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Southern Methodist University is a private, non-profit university located in Dallas, TX. It’s a medium to large size school with 6,700 undergraduate students and almost as many in the graduate schools. For undergrads, SMU offers 100 majors and 85 minors so that students can find the exact course of study for them. SMU's departments include arts, business, engineering, and humanities & sciences. This range of major fields results in a diverse student body that is stimulating and enriching for peers and faculty alike.

Overview of Southern Methodist University

SMU students also take their learning on the road. The study abroad opportunities are vast and comprehensive. Students can choose to study in France, England, Holland, Israel, or many other fascinating countries.

SMU is well-known for its varsity athletics, but every student can play a sport or engage in a more cerebral pastime. There are intramural sports that are welcome for players of any experience level, but club sports are also offered for those who demand a higher level of play. Intramurals include sports such as floor hockey, flag football, table tennis, and E-sports, among others. Club-level teams compete against other universities as well as community-level teams. Club sports include lacrosse, rugby, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and water polo, to name a few.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 11:1
Graduation Rate 81%
Year Founded 1911

Student Enrollment

Total Students11,649


Undergraduate Student

Male 3,304
Female 3,175

Graduate Student

Male 2,637
Female 2,533

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Southern Methodist Reviews

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Male 6,613
Female 7,346


Male 3,174
Female 3,453

Acceptance Rate47%

Male 48%
Female 47%

Enrollment 1,509

Male 377
Female 332
Application Fee $60
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Required
Formal demonstration of competencies Recommended
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline January 15
Common Application Accepted Yes

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Since Southern Methodist University is a private institution, it's hard to avoid higher tuition rates. However, that higher price is ameliorated by strong financial aid packages. The starting cost of tuition, fees, books, and supplies at SMU is $57,000 for a full-time student. When all living expenses and other costs are factored in, a year at SMU runs around $76,000. Off-campus students have estimated costs running around $69,000. These numbers come down dramatically for the 80% of students who receive grants and scholarships, as well as other forms of aid.

Once financial aid is factored in, the net price of Southern Methodist University is offset significantly. In fact, the average net cost for SMU is $40,000. Of full-time students who receive Title IV aid, those from lower-income households have a lower net price of around $26,000. Students from the highest income bracket pay a bit more, $43,000, for a year of undergraduate education.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $40,404
Average Total Aid $34,084
Students Receiving Financial Aid 82%
Room & Board $16,750

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $56,560
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $56,560
  • Books and Supplies - $800
  • Room & Board - $16,750
  • Other - $2,600


Southern Methodist University is one of the top private universities in Texas. Their academics are highly regarded by those in business and elsewhere in society. SMU earns that reputation and shows evidence of their strong academics in their educational statistics. Those numbers reflect a very high rate of first-year student retention, very high graduation numbers, and a jaw-dropping average class size.

Retention rates are one of the more important numbers for any university. They reflect what first-year students think of a college or university. Since 91% of SMU's first-year students return for a second year, it's assumed that they find a very high value in their classes, instructors, and overall campus experiences. This assumption is borne out in SMU's 81% graduation rate, which is tied with a low 14% transfer rate. Thus, 95% of SMU students are thought to graduate on their Dallas campus or elsewhere.

Such strong retention and graduation figures must be attributed to something. Some may think it's SMU's athletic department, but their students are probably more impacted by the size of their classes. The average SMU class has only 11 students. With such small classes, students can establish a great rapport with their instructor. Many students will also point out that when classes are small it's hard to get away with skipping the reading.

Student Population Total

Student Population 11,649

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 518 Total Graduates / 28%
Finance, General 250 Graduates
Accounting 98 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 69 Graduates
Office Management and Supervision 40 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 242 Total Graduates / 13%
Economics, General 178 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 40 Graduates
Sociology 14 Graduates
Anthropology 10 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 172 Total Graduates / 9%
Mechanical Engineering 63 Graduates
Operations Research 45 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 27 Graduates
Civil Engineering, General 16 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 151 Total Graduates / 8%
Public Relations/Image Management 49 Graduates
Advertising 42 Graduates
Communication and Media Studies, Other 33 Graduates
Journalism 26 Graduates
Mathematics and Statistics 113 Total Graduates / 6%
Mathematics, General 91 Graduates
Statistics, General 22 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 34%

Outcome & Salary

Southern Methodist University students enter the working world well-prepared to become high earners and tomorrow's leaders. Most see a terrific return on their educational investment, but none more than those who earn their bachelor's degree in computer science. Those students earn a median base salary of $72,000. Of the remaining top-earning degrees, those on the lower end of earning are public relations and other communications degree holders, who report median salaries of $42,000.

The SMU degrees that didn't make the top ten do very well, also. Even those that start work with lower salaries are able to rise through the ranks on the basis of their smarts and academic training. Further, SMU students find no trouble entering the graduate program of their choosing.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $61,900
College Grads Average Salary $78,604
College Grads Mid Career Salary $121,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $786,040
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,002,040
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $161,616
10 Year Projected ROI $624,424
20 Year Projected ROI $1,840,424
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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