Admission to the University
Southern Methodist Univeristy - General Admissions Policy
Southern Methodist University’s vision is to “shape citizens who contribute to
their communities and lead their professions in a global society.” To achieve this
vision, SMU has expressed in its Statement of Mission the intent to “develop skills
and cultivate principled thought and wisdom.” In addition, SMU seeks “to support
and sustain student development and quality of life.” These statements reflect SMU’s
recognition that its students cannot become the leaders the world will need in the
years ahead unless they have been exposed to an educational environment in which
there is a rich variety of thoughts and opinions. This type of exposure will better
prepare them for the diverse workforce and society to which they will contribute.
Consistent with its vision and mission, SMU seeks to enroll students who have
the potential for academic success and who will enrich the collegiate community.
Through financial enablement, SMU will endeavor to ensure that cost of attendance
will not be a barrier to achieving its goal of a diverse community. The rich variety
of perspectives SMU seeks are those that may result from differences in racial,
ethnic, socio-economic, geographic, educational and religious backgrounds, different
life experiences or talents in the arts or athletics, or multi-lingual skills. It
is the policy of SMU to examine individually each prospective student’s application
for admission in order to determine the nature and extent of the applicant’s potential
to succeed and to enrich the community.
All first-year students, regardless of intended major, enter the University via
Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Dedman College will assign an
appropriate academic adviser based on the student’s intended field of study. The
adviser assists the student in selecting courses pertinent to the General Education
Curriculum requirements as well as the student’s chosen major.
Students normally qualify for entry into a specific degree program during their
sophomore year. Admission into any undergraduate degree program requires the
completion of minimum academic standards determined by the school in which
the program is based. The specific requirements for admission into each of SMU’s
undergraduate schools are outlined in the admission section of that school’s information
in this catalog.
First-Year Admission Criteria
Selection of applicants is based on several criteria: the high school curriculum,
classroom performance, grade pattern, rank in class (if applicable), SAT I and/or
ACT scores, counselor and teacher recommendations, essay and extracurricular
activities. Although no specific cutoff is applied to any single measure, generally a
student who has accomplished both a strong academic record and exhibited a variety
of academic and personal achievements gains and benefits the most from the SMU
experience. Matriculation to the University is contingent upon continuing academic
achievement as evidenced in the application for admission, and final completion of
the high school diploma. As an independent institution, SMU has no limits on enrollment
based solely on geography, and no distinctions in tuition, fees or other costs
based on the home state of the student. The University is open to applicants without
regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability or veteran status.
High School Curriculum
Students who present academic records in excess of the following minimum
requirements generally have an advantage in the admissions process. Curriculum
rigor, classroom performance, elective choices and senior-year course load are given particular consideration. Applicants should submit high school records in a minimum
of 15 or more academic units.
The recommended distribution for a minimum
program is as follows: four units of English, three units of mathematics
(Algebra I, Plane Geometry, Algebra II), three units of science (including two units
of laboratory science), three units of social science and two units of a foreign
language (a two-year sequence). Engineering applicants should have completed
four years of math (including higher level math beyond Algebra II) and a year each
of chemistry and physics. Students who have not completed a two-year sequence
of a single foreign language in high school will be required to complete successfully
two terms of a single foreign language at an accredited institution prior to
their fifth regular term at SMU, regardless of intended major. American sign
language will be used to satisfy the University’s admission foreign language
requirement for those students with a documented language-based learning disability
that prevents learning a foreign language.
Home School Criteria
Home school and distance learning applicants are expected to complete the
equivalent of the high school curriculum as outlined above and submit SAT I and/
or ACT scores, as well as the SMU Home School Supplement that indicates mastery
of English, math and science in the home school curriculum and documentation
that the student has fulfilled their home state’s requirements for graduation. A
checklist of the home school requirements can be found at www.smu.edu/admission/
apply_home_school.asp. In addition to the above requirements, three SAT II
subject exams (to include English, math and science) offered by the Educational
Testing Service may also be required. According to “Title 34 of the Code of Federal
Regulations,” Part 600, Section 668.32, an accepted home-schooled applicant must
be at least 17 years of age.
Application Timetable for First-Year Students
All prospective students must complete the application for admission and submit
a $60 nonrefundable application fee. First-year candidates will be processed on
the Admissions Calendar as follows:
Early Action Applicants*
Application Deadline: November 2
Notification Date: By December 30
Deposit Reply Date: May 1 (postmark date)
Regular Decision Applicants
Application Deadline: January 15
Notification Date: By March 15
Deposit Reply Date: May 1 (postmark date)
Rolling Decision Applicants (on space-available basis)
Application Deadline: March 15
Notification Date: Rolling after April 1
Deposit Reply Date: May 1 (postmark date)
Acceptance under Early Action does not require a student to withdraw
applications from other institutions. The deadline for priority merit scholarship
consideration is January 15.
SMU requires all applicants, except foreign citizens from foreign secondary
schools, to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I) scores and/or American College
Test (ACT) scores. Foreign citizens interested in merit-based scholarships must submit official ACT/SAT scores for scholarship consideration. These examinations
are conducted in a number of test centers throughout the United States and
in foreign countries several times each year. It is recommended that students take
the SAT I or ACT more than once. Although scores from tests taken after January
may be submitted, score results may delay the final admission decision. Foreign
students whose native language is not English are required to submit a score of
550 or better on the paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
or a score of at least 213 on the computer-based TOEFL.
Students may obtain additional information about the College Entrance Examination
Board (CEEB) and its tests (SAT I, SAT II, TOEFL) from their high school
counselors or by writing to the CEEB at P.O. Box 592, Princeton, NJ 08540 or visiting
CEEB online at www.collegeboard.com. Students requesting further information
about the ACT also may contact their high school counselors or write to the ACT
National Office, 2201 North Dodge Street, PO Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243.
Performing Arts Auditions/Visual Arts Consideration
In addition to meeting general University admission criteria, all first-year and
transfer students who intend to major in the performing arts of dance, music or
theatre must also satisfy a performance audition requirement as part of the admission
process to the University. Students wishing to pursue the B.F.A. or B.A. in
Studio Art must submit a portfolio of their work for faculty review to the Meadows
School of the Arts through SMU’s online slideroom. Information regarding audition
and portfolio requirements and dates may be obtained by contacting the
Associate Dean, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University,
Dallas, TX 75275-0356; 214-SMU-3217, www.meadows.smu.edu.
Performance auditions must be completed by the final published national or
campus audition date, which normally is not later than March 15 prior to the entering
fall term. Submission deadlines for Studio Art portfolios correspond with
deadlines for SMU application submissions. Current deadlines can be found at
meadows.smu.edu/art. Transfer students entering degree programs within the
Division of Dance or Theatre may do so only in the fall term.
Reserving a Place
Admitted students are required to submit a nonrefundable $550 deposit by the
deadline May 1 to reserve a place in class. This deposit includes a Matriculation
Fee, Advance Tuition Deposit, and Housing Deposit. All first-year students who
have completed fewer than 30 hours in residence at SMU must live on campus
unless permission is granted to live at home. Students granted permission to live
at home by the Director of Housing and Residence Life need to submit a nonrefundable
To facilitate advising and enrollment, students are required to submit their final
high school transcript confirming graduation.
All new students must have a completed medical history form on file with the
University Health Service before they are eligible to register. All students must
provide proof of immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, rubeola
(red, or regular, measles), rubella (German, or three-day, measles) and tuberculosis
(a negative skin test or chest X-ray within the past year).
Credit by Examination
Examinations Administered in High School
SMU grants credit and placement for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP examinations
taken in high school (see table below). Students may not receive credit for an AP exam, an IB exam and a college course covering the same subject matter; i.e., the
course equivalency will only be awarded once. Credit by examination earned at
SMU is considered resident credit.
An official copy of test results must be sent from the College Board to the Office
of Admission so that you may know what credit you have earned prior to advising
SMU Departmental Examinations
SMU also awards credit for departmental examinations offered in a variety of
disciplines. Such SMU credit may not transfer automatically to other universities.
Credit for examinations awarded by other institutions will not transfer to SMU.
All students with at least two years of the same foreign
language in high school are required to take the foreign language placement
examinations given during orientation if they intend to continue the study of that
language. Scores on these examinations are used to evaluate the foreign language
competency of entering students so that they may be placed in classes appropriate to their level of achievement and degree program. Students may not enroll in a
course below the level of their placement. When the student has successfully
completed the course with a grade of C or above, the student will earn retroactively
from four to 16 term hours of University credit for the preceding courses in the
beginning and intermediate levels of the language sequence. Students must enroll
in the course for a letter grade (not Pass/Fail) in order for the course to serve as a
basis for granting retroactive credit. Such credit counts toward graduation and
serves to reduce the student’s foreign language requirement in degree programs
that require competence in foreign language. Students must take the language
placement examination in order to be eligible for retroactive credit at the successful
completion of the course into which they have been placed. Language courses
taken at other institutions cannot be used as a basis for granting retroactive credit.
Although students may earn retroactive credit in more than one language, the
maximum aggregate credit involving more than one language allowed to count
toward graduation is 16 term hours.
The department offers placement exams for PHYS 1303 and 1304 only.
The placement exam must be taken in the first term that the student enrolls at SMU
and is modeled from the final exam in the PHYS 1303 and 1304 courses.
The Physics Department does not allow test credit for labs (e.g., PHYS 1105,
1106, 4211). The essential element of the lab is the hands-on experience; therefore,
substitutes will not be accepted.
Math credit exams are offered for the four courses listed below
and must be taken prior to initial enrollment. Calculators are not permitted on
these exams, except for MATH 1307. Students interested in credit exams for courses
beyond this level may contact the Mathematics Department.
The Computer Science and Engineering department offers a
credit exam for CSE 1340 Introduction to Computing Concepts that must be taken
prior to initial enrollment.
International Certificate Programs
SMU awards credit for the successful completion of the international certificate
programs listed below. In certain cases, departmental examinations may be required
as a part of the evaluation process.
Concurrent Dual Credit/College Programs
Credit is awarded for college courses a student takes prior to graduation from
high school if the course meets the criteria for transfer work outlined in the “Transfer
Admission Criteria” section of this catalog. Official college transcripts are required
for all college-level work attempted, regardless of transferability.
Transfer Admission Criteria
Although the average G.P.A. of successful transfer applicants who have completed
30 or more transferable hours is considerably higher than a 2.7 G.P.A. (on a 4.0 scale),
applicants with a G.P.A. below this threshold are not typically successful in gaining
admission. Candidates with a transferable G.P.A. below 2.0 are not competitive for
admission to the University. For all candidates who have completed 30 or more college
hours, the Admission Committee considers the rigorous nature of the courses
attempted. In particular, applicants should have completed at least one course in
English Composition, a lab science, a math course beyond College Algebra and a
course pertaining to the intended major. The committee weighs overall academic
performance as well as evidence of recent improvement. For some applicants, the
high school performance is also a factor. Candidates with fewer than 30 hours are
considered on an individual basis and are required to submit additional information
including SAT I and/or ACT scores and high school performance.
Applicants for admission who have not taken one of the math courses described
under the Fundamentals/Mathematical Sciences list in the General Education
Curriculum found in this catalog, must have completed within the last three years
college algebra or a high school sequence of Algebra I, Algebra II and Plane Geometry
to be considered for transfer admission.
Those students with more than 30 transferable hours may be admitted directly
to the school of their intended major if the admission requirement of that school
has been met. The specific requirements for admission into each of SMU’s undergraduate
schools are outlined in the admission section of that school’s information
in this catalog.
All transfer students who intend to major in the performing arts of Dance, Music
or Theatre must audition. Refer to the sections on Performing Arts Auditions for
requirements. Students wishing to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Studio
Art must submit a portfolio to the Meadows School of the Arts for review.
Students who have not completed a two-year sequence of a single foreign language
in high school nor a one-year sequence of a single foreign language at the
college level, will be required to take two terms of a single foreign language at an
accredited institution to commence no later than their third regular term after
matriculation at SMU, regardless of intended major. American Sign Language will
be used to satisfy the University’s foreign language admission requirement for
those students with a documented language-based learning disability that prevents
learning a foreign language.
Prospective transfer students must complete an Undergraduate Application for
Transfer Admission and submit a $60 nonrefundable application fee. In addition,
an official academic transcript from each college or university attended, including
the last completed term, must be sent to:
SMU Undergraduate Admission
P.O. Box 750181
Dallas, TX 75275-0181
A final high school transcript or GED results should be sent to confirm foreign
language and math background. A high school transcript, including SAT I or ACT
scores, is required when less than 30 transferable hours have been earned. SAT I
or ACT results will not be required of students for whom five or more years have
lapsed since high school or high school equivalent.
University policy requires that of the 122 minimum required term hours for a
degree, at least 60 hours must be earned in residence at SMU. Therefore, regardless
of the number of transferable credits completed elsewhere, to receive an SMU
degree students need to earn 60 credit hours in residence at SMU.
No transfer credit is given for any correspondence course or work completed at
a school that is not regionally accredited. Only grades of C- or better in comparable
courses are transferable to SMU for accepted students. Vocational-technical
courses, courses below college level, credit by examination earned at another college
or university, and PE activity courses in excess of two hours do not transfer.
For courses not taught at SMU, free-elective transfer credit may be awarded for
appropriate courses completed with a grade of C- or better at regionally accredited
colleges or universities that meet SMU’s academic standards.
If a transferable course is repeated due to a failing grade, all attempted hours
and earned grade points will be used to calculate the transferable G.P.A. For
repeated courses with grades of C- or above, only the first attempt will be awarded
credit. A grade of W (Withdrawn) will not be used to calculate the transferable
G.P.A. A grade of I (Incomplete) will be calculated as F. A grade of IP (In Progress)
for a current term is not calculated.
Official college transcripts are required for all college-level work attempted,
regardless of transferability. Transcripts must be received at SMU directly from
the transferable institution. A transcript issued to a student is acceptable provided
it is received in a sealed, letterhead envelope with the Registrar’s Office stamp.
Transcripts must be dated fewer than three years prior to processing. Coursework
from one institution that appears on an official transcript from another institution
will not be accepted for transfer credit. An official transcript must be issued by each
institution attended. Also, photocopies of transcripts provided by other institutions
are not acceptable.
A copy of the transfer credit evaluation is available online to transfer students
prior to their enrollment.
Foreign Transcript Credit
All foreign transcripts must be accompanied by a professional evaluation and an
official transcript, including an English translation if it is not in English, and course
descriptions or syllabi. It is the student’s responsibility to procure this evaluation,
and to assume financial responsibility for it. An exception to this requirement is an
exchange agreement between SMU and a foreign institution that is modeled after
the U.S. education system. Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
is the only institution with which SMU currently has such an agreement.
Because of the importance of this information, SMU only accepts evaluations
from the following agencies of proven reliability:
The evaluations provided by the services listed above should include an explanation
that the institution is recognized by the ministry of education in the home
country and is generally considered to offer at least the equivalent of U.S. higher
education credit. In addition, it should include an explanation of the credits, the
grading system and course levels, as well as a course-by-course evaluation.
The expertise and reliability of a professional evaluation report is recognized
worldwide and is likely to be accepted by other academic institutions, employers
and state licensing boards. However, the report is not binding to SMU and will be
considered a recommendation for independent decision of the credit to be given.
Information and applications are available on the Web from the services. If you
need further information, please contact the University Registrar.
Application Timetable for Transfer Students
Summer term entry:
All data due no later than March 15.
Fall term entry/Scholarship consideration:
All data due no later than April 1.
Fall term entry:
All data due no later than June 1.
Spring term entry:
All data due no later than November 2.
Priority scholarship deadline is April 1 for fall entry and November 2 for
It is not recommended that an application be submitted on or near the deadline.
Earlier application is strongly recommended, particularly for those students
applying for financial aid or University housing.
Application processing begins in early February (for the summer and fall terms)
and in early October (for the spring term) upon receipt of pertinent data, including
each official transcript through the last completed term.
Reserving a Place
All degree-seeking admitted transfer students wishing to enroll at SMU are
required to submit a $250 Matriculation Fee and a $200 Advance Tuition Deposit
in order to reserve a place in the academic program. This $450 fee and deposit should be sent to the Office of Admission. Space can be guaranteed only to those
students who have submitted the fee and deposit by the deadline noted in the
acceptance packet. Please note that this $450 fee and deposit are nonrefundable.
Students seeking financial aid should wait until they receive their financial aid
award before submitting a deposit. All foreign passport holders are required to pay
a one-time nonrefundable $150 international student fee.
Note that admitted transfer students cannot actually enroll at SMU until their
final transcript has been received and evaluated for transferability. (For this reason,
we discourage fall term entry transfer students from attending the second summer
term at their current institution before matriculation to SMU.)
Housing accommodations are offered on a space-available basis for new transfer
students. Housing forms will be sent to interested transfer students once the student
has been accepted. Students should complete and return the forms, along with the
$100 housing deposit, to the Office of Admission.
Readmission of Students
If a student in good standing withdraws from SMU for one term, the student’s
file remains active and the student is able to register as though in continuous
enrollment at the University (Re-entry). Students who left on probation will return
on probation. All holds must be cleared prior to enrollment. Re-entry students are
responsible for meeting all financial aid, housing and advising deadlines.
After nonattendance for two or more regular (fall, spring) terms, students who
formerly attended SMU, including those who have completed a degree, are required
to submit a readmission application through the Division of Enrollment Services/
Undergraduate Admission (The application is online at www.smu.edu/admission/
forms.asp). Any student who has been suspended is also required to apply for
readmission. Students who have been suspended are required to attach a statement
to their readmission application, indicating the reasons why they now feel ready
to return to SMU. Although the Division of Enrollment Services facilitates the
application process, an academic dean determines readmission.
A student who has already earned one undergraduate degree at SMU and is
seeking a second undergraduate degree must apply for readmission if the student
has not attended SMU for two or more regular (fall, spring) terms.
The deadline for filing this application and supporting materials is the last business
day prior to the first day of classes of the term of re-entry. Returning students
are strongly advised to apply for readmission at least 60 days prior to the start of
the term of re-entry. Returning students should note that separate applications exist
for financial aid and residence halls and that they should contact these offices as
early as possible. In addition, the availability of academic advising and courses
may be limited immediately prior to and at the beginning of the term.
There is no readmission fee. All students who return to SMU after any period
of non-enrollment must forward official transcripts from each college or university
attended since last enrolled at SMU. If five years have elapsed since the last term
of enrollment at SMU, official transcripts from each college or university attended
prior to SMU also must be forwarded to the Division of Enrollment Services.
Students should be aware of specific policies regarding transfer courses taken after
matriculation to SMU (see Transfer Courses From Other Institutions in the Policies
and Procedures section of this catalog). In addition, each college within SMU has
specific policies regarding readmission, transfer credit and statute of limitations so
students should refer to their school’s section of this catalog for that information.
SMU’s academic forgiveness policy permits a student to have academic work
taken 10 or more years prior to the term of admission or readmission forgiven.
Forgiven hours will not be included in the G.P.A. nor used for actions such as the
determination of admission, academic probation, suspension, honors, scholarships
and graduation. Please see the University Enrollment and Academic Records
Standards section for details of this policy. The academic forgiveness application
is available through the Division of Enrollment Services.
Foreign citizens applying to SMU as first-year and transfer undergraduate students
are expected to meet all requirements for admission.
Students for whom English is not the native language are expected to take an
internationally recognized English language test such as TOEFL (Test of English
as a Foreign Language) or an assessment from IELTS (International English Language
Testing System). A score of at least 213 (computer test) or 80 (Internet-based
test) on the TOEFL is required for admission consideration. Students with scores
slightly below those mentioned above will be required to successfully complete
SMU’s summer Intensive English Program prior to matriculation. Transfer students
without an internationally recognized English language test score will be evaluated
on the basis of college-level grades in English Composition/Rhetoric courses.
International transfer students who have completed college-level work at an
international university are required to submit specific documentation as noted
under Foreign Transcript Credit section shown above or on page 23 of the catalog.
The expenses to be incurred in attending the University are listed in the Financial
Information section beginning on 28. Additional costs that international students
may expect include room and board during school holidays, travel expenses, international
student insurance and a one-time international student fee (foreign passport
holders only). Need-based financial aid is not available for international students.
However, first-year international students will be considered for all available
academic scholarships if their application is complete by the January 15 deadline.
Transfer international applicants will be considered for all transfer scholarships
for which the student is eligible, provided the appropriate application deadline has
When an international student has been admitted and provided an adequate
Certificate of Financial Responsibility or bank letter, the International Office will
issue the I-20, Certificate of Eligibility. The student will be required to produce
the I-20, the Letter of Acceptance and proof of finances when applying at the U.S.
embassy or consulate for a student visa.
All international students at SMU must be covered by health insurance in the
amounts specified for “Exchange Visitors” by the U.S. government. Health insurance
may be purchased through the University by self-enrollment with the University-
contracted insurance plan or elsewhere.
Nondegree students are those applicants for admission who wish to be enrolled
in University courses for credit but who do not intend to pursue an SMU degree
program. This category of students is normally limited to those who 1) have already
earned a college degree, 2) are degree-seeking students in good standing and visiting
from another four-year college or university, or 3) are participants in special
SMU programs such as the TAG program. Nondegree students are admitted through
the Office of Nondegree Credit Studies and are eligible to register in day and
evening classes for which they have satisfied prerequisites. Admission through the
Office of Nondegree Credit Studies as a nondegree-seeking student does not qualify
a student as a degree applicant.
Applications for admission may be obtained by contacting the Office of Nondegree
Credit Studies, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750382, Dallas,
TX 75275-0382; 214-768-4272. Or visit: www.smu.edu/education.