Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. What is Cox Business Direct admission?

Incoming first-year students graduating high school in spring 2020 and after 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 admission through Business Direct. This admission model paves the way for incoming first-year students to gain opportunities for early access to important coursework in their fields.

Q2. What is the difference between the BBA Scholars program and Cox Business Direct admission?

The BBA Scholars program repre­sents the strongest business applicants in the incoming class based on factors such as exceptional academic achievement, outstanding SAT/ACT scores and strong leadership skills. Cox Business Direct admission encompasses all students admitted to the Cox School who are not awarded a BBA Scholarship. 

Q3. Who is eligible for Cox Business Direct admission?

Incoming first-year students, graduating high school in spring 2020 and after, who indicate they are interested in a Cox undergraduate (BBA) degree when they apply to SMU will be considered for direct admission to the Cox School.

Q4. How do I apply to the SMU Cox School of Business?

At the time you apply for first-year admission to SMU, you will need to indicate that you want to be considered for direct admission to the Cox School.

Q5. I’m applying to the SMU Cox School of Business. Can I also apply to another SMU school at the same time?

At the time you apply for 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, you need to indicate that when you apply. If you are planning to major in the performing arts at the Meadows School of the Arts, a required audition is a critical factor influencing your chance of admission to the Meadows School. All other first-year SMU students are accepted as pre-majors in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, regardless of their intended majors.

Q6.  I’m interested in a Cox undergraduate (BBA) degree as my first-choice major. Do I have to show that as my first-choice in my SMU application?

If you’re confident that your first choice is a Cox undergraduate (BBA) degree, list that as your first-choice major.

Q7. I want to double major. Can I still be considered for admission to the Cox School?

Yes. you will have the opportunity at the time you apply for first-year admission 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, you need to indicate that at the time you apply.

Q8. When will I be notified if I have been admitted into the school?

You will be notified of your admission status to the Cox School within approximately one week from when you receive your SMU admission decision.

Q9.  How does SMU select students for admission to the SMU Cox School of Business?

SMU’s highly selective but holistic review helps the University learn more about applicants by weighing several factors, including:

  1.   rigor of high school curriculum
  2.   GPA
  3.   standardized test scores
  4.   class rank
  5.   essay
  6.   résumé
  7.   letters of recommendation
  8.   extracurricular involvement

Q10. How do I prepare to give myself the best chance of being admitted?

Most students selected will have taken the most rigorous curriculum their high school offers, including calculus and multiple years of a foreign language.

Q11. How many spaces are available for the BBA Scholars program and Business Direct admission, and what are my chances of being admitted to either? If I’m not admitted to either, how do I purse a pathway to a career in business?

SMU Cox anticipates enrolling approximately 100 BBA Scholars and 300 Business Direct students. The chances of getting into either depend on how competitive your application is in the year that you apply for admission. At SMU, our outstanding liberal arts and sciences expand opportunities for students to discover multiple paths to a successful business career. Whether you’re in the Cox School or in another college at SMU, you’ll get to forge your success in a rigorous academic environment located in the global gateway of Dallas. You can pursue multiple passions with the flexibility to double or triple major and land career-boosting internships—all of which expand your career options and demonstrate to employers your capacity for persistence and hard work.

Q12. If I don’t get into the Cox School, can I still get into SMU?

Yes. There will be a number of students each year who are not offered admission to Cox but are admitted to SMU.

Q13. If I am not admitted to the Cox School directly from high school, will I have the chance later at SMU to pursue a Cox undergraduate (BBA) degree in business?

Because there will be a limited and variable number of spots each year for students who wish to internally transfer to the Cox School from another school at SMU, students who are not admitted to the Cox School directly from high school should not anticipate or expect to be admitted at a later date. Keep in mind that SMU’s outstanding liberal arts and sciences tradition opens multiple pathways to a successful business career, whether you’re in the Cox School of Business or in another school at the University.

Q14. What if I realize after getting into SMU that I want to pursue a BBA? How do I get into the Cox School?

If you want to internally transfer once you are at SMU, you will have the opportunity to apply to the Cox School for one of the limited number of spots SMU anticipates having each year. The number of available spots each year are based on the current class size. The process will include an application and a potential interview during the spring semester.

Q15. If I don’t get into the Cox School, what are the other majors at SMU that will help me pursue a career in business?

Many SMU alumni who have been incredibly successful in business don’t have a BBA from Cox. They often credit their success to the outstanding liberal arts and sciences education they received at SMU. Other majors with pathways to business include economics, economics with financial applications, markets and culture, history, English, mechanical engineering, mathematics, political science, applied physiology and sport management, and many more. Many SMU students choose to double or triple major, thus expanding career options and demonstrating their expertise in different disciplines and their capacity for persistence and hard work to future employers. A liberal arts and sciences education at SMU will empower you to pursue multiple interests and passions as well as career-boosting internships – a signature element of the SMU experience – and develop competitive advantages for success in business and beyond.

Q16. What majors does the Cox School offer?

We offemajors in accounting, finance, financial consulting, general business, management, marketing and real estate finance. Within our finance major, we also have a specialization in alternative asset management. Most students take the introductory courses in the business core to gain exposure to accounting, finance, marketing and management before selecting a specific major in business. We also offer two minors for non-business majors.

Q17. Are students able to intern? What about finding a job after graduation?

We strongly encourage our students to pursue internships, and some of our majors require internships. On average, our students do 2-3 internships over the course of their four years on campus. Our location in the heart of Dallas makes internships during the academic year a viable option for any BBA student. In fact, we often have more internships posted than we can fill! In addition to the part-time internships available during the year in the Dallas area, full-time internships are available nationally and even internationally during the summer. 90% of our internships are paid. Our students also do very well with their full-time job searches. 94% of our 2018 graduates were off the job market within 90 days of graduation! Cox BBAs consistently outpace the national averages for full-time employment and average salary in every business major field.

Q18. Do you accept AP credit?

AP, IB and concurrent credit are welcome at SMU. For AP credit, students need scores of 4 or 5 on their AP exam. AP credit is offered in most areas, see a complete listing here: Credit will be awarded for scores of 5, 6 or 7 on International Baccalaureate higher-level exams, with a maximum award of 32 credits. Transfer credit is awarded for college courses taken during high school, provided the course is documented on a college transcript, completed with a grade of C- or higher, and equivalent to a course offered at SMU. The only business courses that can be accepted in transfer from community colleges or schools not accredited by the AACSB are the first two accounting courses (ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302), which must be completed prior to entering SMU to transfer.

Q19. What are your rankings?

There are multiple business school rankings and they each measure different metrics. For example, our undergraduate business program was recently ranked #19 in the U.S. by Poets & Quants for Undergraduates. While rankings never paint a complete picture of a school, they are an indicator of the school’s reputation - and the Cox reputation is very strong.

Q20. Are the degree programs flexible?

Our degree programs are very flexible. We encourage students to diversify their education by pursuing multiple majors and minors in diverse academic areas.

Q21. What is the faculty like?

The Cox faculty is made up of accessible, interactive teachers who are also nationally known experts in their fields. They excel at research, but are committed to teaching. You will find that our faculty are very involved in the student experience at SMU, so don't be surprised if you find a member of the Cox faculty sitting next to you at an SMU event!

Q22. What are the class sizes?

The average class size in the business school is between 35-40. Many classes include team projects, and we have found that this class size works well for team projects while still enabling faculty to connect individually with students.

Q23. When should I study abroad?

The best time to study abroad varies for each student. While many students study abroad around the junior year, you need to be aware of the impact study abroad timing may have on pre-requisite courses, major requirements, and internship and job searches. Luckily, you have plenty of time to work with an academic advisor and career coach before you must make the decision on when to study abroad. Many of our business students who choose to study abroad take advantage of summer internship abroad programs in cities such as London, Dublin, Sydney, Barcelona and Hong Kong, among other international cities.