A holistic approach to the admission process

In addition to GPA and SAT or ACT scores, our admission committee weighs many factors during the course of the application process, including classroom performance, the rigor of high school curriculum, quality of essays and recommendations, extracurricular activities, talents, character, and life experiences. But what's most important for you to know is that your application will be considered individually, on its own merit.

Minimum High School Course Requirements

  • 4

    units of English

  • 3

    units of math (algebra I, II, geometry)

  • 3

    units of social science

  • 3

    units of science (of which 2 must be lab science)

  • 2

    consecutive units of foreign language


There is no absolute "cutoff" for grades. Classroom performance would generally present competitive applicants in the top quarter of their high school class. The difficulty of curriculum and competitive nature of the high school are also important factors in the admission process.


Standardized Test Requirements

Official SAT or ACT scores. SMU does superscore the SAT and ACT, and also accepts self-reported test scores. Please note SMU does not require the SAT essay or the ACT writing test.

Receiving Test Scores

When the ACT or SAT is taken, students may indicate three schools to receive their scores. When SMU is indicated, the College Board sends us a record of your scores four to six weeks later. SMU's code for the ACT is 4174, and our code for the SAT is 6660.


SMU grants credit and placement for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP examinations taken in high school. Six to eight credits will be awarded for scores of 5, 6, or 7 on International Baccalaureate higher-level exams, with a maximum award of 32 credits. For more information, click here. To receive credit for an AP test in high school, arrange for an official copy of your test scores to be sent to SMU's Registrar Office. Upon receipt of this information, SMU will determine the credit you will receive.

Test-Optional Policy

SMU is fully test-optional. Please reference our Test-Optional Policy.


Correspondence Course Credit

SMU does not accept correspondence course credit, however, such coursework may represent to the Admission Committee a commitment to study beyond the minimum high school curriculum.

Concurrent (Dual Credit) High School/College Programs

SMU first-year students may request college credit for coursework taken during high school. In order for this credit to be transferable to SMU, the course(s) must meet all regular transfer requirements:

  1. The course(s) must be completed at an accredited school;
  2. The course(s) must be grades of C- or better in comparable SMU courses;
  3. The course(s) must be submitted on an official college/university transcript; and
  4. The course(s) must NOT be a correspondence course.

To process your concurrent credit, please request that official college/university transcripts be sent from each institution you have attended. Please note that even though you may not be granted course credit, SMU must receive official transcripts from any college or university you have attended. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that a professional evaluation and an official transcript accompany all foreign transcripts. Send all college-level transcripts to:

Concurrent/Dual Credit Processing
Southern Methodist University - DES
PO Box 750181
Dallas TX 75275-0181

If you are an admitted student and are planning to enroll in college-level coursework the summer after your high school graduation, please be prepared to inform your Academic Advisor of this intent during your session which will occur during orientation.

You will be notified of your transfer work as quickly as possible. If your concurrent credit does not meet the above criteria, you may choose to take AP exams offered by the College Board, or you may choose to take optional departmental exams after you complete orientation.

Receiving Credit for a Course Taken at Another College

Arrange for the college to forward an official transcript to SMU. If you are a transfer or first-year applicant, send the transcript to the SMU Division of Enrollment Services. If you are a continuing SMU student, send transcripts to the SMU Office of the Registrar.


We want to learn more about you and evaluate your writing skills. Each application (The Common Application, ApplyTexas, the SMU Online Application, and the MyCoalition application) has its own set of essay prompts with varying length requirements, but essays are generally 250 – 650 words in length. No matter which application method you choose, all essays are reviewed equally.

Foreign Language

As a requirement of the University Curriculum (UC), all students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. Students who do not enter with the equivalent of four semesters of college-level second language proficiency prior to matriculating at SMU are required to improve their proficiency by two-semester levels or to meet the four-semester proficiency requirement, whichever comes first. Proficiency can be demonstrated in numerous ways; to determine which path applies to you, please click here to refer to the detailed description of the requirement.


Double Majors

At the time you apply for the first-year admission, you will have the opportunity to indicate the two areas of study you are most interested in pursuing. If you want to be considered for admission to the Cox School of Business, you need to indicate that at the time you apply. When students get to SMU, they work with their academic advisors to determine the best course of study for all the majors they would like to pursue.

Choice of Major/Admission

If you are planning to major in Art, Film (BFA), Dance, Music, or Theatre, a required audition or portfolio is a critical factor influencing your chance of admission. Otherwise, all first-year SMU students are accepted as "pre-majors" in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, regardless of their intended major. If you want to pursue a major in finance, accounting, management, marketing, and other areas of business administration, you must indicate that interest on your application to be considered for direct admission to the Cox School of Business.

Cox School of Business

Applying to the Cox School of Business

Incoming first-year students who want to pursue a major in finance, accounting, management, marketing, and other areas of business administration in SMU’s Cox School of Business apply for direct admission. This admission model paves the way for incoming first-year students to gain opportunities for early access to important coursework in their fields.

For those who seek a successful career in business, our outstanding liberal arts and sciences tradition opens pathways that expand your career options – whether you pursue a major at Cox or in another college at SMU. Employers value the signature elements of the SMU experience, which includes:

  1. the flexibility to explore multiple passions with a double or triple major
  2. the opportunity to land career-boosting internships
  3. the preparation to lead, solve problems and communicate with emotional and cultural intelligence

Learn more here. Download a Cox admission FAQ document for students.

Meadows School of the Arts

Test-Optional Policy for Dual Admit Applicants to SMU Meadows School of the Arts

An SAT or ACT score report is not required for admission consideration from applicants who are seeking admission to Dual Admit programs in the Meadows School of the Arts (Music, Theatre, Dance, Art, Film-BFA). Applicants should only submit an SAT or ACT score report for academic merit scholarship consideration. The recommended combined score to be considered for academic merit scholarships is 1380 on the SAT (critical reading and math sections only) or 29 on the ACT.

Note that students who do not submit test scores will be considered only for artistic scholarship and need-based aid; they will not be considered for scholarships based on academic merit.

Students who do not submit test scores should list their Meadows major first on their application for admission. Students not admitted to Meadows via their portfolio or audition, but who still wish to be considered for admission to SMU, will be required to submit test scores at that time.

Like other top-tier visual and performing arts schools, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has adopted a Test-Optional Policy for Dual Admit applicants in Music, Dance, Theatre, Art, and Film-BFA. These students complete auditions or submit portfolios that, after careful review, provide a stronger indication of their likelihood to succeed in their academic program at SMU.

Auditions and Portfolios

Paragraph: If you plan to major or minor in music, dance, or theater, your audition is a requirement for admission. If you plan to major in Studio Art or Film and Media Arts (B.F.A. only), your portfolio submission is a requirement for admission.

Special Requirements for Students Interested in Music, Dance, Theatre, Art, or Film

All art, film (BFA), dance, music or theatre. applicants are considered “dual-admission” students, which means they must apply to and be accepted by both SMU and the Meadows School of the Arts. In addition to their SMU application, “dual admission” students must also audition or submit a portfolio to Meadows.

See the links below for more about admissions, auditions, and portfolio requirements for:

  1. Music
  2. Theatre
  3. Dance
  4. Studio Art
  5. Film and Media Arts (B.F.A.) 

Home school graduates must submit the application for admission, SAT I and/or ACT scores, an academic portfolio/transcript, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, activities resume, and the Home School Supplement.


Prospective athletes may call the recruiting coordinator in the SMU Department of Athletics to make arrangements with the coach of the particular sport. For more information, visit http://www.smumustangs.com.


Everyone is welcome at SMU. That’s part of our Methodist heritage. But you don’t have to be Methodist or religious here. We respect people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Among students reporting a religious preference, 11% are Methodist; 28% are Catholic; about 40% are from other Protestant denominations; and about 14% represent other religions (including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam).


May 1 is SMU's and the national deposit deadline. Students admitted through Early Decision I and II must pay their deposit within two weeks of receiving their admission decision. An exact due date for those students will be listed in their admission packet.

The non-refundable $800 Orientation, Housing, and Matriculation deposit includes:

  1. $400 orientation fee
  2. $100 housing deposit
  3. $300 matriculation fee

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