Jun 13, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Programs

Academic Programs

SMU offers degrees in five undergraduate and graduate schools and three graduate professional schools: the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Edwin L. Cox School of Business, the Dedman School of Law, the Linda and Mitch Hart SMU Guildhall, the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, the Algur H. Meadows School of the Arts, the Joe and Lois Perkins School of Theology, and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. SMU’s Ph.D. and online degrees are jointly offered in the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, which coordinates graduate education across the University. The University offers a range of distinguished graduate and professional programs, and since its beginnings in 1915, SMU has remained committed to the concept of a rigorous and relevant liberal arts undergraduate education. All SMU undergraduate degree programs reflect this commitment by encouraging students to combine broad, interdisciplinary inquiry with in-depth study in a particular field of interest.

Preface to the Curriculum

All SMU undergraduates participate in general education. General education provides students with a broad background in the liberal arts, which is essential to their growth as educated human beings. The general education curriculum is designed to help students put their majors into context, to promote valuable skills that students acquire in and outside the classroom in preparation for the modern workplace, to enable and encourage students to engage in their civic responsibilities at the university and beyond, and to create a passion and platform for life-long learning. The elements of general education are foundation, breadth, depth and co-curricular proficiency requirements. These elements are designed to build on one another over the four-year undergraduate experience. Students begin in foundations with a focus on writing, quantitative foundations, second language proficiency, wellness, and ways of knowing. The latter exposes students to interdisciplinary problem-solving by providing multiple, intellectual lenses through which to view a particular problem or issue, while comparing the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches. The breadth requirements, typically met in the first two years, provide students an opportunity to explore a variety of disciplinary frameworks for learning. Depth requirements, often met in the major, enable students to apply what they learn in breadth courses to an area of focus. Finally, during their time at SMU, students gain a set of skills that are recognized through the co-curricular proficiency requirements. These include writing in the discipline, oral communication, diversity of and engagement in the human experience, and information literacy. Thus, general education is an integral part of students’ learning and growth as they work toward graduating with a major or majors.

SMU undergraduate students choose curricula from over 100 baccalaureate degrees in more than 90 subject areas offered by the five undergraduate schools.

Baccalaureate Degree Programs

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science

Cox School of Business

Bachelor of Business Administration

Lyle School of Engineering

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Bachelor of Music

Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Bachelor of Science

For the degrees available in specific fields of study, students should consult the appropriate school’s section in this catalog.

Engaged Learning: Research and Entrepreneurship Programs



Over the last decade, the Office of Engaged Learning has developed and refined experiential education opportunities for SMU students through a cluster of research and entrepreneurship initiatives built on a cycle of action, reflection, and implementation. These include: our signature, capstone-level Engaged Learning Fellowships for research; faculty Undergraduate Research Assistantships; social entrepreneurship and leadership development through the Clinton Global Initiative University; Big iDeas entrepreneurship initiatives; the new Incubator@SMU for building entrepreneurship ventures; and for mentoring cross-campus, Mustang Mentors. Those who participate in our programs cultivate professional and scholarly skills related to their chosen fields of pursuit and gain significant experiences outside of the classroom.

Undergraduate Research:

The Office of Engaged Learning’s Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URA) and the new Summer Research Intensive (SRI) provide research opportunities for students in all disciplines. Students work side-by-side with faculty mentors, for whom the Office of Engaged Learning provides matching funds to a department, school, or research grants. This office also matches SMU scholarship awards, including the Hamilton and McNair, and provides start-up funding to innovative developments in areas where there is high student interest and fewer resources for recent faculty research endeavors in areas such as digital humanities, oral history, and sustainability.

Undergraduate research programs have supported thousands of students across the university, from their first year to their last. Student researchers have achieved numerous scholarly milestones, including conference presentations, national journal publications, and SMU’s own Journal of Undergraduate Research https://scholar.smu.edu/jour/

For more information about SMU’s Undergraduate Research programs please visit https://www.smu.edu/Provost/EngagedLearning/Undergraduate-Research or contact our team at engagedlearning@smu.edu.

Engaged Learning Fellowships:

Through the Engaged Learning Fellowship (ELF) program, undergraduate students convert their academic passions into research projects of their own. Students engage in capstone-level scholarly research, community service or civic engagement, professional internships or other creative projects. SMU funds ELFs up to $2000 per project and records ELF titles on student transcripts and in commencement booklets.

Students apply during the fall and spring application cycles, and with the support of their mentors, they work on projects throughout the year and, before graduation, present their findings at the Engaged Learning Symposium in the fall or Research Days in the spring. Students submit publication-ready project reports prior to graduation. The Office of Engaged Learning provides structure, coaching, and guidance throughout.

For more information about the Engaged Learning Fellowship, see https://www.smu.edu/Provost/EngagedLearning/Engaged-Learning-Fellowship or contact our team at engagedlearning@smu.edu.

Big Ideas and Incubator@SMU:

Big iDeas at SMU supports entrepreneurship training and experience that fuels innovation. All undergraduates are invited to ignite their passions for starting a business, building a foundation, designing a product, or providing a service through the Big iDeas program. The entire SMU and wider Dallas communities are invited to participate in programming, networking, and organizational development opportunities at the Incubator@SMU.

Opportunities for undergraduates with Big iDeas:

  • Big iDeas Pitch Competition (fall): students pitch ideas to make something new, and winners receive $1000 to turn their ideas into prototypes 
  • Big iDeas Demo Day Fair (spring): students showcase their work
  • Big iDeas Business Plan Competition (spring): During Demo Day students can also compete for $5000 in seed money to accelerate their Big Idea 
  • All Big iDeas winners gain access to the Incubator@SMU

Throughout the year, Big iDeas contests winners receive outstanding support from the Big iDeas team and resources provided to them at the SMU Incubator including access to talented entrepreneurs through Mustang Mentors, professional development and co-working office space. Big iDeas and the team at the Incubator@SMU also connect participants with entrepreneurship mentors, both on and off campus, and expose them to the abundance of resources available in the Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

The Incubator@SMU is also available to staff, faculty, and alumni building entrepreneurial through a competitive application process. All resources in the space area available to select members.

More information about Big iDeas programs are available on the SMU website at www.smu.edu/bigideas and https://blog.smu.edu/incubator/ or contact our team at bigideas@smu.edu.

Clinton Global Initiative University

SMU is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative University Network (CGIU), a year-round leadership development program, where students collaborate and learn from a network of alumni and leaders from business, government, academia, and civil society. Students develop their own Commitments to Action-new, specific, and measurable projects to address pressing challenges in their communities related to education, environment, health, human rights and poverty alleviation. The year-round curriculum culminates with CGIU’s annual meeting.

The Office of Engaged Learning provides up to $1500 for six undergraduate and graduate students selected by CGIU for their projects and for attendance at a yearly meeting that brings together hundreds of young leaders from all over the world.

For more information about CGIU see https://www.smu.edu/Provost/EngagedLearning/CGIU or contact us directly at engagedlearning@smu.edu.

Mustang Mentors

Having at least one mentor while at SMU is one of the most rewarding opportunities a student can experience. From being encouraged and empowered; having support for career goals; building skills; to gaining confidence as a scholar, the Mustang Mentor program allows students to work with faculty, alumni or even peers. Sign up as soon as you get your student ID, complete your profile, and begin finding people who will take interest in you and support your journey through SMU.

Academic Advising for SMU Pre-Majors

Through the University Advising Center, every student entering SMU as a first-year or premajor transfer student collaborates with a professional academic adviser. Advisers help students acquire the skills to plan their majors and minors, schedule courses, and resolve academic problems that may arise. Computerized Degree Progress Reports provide students with detailed information concerning completion of degree requirements. The Advising Center, which is located on the fourth floor of the Blanton Student Services Building, has received national recognition for its innovative programs and outstanding staff.

Academic Advising for Majors

After completing 24 credit hours and meeting other program admission requirements, students may be eligible to declare their major and transfer their records to an adviser in the school that houses their major field of study. Those who elect study in the humanities, sciences or social sciences enter Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Others, depending on their qualifications and interests, may enter the Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts, or Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The University requires students to qualify for and declare a major upon completion of 75 credit hours, including credit by examination and transfer work. Upon declaration of a major in one of the schools, students work with a major adviser in that school.

English as a Second Language Program


Students whose first language is not English may encounter special challenges as they strive to function efficiently and succeed in less familiar cultural and academic settings. Dedman College offers the following ESL courses to students from all schools and departments of SMU. Some courses are dedicated to non-SMU affiliated students for academic readiness and professional success. 

Students may apply on the ESL website. More information about the ESL Program is available on the website or contact the program at eslcourse@smu.edu.

Non-Credit ESL Courses for SMU Students

These courses are free of charge, non-credit bearing, and students receive a Pass or Fail on their transcript according to whether or not these requirements are successfully fulfilled. ESL program approval is required by submitting an online application.

ESL 1001/1002 (0). ESL Communication Skills I/II
The goal of these courses is to improve ESL students’ interactive skills, primarily oral/aural (speaking, listening, giving presentations) while gaining a deeper understanding of American culture, customs, attitudes, and idiomatic usage of the language. These courses also focus on assisting students to improve advanced ESL speakers’ pronunciation for effective and successful communication in academic settings. Students will gain awareness of their own weaknesses in pronunciation and with the instructor develop strategies and exercises to improve overall communication skills. Students will learn to recognize and use English intonation, rhythm, syllable stress, focus words, thought groups, vowel and consonant sounds, linking, and other speaking features. Building on skills developed in ESL 1001, ESL 1002 is intended to help students participate more fully in everyday American life, both inside and outside the classroom. ESL 1001 is recommended as a precursor but is not a prerequisite.

ESL 3001/3002 (0). Advanced Academic Writing I/II
The goal of these courses is to help students explore and practice writing skills critical to their particular field of specialization. Academic texts are used as a basis for out-of-class writing assignments and a final research project. Most classes will be devoted to the presentation and discussion of key academic writing styles, with some class time set aside for writing workshops and one-on-one tutorials. Building on principles of grammar and style covered in ESL 3001, ESL 3002 helps students further improve the writing skills needed for their particular academic careers, using academic texts as a basis for out-of-class writing assignments and a final research project.

ESL 6001/6002 (0). Seminar for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs)
The goal of these courses is to help students develop pedagogical skills as related to ITAs’ professional environment to be successful and effective with cross-cultural communication in university class setting.  Based on communication and language skills developed in ESL 6001, ESL 6002 will implement case study approaches, exploring experiential training with presentation skills, teaching techniques, and classroom management. These courses are limited to SMU graduate students and visiting scholars.

Intensive English Program (IEP) Courses for Non-SMU Students

Enrollment in the IEP courses is open to students and professionals, who are not matriculated into a degree program at SMU or other U.S. universities. IEP courses are also open to conditionally admitted students who need to improve their English proficiency to fulfill full admission requirement set by an Undergraduate or Graduate program at SMU. For international students, appropriate immigration status is required. Once accepted, students are assigned to one of the six IEP levels based on an English proficiency test score: Beginning, Upper Beginning, Lower Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, and Advanced. IEP courses are offered year-round (Fall/Spring/May & Summer-12 weeks of study per term). The Intensive English Program runs with its own academic calendar, different from the SMU academic calendar. IEP tuition & fees rates are charged. For more information, contact the program at iep@smu.edu.

ESL 20XX (0). Intensive English Program
All 2000-level courses are non-credit bearing and exclusive to Intensive English Program. These courses are designed to prepare students, scholars, and professionals for the purposes such as (1) to meet the language requirement for full admission to a degree program at SMU (2) to be eligible for admission to other US universities, or (3) to improve written and oral English skills in professional settings. The main components of the IEP courses consist of integrated skills of English for academic purposes, English proficiency test preparation, and multi-cultural competencies for successful communication with people from diverse backgrounds of culture, language, religion, and education.

Conversation Buddy Program

At the beginning of each term, all students are notified via campus email of the opportunity to practice their language skills in an informal, one-on-one setting out-side the classroom for one to two hours a week.

ESL Online Pronunciation/Academic Writing Consultation for SMU Graduate Students

For students of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, individual consultations via Zoom are available by appointment. During a 45~50-minutes long session, ESL consultants will focus on specific questions or immediate needs to practice for research presentation, or revise academic papers. Follow-up sessions can be scheduled as necessary. Students will be responsible for submitting materials to work on during the consultation in advance. Appointment can be made via SMU Booking System.

SMU Abroad


In a globalized economy, employers increasingly demand job candidates with intercultural competence. Studying, interning, and researching abroad builds global experience, which is an integral part of an undergraduate education. The SMU Abroad Office serves the SMU community by developing and coordinating international programs, and by providing support services during and after the experience abroad. Students at SMU have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of January, May, summer, and semester abroad programs, including academic programs that yield University Curriculum and Common Curriculum credit, major-specific programs, internships, and guided research. These programs may be faculty-led, SMU approved affiliated, or hybrid abroad programs. Students studying, researching, or interning abroad encounter diverse global communities and intellectual traditions. SMU Abroad programs and global partnerships enhance academic and experiential learning around the world.

Eligibility Requirements

Students applying to SMU Abroad programs must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. SMU requires students to have a minimum 2.500 cumulative GPA and no active conduct violations in order to participate in an abroad program. Specific programs may have higher minimum GPA requirements. Many programs have competitive admission. Detailed program requirements are on the SMU Abroad website.

Application Process

Matriculated students may apply to study abroad after completing one full semester of study (Fall or Spring term) at SMU. Students are discouraged from studying abroad during their final full semester of study at SMU, because SMU Abroad cannot guarantee that abroad credits will be processed in time for graduation in such cases.

Students who matriculate as transfer students must complete one full semester of study at SMU in order to be eligible to apply for study abroad. A transfer student’s cumulative GPA will be used as the basis for determining academic eligibility.

Students must apply to study abroad by the deadlines published on the SMU Abroad website.

Academic Credit

Students enrolled on SMU Abroad programs are considered full-time students during the duration of their abroad study. Grades earned abroad will be posted to the SMU transcript and will be calculated into the student’s cumulative and SMU GPA. Academic credit earned abroad counts as credit earned in residence.

All courses on faculty-led or hybrid programs have SMU specific course numbers and directly post to the SMU transcript. Courses on affiliated programs must be petitioned during the SMU Abroad application process. These courses may appear on the SMU transcript as courses with SMU specific course numbers or as Free Elective Study Abroad (FESA) credit. Petitioned courses are reviewed by a designated SMU faculty member credentialed in the discipline in which each course is offered. This faculty review determines how petitioned courses appear on the SMU transcript. Specific information about procedures and policies for earning credit is provided on the SMU Abroad website.

Students may request University Curriculum or Common Curriculum credit for courses taught by non-SMU faculty on SMU affiliated programs; more information can be found on the SMU Abroad website.

Students who wish to take courses on a no-credit or pass/fail basis should review the Grade Options for Courses Taken on SMU Abroad Programs and the Pass/Fail Option sections found under Grade Policies  in this catalog.

Students considering study abroad are urged to meet early and often with both their academic advisor and SMU Abroad advising. This advising input is essential in integrating study abroad coursework into a student’s four-year plan of study.

Faculty-Led Programs

Short-term, faculty-led programs offer students the opportunity to travel and study abroad under the leadership of SMU faculty members. These programs are offered in January, May, and Summer terms. Students can earn 3, 6, 7, or 8 hours of credit while spending one to eight weeks studying, researching, or interning abroad. All courses are either taught by or approved by SMU faculty.

Affiliated Programs

SMU affiliated programs are hosted by well-established study abroad program providers. These programs offer a diverse array of study abroad opportunities around the world. Term program options include study at universities, study abroad programs on specific disciplinary subjects, language immersion programs, and programs with field study and internship components. A wide range of programs are pre-approved for SMU students, with courses available in many disciplines.

Students applying to study abroad on SMU affiliated programs apply first to the SMU Abroad office and then to the specific program in which they are interested. The dual application ensures that students are properly registered at SMU and registered as a participant on the study abroad program.

Hybrid Programs

These programs merge the characteristics of the faculty-led and affiliated models. All courses are vetted and approved by SMU faculty. Students may have the option to enroll in courses at a local university.

Tuition and Fees

SMU Abroad students will be charged SMU tuition at the SMU tuition rate on campus, as well as miscellaneous fees. Students will be billed by SMU at the usual time. SMU in turn will pay the academic costs of the abroad program. Details on SMU Abroad costs and billing procedures are available on the SMU Abroad website.

Scholarship and Financial Aid

Matriculated SMU students may apply their institutional and federal financial aid to their abroad program. Students should consult with SMU Financial Aid for details.

SMU Abroad offers a limited number of study abroad scholarships. Students apply separately for these scholarships during the SMU Abroad application process. In addition, many departments and other academic units on campus also offer scholarship support for study abroad. External scholarships are also available.

Students with any level of financial aid considering study abroad should meet with SMU Abroad advising several months prior to studying abroad and should ask for detailed information about possible funding sources.

International Student and Scholar Services


The International Student and Scholar Services Office provides immigration services to students, scholars and professors from around the globe who are engaged in academic studies or cultural exchange projects at SMU. ISSS coordinates pre-arrival information, ensures compliance with current federal guidelines and provides cultural and educational programming opportunities to SMU’s international community. ISSS is located in the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building in the International Center, which supports students and faculty who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, as well as their families.



General Information

The University maintains an academic campus at Fort Burgwin, located 10 miles southeast of Taos, New Mexico. Academic terms are regularly offered at the SMU-in-Taos campus in January and during the summer.

The campus is home to historic Fort Burgwin, originally established in 1852. The fort served many purposes, chief among them to protect area settlers, prior to its abandonment in 1860 just before the Civil War. Reconstructed, the fort now serves as office and classroom space for campus academic programs. Pot Creek Pueblo, one of the largest prehistoric sites in the northern Rio Grande Valley, is also located on the property. This site is one of the ancestral homes of modern-day Taos and Picuris pueblos, and was occupied from A.D. 1250 to 1320.

SMU-in-Taos offers academic courses in January, May, June, and August. Courses are offered in the humanities, natural and social sciences, business, engineering, performing and studio arts, and archaeological research. At just eight class days, January Term is the most intensive term. Students can enroll in up to four credit hours and ski or snowboard on the weekends for PRW II credit. May and August are 12 class day terms in which students may take up to five credit hours. A longer, more traditional summer term in June allows students to take up to eight hours of coursework. Course offerings vary each year, and are designed to emphasize the Southwest, experiential learning and sustainability. Courses are heavily field trip oriented to take advantage of the campus’ proximity to important northern New Mexico cultural sites.

Program participants are housed in small residences called casitas. Each casita has shared dorm rooms, bathrooms and a large study area with fireplace. Laundry facilities are located on campus, as well as a campus center, chapel, dining hall, library, computer lab and auditorium. Campus recreational facilities include a sand volleyball court, tennis and basketball courts, workout room and hiking trails.

Additional information on the campus and its programs is available online or by contacting the SMU-in-Taos Office, Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750145, Dallas TX 75275; phone 214-768-3657. Course descriptions and additional information can also be found online (smu.edu/taos) or obtained via email (smutaos@smu.edu).

Student Appeals and Complaints

Student Appeals and Complaint procedures can be found in the Right to Know  section of the catalog.

Intersessions on the Dallas Campus

Intersessions allow students to maximize their time at SMU, stay on track for graduation, and explore new interests. In Jan Term, students complete one course in as little as 8 class days; a limited set of online classes is available over a month-long session. In May Term students complete one course in 11 class days. The June and July intersessions offer classes in both 11 class-day and 22 class-day formats. Students may take up to 7 credit hours during the June sessions and up to 7 credit hours during the July sessions (overload scheduling may be available by application). A small number of courses run all summer long in a combined 10-week session. 

Intersessions courses are separate from the course load carried during the fall and spring semesters and additional tuition charges apply. No fees are assessed except for course-specific costs such as lab/studio fees, or travel/accommodation for courses held outside Dallas. On-campus housing is also an additional charge. SMU students should consult with their financial aid adviser for assistance regarding applicable financial assistance. Most SMU merit-based and need-based financial aid is available in pro-rated amounts. The Intersessions office awards need-based scholarships to qualifying students; those interested should look for the application on the Intersessions website. Federal and state funds are not available for Jan Term, but may be available for summer if a student maintains enrollment in 6 or more credit hours.

Between Jan Term, May Term, and Summer sessions, more than 350 courses are offered annually. Courses fulfill University Curriculum (UC)/ Common Curriculum (CC), major, minor, or prerequisite requirements. Any SMU student in good standing is eligible to enroll in Intersessions through my.SMU. It may also be possible for non-SMU students to be admitted as visiting students.

Students living in SMU residential commons during fall and spring may stay in their room during Jan Term. Students in residence and staying for May Term are eligible for on-campus housing by application, but those accepted will be moved to a single May Term commons. On-campus housing is available by application to any student attending June and July sessions, space permitting. All housing arrangements and fees are administered by SMU Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH).

For more information about SMU Intersessions, please visit our website, smu.edu/intersessions. Email us at intersessions@smu.edu or call 214-768-1009.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

ROTC courses are not offered on the SMU campus; however, students who wish to participate in the ROTC may earn SMU-approved elective credit through area programs off-campus. Additional information about the Air Force ROTC program is available in the Dedman College section of this catalog, and the Army ROTC program is found in the Lyle School of Engineering section.

Office of Global, Online and Continuing Education

The Office of Global, Online and Continuing Education oversees and advances SMU’s online and continuing education portfolio. Its mission is to deliver innovative learning experiences that boost careers and transform lives. The office includes SMU Global and Online (GO) and SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE).

SMU GO partners with academic units across the university to support the development and delivery of online graduate programs for adult learners. SMU GO also works with university stakeholders to establish and update standards and best practices for online faculty training, course development, and other areas critical to ensuring high-quality online programs and courses.

Partnering with faculty and industry professionals, SMU CAPE offers a wide range of non-credit programs to help students advance in their careers or successfully transition to new ones. The SMU CAPE catalog includes certificate programs, boot camps, workshops, short courses, and other offerings in on-campus and online formats.

Additional information and a full listing of current opportunities are available at https://www.smu.edu/Provost/ProvostOffice/CIP/GOCE/Programs.