About Southwestern

Education for Tomorrow

Ours is a history of firsts. We are the first institution of higher education in Texas, home to three of the first Rhodes Scholars in Texas, and the first to celebrate homecoming. This tradition of firsts continues as Southwestern University creates a new and dynamic educational experience designed to produce a 21st-century thinker.


Paideia: Interconnected Learning

Paideia is a Greek word referring to the education of an ideal citizen well versed in the arts, the humanities, and the social and natural sciences and distinguished by an enlightened outlook born of the ability to see things from multiple perspectives. 

You will learn to discover connections across majors, between disciplines, and in relation to your experiences outside the classroom. Paideia helps you develop a holistic, integrated view of concepts and methods, empowering you to think in broader, more collaborative, and more original ways. You will graduate with a cultivated curiosity and the desire to learn, explore, and create change—in your careers and in life.

“We have figurative lightbulbs going off all the time on campus. We call them Paideia moments.” 


Inquiry-Based Learning: How to Think, Not What to Think

Our commitment to inquiry-based learning creates a more active classroom with fewer lectures and more hands-on engagement. Southwestern offers a more dynamic approach to the classroom setting, enabling you to participate more in your own education while greatly improving your retention of what you’ve learned. 

With traditional teaching methods, a professor passes information from textbook to student. Success is measured by the student’s ability to recite this information back with an emphasis on producing one correct answer. Consequently, much of that information is never retained. 

Inquiry-based learning turns the traditional teaching model on its head: The student becomes the producer of original ideas rather than a passive consumer of ideas that have been created by others.

Inquiry-based learning is more dynamic, enabling students to take ownership of their own learning, creating multiple solutions to problems, and improving their retention of skills and knowledge. It starts with a question, problem, or scenario. While constantly and methodically interrogating diverse solutions and collaborating with your professor and peers, you will invent new answers—as well as new questions—and new knowledge, thereby making greater meaning of your academic experience. By enhancing your ability to understand, interpret, and evaluate information, SU will inspire your lifelong intellectual curiosity.


Diversity of Culture and Thought

At Southwestern, diversity is more than just numbers. We believe that diversity expands our worldliness, enhances our social development, increases our knowledge base, challenges us by engaging with different ideas and perspectives, and better prepares us for collaboration in a global society. Approximately one-third of Southwestern students come from underrepresented groups, and more than 30% of our students broaden their perspective by studying abroad in Europe, South America, and Asia.  

Here, you’ll find a diverse community, as well as a true commitment to creating an inclusive environment that is equally welcoming to all.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research at Southwestern goes well beyond the library stacks or the lab bench. Alongside faculty, you will develop authentic, previously unexplored questions and test your own hypotheses, making original contributions to your field of study. Collaborating with faculty and peers, our students regularly present at professional conferences and even coauthor publications. These experiences hone the intellectual practice of problem-solving and provide an enduring framework for innovation and the creation of new knowledge. Moreover, Southwestern’s undergraduates develop lasting friendships with their fellow researchers and strong bonds with their professors, a key element of our commitment to supporting personal growth.

Southwestern offers you not only the opportunity to participate in research as an undergraduate but to be recognized for that work as well.

Teachers and Scholars

Forget the 300-seat classrooms. Here at Southwestern, you’ll study in small classes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. In this more intimate, more active learning environment, you’ll engage, discuss, debate, and connect with professors who are both nationally recognized experts in their fields and caring mentors who will work alongside you, sharing valuable advice, guidance, and experience.

Experimenting with new ideas and concepts is a significant part of these faculty–student collaborations. We prioritize original thinking and encourage mistakes. Our faculty understands that trying new things is the best way to learn.

Students at Southwestern learn to lean into risk, past uncertainty, to ask new questions, to think beyond conventional wisdom, to imagine different realities, and to create their own answers…Without risk, there can be no creativity and no discovery.

High-Impact Experiences

Our rich, interdisciplinary focus includes both in- and out-of-classroom learning with high-impact experiences such as internships, civic engagement, study abroad, undergraduate research. Nearly all Southwestern students participate in two or more of these high-impact experiences during their Southwestern Experience.

High-impact experiences greatly enhance a student’s ability to synthesize, interpret, and evaluate information from the world around us, and our interdisciplinary focus affords students an expanded perspective from which to do this.

Mosaic: Educating the Whole Person

At Southwestern, we encourage you to choose mindfully from among the broad variety of opportunities to engage. There’s an ideal balance, different for each student, among academics, team and organization membership, work, and downtime. By engaging with intention and reflecting on the value of each component of your involvement, you can find your perfect balance.

We call this coordinated approach to the cocurricular experience Mosaic to reflect the collection of meaningful moments, relationships, learning, and development that make up your experience in college—your personal mosaic.