International Applicants

International Applicants to Dedman College

We welcome international applicants at SMU!  Our campus has a significant international graduate student body and we believe that international students provide diverse perspectives and backgrounds that are invaluable in graduate education.  

Language Requirement

Applicants who do not speak English as their native language are required to supply scores on the TOEFL English language proficiency test or the IELTS English competency test.  The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 80, and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5, unless specified otherwise by a program or department.  This requirement is waived for students who have received undergraduate degrees from an English-language institution located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  

In addition to the TOEFL or IELTS, international applicants to the Ph.D. program must also complete a Video Essay portion of the application if they received a TOEFL speaking score below 23, or an IELTS speaking band below 6.5.  For all other applicants, the Video Essay is optional.  

Financial Support

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.

Degrees from Foreign Universities

International applicants who hold a bachelor's degree from a foreign university should not assume that these degrees will be automatically accepted in U.S. universities. Decisions will be based on the academic standings of the institutions from which the applicant has graduated. Professional diplomas and higher certificates from technical or vocational schools are normally not considered as equivalent to a bachelor's degree.

Course Load Requirement

You must maintain a full course of study for each spring and fall semester. A full course load is 9 hours for most graduate students, although hours may vary by program and MUST be confirmed with your Academic Advisor/Dean.

Passports and Visas

Before the international student may depart for SMU, both a passport and a visa are required. The government of the student's home country is responsible for issuing the passport. If the international student is accepted by Southern Methodist University, a letter of acceptance will be sent from the Graduate Office. The SMU International Advisors' Office will send an I-20 form (F-1 visa or J-1 visa) once the financial support has been verified. It is important that the name on the application matches exactly the name on the student's passport.

To meet U. S. government regulations, the international graduate student on the F-1 or J-1 visa must take at least nine semester hours each semester to qualify as a full-time student.

For further assistance:

Visas and Foreign Students: Director, International Advisors' Office, Box 381, Southern
Methodist University, Dallas TX 75275, U.S.A. 

Health Insurance

All international students must be covered by hospitalization insurance and must show proof of such insurance at the time of registration. Coverage may be obtained individually or through the University for an annual fee of approximately $1,300. In addition, students purchasing this insurance are required to be eligible to use the Student Health Center, which may require an additional amount of approximately $120 per semester. Additional information about this requirement can be obtained through the International Advisors' Office - Students will need to provide a record of immunizations on the SMU health form, which can be downloaded from

Living Accommodations

Many international students live in University residence halls and in University operated apartments while some live in off-campus housing.