The Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Dedman College Application Instructions

Notice to Prospective Students: Due to issues related to the spread of Coronavirus, SMU is currently in reduced operations status.  The Office of Graduate Studies is still hard at work for our graduate students and prospective graduate students, though!  Please contact us by email at or by phone at 214-768-4345.  If you have a question for a specific member of our staff, you can find their contact information in our staff directory.  Prospective students can find a list of admissions contacts for SMU’s schools and programs here.  Updated information about SMU’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response can be found here.


You are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States or proof of equivalent training at a foreign university.  All applicants must have adequate subject preparation in the chosen major field.  This includes having at least 12 semester hours of advanced study in the chosen field, a 3.0 overall grade-point average, and a satisfactory score on the GRE.  After an application is complete, ultimate approval for admission to graduate study is given by the Dean of Research & Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the department.

Application Procedure

General Requirements:

  1. Complete the online application form (  All questions must be answered with correct information.
  2. A $75 application fee is collected online.
  3. Unofficial transcripts are accepted during the application phase. Upon admission, send official transcripts, certified and translated if from a foreign institution, directly from each school of higher education you have attended.  When sending an electronic transcript, please note that SMU will only accept electronic transcripts sent from the transferable institution via a secure means (e.g., Scrip-Safe, NSC).  We will not accept electronic transcripts sent by students. Send electronic transcripts to For physical mail, please find our mailing address here.
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation online. Select respondents who can attest to your academic ability. 
  5. Request the official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to be sent electronically to SMU (code 6660). Taking the GRE (within five years of application) is required for most graduate programs. 
  6. There is an optional video essay in the application which will present several questions from members of the SMU community, and allow you to speak directly to your admissions committee via a recorded response.  This video essay is required for certain international applicants (see below) but is optional for any other applicants.  

Additional Requirements for International Students:

  1. International students applying from countries where English is not the native language are required to provide scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Teaching Assistants are required to show proficiency in spoken English by a satisfactory score on the TOEFL.  The TOEFL requirement will be waived for international students who have received an undergraduate degree from a U.S. degree-granting university or institution. See the International Applicants page for further information.  Test scores from IELTS are also accepted. *exception - MASDA applicants are required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score.
  2. A video essay in the application is required for the following students:

    • All Ph.D. applicants that: (1) must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, and (2) have received a TOEFL speaking score below 23, or an IELTS speaking band below 6.5.
    • All international Statistics or Biostatistics graduate applicants, in either the Ph.D. or MASDA programs.
  3. If admitted, foreign students must provide a Certification of Finance Form/Letter of Financial Backing as evidence of financial support.  This should represent that sufficient money will be available to the applicant to cover all expenses while at the University.  This letter may be signed by a parent or sponsor but must be certified by a bank.  The document must be notarized and on file before the process for visas and passport can proceed. (See last page for additional information regarding foreign applicants.)

Special Notes:

Psychology: The Statement of Purpose should include the names of two faculty members with whom the student would like to work.

Religious Studies: Final deadline is January 6.  No applications accepted after this deadline. Applicants need to identify a field of interest: Old Testament, Religion and Culture, Systematic Theology, Religious Ethics, New Testament, or Christian Tradition.

English, History and Religious Studies Departments require writing samples as part of the application.  The English Ph.D. requires a sample consisting of 15 or more pages on a literary topic. The History requirement is an essay, chapter, or some other substantial piece of historical writing. Religious Studies requires 10-20 pages of scholarly writing.

Statistical Science: International applicants applying to the MASDA program are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. 

Financial Information:

Tuition fellowships and teaching and research assistantships are available from the departments.  These are awarded on a competitive basis for both merit and need.  Assistantships pay tuition and fees and can, in addition, pay stipends for designated work in the departments.  In most cases, the application for admission serves as the application for financial support.  Any additional information will be sent to the student from the departments, as decisions regarding assistantships will come directly from departments.


Admission ----- Only the Office of Research & Graduate Studies is authorized to notify the applicant of his or her acceptance to a graduate program in the University.  Applicants should not interpret any statement made in casual correspondence with any University faculty member to mean that he or she has been admitted.  Official notification will be sent through this office, signed by the Dean of Research & Graduate Studies.

Financial Obligations----- Students are responsible individually for their financial obligations to the University through the Office of the University Cashier, SMU, Dallas, Texas 75275, USA.  Questions regarding financial procedures at SMU should be taken up with the cashier's office.

Transfer Students----- Graduate students wishing to transfer to Southern Methodist University from another graduate school in the U.S. must have maintained a "B" average on all graduate work previously attempted, in addition to satisfying the other admission requirements of the University.