Jun 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate 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, and graduation 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, and second language proficiency. The breadth requirements, typically met in the first two years, provide students an opportunity to explore a variety of disciplinary frameworks for learning. Finally, during their time at SMU, students gain a set of skills that are recognized through the graduation requirements. These include writing in the discipline, oral communication, diversity of and engagement in the human experience, and civic and individual ethics. 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.

Office of Engaged Learning

smu.edu/engagedlearning - G01 Clements Hall

Students who engage in research, entrepreneurship, creative projects, service, or internships have enhanced academic experiences. SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning provides opportunities for students to pursue their interests and passions.

The Engaged Learning Fellowship supports capstone-level projects in research, creative activity, or civic engagement. Fellows receive a transcript notation and up to $2,000 to fund their projects. (smu.edu/ELF)

Big iDeas encourages innovative products and services. The fall Big iDeas Pitch Contest awards up to $1,000 to seed fund these ideas. The spring Business Plan Competition awards up to $5,000 for each business. (smu.edu/bigideas)

The Clinton Global Initiative University network (CGIU) challenges students to address critical global needs. Selected “commitment-makers” attend an annual meeting that brings together students and thought leaders from around the world. These students participate throughout the year in social entrepreneurship programming with high quality mentoring. (smu.edu/CGIU)

The Undergraduate Research program provides paid opportunities for students to acquire research skills by working under a faculty mentor. Many students have collaborated on projects leading to conference presentations and publications. During the Summer Research Intensive, students continue their research and participate in workshops on research skills and professional development. Students can share their work on two showcases: the Fall Research Symposium and Research & Innovation Week. Outstanding student work is published in the SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research. (smu.edu/undergradresearch)

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.

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 4001 (0). ESL Pronunciation Skills
The goal of this course is 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.

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.

Asynchronous Online ESL Courses

Academic Writing in a Clear Voice
This asynchronous 4-week course is designed to assist both native and non-native English speakers to write with clarity. The course is composed of four modules (one per week), and each module requires approximately three hours to complete. The course content introduces students to three key principles of writing. Once these principles are understood and practiced, students should possess an enhanced ability to skillfully assess and revise their writing in specific ways.

Job Interview Skills for International Students
This asynchronous 4-week course is designed to assist international students and other non-native English speakers with strategies and language skills for interviewing successfully in the United States. Weekly modules focus on how to develop a concise and effective “Elevator Pitch” to answer the question “Tell me about yourself,” strategies for effective interviewing and other job search skills, answer the most common (and some unexpected) interview questions, and prepare for the SMU all-majors Career Fair.

ESL Workshops Series: Speak English with Confidence & Write with Clarity

These workshops are designed to support SMU students with polishing communication skills as well as academic writing skills. Either in-person or virtual participation is available. Resources for independent practice will also be provided. Registration is required.

ESL Online Pronunciation/Academic Writing Consultation for SMU Graduate Students

For students in the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, individual consultations via Zoom are available by appointment. During a 30-minute session, ESL consultants will focus on specific questions or an immediate need to practice for research presentations or to 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. Appointments can be made via SMU Booking System.

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 outside the classroom for one to two hours a week.

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.

As a general rule, students may not take more than 29 credit hours that will count toward their SMU degree at any one off-campus instructional site (abroad program campus). This includes credit completed in both SMU faculty-led and affiliated programs. Under rare circumstances, where the student’s program of study specifically designates international study as a key component of the degree program, students may take additional hours abroad, but should consult with their academic advisor before undertaking additional credit that would exceed this limit AND must inform the SMU Abroad Office no later than the Early Decision Deadline for the relevant term.

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, professors on a student or exchange visitor visa, and non-U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent resident individuals who are engaged in academic studies or cultural exchange projects and teaching activities 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 supports and enhances the international student and exchange visitor experience by supporting the admission, matriculation, enrollment, and post-graduation services of the international community. The ISSS office is in the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building, Suite 338.



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, and August. Courses are offered in the humanities, natural and social sciences, business, engineering, performing and studio arts, and archaeological research. At jubut many of them 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 at smutaos@smu.edu or by phone at 214-768-3657. Course descriptions and additional information can also be found online (smu.edu/taos).

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; some online classes are 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 (an overload may be possible with approval from your academic adviser). 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 may be an additional charge. SMU students should consult with their financial aid adviser regarding applicable financial aid. 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 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, but those accepted will be moved to a single May Term commons. On-campus housing is available to any student attending June and July sessions, space permitting. All students planning to live on campus during Intersessions should complete the form for their term in the Housing Portal administered by SMU Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH).

For more information about SMU Intersessions, please visit our website, www.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 in the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies 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 noncredit 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/Moody/GOCE.