Merit Scholarships

Each year, SMU awards University scholarships and school-specific scholarships to selected students for outstanding academic achievement and other qualifying factors.

University Scholarship Programs

President’s Scholars Program

The President’s Scholars Program is awarded to students who have shown exemplary academic and leadership skills. The award provides full tuition and fees as well as study abroad. Students who live on campus also receive a scholarship for room and board. For consideration for the President’s Scholarships, the highest academic awards given by the University, students must have exceptional achievement - academically and strong involvement outside of the classroom. Admitted students are automatically reviewed; students invited to interview will be notified in the spring. Visit the website of the President’s Scholars Program.

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholars Program

The Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholars Program is awarded to students with extraordinary leadership qualities and strong academic performance. Students selected as Hunt Leadership Scholars will receive an annual Hunt Scholarship of $46,000, or a total of $184,000 over four years. The scholarship also covers the airfare and tuition costs for any courses during an international, leadership-based experience immediately following each scholar’s sophomore year. An additional essay is required. Click here for the online Hunt Leadership Scholars Application. Visit the website of the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program.

Founders', Second Century, SMU Distinguished and Provost Scholarships

The Founders', Second Century Scholarship, SMU Distinguished Scholarship, and Provost Scholarships are awarded to those students who have demonstrated outstanding academic success throughout high school – most importantly by presenting a combination of high school grades and standardized test scores that together place them among the top students applying to SMU each year. Students selected as Founders', Second Century, SMU Distinguished and Provost Scholars are recognized as potential leaders in the classroom at SMU. This award is based on a comprehensive and holistic review of the SMU admission application. These scholarship offers are typically included in a student’s admission packet and may be combined with some (but not all) of the other academic scholarships listed on this page. Students receive notification of other scholarship awards from each specific scholarship program directly. For more detailed information please follow the links for each of these programs: Founders', Second Century ScholarsSMU Distinguished Scholars, and Provost Scholars.

National Merit Scholarships

National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships are awarded to those students who have been named National Merit or Achievement Finalists, receiving up to $5,000 annually. To qualify, students must designate SMU as their first choice school with the National Merit Corporation by the final deadline set by National Merit. Click here for additional information on National Merit Scholarships. 

International Baccalaureate (IB) Scholars

Students who complete the IB Diploma Program will receive a $7,500 per academic year scholarship. The scholarship will no longer have varying amounts based on the IB exam scores, as it has in years past. This scholarship may be combined with other scholarship or grant aid from SMU, but in no case can the combination of institutional aid exceed Tuition and Fees for that academic year. Click here for additional information on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Scholars.

School-specific merit scholarship programs

BBA Scholars Program

The BBA Scholars Program invites approximately 100 highly qualified students for admission to the Cox School of Business as first-year students, providing them with early access to Cox programs, advisors and career counselors. Admitted students who indicated Business as their primary academic interest will be automatically reviewed. Selection is based on academic merit. BBA Scholars are also automatically considered for Business Scholarships, with roughly half of new BBA Scholars receiving a Business Scholarship. Visit the website of the BBA Scholars Program.

Discovery Scholars

The Discovery Scholarship is awarded to those students with an indicated primary academic interest in certain STEM disciplines. This award is stackable with the Academic Achievement Scholarships, up to but not exceeding full tuition and fees. The average award amount is $9,000 per year.

Dedman College Scholars Program

The Dedman College Scholars Program provides unique learning opportunities for selected academically strong students seeking a major in Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. The program offers scholarship support, an actively engaged community of peers, Honors coursework and close faculty guidance. Scholars have access to faculty mentors to guide independent research and explore postgraduate academic and career paths. They can also take advantage of several workshops designed to strengthen public presentation skills and are eligible to apply for undergraduate research grants. To receive an invitation, admitted students must indicate a primary major in Dedman College. After review, a select number of students will be invited to apply. Visit the website of the Dedman College Scholars Program.

Lyle Engineering Scholars Program

The Lyle Engineering Scholars Program is offered every year to a select group of top engineering students in every admitted class.  The Lyle Scholarship is the most prestigious merit-based award recognizing students who show outstanding academic and leadership abilities. Those considered for the Lyle Scholarship rank in the top of their class and demonstrate exceptional academic backgrounds along with records of service to their schools and communities. This award is stackable with the Academic Achievement Scholarships, up to but not exceeding full tuition and fees. The average award amount is $2,500 per semester for eight (8) semesters, totaling $20,000. To qualify, apply for admission by the January 15 Regular Decision/Early Decision II deadline and list an Engineering discipline as a primary academic interest.

Embrey Academic Excellence Scholarship Program and Engineering Fellows Scholarship Program

J. Lindsay Embrey Scholarships are awarded every year to the top pre-engineering students of the admitted class.  The Lyle School of Engineering aims to help students develop who will make a difference in the world.  We are looking for academically gifted students who have made an impact in their local community and want to use engineering as a way to tackle society’s most audacious problems. The award amount varies but typically ranges from $8,000 - $20,000 over a four-year period. This award is stackable with the Academic Achievement Scholarships, up to but not exceeding full tuition and fees. To qualify, apply for admission by the January 15 Regular Decision/Early Decision II deadline and list an Engineering discipline as a primary academic interest.

Meadows Scholars Program

Open to All First-Year Admitted Meadows Majors
The Meadows Scholars Program provides renewable scholarships to a group of 20-25 first-year students who have demonstrated high achievement in both the arts and academics, as well as the greatest potential for success. First-year students who have been admitted to SMU and indicate on their SMU admissions application that they plan to major in any of the performing, visual or communication arts disciplines within Meadows are considered for this award based on academic and artistic merit. Selection for this highly competitive scholarship is determined using SMU admissions application information. Artistic merit is also considered for accepted students based on their performing arts audition or visual arts portfolio review.

Meadows Artistic Merit Scholarships

Open to Accepted Dual-Admission Performing and Visual Arts Majors
Entering first-year and transfer students majoring in Studio Art, Dance, Film and Media Arts (B.F.A.), Music or Theatre who have been admitted to SMU and one of these Meadows disciplines through audition or portfolio submission are considered for renewable artistic merit scholarships. Scholarship selection is based on audition performance or quality of portfolio as well as academic merit. A separate application is not required for Meadows scholarship consideration. Award amounts vary by discipline. Learn more about Meadows scholarships, auditions and portfolios and Meadows School of the Arts.

Dallas County Mustang Scholars Program

The Dallas County Mustang Scholars Program helps selected students graduating from any high school in Dallas County earn a college degree from SMU.  Ten four-year Mustang Scholarships and five two-year Mustang Promise Scholarships provide full tuition and fees to students based on their academic record, demonstrated leadership potential and financial need. Eligibility requirements and application instructions are available at the Mustang Scholars website.

Robert H. Dedman Scholarship for North Dallas High School

This scholarship program was established to award the top scholars at North Dallas High School. This program awards full tuition and is stackable with other Academic Achievement, school and departmental scholarships to cover the cost of annual fees, housing and dining expenses. Additional information is available here

Transfer Scholarships

SMU provides transfer students with a number of scholarship opportunities as they continue their academic career. For more information and a full list of scholarships, visit the Transfer Scholarships website.

United Methodist Church Scholarships

Minister’s Family Tuition Award
Awarded from SMU funds to dependent children or spouses of ordained ministers of the United Methodist Church who are engaged in active pastoral work and dependent children of retired or deceased United Methodist ministers. 

United Methodist Scholarship
Students can identify themselves as active UMC members through the online Application for Financial Aid Scholarships. The link for this application is sent to admitted students after they have received their admission decision. The scholarship allocation we receive changes each year - new recipients will be chosen based on their UMC activities and financial need. These awards are usually not determined until after the beginning of the fall semester. Click here for more information on United Methodist Church Scholarships.

Stars on the Rise

Initiated in 1983, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Stars on the Rise Scholarship Program is the premier scholarship program for Hispanic students in the North Texas area.  Since that time, it has had a transformational effect on highly talented and academically prepared students who might otherwise find it a financial hardship to fulfill their dreams of a college degree.  SMU is pleased to offer an annual scholarship of $5,000 per academic year up to four years to students who are recipients of this award. This scholarship may be combined with other scholarship or grant aid from SMU, but in no case can the combination of institutional aid exceed Tuition and Fees for that academic year. For more information on applying for this scholarship, please visit Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.