Southern Methodist University is an United Methodist university known for giving students excellent value for their tuition costs. Located in Dallas, Texas, the school is ranked in the top 21 percent of universities by return on investment. Most often remembered as a die-hard sports school first, Southern Methodist University students study as hard as they cheer on the Mustangs. Science majors are among the most popular majors at Southern Methodist University, and the student ranks boast SAT and ACT test scores that are well above the national average. This overview is based on graduates' answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

College ROI Report


20 Year Net ROI 


Annual ROI 

4.3 %

Total 4 Year Cost 


Compare to Other Schools

College Salary Report


Early Career Salary 


Mid-Career Salary 


% High Meaning 

47 %

Compare to Other 4-Year Schools

Southern Methodist University (SMU) Median Salary by Job





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See all degrees for Southern Methodist University (SMU) »
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 15 Jun 2019
  • Individuals Reporting: 1,761
  • View Table

About This School

6425 Boaz St
Dallas, TX 75275-0221


Private School, Research University, Religious, For Sports Fans

79 %

19 %

64 %

10 %


Graduates of SMU go into the financial services industry, the education industry, and the advertising agency industry, not to mention a variety of other lines of work. The most popular career sector among alumni is the aerospace and defense industry. SMU graduates see an average starting salary of $75K.


A gender wage gap becomes apparent after college, with female graduates earning only about $65K on average compared to $83K for male graduates.


The SMU alumni who make the most are Senior Software Engineers; they report a median pay of $98K. Marketing Directors and Senior Financial Analysts draw in a fair amount as well — around $91K and approximately $80K, respectively. Sliding in near the bottom are Account Executives, who report earnings of $49K.


SMU students enjoy their time in Dallas, and just over two-fifths of students actually choose to live and work there after graduating. It is also not uncommon to find former SMU students living and working in San Francisco, Calif. — this top-paying city is a popular destination with a median salary of around $89K. On the far end of the pay scale, SMU alumni often reside in Los Angeles, Calif., which is home to the lowest pay at $62K. Other popular cities for SMU alumni include nearby Houston, Texas and Fort Worth, Texas.

Degree Major

A graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Finance from SMU can rake in a whopping average $118K per year, more than any other degree from this school. Those with a Master of Music (MM) face salaries on the lower end, coming in at an average $52K per year.


Former Mustangs with Strategic Planning abilities can expect to make 21 percent more than their former classmates ($90K). One in seven SMU grads wind up using Project Management at their job, which is one of the most common skills among alumni. Demonstrated ability in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, and Data Analysis rank among leading skills as well.

Benefits and Perks

Only about one-third of alumni enjoy paid vacation and one-fifth of alumni receive sick leave. For this school, most alumni are the recipients of health benefits, and a strong majority of alumni pick up dental plans, too. To plan for old age, a large number of respondents maintain savings accounts through a company's 401(k) plan. Southern Methodist University graduates also take advantage of a casual working environment, life insurance, a company-subsidized cell phone, and flexible hours.

Related Schools

Alumni of Claremont Graduate University pick up average paychecks of approximately $75K, which is closest to the amount made by SMU grads among similar schools. Other schools similar to SMU include Saint Louis University-Main Campus, the University of Denver, and Brigham Young University-Provo.

Southern Methodist University (SMU) Job Listings

Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores 1820 2100
ACT Scores 28 32

Key Stats for Southern Methodist University (SMU)


50 %
50 %
$41,512 - $94,969
$54,778 - $115,637

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 565 votes.
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more
$38,491 - $88,774
$51,913 - $107,152
$57,203 - $108,545
$45,883 - $87,126
$69,138 - $113,044
$72,129 - $123,500
$57,174 - $85,000
$84,041 - $110,500
$44,179 - $97,111
$43,817 - $110,925
$46,978 - $103,303
$49,620 - $102,471
$49,193 - $87,110
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