Oct 22, 2021  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

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.

Dedman College is the oldest and largest academic unit at SMU. Annually, approximately 2,200 undergraduate students major in Dedman College programs, with an equal number of pre-majors. The college enrolls approximately 400 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 55 programs. Dedman College offers 24 graduate programs leading to a master’s degree and 16 programs leading to a Ph.D. degree.

Academic Programs of Study

Undergraduate majors in Dedman College include the following:

Anthropology   Mexican-American Studies   Sociology  
Health and Society   History   Markets and Culture  
Biochemistry   Human Rights   Statistical Science  
Biological Sciences   Individualized Studies in the Liberal Arts with a Focus on Women’s and Gender Studies   World Languages and Literatures  
Chemistry   International Studies   World Languages: Chinese  
Data Science   Mathematics   World Languages: French  
Earth Sciences   Medieval Studies   World Languages: German  
Economics   Philosophy   World Languages: Italian  
w/ Finance Applications   Physics   World Languages: Spanish  
w/ Management Information Applications Concentration   - Biophysical Sciences   French  
English   Political Science   French Studies  
English with Creative Writing    Psychology   German  
Ethnic Studies Public Policy   Spanish  
African/African-American Studies   Religious Studies    


Undergraduate minors in Dedman College include the following:

Anthropology   English   Psychology  
Archaeological   Ethnic Studies Public Policy and International Affairs  
Biomedical   African/African-American Studies   Religious Studies  
Cultural    Mexican-American Studies   Jewish Studies  
Environmental   Health Sciences   Sociology  
General   History   Statistical Science  
Area Studies   Human Rights   Women’s and Gender Studies  
Asian Studies   International Studies   World Languages and Literatures  
European Studies   Law and Legal Reasoning   Arabic  
Latin American/Iberian Studies   Mathematics   Chinese  
African/Middle East Studies   Medieval Studies   French  
Biological Sciences   Philosophy   German  
Neuroscience   Cognitive Science   International Film Studies  
Chemistry   Ethics   Italian  
Classical Studies   Physics   Italian Area Studies  
Data Science   Political Science   Japanese  
Earth Sciences   American Politics, Law and Administration   Latin  
Geology   Comparative and International Studies   Russian Area Studies  
Environmental Earth Sciences   General   Spanish  
Economics   Political Thought    



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 Dedman College as well as 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

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 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 Preprofessional Students

Preprofessional 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 preprofessional curriculum.


Prelaw students may declare a major or academic program in any discipline or field. Prelaw seniors who go on to law school may have majors in any SMU undergraduate school. 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 (LSAT) administered by the national Law School Admission Council. Because of the Early Application deadline, students are urged to take the LSAT in the fall term in which they apply to law school. (Note that there are multiple times during the year when the test is administered.) 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; https://www.smu.edu/Law/Admissions.


Medical and dental schools seek students with 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, 8-14 credit hours (14 for Texas medical schools); chemistry, 16 credit hours; and physics, 8 credit hours. In addition, most schools require 3 credit hours of 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 (MCAT). The MCAT should be taken in the spring of the junior year. Candidates for dental school must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which also should be taken 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 no later than 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.
  • The Hegi Family Career Development Center can assist students in finding suitable internships, developing resumes, and preparing for interviews and the internship experience. Students are advised to visit the career center well in advance of applying for an internship in order to help ensure adequate preparation for 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.
  • Internships that are 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, many students declare more than one major. 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 or more schools in the University. Some characteristic pairings are English or political science in Dedman College with journalism in Meadows School of the Arts; physics or mathematics in Dedman College with electrical engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering; and a foreign language in Dedman College with 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 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, social or natural sciences, mathematics or statistics, or various multidisciplinary programs will declare a major in Dedman College. 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 credit 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 degree 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.

For more information on enrollment in accelerated pathway programs, see the Enrollment Policies: Enrolling for Graduate Courses  section of this catalog.

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) of 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. Some majors require a C- or better in all coursework. 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 one or more minors, either in Dedman College or in 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 hours 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. Some minors require a C- or better in all coursework. 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 http://www.smu.edu/dedmanrecords 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 and 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. Additional restrictions on “double counting” credits may apply.

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 www.smu.edu/dedman.


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