About Southwestern

University Profile

Southwestern University is an independent, four-year, undergraduate, national liberal arts college comprised of the Brown College of Arts and 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.

Core Purpose

Fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well-being of humanity.

Core Values

Cultivating academic excellence; Promoting lifelong learning and a passion for intellectual and personal growth; Fostering diverse perspectives; Being true to oneself and others; Respecting the worth and dignity of persons; Encouraging activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good.


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. Ninety-nine percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty hold doctorates or the highest degree possible in their respective fields. With a student/faculty ratio of 12:1 and an average class size of 15, student/faculty collaborative research and publication is common. (It’s true, your work may actually be published before you graduate!)


In the fall of 2015, Southwestern welcomed 1,515 men and women, of which 38 percent were under-represented students. Forty-four percent of the students who applied were offered admission, resulting in 359 entering first-year students. Of those, 31 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class and the average SAT score was 1152. Eighty-six percent of our students hail from Texas while the remaining 14 percent come from 34 other states and 28 countries. Visit our YouTube channel to see the Faces of Southwestern.


Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of 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, French, German, Greek, History, Independent Major, International Studies, Kinesiology, Latin, Latin American & Border Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Spanish and Theatre

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


(Hard to explain in just a few words, but we’ll give it a try.)  Paideia (Pie-DAY-uh) is an exciting venue where faculty collaborate to enhance student learning. Informed, focused discussions and explicitly integrative activities revolve around a chosen cluster (theme).  This central theme or question enables students and faculty to make connections across classes, departments and programs; to do more interdisciplinary writing, creating and thinking; and to collaborate with other students, faculty and staff. The dots continue to connect as opportunities for civic engagement and/or intercultural learning are provided. Cluster themes for 2015-2016 are “Representing Gender,” “Investigating Identity,” “Americas: North by South,” “The Anthropocene,” “Situating Place,” and “Global Health.”


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 Ultimate Frisbee games 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 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 approximately 100 student organizations, from scholastic and honorary, to government, Greek, special interest and departmental, 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. More than a third students study abroad. A London experience is available each fall along with summer programs in locations such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Peru 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 (arts) and Washington D.C. (politics), as well as internships, both domestic and abroad.

Civic Engagement

At a rate that is twice the national average, Southwestern students give more than 39,000 service hours annually to more than 100 local nonprofits and agencies. (Southwestern encourages students to do good in the world while teaching them to do well for themselves.)


It’s not only the academic mall that’s green here, our philosophy and even some of our buildings are, too—the Wilhelmina Cullen Admission 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. And in 2010, the University signed an 18-year agreement with the city of Georgetown that enabled it to meet all its electrical needs from wind power.


Southwestern athletes (Go, Pirates!) compete in NCAA Division III basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field for men and women; men’s baseball, football and lacrosse, 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, Schreiner University, Texas Lutheran University and Trinity University. For those looking for less official (but still competitive) activities to choose from, there are 22 intramural sports and four club sports: SU Cheerleaders, SU Dancers, Handball and Fencing. More than 80 percent of our students participate annually in some form of organized physical activity.

Success After Southwestern

Of the 284 graduates of the Class of 2012, 91 percent had obtained employment or had been accepted into graduate or professional school within 10 months. (Yes, a liberal arts degree is valuable, and we can prove it.)

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.


$37,560 tuition and fees (2015-16). The average room rate is $5,350; the average meal plan is $5,520. The entering class received more than $8 million in financial assistance from the University.


$255.9 million (as of June 30, 2015)