Fact Book

About SMSU

Southwest Minnesota State University is a four-year public university offering a high-quality education in the liberal arts and professions to prepare students for a life that is successful both personally and professionally.

Founded in 1963 and opened in 1967, SMSU is now celebrating its 50th year. Over the years, SMSU has grown into a university of choice with high national rankings, producing scholars who become the leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Our Mission

Southwest Minnesota State University prepares students to meet the complex challenges of this century as engaged citizens in their local and global communities. Our comprehensive degree programs, taught in the liberal arts tradition, are dedicated to connecting students' academic and practical professional development experiences in southwestern Minnesota to the wider world.

Our Vision

Southwest Minnesota State University is a university of choice.


Dr. Connie J. Gores was appointed by the Minnesota State system and began her duties July 1, 2013. President Gores is the ninth permanent president of SMSU.


SMSU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Minnesota Board of Teaching, the Council on Social Work Education, the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602; (800) 621-7440. For more information about the Higher Learning Commission visit their website: www.ncahlc.org.

Academic Units

  • College of Arts, Letters, & Sciences
  • College of Business, Education & Professional Studies

University Governance

Southwest Minnesota State University is a member of the Minnesota State system, governed by a 15-member board of trustees. Trustees are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Minnesota State Senate. For more information about the Minnesota State system visit their website at www.minnstate.edu.

Majors and Minors

A list of majors and minors can be found in SMSU's academic catalog.

Our Students

Enrollment Figures from Fall 2016

Degrees Conferred

Our Alumni


Employment & Placement*

Our Mustang Athletics

NCAA Division II

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
National Intercollegiate Wheelchair
Basketball Association

Co-ed Wheelchair Basketball

* Track & Field Competes in Indoor/Outdoor Seasons

Our Faculty and Staff

Our Tuition and Affordability

Tuition (2017-18)

SMSU does NOT charge out of state tuition

Financial Aid (2016-17)

Student Employment On-Campus

Return on Investment

SMSU ranked sixth in the state of Minnesota for lifetime return on investment. A total of 145 colleges in the state were analyzed, public and private, with 22 ranked. SMSU ranked highest of the Minnesota State 4-year institutions and was one of only two public institutions in the top 6.



SMSU was recognized as a “Minnesota 20-30 Club” institution with annual tuition below $20,000 and graduate earning average above $30,000.

The College Database

SMSU Athletics had another outstanding year in 2016-17 both on the field of play and, more importantly, off the field as well.

  • A total of 90 student-athletes named Academic All-NSIC (GPA of 3.20 or higher).
  • A total of 22 student-athletes received All-NSIC accolades.
  • Six student-athletes earn the Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award
  • Six student-athletes named All-Region.
  • Four student-athletes named All-American.
  • Outdoor track & field athlete Alex Weis won the shot put at the 2017 NSIC Championships. It was his second straight shot put title.
  • Football team defeated No. 19 Minnesota Duluth, 42-38, earning the program's first-ever win of a Division II op 25 team.
  • Football player Max Simmons led all freshman players in all four divisions of NCAA football with 18 rushing touchdowns. He was also named NSIC Newcomer of the Year.
  • Head volleyball coach Terry Culhane and head men's basketball coach Brad Bigler both named NSIC Coach of the Year.
  • Wheelchair basketball player Walter Johnson named NWBA second team All-American.
  • Volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th straight year and 14th overall.
  • Volleyball team won a share of the NSIC regular season championship.
  • Men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in team history.
  • Men's basketball won the program's first-ever NSIC South Division championship.
  • Men's basketball won the program's first-ever NSIC South Division championship.
  • Men's basketball team tied a school record with 28 victories.
  • Volleyball player Taylor Reiss was named the NSIC Player of the Year.
  • Volleyball player Megan Larson led Division II in assists per set.
  • SMSU volleyball led Division II in assists per set and kills per set.

Our Assets and Financial Data

The Campus

Financial Data*


Our SMSU Foundation

SMSU Foundation

www.SMSUFoundation.org | 800-260-0970

The SMSU Foundation is served by a 31-member board consisting of alumni and friends of the institution who strive to advance the mission of the Foundation in support of SMSU. The SMSU Alumni Association, Minnesota Ag & Rural Leadership (MARL) and Mustangs Booster Club organizations all fall under the leadership of the SMSU Foundation and are served by their own respective boards. These three organizations each have distinct missions that serve a broad range of constituents.

Alumni: www.SMSUAlumni.com
MARL: www.MARLProgram.org
Boosters: www.SMSUMustangs.com

Our Role in the Economy

Economic Impact

The results of a study by Wilder Research calculated the economic impact of SMSU on the regional economy to be $141 million and an estimated 1,898 jobs in southwest Minnesota.

Counties included in the study included Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood and Rock.

The study concluded that SMSU generates approximately $8 million in tax revenues for state and local government. It also determined that, based on the southwest region's economy of $5.6 billion, for every $100 produced in the region, $3 are directly or indirectly related to SMSU.

Wilder Research is a nationally-recognized source of data used by state and local planners, policy makers and service providers.

Our Strategic Plan

SMSU is proud of its tradition of excellence, which is guided by the University's ongoing strategic planning process. Since its founding, enabled and inspired by the people of Southwest Minnesota and the surrounding region who dared to dream of a university on the prairie, Southwest Minnesota State University has been a center for learning.

Each successive generation of students, faculty, and staff, with the support of the community, has contributed to the ongoing success of the institution. To learn more about our strategic planning process, visit our website at

Our Recent Highlights

We serve approximately 7,000 students in both undergraduate and graduate programs through on-campus, remote site and online delivery.

One of the top nationally-accredited concurrent enrollment programs in Minnesota, serving 5,346 students across the state with an emphasis on providing continual professional development and networking opportunities for high school teachers who deliver College Now courses.

Master of Science in Education Learning Communities provide graduate programs statewide.

Only Bachelor of Science in Culinology® degree in the world.

SMSU's RN to BSN program serves nurses in southwest Minnesota who want to earn that BSN degree while still working full-time. Program delivery is convenient for working nurses and busy lifestyles.

The RN to BSN degree is ranked number 5 in the “10 Most Affordable Nursing Degrees in Minnesota” by College Choice.

SMSU boasts a 99% placement rate.

Recognition as a Military Friendly University, and a Yellow Ribbon Campus. SMSU supports its veterans and their families as they pursue their academic goals.

A new Agricultural Education degree program began in spring semester 2015 and is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching.

SMSU's growing Exercise Science Program is now offered at a trio of Twin Cities community colleges: Normandale, North Hennepin and Anoka-Ramsey.

An innovative major in Agricultural Solutions started fall 2013, joining curriculum in Agronomy and Agribusiness.

SMSU has a $141 million impact on the region, impacting 1,898 jobs.

SMSU generates $8 million per year in tax revenue for state and local government.

SMSU annual tuition and fees are just $8,610.

A collaborative agreement with city and Marshall Schools resulting in a new Marshall Regional Track & Field Complex on campus, the finest of its kind in southwest Minnesota.

Our Community

SMSU is located in Marshall, Minnesota, a friendly growing community of 14,000. Marshall, named one of America's Best Small Cities, is an easy drive from the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Sioux Falls, SD and Fargo, ND. Marshall is also the proud home of Schwan's Company, Ralco Nutrition, Action TrackChair, along with major employers USBank, Archer Daniels Midland, Affiliated Community Medical Center, and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. Marshall is also home to the new Red Baron Arena & Expo.

For more information about Marshall visit: www.discoversouthwestmn.com

Our Mustang Family

We invite you to visit SMSU and to experience for yourself all that it has to offer. SMSU truly is where you belong!

Contact the Office of Admission:

Published by:
SMSU Advancement Office and
Data Management & Institutional Research Office
1501 State Street · Marshall MN 56258

Last Modified: 4/10/18 5:00 PM