MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox |

MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated March 5, 2024 Updated March 5, 2024

Dallas, affectionately referred to as the ‘Big D’ is possibly Texas’ most famous city, immortalized in the eponymous TV show, and known worldwide for NFL legends Dallas Cowboys. It’s the US’s fastest growing metropolitan area, and an affluent, vibrant city.

Dallas is also home to two excellent schools featured in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2024Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas is ranked 38th in the US and =92nd in the world, while SMU – Cox School of Business is ranked 51-60 in the US and 141-150 globally.

Both schools offer exceptional MBA tuition in the Lone Star State, but how do the programs compare? Read on to find out…

                                               Top MBA Programs in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox


UT Dallas (Naveen Jindal)

SMU Cox School of Business

Length and format of program

53 credit hour program with a full-time, daytime core curriculum

Students complete the program in 18 months, with an optional extra semester for a 21-month program

Cohorts start in August and graduate 18 months later in December

Core classes are held Monday-Thursday with Fridays reserved for career enrichment

One-year or two-year full-time program

You will take core courses in the first year, with the second year focused on electives

Required summer internship

Also includes the option to study in Bocconni University in Milan, Italy in the second year.

Fees and funding

Fees vary depending on whether you are a Texas resident or non-resident. For a Texas-resident estimated tuition and fees is around $35,000. For a non-Texas resident, estimated tuition and fees is around $65,000. Check the university website for the most recent prices.

Two types of scholarships are available for the program – cohort and corporate. Both are merit-based and will be determined alongside your admissions decision

The Cox MBA program provides two scholarship awards:

Merit scholarships awards students up to US$30,000 on the basis of their academic achievements. All students are automatically considered.

Forte Fellowship scholarships are awarded by the Forte Foundation which supports women in business and gives scholars the opportunity to become Forte Fellows.


You will need to provide:

  • Transcripts and degree certificates
  • Essay(s)
  • Resume and letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test scores for international students
  • Application fee

To apply to SMU Cox you will need:

  • A completed online application form
  • A professional resumé
  • Two compulsory and one optional essay
  • A completed undergraduate degree transcript
  • GMAT or GRE test results achieved in the last five years.
  • A TOEFL or IELTS test taken in the last two years for non-native English speakers.
  • Two professional or academic references
  • A 30-45 minute interview

Class profile

UT Dallas's MBA cohort is slightly more intimate with an average of 50 students, and an average age of 28. On average, UT Dallas MBA students have an average of 5.2 years' work experience, an average GPA of 3.6, and women make up 35 percent of the class.

If you're interested in applying to UT Dallas's program, the average test scores are 690 for the GMAT and 314 for the GRE.

The top three undergraduate majors associated with UT Dallas students are business, engineering, and social sciences. 

In 2023, SMU's one-year MBA program welcomed 35 students with an average of 5.4 years' work experience.

On the MBA program, 31 percent of students are women, the average student age in 28, with 40 percent of the cohort being international students. On average, SMU MBA students score a 685 average on the GMAT and have an average GPA of 3.32.

Fees and funding

Tuition for UT Dallas's full-time MBA program differs for residents and non-residents. For the standard MBA in 2024, residents would only pay US$35,918 in tuition and fees and non-residents would pay US$65,407.

However, if UT Dallas students wanted to undertake the two-year format (21 months), residents would pay US$49,660 and non-residents would pay US$90,989 in tuition and fees.

Two types of scholarships are available for the MBA program – cohort and corporate. Both are merit-based and will be determined alongside your admissions decision:

  • Applicants are encouraged to apply by March 1st to be considered for scholarships
  • Around 75 percent of recent cohorts have been awarded some form of scholarship based on merit

SMU's tuition for the one-year MBA program is US$62,847 in 2024. Other outgoings for MBA students includes US$14,752 for university and program fees, US$27,228 for housing, US$2,000 for books and supplies, US$2,848 for transportation, and misc. expenses including health insurance at US$4,877 - meaning a 12-month school year on the SMU MBA program will set students back around US$111,734 depending on lifestyle factors.

There are two scholarship options available to students at SMU Cox. These are the merit based scholarships and the Forte Fellowship scholarship.

The Cox MBA program provides scholarship awards based on the academic merit of applicants. All applicants are automatically considered for scholarship if their academic background is considered to be impressive. The merit scholarships can award students anything up to US$30,000 towards their tuition.

The Forte Fellowship Scholarship aims to encourage women to work towards positions of power in the world of business. The recipients of the scholarship are decided by the Forte Foundation and will be offered to join the Forte Fellows: an exclusive group of top future business leaders.


If you’d like to apply to UT Dallas, these are the things you need to know.

You will need to provide official documentation including:

  • Transcripts and degree certificates
  • Graduate admissions test scores (GMAT preferred but GRE accepted)
  • Essay(s)
  • Resume and letters of recommendation
  • International students will be asked to provide proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS and PTE are all accepted), plus verified translated copies of transcripts not in English
  • Application fee: US$100 plus additional US$50 fee for students outside the US
  • Fee waiver available for UT Dallas alumni and US active duty military and veterans

Application deadlines vary:

  • Round 1: October 15th deadline, participants will be notified December 15th
  • Round 2: January 8th deadline, participants will be notified February 20th
  • Round 3: March 1st deadline, participants will be notified April 15th
  • Round 4: May 1st deadline, participants will be notified June 15th

Prospective students can find out about scholarships and financial aid through the UT Dallas Office of Financial Aid.

If you’re going to apply to SMU Cox, you will need to provide:

  • A completed online application form
  • A professional resumé
  • Undergraduate degree required (all backgrounds are welcome), must provide transcripts
  • Required to complete two essays:
    • SMU Cox is a close-knit community that values teamwork. Our students are put into study groups within their cohort to build leadership and collaboration skills. What five things would you like your study group to know about you? (500 words or less)
    • What are your short-term post-MBA career goals and your long-term ambitions (100 words or less)
  • One optional essay on a subject of your choice if you feel that your application has not successfully addressed something important.
  • GMAT or GRE is required. Students receiving merit scholarships typically score over 685 in the GMAT
  • 30-45-minute interview
  • For non-native English speakers, English proficiency tests are required (min. 100 TOEFL score, min. 7.5 IELTS, min. 68 PTE)
  • You don’t need to provide a reference letter but need contact details of two referees
  • Minimum of two years’ work experience and resume required

Inside the MBA classroom

Both programs include a mix of core and elective courses, as well as a summer internship. They also offer opportunities for specialization in several areas. However, there are some key differences between the programs.

At UT Texas, students undertake core courses in almost all semesters, including finance, marketing, statistics, analytics and management. Students have around 42 core semester credit hours and 21 elective credit hours, including an optional international field trip.

Although it’s not required, students are encouraged to consider concentrations to deepen their knowledge and expertise in certain subject areas. The school offers 15 concentrations including:

  • Accounting
  • Business analytics
  • Energy management
  • Finance
  • Healthcare leadership and management
  • Information technology management
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Internal audit
  • International management
  • Leadership in organisations
  • Marketing
  • Real estate
  • Strategic management
  • Supply chain management
  • Systems engineering management

At SMU Cox students must choose six to eight courses within their area of concentration. Available concentrations at the school include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • ITOM: business analytics
  • ITOM: information and operations
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Real estate
  • Strategy and entrepreneurship
  • General business

The Global Leadership Program is a mandatory year-long immersion culminating in an all-expenses paid week-long trip which includes company visits, meetings with business leaders, lectures and cultural excursions. Past destinations have included Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and Havana.

Outside the MBA classroom

Both schools benefit from their location. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has one of the largest concentrations of corporate headquarters for publicly traded corporations in the US.

AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the world, has been headquartered in Dallas since 2008. The city is also the third most popular destination for business travel in the US.

SMU Cox takes advantage of this with their Business Leadership Center, which offers around four semesters per week targeting leadership areas. This includes visits from industry professionals from companies including Accenture, Dell and Walt Disney Company.

There is an optional non-profit consulting program for six weeks every spring, where you and a team of classmates can help a local non-profit to solve its core business challenges.

In terms of career development, Cox’s Career Management Center helps during and after your studies with a dedicated career coach. ‘Treks’ are also available – these are city trips organized for MBA students in career trajectories in Marketing, Energy and Finance. You spend time at several organizations, talking to employees, meeting upper management and learning from Cox alumni who work there.

UT Dallas is similarly focused on career development for their MBA students, who have an impressive placement rate of 90 percent within three months of graduation and a class average salary of around US$124,000.

The Career Management Center (CMC) words closely with MBA students, with each student having a dedicated career coach, plus professional development opportunities with partner companies. The CMC also hosts industry forums and mock interview days. Recent UT Dallas employers include Amazon, Deloitte, Intel, JP Morgan and Toyota. 

Frequently asked questions

What is University of Texas Dallas ranking?

In the QS World University Rankings 2024, University of Texas Dallas is ranked =520th in the world and 86th in the US.

What is University of Texas at Dallas acceptance rate?

The University of Texas at Dallas has not published at official acceptance rate figure however US News predicts it to be around 85%.

What GPA do you need for UT Dallas?

UT Dallas do not ask for a specific minimum GPA from prospective students, however in the MBA programme the average GPA of students is 3.6, which is considered competitive.

What is SMU Cox's acceptance rate?

Although they do not publish an official acceptance rate, according to SMU in the Fall 2023 intake of undergraduate students, they received 15,091 applications and made admission offers to 9,241 students with 1,592 students enrolling.

What is the average GMAT score for SMU Cox?

The average GMAT score for MBA students at SMU Cox was 685.

This article was originally published in July 2020 . It was last updated in March 2024

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