lab looking at bones

Institute for the Study of Earth and Man

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Institute develops and supports interdisciplinary research projects in the geological sciences, archaeology, anthropology, energy and the environment.

Tower Center event at SMU

John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Tower Center supports teaching and research programs in international studies and national security policy. It also sponsors conferences, lectures, seminars, symposia and workshops on contemporary political issues.

Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing lab

The Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing

Engineering, Lyle

This Center conducts cutting edge research and development in new, sophisticated manufacturing technologies. In 2005, the center became part of the highly competitive National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Lasers and Plasmas for Advanced Manufacturing.

Albert W. Niemi Center for Economic Growth and Leadership Development

Business, Cox

The Albert W. Niemi Center for Economic Growth and Leadership Development focuses on creating learning experiences for students and community members. The fellowship program was designed to drive positive change and promote growth and freedom in the global economy throughout the world.

VP Brad Cheves and Tucker Bridwell

Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom

Business, Cox

The Bridwell Institute continues and expands upon the mission of its predecessor, the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, to study the impact of competitive market forces on freedom and prosperity in the global economy.

Brierley Institute

The Brierley Institute 

Business, Cox

As the nation’s first academic institute devoted to the study of customer engagement, the Brierley Institute plans to change the business world and transform the fundamental interaction between a customer and a company.

Caruth Institute for Engineering Education

Engineering, Lyle

The Institute is one of the nation's leading organizations developing and delivering engineering curriculum for K-12 students. Today, the Institute is home to nationally recognized and award-winning programs such as The Infinity Project and Visioneering, which reach millions of students in all fifty states.

Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship

Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship

Business, Cox

As one of the oldest entrepreneurship centers in the United States, the Institute has for more than 25 years been committed to encouraging those who can to build a business of their own.

lecturers at a Maguire Ethics Center's Bridge Builders Series event

Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility


The Center supports research, writing and teaching in ethics at the graduate and undergraduate level; organizes local seminars, colloquia, and workshops; and recognizes citizens who exemplify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.

Perkins chapel at sunset

Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies

Theology, Perkins

The Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies in the Perkins School of Theology joins with congregations and church leaders to understand the unique challenges they face in sharing the gospel, as well as to cultivate new and relevant forms of witness both locally and internationally.

Global Health Impact

Center for Global Health Impact


The Center for Global Health Impact at SMU aims to save lives in developing countries and in poor settings around the world through innovation approaches that bring effective and affordable health solutions to those who need them and in ways they will use them.

Center for Methodist Studies

Theology, Perkins

The Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library was established in 1984 to encourage research, study, and reflection upon the Methodist movement. The Center sponsors and supports a variety of programs, publications, and exhibitions on origin of Methodist studies, the forces that shaped its development, and the features that determine its character and influence.

Instructor leading a session

Center for Preaching Excellence

Theology, Perkins

The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU is an initiative devoted to enhancing the preaching skills of pastors through innovative courses, workshops, one-on-one coaching and peer learning groups.

Students sitting indoors talking

Center for Religious Leadership

Theology, Perkins

The Center for Religious Leadership provides training in the theology of leadership and practical skills for leadership.

Perkins students in Chapel

Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions

Theology, Perkins

The Center promotes a deeper understanding of the varieties of religious life and expression within the Latino communities in the USA and Latin America and addresses issues related to the Latino/a religious experience within a broader ecumenical and religious context.

Center for VR Learning Innovation

Education, Simmons

The mission of the Center for VR Learning Innovation (CVRL) is to advance interdisciplinary research and innovation at SMU in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and game-based learning (GBL) for education, health and human development. In addition, the Center supports digital learning with mixed reality, virtual coaching, and interactive learning design for research and online and hybrid courses in Simmons. Research at the Center focuses on practical applications of the latest AR and VR technologies to address global problems in education and human development.

Student with networking cables

Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security

Engineering, Lyle

The mission of the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security is to advance the science, policy, application and education of cyber security through basic and problem-driven, interdisciplinary research.

data science

Data Science Institute


SMU’s Data Science Institute was launched in Fall 2020. Its mission is to coordinate and facilitate interdisciplinary research teams and programs in Data Science  across the University. The DSI aims to develop research connections between our faculty affiliates and corporations, federal/state/local governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations. The Institute also serves as a gateway to SMU's high-performance computing environment and data science training tutorials and workshops.


Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center in Dedman School of Law

University-Wide, LAW

The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center provides a platform for important interdisciplinary collaboration among many different groups, including scholars, students, the judiciary, law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense counsel. By bringing together experts from across the country to participate in symposia and conferences, the Center will engage in national conversations surrounding criminal justice.

Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute

SCIENCE and Humanities, Dedman College

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute (DCII) encompasses all the divisions within Dedman College: humanities, social sciences and sciences, which includes mathematics and statistics. It also reaches out through its programs to the rest of the University and to the local community, creating a culture of interdisciplinary inquiry and bridging the physical sciences and the humanities, the liberal arts and the professional schools, and academia and the broader community.

Computer screen

Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies

Business, Cox

The Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies provides enrichment programs and research opportunities for students and faculty in the Cox School's Finance Department.

Alternative Asset Management Center

EnCap Investments & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center

Business, Cox

The Alternative Asset Management Center provides students with hands-on training in the increasingly important financial markets of non-traditional asset classes, including hedge funds and private equity funds.

Global Development Lab - Hunt Institute

Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity

Engineering, Lyle

The Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity is dedicated to using the power of engineering, collaboration and the free market to develop and implement solutions to the problems of the poor, both here and abroad.

Institute for Leadership Impact

Education, Simmons

The Institute for Leadership Impact works with emerging and established leaders in education, health, and social enterprise to help them develop the skills they need to be more effective in leading organizations and solving real-world problems. Activities focus on helping individuals, teams, and organizations maximize their leadership abilities through a variety of in-person, online, and hybrid learning formats.

JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence

Business, Cox

The Center is a leading source of academic expertise on consumer shopping behavior and the effects of retailer activities on shopping behavior.

Keith Robinson and Natalie Nanasi

Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women

Law, Dedman Law

The Hunter Center has partnered with established local community organizations to serve women who are most critically in need of legal assistance in matters including, but not limited to, obtaining orders of protection, family law, humanitarian immigration claims, and post-conviction relief.

Kitt Center class

Kitt Investing and Trading Center

Business, Cox

The Kitt Investing and Trading Center is a state-of-the-art instructional and research facility designed to integrate finance curriculum, enhance innovative faculty research, and teach students practical finance and investment applications.

The Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Scholars

Maguire Energy Institute

Business, Cox

The Institute promotes the study of policy, marketing, and management issues related to oil, natural gas and electricity.

Officials from Mexico, GRUMA-Mission Foods and SMU at the signing ceremony creating the Mission-Foods Texas-Mexico Center.

Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center is dedicated to improving relations between Texas and Mexico through dialogue and research. Through research the Center seeks to produce actionable ideas and policy recommendations that address current issues that impact the bilateral relationship.

keyboard with red backlight

NSA Center of Academic Excellence

Engineering, Lyle

Cybersecurity research and education has long been a priority at SMU's Lyle School of Engineering. Researchers in the High Assurance Computing and Networking (HACNet) Lab work on a broad range of cybersecurity topics.

Caruth Hall

NSF Net-Centric

Engineering, Lyle

The center focuses on a collaborative approach of research and development in net-centric systems, allowing us to draw on the expertise of industry and academia.

Research in Mathematics Education

Education, Simmons

The mission of Research in Mathematics Education (RME) is to conduct high-quality research in mathematics and STEM education to cultivate positive change by educating teachers and administrators about evidence-based practices and systems. RME supports mathematics education by impacting students through projects involving teachers, parents, and policymakers, while empowering teachers and administrators through conferences and professional development opportunities.

Participants of Rowling Center Ethics & Compliance Certificate Program

Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership


The Rowling Center’s mission is to develop nationally prominent leaders in law and business. The Center plans to support faculty research and develop innovative courses and programming for our students, alumni, and the DFW community.


SMU DataArts

Arts, Meadows

SMU DataArts is building a national culture of data-driven decision making for those who want to see the arts and culture sector thrive. We make data useful and accessible to all in the arts and culture field, illuminating strengths, challenges and opportunities for individual arts organizations and for the sector as a whole, to help ensure long-term stability.

The Budd Center

Education, Simmons

The Budd Center addresses challenges in education by equipping schools and nonprofits to work together and meet the extraordinary needs of children in poverty. The Budd Center's flagship project, The School Zone (TSZ), currently comprises 33 nonprofits, 15 public, private and charter schools, the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) and SMU.

Woman in CD4 Vogel-Wise lab coat conducting research

The Center for Drug Discovery, Design, and Delivery (CD4)

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery (CD4) is a novel multi-disciplinary focus for scientific research targeting medically important problems in human health. Using innovative approaches, CD4’s mission is to potentiate the development of new therapeutics, their delivery methods as well as the translation of these new therapeutics to clinical studies.

Center for Presidential History event at Bush Library

The Center for Presidential History

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Center for Presidential History (CPH) at SMU is dedicated to exploring and disseminating the history of the American presidency by sponsoring cutting-edge research on the presidency, delivering the fruits of that research in published academic and public forums, and by simultaneously adding to the rich archival record of the presidency through a wide-ranging oral history project.

Ellen K. Solender

The Ellen K. Solender Institute in Free Speech and Mass Media Law

Law, Dedman Law

The Ellen K. Solender Institute in Free Speech and Mass Media Law is a unique international resource center, providing materials to researchers from courts, legislatures, bureaucracies, the legal profession, legal education, mass media, and telecommunications services.

 John D. Carmack, id Software founder and CTO of Oculus at Tsai Innovation Lecture

Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation

Law, Dedman Law

The Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation is a research-focused academic center exploring how law and policy affect scientific research and discovery as well as the development and commercialization of new technologies.

Clements Center for Southwest Studies Research at Library

William P. Clements Center For Southwest Studies

Science and Humanities, Dedman College

The Center sponsors scholarly research and writing, conferences, periodic lectures and symposia on the people, institutions and cultures of the Southwest.

 W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic

W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children’s Rights

Law, Dedman Law

The mission of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children’s Rights at SMU Dedman School of Law is to pursue innovative, bold theories and projects to address the fundamental, overarching challenges of child abuse and neglect.