Nov 28, 2022  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

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General Information

Dedman College is the heart of SMU. It is home to the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences – disciplines central to the traditions of higher education.

When SMU opened the doors of Dallas Hall in 1915 to welcome its first class of students, those students matriculated into the College of Arts and Sciences, the academic unit that would eventually become Dedman College. In 1963, with the formulation of the Master Plan, the college became the School of Humanities and Sciences in recognition of its role in the specialized education of students in the liberal arts. From 1963 until 1980, the basic liberal arts education for all SMU students was provided by University College, an independent, non-degree-granting academic unit.

The School of Humanities and Sciences was merged in 1980 with University College to create a new entity central to the enterprise of undergraduate education. This college would provide the basic foundations in liberal arts education to all SMU students and also serve as a center for the integration of specialized education in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. As an indication of its centrality to the educational process, the name was changed from school to college, emphasizing that it is a community of students and teachers, whose life together, no matter how diversified and specialized, is unified by the implicit and explicit values derived from a liberal arts education. In 1981, the newly formed college was endowed by the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and his wife, Nancy McMillan Dedman, and was renamed Dedman College.

In addition to being the oldest academic unit at SMU, Dedman College is also the largest. Annually, approximately 2,350 undergraduate students major in Dedman College programs, and the school enrolls approximately 450 graduate students. More than 315 faculty members are based in the college’s 16 academic departments. Undergraduate students in Dedman College may major and minor in more than 50 programs. Dedman College offers 23 graduate programs leading to a master’s degree and 16 programs leading to a Ph.D. degree.

Academic Programs of Study

Majors in Dedman College include the following:


-Health and Society  


Biological Sciences  


Earth Sciences  



-Resource Geology  


-w/ Finance Applications  

-w/ Management Information Applications  


-English with Creative Writing   

Environmental Sciences  

Environmental Studies  

Ethnic Studies

-African/African-American Studies  

-Mexican-American Studies  


Human Rights  

Individualized Studies in the Liberal Arts with a Focus on Women’s and Gender Studies  

International Studies  


Medieval Studies  



-Biophysical Sciences  

Political Science  


Public Policy  

Religious Studies  


-Markets and Culture  

Statistical Science  

World Languages and Literatures  

-World Languages: Chinese  

-World Languages: French  

-World Languages: German  

-World Languages: Italian  

-World Languages: Spanish  


-French Studies  





Minors available include the following:





-Environmental  (new)


Area Studies  

-Asian Studies  

-European Studies 

-Latin American/Iberian Studies 

-African/Middle East Studies 

 Biological Sciences 

-Neuroscience  (new)


Classical Studies  

Earth Sciences 


-Environmental Earth Sciences 



-Economic Growth and Development  

-Economics of Decision-Making 


Economics (continued)

-Economics of Industrial Organization 

-International Economics 

-Labor Economics 

-Monetary Economics 

-Public Economics 


Ethnic Studies

-African/African-American Studies 

-Mexican-American Studies 

Natural Health Sciences  


Human Rights  

International Studies  

Law and Legal Reasoning  


Medieval Studies  


-Cognitive Science  (new)



Political Science 

-American Politics, Law and Administration  

Political Science (continued)

-Comparative and International Studies  


-Political Thought 


Public Policy and International Affairs  

Religious Studies 

-Jewish Studies  


Statistical Science 

Women’s and Gender Studies  

World Languages and Literatures 






-Italian Area Studies 



-Russian Area Studies 





Specific degree requirements and additional information for these programs are found in the departmental sections of this catalog.

Dedman College students may also complete second majors and minors in other schools within the University, including the Cox School of Business, the Lyle School of Engineering, the Meadows School of the Arts, and the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Honors Programs

During their four years at SMU, students may participate in the University Honors Program , described in the Academic Programs  section of this catalog, and subsequently graduate with “Honors in the Liberal Arts.” Students participating in the University Honors Program are encouraged to join a departmental distinction program (described in the Academic Programs section and under General Information in the Dedman College section) to earn the designation “Honors in the Liberal Arts, Departmental Distinction” on their transcripts.

Programs for Pre-professional Students

Pre-professional students should become familiar with the entrance requirements of the particular professional school they intend to enter. Requirements differ to some extent even within the same profession, and some schools require that specific courses be included in the pre-professional curriculum.


SMU does not require prelaw students to declare a particular major or academic program. Prelaw seniors who go on to law school may have majors in any undergraduate schools. Success in law school requires skills in critical analysis, logical reasoning, and written and oral expression. The spoken and written word are the principal tools of the legal profession; thus, students who intend to study law must develop an excellent knowledge and grasp of the English language and a clear, concise style of expression.

A sound liberal arts education is valuable for prelaw students. Courses in political science, history, economics, statistics and anthropology help students understand the structure of society and the problems of social ordering with which the law is concerned.

The study of philosophy, literature, fine arts, world languages and other cultures imparts familiarity with traditions of universal thought and trends that have influenced legal developments nationally and internationally. The examination of human behavior in sociology and psychology will aid the prospective law student in understanding the types and effects of human behavior with which law is involved.

The systematic ordering of abstractions and ideas acquired by studying logic and the sciences contributes much to a prelaw student’s capacity to analyze, understand and rationally organize his or her thoughts. In some fields of legal practice, a knowledge of technology, engineering, computers and accounting is useful.

Admission to Law Schools. Candidates for admission to an American Bar Association-approved school of law must take the Law School Admission Test administered by the national Law School Admission Council. Candidates are urged to take the test on the July, September or November testing dates of the fall term in which they apply to law school. Except in very rare circumstances, law schools require applicants for admission to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. For additional prelaw information, and assistance in the application process, undergraduate students may consult the prelaw services in the University Advising Center, located in the Laura Lee Blanton Building, Suite 408.

Admission to Dedman School of Law. Admission to Dedman School of Law is based upon the applicant’s academic record, Law School Admission Test score and other available data. More information is available from the Admissions Office, Dedman School of Law, PO Box 750110, Dallas TX 75275-0110;


Medical and dental schools seek students who have demonstrated strength in the major of the student’s choosing – and in the sciences in general. There is no preferred major but there are numerous prerequisite courses. Honors work is appropriate.

Most medical and dental schools require the following courses for entry. These courses should be completed by the end of the junior year: English, 6 credit hours; mathematics (including calculus and statistics), 6 credit hours; biology, credit 8-14 hours (14 for Texas medical schools); chemistry, credit 16 hours; and physics, 8 credit hours. In addition, some schools require biochemistry. This coursework may be done as part of a major or minor in the sciences or as electives in a non-science major or minor. Some courses will apply toward the University-wide requirements.

Candidates for admission to medical school must take the Medical College Admission Test. The test should be taken in the spring of the junior year. Candidates for dental school must take the Dental Admission Test, also suggested in the spring of the junior year. All students intending to apply to medical or dental schools should meet with the Office of Pre-Health Advising early in their junior year (or year of application) to review academic and extracurricular progress and to receive important information about the HPRC (Health Professions Recommendation Committee) process.

Undergraduate Internship Program

The Dedman College Undergraduate Internship Program helps students begin to prepare for employment. Internship credit is designed to demonstrate and reinforce the valuable and highly marketable skills that our students develop. The following guidelines apply:

  • Credit-bearing internships are supervised by faculty, department or program.
    Note: Noncredit-bearing internships are those without faculty, department or program supervision. Internship orientation is strongly suggested for noncredit-bearing internships. Students may be asked to sign a Release of Liability for some internships.
  • Dedman Internship Program Orientation and Standardized University Release of Liability for Education Internship are required for credit-bearing internships.
  • Internship credit and grades are based on a written learning contract signed by the student and faculty supervisor and approved by the department chair or director of undergraduate studies. In addition, students and site supervisors will complete evaluations of the experience. These evaluations are not considered in determination of the grade.
  • Internship that is used to qualify for Dedman College course credit may not also be used to qualify for course credit in another SMU school.
  • Internship credit requires a written component based on and reflective of the experiential dimension.
  • Internship credit is available only through approved internship courses.
  • Internship credit may range from one to three hours.
  • Maximum total internship credit that may be applied toward a degree is three hours.

Teacher Education

The University offers teacher education through the Simmons School of Education and Human Development and recommends candidates for certification by the State Board of Educator Certification. The recommendation is based on a candidate’s successful completion of 24 credit hours in education (EDU) courses and six credit hours of student teaching. In addition, candidates must pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards. Prospective secondary teachers must have majors in appropriate teaching fields; students who wish to teach in a science or humanities discipline at the secondary level should combine a Dedman major in that area with the appropriate education (EDU) coursework through the Simmons School. More information is available from the Department of Teaching and Learning . For a general description of the program in teacher education, students should see the Simmons School of Education and Human Development  section of this catalog.

Multiple Majors and Minors

Students are encouraged to broaden their education by taking full advantage of the University’s diverse undergraduate programs. Although only one major is required for graduation, with careful planning, students may complete two or more majors and/or multiple minors within the prescribed total hours.

Students may also qualify for baccalaureate degrees from two schools in the University. Some characteristic pairings are English or political science in Dedman College and journalism in Meadows School of the Arts; physics or mathematics in Dedman College and electrical engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering; and world language in Dedman College and a major or minor in the Cox School of Business. Since all requirements for both degrees must be met, students should confer with advisers in both schools at an early date to prepare a plan of study.

Students are individually responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations and requirements that may apply to their respective programs.

Courses Taken in SMU Abroad Programs

Up to 30 credit hours taken in approved SMU Abroad programs may be counted toward the degree requirements in Dedman College. Additional credit hours may be allowed through petition. Students should check individual departments within Dedman College for additional limitations.

Transfer Courses from Other Institutions

Once matriculated at SMU, students wishing to enroll for and transfer courses offered at other institutions in subject areas within the Dedman College curriculum must receive prior approval from their adviser, the chair of the SMU department that normally offers the course, and the Dedman College Office of Records and Academic Services. A maximum of 30 credit hours of post-matriculation transfer work may be approved. Approval may be denied for educational reasons. Post-matriculation transfer work must be completed at accredited, four-year institutions. Post-matriculation transfer work from non-accredited or two-year institutions will not be approved.


All incoming first-year students to the University are admitted as SMU Pre-Majors. Students should see the Admission to the University  section of this catalog for admission requirements. Students wishing to pursue majors in the humanities, in the social or natural sciences, or in various multidisciplinary programs will declare a major in Dedman College for their undergraduate education. Specific degree requirements and additional information for any of these programs can be found in the departmental sections of this catalog. Admission into academic departments in Dedman College requires the completion of 24 hours of coursework with a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or higher. Additional entry/admission requirements may exist within specific departments.

Admission from Other Schools within SMU

An individual enrolled in another school of the University may apply to their current school for permission to transfer into a degree-granting program in Dedman College. A student who has achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.000 on all SMU work attempted will normally be admitted to candidacy for a degree in Dedman College. Some academic programs may have additional requirements. Students should consult the catalog section and/or the department for more information.

Readmission of Former Students

If three or more years have elapsed since the last enrollment at SMU, the student must meet any new requirements and is subject to any new regulations that have been instituted in the interval.

Degree Requirements

Dedman College offers B.A. and B.S. degrees. Students should consult the individual programs of study  outlined in the following sections of this catalog for the degree available in a specific area of study.

Student Responsibility for Completion of Degree Plan

Students are individually responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations and requirements that may apply to their respective programs.

The Major

A candidate for a degree must complete the requirements for a major in one of the departments or interdisciplinary programs of the college as well as the University-wide requirements. The major requirements of each department and program are stated at the beginning of the section describing the courses offered in that department or area. The applicable requirements of the major are those in effect during the academic year of matriculation. Coursework counting toward a major must include at least 18 advanced hours (3000 level and above) in approved SMU credit courses completed at SMU. All advanced courses required for the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better and may not be taken pass/fail. In addition, Dedman College requires a cumulative GPA of 2.000 for all courses attempted for completion of a major. Specific programs may require a higher GPA. All courses attempted that could count toward the major are included in determining the major GPA. Majors must be officially declared (or changed) through the Dedman College Office of Records and Academic Services, located in Clements Hall, Room 134.

The Minor

A candidate for a degree may also complete the requirements of a minor, either in Dedman College or in one of the other undergraduate schools of the University. Advisers in the minor programs assist students in selecting a minimum of 15 credit hours, including at least nine at the advanced level (3000 level and above), suitable for meeting requirements for a minor. Coursework counting toward a minor may not be taken pass/fail. All advanced courses required for the minor must be passed with a grade of C- or better. At least half of the advanced hours required by Dedman minors must be completed in approved SMU credit courses and may not be transferred or taken pass/fail. In addition, Dedman College requires a cumulative GPA of 2.000 for all courses attempted for completion of a minor. All courses attempted that could count toward the minor are included in determining the minor GPA. Minors must be officially declared (or changed) through the Dedman College Office of Records and Academic Services, located in Clements Hall, Room 134.

General Requirements

Application for a Degree

Students must submit to the Dedman College Office of Records and Academic Services a formal application for graduation by the deadlines listed in the University Calendar within this catalog.

Please see for further information.


A candidate for a degree in Dedman College must have:

  • A minimum total of 122 credit hours, including the University-wide requirements and the requirements for a major. Within these 122 hours are the following:
    • A minimum total of 42 advanced hours (3000 level or above).
    • Two hours of Personal Responsibility and Wellness.
    • A maximum total of three hours of internship credit.


A candidate for a degree in Dedman College must attain:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 on all work attempted through enrollment at SMU.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 including all equivalent transfer work attempted elsewhere, if any.
  • A minimum grade of C- on any advanced course offered in fulfillment of major or minor requirements.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 (or higher for certain programs) for all work attempted for completion of major or minor requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours with a grade of P (Pass). This is in addition to any courses taken that are offered only as pass/fail.

SMU (or Resident) Credit Requirement

As minimum requirements, a candidate for a degree in Dedman College must take the following numbers of credit hours through SMU courses or SMU-approved international programs:

  • Total of 60 credit hours.
  • Total of 18 credit hours of advanced work in the major.
  • Total that is equivalent to at least 50 percent of the advanced work required in any minor program selected. Departmental requirements may exceed this minimum.

Requirements for Obtaining Two Degrees Simultaneously

A student who selects two majors in Dedman College may receive both degrees simultaneously by completing all requirements in each major, along with general requirements for a degree in Dedman College and University-wide requirements. However, a student may not pursue multiple programs affiliated with the same department or programs without permission from that department and the Dedman College Office of Records and Academic Services.

A student may pursue a program of study leading to a degree from Dedman College along with a degree from the Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts, or Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The student must obtain approval for the proposed program of study from the records offices of the schools involved.

Graduation Honors

There are three classes of graduation honors: summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude. Eligibility for graduation honors will be based upon a student’s total academic program. All academic work attempted at other colleges or universities that is equivalent to SMU work will be included in the calculation of the GPA. For students who have transferred to SMU, two grade point averages will be calculated: for all work attempted and for work completed through enrollment at SMU. Graduation honors will be based on the lower of the two averages.

Departmental Distinction

During their junior and senior years, students may participate in the honors courses and seminars offered within their major departments. A variety of internships and research programs are also offered in some departments to provide practical exposure and experience within the disciplines. By successfully completing a special program of study in the major department, a student may be awarded departmental distinction regardless of eligibility for graduation honors. This award is conferred by the major department on the basis of criteria prescribed by the department, but all programs include the minimum requirements of independent reading and research beyond the regular departmental requirements for a degree and the completion of a senior paper or research report. Further information can be obtained from the individual departments in the Courses of Study  in Dedman College section of this catalog or from

Research Facilities

The teaching laboratories of the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics are housed in the Fondren Science Building and in the Dedman Life Sciences Building. Students have access to a wide array of specialized instrumentation and laboratory equipment fundamental to studies in the natural sciences, including spectrophotometers, high-performance liquid chromatographs, scintillation counter, fluorescence-activated cell sorter, scanning laser confocal microscope, electron resonance spectrometer, X-ray diffractometers, mass spectrometers and an atomic absorption spectrometer. Advanced undergraduate research is also supported by tissue culture and animal care facilities, as well as through several departmental computer laboratories.

The N.L. Heroy Science Hall houses the departments of Anthropology, Earth Sciences and Statistical Sciences, as well as the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. The Institute for the Study of Earth and Man was created in 1966 by a gift from W.B. Heroy, Sr. Its purpose is to support research at the interface of humans, Earth and the environment.

The Department of Anthropology operates the following research laboratories:

The Geoarchaeology Laboratory processes and analyzes soil and sediment samples as part of interdisciplinary archaeological research projects. Work in the lab follows two major threads: 1) paleofire and paleoenvironmental research using terrestrial sedimentary archives associated with archaeological landscapes and 2) behavioral geoarchaeology projects that use anthrosol chemistry and soil micromorphology to reconstruct activity areas or the life histories of domestic and public spaces. Specialized equipment includes a large-volume drying oven, large-volume muffle furnace, benchtop centrifuge, orbital shaker, portable phosphate colorimeter and benchtop magnetic susceptibility meter. Projects also benefit from partnerships with the SMU Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and their facilities.

The Material Sciences Laboratory processes artifact collections and conducts data entry for artifacts collected from archaeological sites in the American South-west and Texas. It conducts experimental research with clays, temper and ceramics and contains 3D scanning equipment, a ceramic kiln, muffle furnace, drying oven, and digital and petrographic microscopes.

The Laboratory of Traditional Technology is used for carrying out systematic technological and performance analysis of materials from archaeological sites, as well as experimental archaeological research, to better understand variability in regional assemblages. On-site special equipment includes binocular microscopes and muffle furnaces.

The Medical Anthropology Laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health research, includes data storage, office space for one research assistant and audio recording equipment.

The Migration Laboratory, originally funded by the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, includes data storage, telephone and voicemail, one desktop computer, a library of books on immigration, and office space for two to three graduate students.

The Molecular Anthropology Laboratories specialize in the analysis of DNA from both modern and archaeological samples to address classic problems in anthropology.

The Zooarchaeology Laboratory houses a large collection of comparative mammalian and avian skeletal remains. The collections also include several unique experimental and one of the largest ethnoarchaeological faunal assemblages in the country.

Geospatial Laboratory computers have software used in GIS analysis.

The QUEST Archaeological Program maintains laboratories to analyze archaeological materials (artifacts, faunal remains and sediments) collected in the course of fieldwork (primarily excavations). Equipment for analyzing sediments includes special ovens and related laboratory tools. In addition, the lab houses extensive comparative collections used for research and teaching. Archaeological collections, including the Tony Baker Paleoindian Collection, are available for study by qualified researchers.

The Environment and Infrastructure Laboratory functions as a space to complete studies in environment, infrastructure, water, pollution, and health in anthropology. The lab currently houses citizen science equipment and ethnographic data collection tools, along with a computer that has advanced qualitative analysis software.

The Department of Earth Sciences operates several unique laboratories, including the following:

The Dallas Seismological Observatory, established by the Dallas Geophysical Society and maintained and operated by the University, monitors remote seismic and infrasound stations in the western United States. The Lajitas array in Southwest Texas is used to test technology designed to detect small earthquakes from great distances. SMU operates seismic and infrasound arrays in Nevada and overseas locations. Data collected by the observatory are available to the faculty and advanced students who wish to undertake basic research in seismology, tectonics or infrasound.

The Ellis W. Shuler Museum of Paleontology houses research and teaching collections of fossil vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. The museum supports opportunities for advanced study of fossil faunas and floras and their evolutionary, climatic and paleoecologic significance. The collection, which specializes in vertebrate paleontology and paleobotany, includes more than 150,000 fossils. The research perspective is global, with particular strengths in advanced imaging techniques and interdisciplinary studies. Students participate in research on the collections, and many are employed in the museum’s fully equipped preparation laboratories.

The Pollen Analysis Laboratory serves SMU research projects focused on the reconstruction of past vegetation, past climate and paleoecology at localities around the world. The facility includes two fume hoods, glassware, centrifuges, scales, a convection oven, and storage space necessary for the dry and wet processing of sediment samples for their pollen content. The laboratory is also used for the processing of fossil plant cuticle. Microscopic analysis of the resulting pollen-sample residues and cuticle slides takes place in a separate laboratory housing transmitted light and epifluorescence microscopes, a comparative collection of modern pollen, and a small paleobotany and palynology research library. Work in this laboratory is often supplemented by facilities in the Scanning Electron Microscope laboratory (described below).

The Geothermal Laboratory is the focus of an extensive, worldwide program of research in the thermal field of the Earth. Special topics of concentration include characterization and location of geothermal energy resources in sedimentary basins related to oil and gas wells, resource evaluation of enhanced geothermal systems, climate change determination in well profiles, and research on methane hydrates. Mapping of the crustal heat flow of North America was completed in 2004 and updated in 2011. As part of the heat flow project, the U.S. temperatures-at-depth were mapped in detail to 10 kilometers. Specialized equipment for the measurement of the thermal conductivity of rocks and for the measurement of accurate, precise temperature logs in deep wells is available for research purposes. Services are provided to other institutions and research centers on a contractual basis.

The Hydrothermal Laboratory contains equipment to reproduce the pressures and temperatures existing to midcrustal depths. It contains two extraction-quench sampling bombs that permit withdrawal of solution during the progress of a run to pressures of 3 kbar and temperatures of 750 degrees Celsius. There are also 10 cold-seal reaction vessels. In addition, 1-atm furnaces are available that can be used to temperatures of 1400 degrees Celsius.

The Stable Isotope Laboratory is a general research facility available to support both academic and student research at the University and in other research centers. The laboratory contains three automated gas-source, magnetic-sector isotope ratio mass spectrometers as well as vacuum extraction lines for converting natural materials (solids, liquids) into gases suitable for measuring the isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen at natural abundance.

The Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope Laboratory contains a Zeiss SMT 1450 VPSE SEM used for generating electron photomicrographs with 5-nm resolution. The SEM is open to researchers and students from the departments of Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Anthropology, Engineering and Chemistry. The facility is also equipped with an Edax energy dispersive X-ray system for quantitative determination of elemental compositions of the imaged materials.

The X-ray Diffraction Laboratory houses a Rigaku Ultima III diffractometer for the X-ray identification of materials with a crystalline structure and is open to researchers and students from the departments of Anthropology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Engineering.

The X-ray Fluorescence Laboratory houses a Thermo Scientific ARL PERFORM’X X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. XRF analysis is a widely used analytical technique to determine the elemental composition from 10 ppm to 100 percent of a wide range of samples, both solids and liquids, with easy sample preparation and nondestructive analysis. The lab and its sample preparation tools are available to researchers and students working in Earth sciences, environmental sciences, anthropology, engineering and chemistry.

The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer Laboratory, located in the Department of Chemistry, houses a 500 MHz JEOL NMR spectrometer and a 400 MHz Bruker NMR spectrometer, which are available to students and researchers. These instruments are the research progenitors of medical MRI scanners, capable of scanning 1H, 13C, 31P and many other nuclei.


    Other Courses

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