Southwest Minnesota State University

Sweetland Hall, the newest residence hall at  SMSU, has many housing options for students.

Take the first steps of your future at SMSU, a college featuring small class sizes and academic support to help you achieve your academic goals. SMSU is both "big enough" and "small enough." At SMSU, you will get to know your professors personally, and their doors are always open. We want you to succeed. That's what we're all about. We have the amenities you've come to expect, and you'll meet students from both near and far. Check us out:

Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258

Toll-Free: (800) 642-0684
Local: (507) 537-6286

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City: Marshall
Population: 13,619

School highlights

Southwest Minnesota State University is a fully accredited liberal arts institution, the youngest of the seven four-year universities within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. The university offers personal attention other universities can’t match, a private school quality education at an affordable public school price. Southwest Minnesota State University is fully accessible and offers 50 undergraduate majors, 46 minors, four associate degree majors and four master’s programs. A number of “two-plus-two” programs with community colleges within the MnSCU system makes it seamless to move from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree.

  • A challenging and supportive academic environment at a university where professors, not graduate assistants, teach.
  • A new Agricultural Education major that fills a need across the state and which joins our other ag-related programs.
  • The world’s first bachelor’s degree in culinology, approved by the Research Chefs Association.
  • Coed Living and Learning Communities: residential communities that share an academic or a special interest with the residents of their house. These include culinology house; access, opportunity and success community; fine arts community; exercise science house; and the Mustang Traditions house.
  • A full complement of ag programs, including agricultural education, agribusiness management, agricultural solutions, agronomy and agriculture (2+2 program).
  • SMSU graduates get jobs: Ninety-six percent of our recent grads are employed; 10 percent continue their education following graduation.
  • SMSU has been honored for both its affordability and its educational return on investment; parents and students appreciate SMSU's bang for the buck.
  • A versatile Alumni Plaza, a central gathering place for students and a site for a variety of campus events: concerts, barbecues, speakers, performances and out-of-classroom academic and social events.
  • Renovated, state-of-the-art science labs.
  • A new Marshall Regional Track and Field Complex, the finest facility of its kind in southwest Minnesota.
  • Major visit days include  SMSU Homecoming Sept. 26; Mustang Days, Oct. 15-16; A Day at SMSU, Nov. 21; Experience SMSU Day/Hawaiian Night, Feb. 6, 2016; Junior Visit Day, March 19, 2016.
  • A campuswide Undergraduate Research Conference each December, where students’ academic achievements and projects are highlighted.
  • An Academic Commons area that offers academic support services that augment an educational experience that includes small class sizes, a supportive faculty and staff, and opportunities to become involved.
  • Online course offerings that help those with busy lifestyles earn a degree.
  • On- and off-campus master's degrees in education, special education, physical education: coaching of sport and business (MBA).
  • A campus that embraces diversity; 126 international students from around the globe, representing 26 countries.
  • An updated wireless network puts you online from anywhere on campus; numerous computer labs and computer kiosks; residence halls are also hard-wired.
  • Top students may design their own course of study in the liberal arts through the honors program.
  • A campus built with accessibility in mind; interconnected academic buildings mean 72 degrees, even in the middle of winter.
  • A proud and successful athletic tradition; Mustang teams compete in the Division II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Student enrollment and demographics

  • Total number of students served: 8,285
  • Full-time students: 34.7%
  • Part-time students: 65.3%
  • Percent female: 59.8%
  • Percent male: 39.8%
  • Percent students of color: 8.4%

Largest programs

Business Management, Exercise Science, Early Childhood Education, Finance, Elementary Education

Unique programs

Agricultural Education, RN to BSN, culinology, hospitality management, agronomy, agricultural solutions, global studies, radio and TV, professional writing and communication, environmental science, creative writing, ESL


Approximately 1,000 students live on campus in residence halls that offer numerous housing options, from single and traditional two-person rooms to apartment-style living. The newest, Sweetland Hall, features two two-person rooms sharing a common shower/restroom, with sinks in each room. Living & Learning Communities — houses whose residents share a common interest — are also available.


Bus service in Marshall is available to students free of charge. Two routes, one of which begins every half hour, take students to convenient stops within the community. There is also a taxi service available. Bus service through Jefferson Lines is also available to locations outside of Marshall.

  • Bus
  • Other


You will find plenty of parking spaces available for students living in the residence halls, and for those commuting to campus.

  • On-street
  • Off-street


Admissions requirements

Southwest Minnesota State University generally will accept you as a first-year student if you can answer “yes” to at least one of these questions:

  • Did you graduate in the top half of your high school graduating class?
  • Did you score 21 or higher on the ACT standardized test?
  • Did you receive a combined score of 990 or higher on the SAT standardized test?

Check with the admissions office for details. Even if you don’t meet the minimum requirements, you may be considered for admission under special provisions.

What courses do I need to take in high school?

You should have completed these courses in high school:

  • Four years of English, including composition, literature and speech
  • Three years of math, including two years of algebra, one of which is intermediate or advanced algebra, and one year of geometry
  • Three years of science, including one year each of a biological and a physical science, all with significant laboratory experience
  • Three years of social science, including one year each of geography and U.S. history
  • 3 years of specified electives. Students should have completed 3 years of coursework in at least 2 of the following: world language, world culture or the arts.
  • Two years of a single world language, including non-English native languages and American Sign Language

The University will evaluate each applicant’s credentials individually and note any deficiencies. Students admitted with deficiencies may be required to take additional coursework during their first year of attendance.
Students failing to meet the above class rank, ACT or preparation requirements may still be considered for admission under the Academic Opportunity-FYE program and should contact the SMSU Office of Admission for further details or criteria.

Apply online

Using the e-application, you may apply to Southwest Minnesota State University and other schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.


SMSU: Where You Belong
There's a reason that's our slogan. SMSU offers a broad-based curriculum with strong education, business and liberal arts programs. You can also choose unique majors like agronomy, agricultural education, exercise science, environmental science, professional writing and communication, and culinology. At SMSU, it's about you. A challenging, yet nurturing, academic environment combined with the types of amenities you expect from your college choice. Your success story begins at SMSU. Check us out at:

Program TitleAward
Agribusiness ManagementAS
Agribusiness ManagementBS
Agricultural SolutionsBS
Applied Computational Mathematics BS
Art Teacher EducationBS
Autism Spectrum DisordersGC
Business AdministrationMBA
Business AdministrationBS
Business AdministrationAS
Chemistry EducationBS
Communication Arts & Literature Educ-Comm StudiesBS
Communication Arts and Literature/Secondary Education/EnglishBS
Communication StudiesBA
Communication Studies:Broadcasting & Digital MediaBS
Computer ScienceBS
Early Childhood EducationBS
Early Childhood Special EducationBS
Educational StudiesBS
Elementary Teacher EducationBS
Environmental ScienceBS
Exercise ScienceBS
General StudiesBA
Hospitality ManagementBS
Individualized Interdisciplinary StudiesBA
Individualized Interdisciplinary StudiesBS
Justice AdministrationBS
Law Enforcement AdministrationBAS
Liberal Arts and SciencesAA
Life Science/Biology EducationBS
Literature Creative WritingBA
Mathematics EducationBS
Medical Laboratory ScienceBA
Music Teacher EducationBS
Physical EducationBS
Physical Education TeachingBS
Physical Education: Coaching of SportMS
Political ScienceBA
Professional Writing and CommunicationBA
Social WorkBS
Special EducationBS
Special EducationMS
Speech Communication/Theatre Arts/Secondary EducationBS
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) K-12BS
Theatre ArtsBA
Program TitleAward
The following degrees are available from this school:
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Science
  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Certificate
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science

Program minors
Agronomy, advertising design, art/graphic design, biology, computer science, criminal justice, economics, special ed, literature, geology, environmental science, exercise science, finance, history, management, marketing, math, music, philosophy, pre-law, adapted PE, coaching, physics, political science, public administration, psychology, social welfare, sociology, Spanish, speech communication, public relations, theatre, acting/directing, women's studies.

Pre-professional programs
Chiropractice, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, mortuary science, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinary medicine

Program emphases
Sports management, recreation, public relations, farm management, ag finance, crops, soils, graphic design, human resources management, music management, restaurant management, hotel management

advancedCoursesearchUrl Credit courses
courseEquivalencyUrl Course equivalency
noncreditUrl Non-credit courses


Tuition & finance

Tuition and Fees (2012-2013): $8,070

FAFSA Code: 002375

How to apply for financial aid

Your key to receiving financial aid to help pay your college costs is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. Many students don’t realize they could qualify for grant money and federally guaranteed loans, so be sure to find out by filling out the form.

Complete the FAFSA after Jan. 1 of your senior year. Find the form online at or pick up the form at your school counselor’s office. For help with completing the form, go to your high school counselor or the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend.

The FAFSA determines your eligibility for one or more of the following types of financial aid:

Scholarships are a great source of aid, and you do not need to pay them back. Many scholarships are available for students with special interests and backgrounds. Talk to your guidance counselor about what kind of scholarships you can get.

You may be eligible to receive federal and state grants of $300 to more than $7,000 per year. You do not need to pay these back.

Work study
Work study programs give you the opportunity to work on campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college. Work study jobs are often very flexible, allowing you to work around your classes and personal schedules.

Student loans
You also may be eligible for student loans, which must be paid back. Student loans usually have a lower interest rate than other kinds of loans.

Other ways to save

Reduced out-of-state tuition
Students from other states don’t always have to pay higher tuition if they want to attend the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. If you live in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota or Manitoba, Canada, you’re eligible for tuition rates similar to those paid by Minnesota residents. And 26 of the state colleges and universities allow students from other states to pay the lower in-state rates, so ask a college or university about its tuition charges.

Tax credits
Some college students also benefit from two federal tax credit programs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit. These may apply to you or your family, depending on your financial circumstances.

Veterans are welcomed at the state colleges and universities. If you’ve served in the armed forces, you might be eligible for help with paying for college. Stop by one of the on-campus veterans centers for information, support and assistance. Also, check with the campus financial aid office about benefits from the new Minnesota GI Bill. Or go to

Campus life

Over 90 clubs and organizations, including student government, newspaper, radio & TV, literary magazine, fine arts, social, environmental, recreational, political, sports, leisure activities and academic clubs and organizations help students learn while they become involved. Students are encouraged to become involved through the Center for Civic Engagement. SMSU has an outlet for your varied interests.

  • Academic Commons
  • Academic Commons/Writing Center
  • Barnes & Noble Campus Store
  • Career Services
  • Counseling Center
  • Cultural Diversity & Inclusion
  • Disability Services
  • Financial Aid
  • Fitness Center
  • Food Service/Dining Services
  • Graduate Studies Offices
  • Health Services
  • International Student Services
  • Library
  • SMSU Daycare Center
  • SMSU Foundation
  • Star Alert System
  • Student Advising
  • Student Employment Services
  • Student Success Office
  • Technology Center
  • Transfer Assistance
  • TRIO Student Support Services
  • University Public Safety
  • Veterans Resource Center
  • Accounting Club
  • Art Club
  • Biology Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • Criminal Justice Club
  • Culinology Club
  • Education Minnesota Student Program
  • English Club
  • Family and Child Educators
  • Graphic Design Club
  • History Club
  • Honors Club
  • Marketing Club
  • Math & Computer Science Club
  • Philosophy Club
  • Psi Chi
  • Psychology Club
  • Sociology Club
  • Student Hospitality Organization
  • Student Mentors for Academic Success
  • Student Social Work Association
Arts and literature
  • Mustang Anime Otaku
  • William Whipple Gallery
Broadcasting and journalism
  • National Broadcast Society
  • Perceptions Literary Magazine
  • Radio/TV Club
  • The Spur
Career and professional
  • DECA
  • Forensics
  • Society of Human Resource Management
  • Society of Leadership and Success
  • Students In Free Enterprise
Cheerleading and dance teams
  • Cheerleading
  • Dance Team
  • Dancing Is My Savior
  • Show Stoppers
Community and human services
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Lion's Club
  • Mustang Men Against Sexual Violence
Ethnicity, language and culture
  • Black Student Union
  • Club Latino
  • Hmong Student Organization
  • Le Club Francais
  • Oyate
  • Spanish Club
Farming and agricultural
  • Postsecondary Ag Students
Gender and sexuality
  • Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender Alli
Health and fitness
  • Boost Alcohol Conciousness Concern
  • Colleges Against Cancer
  • Wellness and Human Performance
International students
  • International Student Organization
  • Nepalese Student Association
Military and veterans
  • Veteran's Association
Personal development
  • Center Student Leadership & Involvement
Politics and society
  • Campus Greens
  • College Republicans
  • Political Science Association
  • Student Act Fee Allocation Committee
  • Student Association
Recreational and club sports
  • Bowling Club
  • Intramural Sports
  • Mustang Martial Art
  • Power Hockey Club
  • Rugby Football Club
  • Shotokan Karate Club
  • Soccer Club
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Track & Field Club
Religious and spiritual
  • Campus Crusade for Christ
  • Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Newman Club
  • Shine On
Social organizations
  • Mustang Game Club
  • Mustang Maniacs
  • Residence Hall Association
  • Student Activities Committee
  • Students Today Alumni Tomorrow
Special interest
  • Environmental Awareness Club
  • Non-Traditional Student Organization
  • Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
  • United Global Leaders Yearning Success
  • University Sportsmen's Association
Theater, dance, music
  • Band
  • Choir
  • Concert Choir
  • Drama Club
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Marching/Pep Bands
  • Rough Riders Drumline
  • Symphonic Band
  • Theatre
  • Vocal Ensemble
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Wrestling
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wheelchair Basketball