Academic offerings

SMU is a nationally ranked global research university located in the dynamic city of Dallas, Texas. The University’s faculty, nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools and alumni demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Dedman College is SMU’s largest and most diverse academic unit. It is home to the humanities and social, natural and mathematical sciences — disciplines that are the core of higher education.

The heart of SMU from its beginning, Dedman College was named in 1981 for benefactors Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and his wife, Nancy Dedman, of Dallas.

Academic Programs
More than 90 undergraduate majors and minors, plus numerous interdisciplinary programs. The college offers over 30 post-graduate degrees through 16 academic programs.

Innovative Offerings
Dedman College promotes academic discovery through its interdisciplinary centers and institutes, including the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies; Clements Center for Southwest Studies; Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute; Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery; and the Embrey Human Rights Program. Students can put their ideas into action through research opportunities and engaged learning activities beyond the classroom.

Research is a top priority for Dedman College, and we promote academic discovery with innovation and collaboration. Students and faculty work together in labs, on research fields, and in academic forums to address issues of local, national, and global importance. Are you interested in developing new cancer therapies, exploring countries in search of dinosaurs, learning how to predict earthquakes, or writing the next great novel? The research opportunities are endless within Dedman College.

Cox School of Business

The Cox School equips students with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to become business leaders. Major publications, including Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, rank SMU Cox among the top business schools nationally and globally.

Established in 1920, SMU’s business school was named in 1978 in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox of Dallas.

Academic Programs
Bachelor of Business Administration with majors in accounting, finance, financial consulting, general business, management, marketing and real estate finance. Graduate degrees include the Full-time Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Fast Track M.B.A., Professional M.B.A. (part-time), Executive M.B.A., J.D./M.B.A. (with Dedman School of Law), Master of Science in Arts Management/M.B.A. (with Meadows School of the Arts), Master of Science in Engineering/M.B.A. (with Lyle School of Engineering), Master of Science (M.S.) in Accounting, M.S. in Business Analytics, Part-time M.S. in Business Analytics, M.S. in Finance, Part-time M.S. in Finance, M.S. in Management, M.S. in Sport Management (with Simmons School of Education and Human Development) and M.S. in Health Promotion Management (with Simmons School of Education and Human Development).

Among the Cox School’s advantages is its location in Dallas, ranked by Forbes as “the No. 5 best city for good jobs” in 2016, and an area that’s home to 22 Fortune 500 companies. Cox has forged strong relationships with those companies and influential business leaders, is recognized in The Economist as No. 6 in the world for “faculty quality” and is consistently ranked as a leading business school in prominent business publications.

International Study
The Cox School offers international immersion experiences for Full-time, Professional and Executive M.B.A. students as part of its Global Leadership Program. All Cox students have access to exchange partnerships with schools around the world.

Meadows School of the Arts

The Meadows School prepares students to lead professional careers in the arts and communications and provides opportunities for all SMU students to grow in appreciation of the arts. A leader in innovative community engagement programs, Meadows challenges students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between arts entrepreneurship and social change.

Dating from SMU’s beginning, arts education evolved into a school of the arts that was named in 1969 in honor of benefactor Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation of Dallas. The school includes the renowned Meadows Museum.

Academic Programs
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered through 11 divisions: Temerlin Advertising Institute, Art, Art History (also offering a Ph.D.), Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, Creative Computation, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, Dance, Film and Media Arts, Journalism, Music and Theatre.

Innovative Offerings
The National Center for Arts Research analyzes the largest database of arts research ever assembled to provide data-driven insights into challenges facing U.S. arts organizations. The Meadows Prize is an international arts residency awarded to pioneering artists in a Meadows discipline who work with students on campus and leave a lasting cultural legacy in Dallas.

Prominent Alumni
Meadows alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony, Emmy and Academy awards and have artwork in major museums.

Lyle School of Engineering

The Lyle School prepares today’s engineering students to be tomorrow’s innovators equipped with both technical and leadership skills.

SMU’s engineering school, founded in 1925, was named in 2008 in honor of Dallas leader Bobby B. Lyle.

Academic Programs
Bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees offered through the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering. Two new multidisciplinary programs include Master of Arts in Design and Innovation and Master of Science in Datacenter Systems Engineering.

Innovative Offerings
Lyle students participate in programs in the unique Deason Innovation Gym, designed to support and encourage innovation in all forms. The Hart Center for Engineering Leadership helps students develop nontechnical skills to prepare them for leadership in diverse technical fields. The Caruth Institute for Engineering Education develops new methodologies for incorporating engineering education into K-12 schools. The Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity combines technological innovation with business expertise to address global poverty.

In 2015-16 Lyle faculty members generated 47 awards for $6.3 million in external funding for research and sponsored projects.

SMU’s high-performance engineering complex includes LEED gold-certified buildings and advanced research facilities.

Dedman School of Law

Dedman School of Law offers students a personalized legal education in a community of distinguished scholars.

SMU’s law school, founded in 1925, was named in 2001 in honor of Dallas benefactors Nancy and Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and their family.

Academic Programs
Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.). The Master of Laws for foreign law school graduates was among the first in the country and has graduated more than 2,000 lawyers from 80 countries. The J.D./M.B.A. is offered jointly with Cox School of Business and can be completed in either four years, or in three years made possible by combining the J.D. with the Fast track M.B.A. Program. The J.D./M.A. in economics is offered jointly with the Economics Department in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Other Programs

  • Dedman School of Law publishes five law journals and operates 10 legal clinics serving diverse community needs with free or low-cost legal service. Pro bono legal service is a requirement for graduation.
  • The Mustang Exchange flash mentorship program gives law students access to more than 200 alumni and legal mentors, enabling students to benefit from attorney expertise and experience through one-on-one meetings and alumni/mentor-student networking events.
  • The Inns of Court program gives first-year law students small groups that include student leaders, faculty advisors, career counselors and alumni mentors. They connect through weekly Inn meetings, career and professional development sessions, service projects, academic support sessions and social opportunities.
  • The groundbreaking Corporate Counsel Externship Program places more than 70 students annually inside the general counsel offices at companies across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • The Federal Judicial Externship Program places about 50 students a year to work directly with federal judges and their law clerks on pending matters.
  • The Government and Public Interest Externship Program combines a weekly public sector law class with hands-on fieldwork in nonprofit and government legal departments.

Through the SMU Dedman Law Career Foundations and Professional Development Seminars, first-year students are exposed to the information and skills required to be a competitive candidate in today’s job market and a strong contributor to the legal profession. Practicing attorneys, industry experts and career counselors lead seminars throughout the academic year.

Library Resources
The school’s Underwood Law Library is the largest private academic law library west of the Mississippi River.


  • Dedman Law ranks 28th nationally on The National Law Journal’s list of top 50 Go-To-Law Schools with the highest percentage of 2017 graduates to obtain associate jobs at the nation’s largest 100 law firms, and 20th with most associates promoted to partner in 2017.
  • More than 300 students participate annually in the Dedman Law moot court program, which is currently ranked No. 5 in the country.

Prominent Alumni
SMU law graduates include Texas Supreme Court justices, members of the U.S. Congress, an ambassador, a governor, foreign ministers and members of the highest courts worldwide, as well as partners at leading law firms and general counsels at major corporations.

Perkins School of Theology

Perkins School of Theology prepares women and men for faithful leadership in vital Christian ministry through classroom learning and real experience beyond the classroom.

One of SMU’s original schools, the theology school was named in 1945 in honor of benefactors Joe J. and Lois Craddock Perkins of Wichita Falls, Texas. Perkins is one of five university-related theological schools of The United Methodist Church.

Academic Programs
Master’s degrees in divinity, arts in ministry, theological studies, sacred music and theology (in English and Spanish), Doctor of Ministry; Doctor of Pastoral Music; M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in religious studies, jointly with Dedman College.

Specialized Programs
Perkins Internship Program, a nationwide model; Hispanic/Latin@ Ministries Program; certificate programs in Hispanic studies, African-American church studies, Anglican studies, pastoral care, urban ministry and women’s and gender studies; Global Theological Education; Center for Religious Leadership; Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions; Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies; Spiritual Formation Program; and Center for Preaching Excellence.

Library Resources
Bridwell Library houses a major religious studies research collection and historic rare books, Bibles and manuscripts.

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

The Simmons School prepares exemplary professionals and advances knowledge through evidence-based research.

SMU established the School of Education and Human Development in 2005. In 2007, the school was named in recognition of a landmark gift from Harold C. and Annette Caldwell Simmons ’57 of Dallas.

Academic Programs
Undergraduate teacher certification; bachelor’s degrees in applied physiology and sport management; and educational studies; graduate certifications/specializations, including literacy education, mathematics, bilingual education, Montessori, ESL and STEM; master’s degrees in education, bilingual education, educational leadership, higher education, special education, reading and writing, counseling, dispute resolution, liberal studies, applied physiology, health promotion management and sport management; Ph.D. and Ed.D. degrees in education; Ed.D. in education leadership (Higher Education and Pre-K through Grade 12 Education Leadership).

Innovative Offerings
Simmons’ School Leadership programs allow graduate-level students to earn a master’s or doctoral degree and principal or superintendent certification while focusing on the skills needed for campus-level and central office administration. These include the M.E. in Urban School Leadership, designed for educators who are interested in becoming leaders of urban schools.

Research and Community Programs
Simmons faculty members based in the school’s 10 laboratories, centers and institutes conduct cutting-edge research on human potential, from math and reading skills to the mechanics of elite sprinters. The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education partners with Dallas schools and community agencies to provide children the educational, social and emotional tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.

These hubs of research and community involvement include the Center on Research and Evaluation, The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education, Applied Physiology Laboratory, Locomotor Performance Laboratory, The Institute for Leadership Impact, Research in Mathematics Education, Center for Family Counseling, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services, and creative writing program and college access programs for youth.

Recognizing Excellence
Each year, the Simmons School presents the Simmons Luminary Award honoring individuals and organizations who have shown an extraordinary commitment to improving people’s lives through education. Past winners include former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Sesame Street” creator Joan Ganz Cooney and the Sesame Workshop, Jubilee Park and Community Center, the Crystal Charity Ball, Resource Center, National Geographic Society & National Geographic Kids, and North Texas school leaders and innovators Israel Cordero ’97, Terry J. Flowers and Nakia Douglas.

Programs are offered on the Dallas campus and at SMU-in-Plano.


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies SMU as a university with “higher research activity.”

SMU faculty and students conduct research in the U.S. and worldwide in the sciences, engineering, education, arts, humanities and business. Examples include natural hazards, water quality, cyber security, data analytics, learning disabilities, human performance, immigration and the search for dark matter, as well as treatments for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

SMU faculty members have been recognized by election to prestigious organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Engineering. 

Research facilities include one of the nation’s most powerful academic supercomputers, well-equipped laboratories and outstanding libraries.

SMU received $32 million in external funding for projects during 2016-17 from the National Science Foundation; National Institutes of Health; departments of Defense, Education and Energy; foundations; and private industry.

Student Research Opportunities
SMU offers a total of 33 doctoral-research degrees in the sciences, engineering, humanities, education, law and theology. Undergraduate research participation is funded through the Engaged Learning and Big iDeas programs.

SMU Libraries and Special Collections

SMU’s six libraries house the largest private collection of research materials in the Southwest, with more than four million volumes. SMU Libraries’ digital collections contain nearly 70,000 digitized manuscripts, imprints, photographs, works of art and audiovisual materials on such subjects as railroads, Texas, Mexico, the U.S. West, the Civil War, SMU history and African-American films.

Fondren Library, SMU’s largest library, has a general collection of nearly two million volumes covering the humanities, social sciences, business, education, science and engineering. It is a selective depository of government documents and houses an extensive map collection.

Bridwell Library in Perkins School of Theology houses one of the nation’s finest research collections in theology and religious studies and outstanding collections of rare books, Bibles and manuscripts.

Underwood Law Library, serving Dedman School of Law, is the largest private law school library west of the Mississippi.

DeGolyer Library houses special collections, including Western Americana, business history and history of science and technology. It is also home to the University Archives and Archives of Women of the Southwest.

Hamon Arts Library, serving Meadows School of the Arts, houses materials relevant to the visual, performing and communication arts. Its archives include the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection and the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections.

Business Library in Cox School of Business, which includes the Kitt Investing and Trading Center, provides specialized business research resources.

Additional resources include the Fort Burgwin Library Information Center at SMU-in-Taos, which focuses on the history, literature, cultures and environment of New Mexico and the Southwest. The SMU-in-Plano Library Resource Room supports graduate studies and professional development programs.