Southwest Minnesota State University
Southwest Minnesota State University is a vibrant institution of 2,500 students located in Marshall, Minnesota, named one of America’s best small cities. SMSU offers over 50 majors and minors in addition to four master’s programs.
Affordability and value are two factors that are attractive to potential students and their parents. Most students—in-state, out-of-state, and international—pay in-state tuition. Recent SMSU graduates find jobs: 99% are employed or in graduate school soon after graduation.
Founded in 1963, the beautiful residential campus has been recognized as the safest in Minnesota and prides itself in being a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming institution for students from the region, and around the globe.
Get to know Southwest Minnesota State University
Southwest Minnesota State University is a four-year public university offering a high quality education in the liberal arts and professions to prepare students for a life that is successful both personally and professionally. SMSU prepares students to meet the complex challenges as engaged citizens in their local and global communities. Its comprehensive degree programs, taught in the liberal arts tradition, are dedicated to connecting students’ academic and practical professional development experiences in southwestern Minnesota to the wider world.
SMSU offers a yearly Undergraduate Research Conference, where students (in collaboration with faculty advisors) select a topic and present their research findings in either poster or PowerPoint presentations.
SMSU faculty and staff contribute to creating an environment that celebrates the diverse and inclusive nature of the SMSU campus community as they foster cultural understanding and interactions and a welcoming and accessible campus environment for all groups.
SMSU junior Communication Studies: Broadcast and Digital Media major Isatu Shirek recently completed an internship with Pioneer Public Television in Granite Falls, where she created a documentary film, “Teaming Up for Change: Dan Kates + Redwood Falls Police Department.” It’s about Redwood Falls resident Dan Kates, who worked with Police Chief Jason Cotner for a peaceful march in memory of George Floyd, and how their friendship grew throughout the process.
“I came from a smaller town, Thompson, North Dakota, and I wasn’t looking for a Division I (athletic) lifestyle or community. Marshall is bigger than my hometown, but not too big. It has that community feel I got from Thompson. I’m adopted, and come from not the simplest of backgrounds. Professor Jos Ullian encouraged me, and I’ve got students within the program who are friends. Plus, I got to work with (SMSU alumnus) Dylan Curfman, an Upper Midwest Emmy winner who works there. Pioneer Public Television gave me a platform.” – Communication Studies: Broadcast and Digital Media major Isatu Shirek
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 103 | 10-19: 157 | 20-29: 94
30-39: 14 | 40-49: 6 | 50-99: 3 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 5%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 9%
White, non-Hispanic: 73%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 1%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 1%
LIBERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
The SMSU Liberal Education Program (LEP) is a part of an SMSU education that helps students develop a sense of social responsibility. It also helps them develop skills necessary for success in all areas of study, such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings. The LEP is built on 10 Student Learning Outcomes that were developed by the faculty to represent the foundation of higher education.
CENTER OF INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
A new initiative—the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship—has been launched at SMSU. The Center emphasizes experiential learning and collaborates with the campus-housed Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Southwest Marketing Advisory Center (SMAC). Students engage in real-world projects and apply their education to assist clients to find solutions.
“The goal of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to promote entrepreneurship while also making contributions to the economic viability of Southwest Minnesota. Students receive real-life experience and work hands-on in a variety of ways, with different constituents.” – Dr. George Taylor, Assistant Professor of Management
The Honors Program offers qualified students from all disciplines enhanced opportunities to develop leadership skills, engaged critical thinking, and global consciousness. The Honors Program supports an undergraduate education through a challenging curriculum with a focus on the individual student’s potential talents, interests, and abilities. Honors Program students design an academic plan that creates innovative experiences, exploration of diversity, interdisciplinary connections, and contributions to the community.
Employers are looking for graduates with the right skills, not necessarily the right major. SMSU graduates have support services dedicated to student success, including a Writing Center and a Speech Center. Students work collaboratively with others in class projects during their SMSU career.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
External degree program
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
The Center for Civic and Community Engagement connects academic programs with community needs for the mutual benefit of SMSU, its communities, and its diverse peoples. The Center serves as the intersection between student learning, faculty research, and community engagement. It is committed to illuminating the variety of ways in which SMSU strives to make civic and community engagement integral to learning experiences across campus.
“Civic and community engagement are part of the culture at SMSU. Some areas may call it something different, but it’s the same thing—engagement, of some kind. It’s built into our curriculum, is part of our clubs and organizations, and is an important part of our various athletic teams. It’s an emphasis at SMSU, and an important part of our students’ educational journey.” – Melissa Scholten, Director, Office of Civic and Community Engagement
LIVING & LEARNING COMMUNITIES
SMSU offers Living & Learning Communities in the residence halls. These communities group students with similar interests in the same house, with just a couple of examples including the Culinology House and the Exercise Science House. There are seven Living & Learning Communities that are co-ed residential houses. Students benefit from specific programming associated with each community.
Located in the “breadbasket of Minnesota,” SMSU offers six ag-related degrees, all of which are greatly enhanced by outdoor, hands-on learning at the SMSU field trials farm site close to campus. Students learn about ag topics by getting their hands dirty, and the University works with regional ag-related industries to offer internships and part-time job opportunities relating to ag research.
Southwest Minnesota State University is located in Marshall, Minn., a safe, thriving community of 14,000. SMSU is home to the Schwan’s Company and Ralco. Marshall is 90 miles northeast of Sioux Falls, S.D., and 140 miles southwest of Minneapolis, Minn.
There are plenty of outdoor activities available for students, including Camden State Park, and Garvin County Park. Marshall itself features 10 beautiful parks that offer everything from an aquatic center to an archery range, ball fields/courts, hiking, ice skating, volleyball, horseshoes, and more. A new trail system winds through Marshall and connects to Camden State Park.
Marshall features a vibrant downtown, with many food and entertainment options as well as multiple specialty shops and boutiques.
SMSU students benefit from free shuttle service to various drop-off points in Marshall, with pick-up on the half-hour. There are also scooters available downtown.
The SMSU Mustangs compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), a 16-team league spread out over five states and considered the most competitive Division II conference in the country. Mustang men compete in six varsity sports, and the Mustang women compete in nine. SMSU also offers co-ed wheelchair basketball, Esports, and cheerleading. The Mustangs, with support from the NSIC, annually host civic engagement projects and have been honored by the conference for such initiatives as the KidsFit program, Mustang Mail, and Ag Bowl events.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 85%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for students with disabilities
SMSU maintains close relationships with businesses, industries, and organizations within the region, helping many students enjoy internships related to their major during their SMSU careers. For many, such internships lead to full-time job opportunities.
Each academic major has its own capstone course or project. These courses or projects vary in nature, but are all a comprehensive assessment and culmination of the academic core offerings.
“All SMSU undergraduate students are required to complete a capstone course that is the culmination of their course of study, but also usually includes work in the core skills of critical thinking, information literacy, and communication. In the Sciences and Social Sciences, this is often an original research project or a critical assessment of the research literature in their field. In other disciplines, some academic programs use senior performances and portfolio presentations in their capstone work. In addition, many academic programs require or encourage students to complete an internship as a component of their studies. These work synergistically to help students link the depth of their disciplinary knowledge with their developed skills both intellectually and practically.” – Dr. Jeffrey Bell, Interim Dean, College of Arts, Letters and Sciences
Most academic areas have at least one component of group work. Collaborative learning is a priority on campus, as evidenced by the large number of Undergraduate Research Conference projects completed annually by teams of students.
SMSU is committed to delivering a complete college experience for all students. This includes academic, social, and professional growth opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Your success is important to SMSU, and you can get the education you seek for a price that makes sense! SMSU is known for its affordable excellence!
SMSU is a test-optional institution—prospective students may self-report their academic credentials.
Special visit days are scheduled throughout the academic year for high school students. Office of Admission staff are available for individual tours at any time that is convenient for you!
Rigor of secondary school record | Class rank
Academic GPA | Standardized test scores
Tuition & Cost
Tuition (in-state): $7,722
Tuition (out-of-state): $7,722
The average financial aid package at SMSU is $10,747.
All of your questions, including transfers, undergraduate and graduate, international, scholarships, work study, PSEO, etc., can be answered by visiting: https://www.smsu.edu/admission/index.html