Southwestern University

University Profile

Southwestern University is an independent, four-year undergraduate institution comprising the Brown College of Arts and Sciences, the Garey School of Natural Sciences, and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. We are proud to have chapters of the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Chi honor societies and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.


We’re not as old as The Alamo, but Southwestern was the first institution of higher learning in Texas, chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1840. Our founders were Methodist missionaries; the University continues its affiliation with the United Methodist Church today.


Southwestern hires some of the most impressive and committed professors. All tenured or tenure-track faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their respective fields. With a student–to-faculty ratio of 12:1 and an average class size of 18, student-faculty collaborative research and publication are common. (It’s true: your work may actually be published before you graduate!)


In the fall of 2019, Southwestern welcomed 1,511 men and women, of which 33 percent were under-represented students. Forty-nine percent of students who applied were offered admission, resulting in 444 entering first-year students. Of those, 35 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The average SAT was 1229 and average ACT score was 26. Eighty-eight percent of our students hail from Texas while the remaining 12 percent come from 34 other states and 16 countries.


Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. No graduate degrees or programs are offered.


Anthropology, Applied Physics, Art (Studio), Art History, Biochemistry, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Classics, Communication Studies, Computational Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics, Education, English, Environmental Studies, Feminist Studies, Financial Economics, French, German, Greek, History, International Studies, Kinesiology, Latin, Latin American Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Spanish, and Theatre.

Certification Programs: Education
Pre-professional Pathways: Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Ministry, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Paideia: The Philosophy of Making Connections

All Southwestern students participate in Paideia experiences throughout the curriculum. The First-Year or Advanced-Entry Seminar introduces students to the practice of making connections, with a special focus on incorporating perspectives from multiple disciplines. All other courses explicitly acknowledge the connections between ideas within their own course material; many will point to intersections with other courses. All majors include an opportunity to consider how various skills and ideas connect across the department or program and culminate in a capstone experience. In addition to these integrated Paideia experiences, Southwestern encourages students to choose a more intensive Paideia path that includes elements above and beyond the graduation requirements for all students and leads to the designation of Paideia with Distinction.


Situated on 701 beautiful Central Texas acres, Southwestern has its own “100-acre wood,” also known as the academic campus, where students enjoy everything from playing Ultimate Frisbee to studying on the academic mall; getting their hands dirty in the community garden to swimming laps, shooting hoops, or lifting weights in the recreation center; performing in one of our two live-performance theaters to star gazing at the on-campus observatory.

Housing and Transportation

More than three-quarters of all students live in residential campus housing, and everyone—students, faculty, and staff—has access to a fleet of Pirate Bikes, a rideshare program that help us get around campus in a quick and environmentally friendly way.

Student Organizations

With over 60 student organizations, from scholastic and honorary societies to student government, sororities and fraternities, special-interest groups, and departmental organizations, Southwestern students stay busy. (But don’t worry, academics are still the main focus here.)

Off-Campus and International Study

As much as they love being here, students like to venture off campus now and then, too. Nearly one-third of students study abroad. A London experience is available each fall, along with summer programs in locations such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Perú, and Spain. Our students have access to universities around the world through the International Student Exchange Program. In addition, Southwestern offers opportunities for semesters in New York City (arts) and Washington, DC (politics), as well as internships, both domestic and abroad.

Civic Engagement

In the 2018–2019 academic year, over 50% of students volunteered on campus or in the community. Students gave more than 9,500 service hours annually at more than 100 local nonprofits and agencies.


It’s not only the Academic Mall that’s green here; our philosophy and even some of our buildings are, too—the Wilhelmina Cullen Welcome Center and the Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning are both LEED certified. Southwestern was the second university in Texas to sign the Talloires Declaration, a formal commitment to sustainability in higher education. In 2009, Southwestern also signed the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. In addition, Southwestern was the first university in Texas to change to 100% wind energy.


Southwestern student-athletes (Go, Pirates!) compete in NCAA Division III basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field for men and women; men’s baseball and football; and women’s softball and volleyball. Our teams are members of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) with Austin College, Centenary College, Colorado College, University of Dallas, Johnson & Wales, St. Thomas, Schreiner University, Texas Lutheran University, and Trinity University. Our football team is an affiliate member of the American Southwest Conference (ASC), whose members include Belhaven University, Concordia University Texas, East Texas Baptist University, Hardin–Simmons University, Howard Payne University, LeTourneau University, Louisiana College, University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, McMurry University, Texas Lutheran University, University of the Ozarks, Sul Ross State University, University of Texas at Dallas, and University of Texas at Tyler. For those looking for less official (but still competitive) activities to choose from, there are 22 intramural sports and two club sports: SU Cheerleaders and SU Dancers. More than 60% of our students participate annually in some form of organized physical activity.

Success after Southwestern

As of July 2019, 91% of Southwestern graduates had obtained employment or had been accepted into graduate or professional school within 10 months. The 2019 edition of the Princeton Review’s The Best 385 Colleges ranked Southwestern #6 in the country for Best Career Services and #3 in the country for Impact Schools.

Lectureships and Symposia

Brown Symposium Series
The Roy and Margaret Shilling Lecture Series
The Writer’s Voice
The Lurlyn and Durwood Fleming Scholar in Residence Program in Religion
The A. Frank Smith, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Program
The Jessie Daniel Ames Lecture
The Willson Lectureships
Paideia Connections 

What Others Are Saying

Southwestern University enjoys recognition by a number of college guidebooks and other ranking services for our quality of education, sustainability, value, and contributions to the public good. For a complete list, visit our Rankings and Recognition page.


For 2019–2020, tuition and fees total $43,560. The average room rate ranges from $5,230 for a two-person room in the oldest residence hall on campus to $14,540 for a one-bedroom apartment in the newest residential center. Meal plans ranging from $2,192 to $6,298 are available. Of the students enrolled for the fall 2018 semester, 98% received financial aid from Southwestern; students in the fall 2017 entering class received more than $8.7 million of institutional assistance.


$281,475,886 as of June 30, 2018