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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 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

SMSU aspires to be recognized throughout Minnesota and beyond for being an inclusive and student-centered university.

Our Values

We Value:

  • Discovery through innovative teaching, research and other high-impact experiences.
  • Civic engagement and strategic partnerships.
  • Developing broadly educated and well-rounded leaders.

Our Leadership

Kumara Jayasuriya was appointed by the Minnesota State system and began his duties July 1, 2019. President Jayasuriya is the tenth permanent president of SMSU.

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

Equity 2030

Minnesota’s moral and economic imperative necessitates that educational equity gaps be eliminated. Minnesota State’s guiding principle of Equity 2030 aims to eliminate educational equity gaps at all Minnesota State colleges and universities by 2030. Equity 2030 is an approach to intentionally rethink the way Minnesota State and our colleges and universities operate on a day-to-day level. As institutions of higher education, our core mission is represented by teaching and learning.

Strategic Dimensions

  • Enhanced Access: Enhancing access to higher education by strengthening partnerships and collaboration with K-12, business & industry, community-based organizations, and philanthropic partners to expand and grow current programming and identify new ways to support students.
  • Student Academic Success: Establishing guided learning pathways that focus on academic preparation, progression, and accomplishment within an area of study and career.
  • Student Success: Engagement and Support: Student experience within the institution, both academic and non-academic, including supporting basic needs.
  • Data-Guided Decision Making: Building technology infrastructure and capacity for deeper data analytics, and expanding campus capacity to interpret data and use it to guide decision-making.
  • Financial Resources and Support: Expanding financial resources and support for students and growing the financial resource base for campuses.
  • Workforce Diversity and Talent Development: Incorporating the local and national context with the changing student and employee demographics and needs, focusing on cultural competence development, inclusive hiring practices, and improved campus climate.

Our Accreditations

SMSU is accredited by:

  • the National Association of Schools of Music,
  • the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB),
  • the Council on Social Work Education,
  • the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP),
  • the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 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

Our Academic Organization

Academic Units

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


  • School of Agriculture
  • School of Business & Public Affairs
  • School of Education
  • School of Graduate Studies


  • Agriculture, Culinology and Hospitality Management
  • Business Innovation & Strategy
  • Education
  • English, Philosophy, Spanish and Humanities
  • Fine Arts and Communication
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Nursing
  • Science
  • Social Science

Majors and Minors

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

Our Students

Our Alumni & Placement

Our Mustang Athletics

NCAA Division II

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
National Intercollegiate Wheelchair
Basketball Association

Athletic Highlights for 2021-22 Year

SMSU Athletics had another exceptional year both on the field of play and in the classroom.•SMSU student-athletes compiled a 3.02 GPA.

  • More than 200 student-athletes named to Dean’s List
  • A total of 90 student-athletes named Academic All-NSIC
  • A total of 12 student-athletes received All-NSIC accolades.
  • Three student-athletes named All-Region or Region Champion.
  • Four student-athletes named All-American.
  • Angela Young (volleyball) named second team CoSIDA Academic All-American.
  • Meg Schmidt (volleyball) and Angela Young (volleyball) both named AVCA honorable mention All-American.
  • Young named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 26.
  • Onte Burns (football) led the NSIC in tackles for the second straight season.
  • Volleyball team finished the season ranked No. 23 in the AVCA Top 25.
  • Terry Culhane retires as head volleyball coach with 431 victories and closes career as the 14th winningest NCAA Division II in win percentage.
  • Swimmer Natalie Bohnert earns first team All-NSIC for the third straight season.
  • Women’s basketball hosted first NSIC Tournament game since 2005 and earned first NSIC Tournament victory since 2003.
  • Wheelchair basketball placed sixth at the 2022 NWBA National Tournament.
  • Walter Johnson (wheelchair basketball) named a 2022 NWBA first team All-American and finished career scoring more than 3,000 points.
  • Former wheelchair basketball standout, Josh Turek, captures gold medal with Team USA wheelchair basketball team at the 2022 Tokyo Paralympics in August.
  • Caden Steffen (wrestling) won the 2022 NCAA Super Region 184-pound championship and earned All-American honors placing sixth at the NCAA Championships.
  • Softball player Bailey Johnson becomes the program’s all-time leader in hits with 225.
  • SMSU tennis team finished the regular season with a program Division II record 16 victories and advanced to the NSIC Tournament for the third straight season.
  • Chayse Jackson (wrestling), Tyler Boddy (volleyball), Clay Glasgow (soccer) and Scott Underwood (football) all named new head coaches.

Our Faculty and Staff

Our Tuition and Affordability

SMSU does NOT charge out of state tuition


Our Accolades

Teaching Degree Rankings

  • No. 1 nationally for Best Value School for Education Students
  • No. 1 nationally for Teaching English or French Students
  • No. 1 in the Plains States for General Education Students
  • No. 1 in the Plains States for Teaching English or French Students
  • No. 1 in Minnesota for General Education Students

Plexuss Global Rankings

  • No. 1 in Minnesota for Early Childhood Education Programs
  • No. 4 in Minnesota for Agriculture Programs

Colleges of Distinction

  • SMSU’s commitment to engaged, hands-on education has resulted in being named a College of Distinction, a trusted resource that helps students find the right college. Colleges of Distinction selected SMSU because of its student-centered education, dynamic learning environment and inclusiveness. Rankings

  • No. 4 for Best Affordable Schools in Minnesota for Bachelor’s Degrees
  • No. 7 nationally for Most Affordable Colleges for Hospitality Degree Programs
  • No. 8 nationally for Most Affordable Online Schools for Out-of-State Students, Master’s Degree
  • No. 10 nationally for Best Affordable ESL Teaching Degree Programs
  • No. 12 nationally for Most Affordable Online Schools for Out-of-State Students, Bachelor’s Degree
  • No. 12 nationally for Best Affordable Sociology Degree Programs
  • No. 13 nationally for Best Affordable Psychology Degree Programs
  • No. 14 nationally for Best Affordable Marketing Degree Programs
  • No. 14 nationally for Best Affordable Mathematics and Statistics Degree Programs
  • No. 19 nationally for Best Affordable Agricultural Business Management Degree Programs Ranking

  • No. 1 in Minnesota for Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs Ranking

  • No. 1 Safest Campus in Minnesota

Military Friendly School Ranking

  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification
  • 2022-23 Gold Division

Military Spouse Friendly School Ranking

  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification

  • No. 5 in Minnesota for Online RN to BSN Programs Ranking

  • No. 30 nationally in Best Master’s in Coaching Degrees Ranking

  • No. 26 nationally for Best Early Childhood Education Programs

THE MUSTANG PROMISE: Within six months of graduation, you’ll be employed or enrolled in grad school. If not, come back to enroll in one of SMSU’s graduate programs with your first semester of tuition on us. THAT’S OUR PROMISE.

In this unique program, students work with a faculty advisor and the SMSU Career Services staff to take steps that have been proven to lead to success in the job search. If students do their part and still don’t land a job related to their major within six months of graduation, we’ll give them FREE TUITION for their first semester in one of our master’s degree programs. For details on the Mustang Promise, visit:

Our Assets and Financial Data

The Campus

Financial Data*

Our SMSU Foundation

SMSU Foundation | 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 Agriculture & 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.


Our Role in the Economy

SMSU’s impact on the regional economy is estimated at $286.5 million, according to a study commissioned by the Minnesota State system in 2023. This includes a direct impact of $86.3 million, and an indirect impact of $86.8 million.

The University supports and sustains 2,248 jobs annually, according to the study, 1,614 direct and 634 indirect, both at the University and in the community. SMSU directly employs 413 people.

An estimated $4,265,823 in charitable donations and volunteer activities are generated annually by SMSU faculty, staff, and students. SMSU faculty, staff, and students donate an average of $538,755 annually to local charitable organizations and the equivalent of over $3.7 million in volunteer time annually.

Approximately, 9,080 Southwest Minnesota State University alumni living and working in Minnesota are continuing to make a positive economic impact, generating $424.5 million in economic impact as well as supporting and sustaining 2,309 jobs.

SMSU, our suppliers, students, and visitors generate $23.4 million in combined impact on the local and state tax revenue. This includes a direct impact of $15.9 million and an indirect impact of $7.5 million.

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 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, Action TrackChair, Runnings, and Ralco, along with major employers USBank, Archer Daniels Midland, and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. Marshall is home to the Red Baron Arena & Expo.

For more information about Marshall visit:

Refer a Student

Please consider referring future Mustangs to the Office of Admission online at:

If the student you refer enrolls, you will be entered in a drawing for one of two $25 Barnes & Noble gift cards. Referral winners will be notified at the beginning of each new semester and recognized on SMSU Today.

Contact the Office of Admission:

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

Last Modified: 2/14/23 2:56 PM | Website Feedback