International Students

We welcome international applicants at SMU Perkins School of Theology as we believe international students provide diverse perspectives and backgrounds that are invaluable in graduate education!


We greatly appreciate your interest in Perkins. We are no longer reviewing 2024 applications. The Fall 2025 application goes live in late August. We look forward to receiving your completed application and all materials by December 15, 2024.

Application Submission Dates

  • Priority: November 15, 2024
  • Final: December 15, 2024

Language Requirement

Applicants who do not speak English as their native language are required to supply scores on the TOEFL English language proficiency test, the IELTS English competency test, the Duolingo English Test (DET), or the TOEFL Essentials exam. The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 80. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. The minimum score for the TOEFL Essentials is 8.5 with a minimum score of 8 in all subsections. The minimum DET score is 110 unless specified otherwise by a program or department. SMU’s ETS (TOEFL) school code is 6660. For the IELTS, please indicate “SMU – Graduate Application Processing Office”.

This requirement can only be waived if applicants have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution or a qualifying country from the list below:

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada (except Quebec)
  • Dominica
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Grand Cayman
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad/Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom
  • U.S. Pacific Trust

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.

If you have a 3-year Bachelor's degree, we do require that you provide a transcript evaluation with your application to demonstrate that it is equivalent to a U.S. 4-year Bachelor's degree. International university transcripts must be translated into English and certified as official transcripts. Because of the importance of this information, SMU accepts evaluations only from these agencies of proven reliability. You can find a list of our approved evaluators here.

Housing and Transportation

The Office of Residence Life & Student Housing offers information regarding limited on-campus graduate housing. Privately owned rental apartments for students and families are available off-campus in the Dallas area. Neighborhoods can be reviewed using the Graduate Student's Guide to Living in Dallas and students can use the services of Apartment Locator, Holly Brogdon

Although Dallas is primarily a city of car drivers, you can walk or bike to a large number of commercial and retail areas around SMU. In addition, public transportation on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system around the city is free for all SMU students through Parking and ID Services.

Financial Support and Scholarships

If admitted, international 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.

Scholarship opportunities for international students are awarded based on the strength of the entire application for admission. Awards are given at the time an admission decision is made.

Estimated Student Budget for Academic Year 2023-2024

A summary of anticipated tuition and living expenses for the 2023-24 academic year is outlined below.

Tuition ($795/credit hour)


General Student Fees ($304/credit hour)


University Fees


Books & Supplies


Student Health Insurance




Dallas Transportation Costs



$49,148 per year

This is a nine-month budget based on SMU estimates (Health Insurance is estimated for twelve months) for 24 credit hours. Individual budgets may vary significantly. The estimate above does not include cost for summer expenses. For summer expenses, estimate approximately $5,000. Tuition is subject to change on an annual basis. For a further breakdown of exact direct costs, please visit the University Bursar’s Cost of Attendance.

Please note that to receive approval for a student visa, international students will need to certify the ability to pay for the above nine-month costs. If dependents are accompanying an international student, the student would also need to certify additional funds for health insurance and living expenses for the family members.