Southern Utah University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Southern Utah University
A small town atmosphere with a global perspective - Southern Utah University provides experiential...

Southern Utah University

Cedar City, Utah

Designated as Utah’s masters university with full accreditation, Southern Utah University provides experiential education in a variety of disciplines. With 140 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs, SUU professors help students explore, engage, and excel inside and outside the classroom.


Located in Cedar City, Utah, SUU has a safe, residential campus with approximately 8,800 students. Because of an educational partnership with the National Park Service, students can work and play in the awe-inspiring wonderlands of southern Utah. Due to the proximity and educational opportunities, SUU is branded the University of the Parks. Students cheer on the athletic teams who play in the Big Sky Conference, join (or launch) any of the 160 clubs and organizations, and take advantage of the outdoor adventures that surround campus.


With graduation rates 10 points higher than the national average, SUU’s graduates go on to top companies, start their own businesses, or attend the best graduate schools in the country.


As part of its mission, SUU engages students in experiential education leading to personal growth, civic responsibility, and professional excellence.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
6,523 undergraduate students
88% of undergrad students are full time
46% male — 54% female
21% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
308 full-time faculty
194 part-time faculty
18 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
30% of first year students live on campus
10% of all students live on campus

School Location

With adventure around every corner, Southern Utah University stands within a five-hour drive of 20 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas. Nestled in the red rocks of Cedar City, Utah, SUU is a tree-lined campus surrounded by mountains, lakes and trails. Students travel to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City in less than a three-hour drive or catch one of the daily flights from the Cedar City airport.

The 100-acre university is an eco-friendly, safe, residential campus keeping nearly 90 percent of the student body within walking distance. SUU is home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Southern Utah Museum of Art, and the Utah Summer Games.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


64% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)


39% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 2%
White 77%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 1%
Two or more races 1%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


Southern Utah University’s Athletic Department offers 17 Division 1 sports, including six men’s sports (basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and track & field) and nine women’s sports (basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball). The athletic program adheres to the policies and procedures of the NCAA and competes in the Big Sky Conference.

The school colors are red and white with Thor the Thunderbird as the school mascot.


Founded in 1897, Southern Utah University is a public, coeducational, nonsectarian university with full accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. SUU offers more than 100 acclaimed associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs with six academic colleges.

More Distinctions

  • Southern Utah University is the ‘University of the Parks’ due to its close proximity to more than 20 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas and the unique partnership with the National Park Service which offers over 100 internships and job opportunities yearly.

  • SUU is ranked among the top 100 of the more than 8,000 accredited four-year colleges and universities in the US. SUU is one of America’s 100 Best College Buys, providing experiential education at an affordable price.

  • For additional accolades visit

EDGE Program

Every SUU student plans, executes, and analyzes a long-term comprehensive project, supplementing their undergraduate education. Refining soft skills and preparing viable portfolio content, the EDGE (Education Designed to Give Experience) Program is student centered and faculty mentored. With five centers, students focus their projects on global, community, leadership, creative, or outdoor engagement.


With fellowships and grants available to undergraduate students, opportunities abound for in-depth research projects across all disciplines. Professors act as mentors outside of the classroom to provide project-based learning to passionate students. During annual symposiums, students and faculty showcase their extracurricular research and prepare for future presentations at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Festival of Excellence, and the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.

Learning Abroad

The Office of Learning Abroad follows SUU’s core themes of explore, engage, and excel. Students have opportunities to travel during a full semester, a summer session, or winter and/or spring break. SUU boasts an International Affairs office, welcoming students from more than 30 different countries on campus. With more than 44 partnerships with universities around the world, classrooms are rich with diversity and global perspectives.

Bachelor’s to Master’s Segue

In the Graduate Bridge Program, undergraduate students get a headstart on their graduate courses while working toward their bachelor’s. Saving time and money are only two of the many educational benefits that come to students who pursue this curriculum track.

Student Association

The Southern Utah University Student Association (SUUSA) enriches each student’s overall college experience. With the idea of finding and pursuing passions in mind, SUUSA offers a student-run council of elected cabinet members who coordinate finances, academic decisions, activities, and events.


Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X

At Southern Utah University, learning takes place beyond the walls of a classroom. With focus on experiential education, students learn valuable critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students receive a quality education with personalized attention with an 18:1 student to faculty ratio. From the time students enroll to the university to the day they graduate, SUU is committed to great teaching every credit completed.

FYE and Orientation

The First Year Experience and Orientation program at SUU provides personal attention to each incoming student. Support is provided by student ACES (Assistant Coaches for Excellence) who help new students with their class schedule, find clubs to participate in, and become acquainted with campus.

School of Business

The School of Business consists of five bachelor’s and two master’s programs. The accounting, finance, management, marketing, Masters in Accountancy, and Masters in Business Administration are all AACSB accredited. Students who graduate with a degree in business have a 94% job placement rate. Students have access to the Small Business Development Center and the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. SUU broke ground on a state-of-the-art business building in spring 2017.


SUU’s Professional Pilot Aviation Program offers rotor wing (helicopter) and fixed wing (airplane) pilot training in a partnership with SkyWest Airlines. The Professional Pilot Program offers licenses and ratings in areas ranging from Private Pilot to Certified Flight Instructor. This partnership creates industry-leading career options for prospective pilots. Resources to students include tuition reimbursement, access to pilot mentors, and advanced company seniority.

School of Integrative and Engaged Learning

The School of Integrative and Engaged Learning teaches outside of traditional academia. The school helps students find their skills and master them with integrative learning. Students may earn a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree or an Associate of Arts or Science degree.

College of Science and Engineering

The College of Science and Engineering is a customized and stimulating science learning environment. With resources such as the Utah STEM Action Center and the Intercollegiate Rocketry Club, students may supplement in-class education with extracurricular learning projects. From agriculture science to nursing, students are given opportunities throughout the community to learn in and out of the classroom. Located in a highly desirable natural resource environment, the geology program is world class.

College of Education and Human Development

The Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education and Human Development’s mission is to develop the mind, body, family, and community. The college houses teacher education, physical education, outdoor recreation, and family life departments. The college has local partnerships with schools, outdoor centers, and art councils, which provide students with internships, work opportunities, and experiential learning.

College of Performing and Visual Arts

Professional graphic design, visual and performing artists teach in the College of Performing and Visual Arts using their expertise to teach and transform students. Departments within the college are art and design, music, theatre arts, dance, and arts administration. Students in the college have opportunities to work with the Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

College of Humanities and Social Science

The College of Humanities and Social Science develops everyday leaders and lifelong learners. The college consists of the undergraduate communication, English, languages and philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, criminal justice, psychology, and legal studies departments.

School of Graduate and Continuing Studies

Offering master’s degrees, certificates, and educator endorsements, the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies provides cutting edge curriculum and a competitive tuition to students. From Cyber Security & Information Assurance to Public Administration to Sports Conditioning & Performance, students further their education and increase their earning potential with a graduate degree.

Writing Center

The Writing Center helps students with writing across all disciplines. Staffed with student tutors, the center has resources available to assist students with grant proposals, persuasive essays, research papers, and class writing assignments. Tutors walk students through each step of the writing process, from brainstorming to sentence construction to practicing grammar concepts.

Speech and Presentation Center

The Speech and Presentation Center offers personalized help and feedback on all verbal, nonverbal, and visual aspects of a presentation. From class projects to interview skills, the staff of graduate students and interns help students, faculty, staff, and community members strengthen delivery strategies and reduce speech anxiety.


Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy X
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: EEP (Experiential Education)


Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 159 287 306 142 80 66 11 1051


SUU Convocations is a program that gives students the opportunity to learn from and engage with today’s leaders, thinkers, and innovators. Each week a different speaker comes to campus to give a presentation to raise awareness, inspire, and expose students to a wide variety of topics. Most convocations are recorded and can be watched online.

Outdoor Center

The Outdoor Center on campus rents discounted outdoor equipment, runs the climbing wall, and plans trips and adventures. These adventures are geared to students of all skill level and include rock climbing, hiking, canyoneering, kayaking, snowshoeing, caving, and more. The center’s goal is to ignite a passion for recreation.

Film Festivals

Every year the Spanish Program hosts a free film series in March. At each screening, a faculty member introduces the featured film, offering insights and context. After the film, faculty lead discussions to further learning. The goal of the film series is to provide exposure to the art, culture, and history of the Spanish language.

The French Film Festival has been a yearly event since 2007. The festival is free and open to the public to serve as an opportunity for cross-cultural discussion across campus. There are six screenings, which are shown in French with English subtitles.

Southern Utah Museum of Art

The Southern Utah Museum of Art on SUU’s campus contains five moveable gallery spaces, administration offices, an education classroom, and a storage and support area. Student and faculty art is displayed in some of the galleries throughout the year. The museum plans and hosts plein air festivals to offer community members and students the opportunity to display and sell their art.

Utah Shakespeare Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a professional theatre company that has been housed on SUU’s campus for over 50 years. It offers 11 summer camps for youth, teachers, directors, and community members. Playmakers is the Festival’s youth training program, a two-week course for students ages 6–17. There is also a yearly Shakespeare Competition for high schools, which includes various workshops for students. Professional plays are performed from late June to the end of October, including the free Greenshow, an outdoor show featuring dance and music from around the world.

Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative

SUU believes in working with the community to prepare students for a successful career. The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative is a partnership between SUU and 19 federal and state land agencies and the Paiute Tribe. It offers 250-300 internships in regional and public lands. Partners mentor students and provide them with real-world experiences.

Leavitt Center

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service is the political hub for Southern Utah University. The center is run by a student Executive Council and focuses on leadership, research, and service. The Leavitt Center provides free weekly events with a focus on educating students in the world of politics.

Veterans Center

The Veterans Resource and Support Center retains and graduates veterans by helping them pursue educational goals. Services provided include: assistance in gaining and processing documentation necessary to attain veteran benefits, assistance connecting with mental health counselors, aid in preparing for and finding appropriate medical attention, academic advisement, free tutoring, free textbooks, moral support, and fellowship. The center staff is dedicated to helping fellow veterans succeed in their academic endeavors.

Center for Diversity and Inclusion

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) provides a space for students to stop by between classes, meet new people, and hang out. The CDI provides advising, counseling, and access to financial aid and scholarships to ethnic minority and LGBTQ students. The center also supports diversity clubs, such as the Black Student Union and the Polynesian Club.

Health and Wellness

SUU focuses on the mental, physical, and emotional health of students, faculty, staff, and the community. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a resource for students who need help with stress and other conflicts that may distract them from achieving their full potential. CAPS is staffed with psychologists, counselors, and social workers who are all experienced and licensed mental health professionals.

The SUU Care and Support Team (CAST) focuses on helping students who may be experiencing emotional distress or mental health issues. The team of supporters consists of trained faculty and staff who are committed to creating and maintaining a comfortable environment.

The HOPE (Helping Our People Eat) Pantry is a resource for students who may be struggling to make ends meet. The pantry provides students with non-perishable foods and some hygiene items for no cost. Students are able to receive meals, or give meals, through donations of nonperishable goods.

The J.L. Sorenson PE Building provides a place for students to focus on their physical wellbeing. Students can access an aquatic center, open recreation areas, and a climbing wall for free. They can also sign up for a class, or purchase a pass, to use the fitness center.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Southern Utah University offers students an opportunity to obtain one of the top educations in Utah, enriched with hands on learning, extensive internships and projects that display their educational endeavors. SUU educates students to become leaders in their field.

Service Learning, Community Based Learning

SUU strives to be a leading university in service and community based learning. SUU’s Community Engagement Center provides students with alternative breaks immersed in service, community service opportunities, various SUU EDGE (Education Designed to Give Experience) projects, and more. The school’s Community Engagement Center has maintained its Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, and was recognized in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for five years.


Hands-on experiences has helped SUU graduates not only learn in their field, but work there too. SUU’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service provides students with internships on a local, state and national level. These students can obtain both financial support while in school, as well as, three to 12 credits depending on their internship. SUU also offers internship programs for students through the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, a program that allows students to utilize their interests to work professionally.

On top of internship experiences SUU students are able to participate in practicums in their field. Students have real-world work experiences in areas of media, advertising, and psychology across every college. Along with practicums, students work in offices throughout campus. Examples of programs of student employees at SUU include jobs in outdoor education, finance, management, graphic design, and marketing.   

Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience

Regardless of a Thunderbird’s major, they are encouraged to enhance their senior year with a capstone or senior project. The senior capstones gives the students a hands on project that they can then display to future employers. Department heads and faculty help students develop and execute their capstone courses and senior experiences. Science majors may spend time on research based projects that can be displayed at an annual symposium, while visual arts majors will spend more time on a BFA exhibition.

Tutoring Center

The Learning Center tutoring lab offers free peer tutoring in many subjects. There are opportunities to facilitate study groups in the center.

Career Center

The Career & Professional Development Center helps students and alumni set post-graduation goals, find jobs, and network with potential employers. Students land permanent positions or internships, explore majors, check resumes and cover letters, and receive advice about careers. The center helps students in their career development process and helps them learn to enhance their potential.

Notable Alumni

David Tyler
When David Tyler first enrolled at Southern Utah University, he was skeptical of the little community, but soon realized that living in a small town doesn’t mean small opportunities. After he utilized SUU’s professional faculty and hands on project experiences, David moved to New York City and works for a top agency in advertisement.

AshLee Winterrose
AshLee Winterrose realized teaching was more than a profession, it was her purpose. After graduation, AshLee began her career in the classroom, where she saw many parents struggling to connect with their children. Thus she created Hide-A-Boo, an interactive toy company with teachables for parents.

Cameron Levins
Now olympic athlete Cameron (Cam) Levins, always knew running was his passion, but didn’t know Southern Utah University would be the place to discover how far he could go. His dedicated coach, Eric Houle, saw his potential. After devoting his time to SUU’s track and field team; Cam went from a Thunderbird all star, to London 2012 Olympic athlete.

Crystal Sekaquaptewa
With a love for her heritage, Crystal Sekaquaptewa always knew that she wanted to help her Navajo community. Crystal began her path at Southern Utah University in the hopes of becoming a dentist. On the day of graduation Crystal had an acceptance letter from Creighton University School of Dentistry in hand. After passing her boards at Creighton she was hired at the Monument Valley Community Health Center as a dentist, becoming the first Native American woman to be hired within the Utah Navajo Health System.



8,387 Total Applicants
6,050 Total Admissions
1,427 Total Freshmen Enrollment

72.14% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: May 1
Priority date: Dec 1


Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 450 590
SAT Math 450 570
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 27
ACT Math 19 26
ACT English 20 27
ACT Writing    


The SUU Admissions Office tailors the process of enrollment to each individual. From high school student to transfers to graduate or non-traditional, all are welcomed into the Thunderbird family.




 Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,774 $19,054
Fees $756 $756
Total $6,530 $19,810
Room and Board (on campus) $7,067 $7,067
Room Only $3,167 $3,167
Board Only $3,900 $3,900
Estimated Total On Campus $13,597 $26,877

Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

The SUU Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships helps navigate the sometimes complicated process of paying for school, including grant and loan program information, FAFSA forms and deadlines, and accepting financial aid awards. With scholarships available to freshman, transfer, graduate, and all other current students, SUU scholarships are made possible through donor gifts to the university.


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015 final

$8,873 First year students
$4,468 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015 final

59% on average, the percentage of need that was met
7% of financial need students that had need fully met

$4,468 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$3,807 Average need-based loan