The Doctor of Liberal Studies program (DLS) admits students to begin in the fall semester only. The priority application deadline is March 1. Applications may be accepted after this deadline by permission of the department on a space-available basis.

To ensure the high quality of the program, the DLS program enrolls a cohort of approximately 15-20 students per year.

The DLS program seeks intellectually serious adult students who have earned their master’s degree in a field related to their plans for advanced study. SMU encourages students with strong academic qualifications and outstanding professional/community leadership backgrounds, who have a passion for advanced interdisciplinary study with the intention of making high-level contributions to their workplace, society and the world to apply.

Apply Online

Criteria for Doctor of Liberal Studies Admission

  • Completion of the online application

  • Official undergraduate transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate study
    You must request that official transcripts be sent electronically to or from all colleges and universities attended and be sent directly by the registrar of each institution. A GPA of 3.0 or higher and graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher is desired.

  • Letter of Purpose
    The Letter of Purpose is a critical and important component of the application to the Doctor of Liberal Studies program.  In a three-page, well-structured essay, discuss the curricular area you would like to focus on as well as the ideas and questions you would like to read, write and think about, and how doing so through this program will enrich your life, your workplace/profession and have a substantive impact on society. Please include prior inquiry and educational experiences, formal or informal, which have influenced your decision to apply to the program.

  • Academic Writing Sample
    Please submit a recent (preferably within the past five years) research-based academic writing sample, 10-15 pages. If this is unavailable, other writing samples of comparable length may be substituted with approval from the program director.

  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    At least one letter should be from a professor from a prior graduate program who can attest to the applicant’s academic proficiency to participate in a doctoral program and one letter should be from a direct supervisor in your organization. Note: All recommenders must upload their own letters of recommendation directly to the applicant’s online application.  The applicant may not upload letters of recommendation to their online application.  If you have questions about the online application process, please contact Rose Sommers at, or email Doctor of Liberal Studies at

  • Resume/Curriculum Vita

  • Personal Interview
    An interview with a Program Director or Faculty Chair is required and will be scheduled by the GLS office.

  • Application Fee payable online.

  • The GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
    The GRE is not required, but applicants are welcome to submit their scores if they feel the scores would add to the strength of their application.

  • Admission Deadline: The DLS program admits in the fall semester only. PRIORITY DEADLINE FOR ADMISSION IS MARCH 1, 2023 FOR FALL 2023.


If you have any questions about the online admissions process:

Please contact the Graduate Liberal Studies office at:
Email: | Request Information
Phone: 214.768.4273