The Doctor of Liberal Studies program (DLS) admits students to begin in the fall semester only. The priority application deadline is March 1. Applications may be accepted after this deadline by permission of the department on a space-available basis.

The DLS program seeks intellectually serious adult students who have earned their master’s degree in a field related to their plans for advanced study. SMU encourages students with strong academic qualifications and outstanding professional/community leadership backgrounds, who have a passion for advanced interdisciplinary study with the intention of making high-level contributions to their workplace, society and the world to apply.

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Criteria for Doctor of Liberal Studies Admission

Southern Methodist University's Doctor of Liberal Studies program accepts and reviews applications annually for entry each fall semester only. To maintain the high degree of individualized attention to each doctoral student, the DLS program will enroll a cohort of approximately 12-15 new students per year.

Completed applications received by March 1st will receive priority review; applications received after that date are reviewed on a rolling basis until admissions decisions are completed and the entering cohort is full and committed to enrolling for the upcoming fall semester. All priority application materials must be received by March 31st to be considered.

To apply for admission to the Doctor of Liberal Studies program please submit the following for consideration:

•    Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
•    SMU online application.
•    Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and a graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher is preferred.

  • Official Transcripts must be sent directly by the institution to SMU. Electronic transcripts should be sent directly by the institution to:
  • Paper transcripts should be sent directly by the institution to: Graduate Application Processing PO Box 518 Dallas, TX 75275-0518

•    Personal statement - A three-page well-structured essay discussing your curricular area of focus and how this program will support your life, work, and society. Discuss reasons for choosing this program and how the curriculum will support your academic interests and goals.
•    Academic writing sample - Please submit a recent (preferably within the past five years) research-based academic writing sample, 10-15 pages. Other writing samples of comparable length may be substituted.
•    Three letters of recommendation from a professor if available and from a supervisor in your profession, philanthropy, community organizations, etc.
•    Resume or curriculum vitae
•    Interview with admissions faculty   
•    Application fee
•    International applicants for admission decision: Translated foreign transcripts and proof of English proficiency. If accepted: documentation required to receive student visa (
•    Note: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required but applicants may submit their scores if would like them considered with their application.

Upon acceptance into the program, students should participate in the new student orientation.

Admission Deadline: The DLS program admits in the fall semester only. PRIORITY DEADLINE FOR ADMISSION IS MARCH 1, 2023 FOR FALL 2023.


If you have any questions about the online admissions process:

Please contact the Graduate Liberal Studies office at:
Phone: 214-768-4273