One University Plaza, MS4675
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
p. 573-651-2000
w. www.semo.edu

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University Rating: 3.8/5 (41 votes)

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Southeast Missouri State was founded in 1873. In 1899, the University’s president, Willard Vandiver, coined the phrase “show me,” which would become the state’s motto. In 1905, the University’s Academic Hall was constructed, and it still stands today.

Southeast Missouri State University was founded as a normal school and received university status in 1972. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Its mission statement says in part, “By emphasizing student-centered and experiential learning, the University prepares individuals to participate responsibly in a diverse and technologically-advanced world and in this and other ways contributes to the development of the social, cultural, and economic life of the region, the state, and the nation.” It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.


Southeast Missouri State University has academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. There are 8 colleges: the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Mathematics, the School of Polytechnic Studies, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of University Studies.

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges; there are over 150 areas of study, including minors. Degrees at the bachelor’s level can be received in such areas as accounting, advertising, agribusiness, art, computer science, dietetics, education, German, industrial management, media studies, music, pre-professional programs, recreation, sociology, and theatre performance. Minors include areas as diverse as small press publishing, zoology, horticulture, aerospace studies, and dance.

Graduate programs are offered in approximately 30 fields. These include master’s level programs in English, health administration, nursing, accounting, community wellness, industrial management, and education. There are no doctoral degrees. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is offered through the College of Education in the following areas: educational administration and counseling education.

Southeast Missouri offers more than 150 undergraduate degree programs and areas of study. First-year students benefit from classes of 25-30 students and an overall student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1. Of the 400 full-time faculty, 90% hold the terminal degree in their field. Nearly every major offers students the opportunity for hands-on research or real-world internship experiences. Such opportunities are available in the fields of agribusiness, biology, communications, historic preservation, engineering, and environmental science. Study abroad is available in more than 30 areas of the world.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

Southeast Missouri offers a major in historic preservation that prepares students for work with museums, sites of historic value, and various government offices. Students have served internships at the Sporting News Archives, Nebraska State Historical Society, and the Missouri Department of Transportation. In addition to valuable, real-world experience, such opportunities expose students to experts in their respective fields. The University also houses its own museum and the Center for Regional History, where historic preservation majors can work and study.

The Dietetics major prepares students for the professional world or for advanced study in post-baccalaureate institutions. The program is boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio, access to experts in the field, and opportunities for real-world experience with some of the state’s leading food and nutrition institutions.

Southeast Missouri State University has an undergraduate Honors Program. Students who seek admission to the Honors Program need to meet the following requirements: minimum high school GPA of 3.4 and ACT score of 25. Once admitted to the Honors Program, students will be able to live on Honors floors in dormitories or study quietly at the Honors House. Students can either take designated Honors courses or do additional independent work in non-honors sections.

On-line learning programs are offered in some undergraduate and graduate programs, including bachelor’s degrees in general studies and in organizational administration, and a graduate certificate in Advanced Placement Teaching. An MBA can also be earned on-line.

Some of the other unique opportunities available at Southeast Missouri State University include experiential learning programs; a third of the departments require internships. Students in theatre arts are required to participate in 90 hours of live theatre, and environmental science students are involved in health and safety monitoring on campus.


Meeting the December 15 admissions application deadline for Southeast Missouri State does not only mean applicants will be in a better position to compete with others seeking admission, but also that they will get a leg up on other students competing for scholarship and other financial aid opportunities, since SMSU uses the same application form for admission and merit aid. Most freshman applicants are evaluated on a combination of test scores, high school grade point average, core curriculum, and accomplishments in high school. New freshman applicants must have completed a college preparatory curriculum including four units of English, three units each of mathematics, social studies, science, and additional studies, and one unit of visual and performing arts. Students must submit their application with a $20 fee, SAT or ACT scores, and an official high school transcript with proof of graduation. The University provides an online chat module so that potential applicants can contact an admissions counselor at their convenience. All admitted students are required to attend the First STEP orientation program, which introduces students to the university experience, advisors, faculty, other students, and prepares them for university life.

Southeast Missouri State University has an undergraduate admissions deadline of August 1 for fall, but applications are strongly encourage to be submitted by December 15 of the prior year. The application fee is $20. Applications can be submitted on-line. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.

As part of their application, students should submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. Students should have completed high school courses as follows: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 3 units of history and social studies, 3 units of science, 1 unit of visual and performing arts, and 3 units of electives. Students are evaluated on a combination of high school GPA, courses taken, and test scores.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.

Students applying to the graduate programs at Southeast Missouri State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying for specific requirements and deadlines. Applications can be submitted on-line, and the application fee is $20. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) and a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 2.5 (some programs may require higher).

Financial Aid

Southeast Missouri State offers a lot of the same financial aid programming as other institutions. They accept the FAFSA for federal grants and loans, as well as federal work study opportunities. They will consult with applicants on the best possible aid options for them. The State of Missouri offers a number of aid programs for its residents, and many private donors to the University have created special opportunities for many qualified students. What sets Southeast Missouri State apart is its “Textbook Rental” program, a truly innovative and unique initiative. All students, regardless of major, have the opportunity to save an average of $600 per year by renting textbooks instead of buying them. For a fee of $17.75 per course, students get all the books they need. And there is no need to reserve books, because the University stocks enough for every class.

Tuition at Southeast Missouri State University is $158.80 per credit hour in the 2005-2006 academic year for in-state, undergraduate students attending full-time; a 30 credit hour year is $4,764. Students applying from out of state and graduate students have higher costs. Students who live out of state but whose parents work in Missouri may be eligible for fee credit.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. There are numerous scholarships offered through the university, including merit-based and performance-based scholarships, and special scholarships for transfer students. Work-study programs are also available. Students who seek financial aid will need to fill out the Federal Student Financial Aid Form, available on-line. The Minority Mentor Program is for minority students in conjunction with a participating department; minimum academic criteria include a 3.0 GPA.

Graduate students may also receive financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all of the tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of assistantships or fellowships are available and about the details of the application process.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4148th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Missouri.


Student life at Southeast Missouri State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Besides Greek life and campus ministries, students can participate in academic and professional organizations, club sports, cultural groups, performance groups, and special interest groups such as the Society of Photographic Artists, the Martial Arts Club, or the Anime Party. There are outdoor adventure trips, including one to the Grand Canyon, intramural sports including softball, tennis, and swimming, and an on-campus climbing wall. Art and cultural activities on campus include performances, an art museum, and a university symphony.

SMSU has over 150 student organizations on campus. Students can serve on University committees, Student Government, or various academic and honor societies. Nearly 2,400 students live on the SMSU campus in one of nine residence halls. Athletic opportunities abound, including intramural sports, extracurricular events like kickboxing and rock climbing, and workouts at the Student Recreation Center. SMSU has a number of fraternities and sororities, as well as national offices of the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks compete in the NCAA Division I-AA and in the Ohio Valley Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and track. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, gymnastics, tennis, soccer, softball, track, and volleyball. Athletic facilities include Capaha Park (baseball), Houck Stadium (football), Houck Field House (basketball), Show Me Center, the Stuber Track Complex, and the Southeast Softball Complex. The Redhawks football team went 3-8 in 2004, with a record of 3-5 against Ohio Valley Conference opponents. Houck Stadium seats as many as 10,000 for home football games. For students who want to get more involved in the athletic experience, Southeast offers 30 different intramural sports for them to participate in. There are also the Sundancers and cheerleading squads. The Athletic Department also offers intentional, focused academic support services for all student athletes in order to ensure their success off the playing field and in the classroom. The Redhawks also facilitate summer camps for younger student athletes in football, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, soccer and track.

Southeast Missouri State University is an NCAA Division I School. The football team competes in Division I-AA. Teams compete in the Ohio Valley Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, gymnastics, tennis, soccer, softball, track & field, and volleyball. The sports teams are supported by a spirit squad, which includes co-educational and all women’s cheerleading teams and a dance team. The team nick-name is the Redhawks. There is also a marching band, called the Golden Eagles.

Athletic facilities at Southeast Missouri State University include a baseball diamond in a local park, a football stadium, a field house, a softball complex, a track, and the Show Me Center, which includes a basketball court.

Southeast Missouri State University teams have competed in conference finals. The men’s basketball team has been an NCAA Division II finalist 3 times, and were National Champions in 1943.


Legend has it that the Missouri state flag was created near the University in Cape Girardeau, by the wife of a former Senator. One of the campus’ fondest features is “cardiac hill” near the Towers residence complex, where the football team used to exercise so hard they thought they would have a heart attack. The “Gum Tree” stands atop cardiac hill and is the receptacle for used chewing gum from hundreds—perhaps thousands—of students.

Local Community

Southeast Missouri State University is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The town is located on the Mississippi River, and the area’s heritage includes the Trail of Tears State Park, Lewis & Clark historical information, and several Civil War sites. The surrounding environment is rural, but St. Louis is 120 miles away.

The town of Cape Girardeau was founded in 1843. It soon became the biggest port on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Memphis. In the 2000 Census, the town reported a population of over 35,000. Most prominently, talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh was born in Cape Girardeau. The actual cape that the town was named after has since disappeared, and therefore is called “the only inland cape in the world.”

Information Summary

Ranks 16th in Missouri and 692nd overall
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Southeast Missouri State University entrance :: Southeast Missouri State University

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in Missouri and 88th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 1 0.01
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 5 0.04
Robbery 1 0.01
Arson 1 0.01
Burglary 4 0.04
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 3 0.03
Arrest 7 0.06

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 142 0.37
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 1 0.00
Forcible Rape 15 0.04
Robbery 94 0.25
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 394 1.03
Larceny 2,017 5.30
Vehicle theft 62 0.16

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Surrounding communitySmall city (inside urban area, pop. under 100,000)
Total Population32,331 (26,086 urban / 6,245 rural)
Households13,273 (2.34 people per house)
Median Household Income$37,890
Families8,333 (2.91 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs)
UndergraduateProfessions plus arts & sciences, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate with arts & sciences (education dominant)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, selective, higher transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringPost-master's certificate
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District2908

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1629th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $5,927 $5,927 $11,259
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $936 $936 $936
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $229 $229 $407
FT Graduate Tuition $6,079 $6,079 $11,383
FT Graduate Required Fees $749 $749 $749
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $280 $280 $505
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $19,211 $19,211 $24,543
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $19,702 $19,702 $25,034
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,582 $11,582 $16,914

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $6,555 $6,750 $6,555 $6,750 $11,595 $11,985
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $464 $478
On-Campus – Room & Board $7,349 $7,900
On-Campus – Other Expenses $3,514 $3,616
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $7,349 $7,900
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,963 $4,078
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,963 $4,078

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$30
Graduate Application Fee$30
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 4,388 (1,807 male / 2,581 female)
Admitted 3,750 (1,560 male / 2,190 female)
Admission rate 85%
First-time Enrollment 1,729 (754 male / 975 female)
FT Enrollment 1,583 (691 male / 892 female)
PT Enrollment 146 (63 male / 83 female)
Total Enrollment11,767

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Ohio Valley Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Ohio Valley Conference

ACT Test Admission

622nd for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 90%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 20 / 26
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 18 / 25
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 20 / 25

SAT Test Admission

622nd for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 2%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 435 / 555
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 460 / 595
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 895 / 1150

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity3,420
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$5,340
Board Fee$2,780

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 2204th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $60,823 ($65,061 male / $53,865 female)
Number of FT Faculty 394 (200 male / 194 female)
Number of PT Faculty 394
FT Faculty Ratio 1 : 1
Total Benefits $9,295,408

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