MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox |

MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox

By Niamh O

Updated March 20, 2021 Updated March 20, 2021

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 2020Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas is ranked 38th in the US and 79th in the world, while SMU – Cox School of Business is ranked 56th in the US and 111-120th 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

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 a mandatory international field trip experience

Fees and funding

Fees vary depending on whether you are a Texas resident or non-resident

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 scholarship awards to approx. 65 percent of students, with awards ranging from 10-100 percent of fees

All students are considered automatically for merit scholarships


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:

  • Undergraduate degree required and transcripts
  • Three essays
  • GMAT/GRE score
  • Interview
  • English proficiency tests required for non-native English speakers

Class profile 

The MBA cohorts at UT Dallas and SMU are quite a bit different.

UT Dallas's MBA cohort is slightly more intimate with an average of 55 students, and an average age of 28. On average, UT Dallas MBA students have an average of five years' work experience, an average GPA of 3.4, and women make up 48 percent of the class.

If you're interested in applying to UT Dallas's program, the average test scores are 675 for the GMAT and 312 for the GRE.

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

On the other hand, SMU's two-year MBA program welcomes around 115 students with an average of 4.5 years' work experience.

On the MBA program, 34 percent of students are women, students are aged between 21 and 42, with 18 countries represented. On average, SMU MBA students score a 652 average on the GMAT and have an average GPA of 3.30.

Fees and funding

Tuition for UT Dallas's full-time MBA program differs for residents and non-residents. Per year, residents would only pay US$33,215 in tuition and fees and non-residents would pay US$61,852.

However, if UT Dallas students wanted to undertake the two-year format (21 months), residents would pay US$46,051 and non-residents would pay US$86,094 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 per year (based on a 9-month school year for the 2019-20 academic year) for the two-year MBA program is US$46,975. Other outgoings for MBA students includes US$7,360 for university and program fees, US$17,700 for student living expenses, US$2,500 for books and supplies, US$3,000 for health insurance, US$1,500 for transportation, and misc. expenses at US$1,500 - meaning nine months on the SMU MBA program will set students back around US$80,535. 

If you’d like to apply to SMU Cox School of Business for your MBA program, follow this link.

There are a number of scholarships available at Cox, including merit scholarships like the Forté Fellowship, Diversity Scholars, and ROMBA Fellowship.

There are a number of financial aid options available to MBA students at SMU.

The Cox MBA program provides scholarship awards to approx. 65 percent of students, with awards ranging from 10-100 percent of fees. To qualify for scholarship consideration, prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply in Round 1 or Round 2 (in 2018 the average scholarship awarded was US$46,000).

All students are considered automatically for merit scholarships. Other scholarships available include Forte Fellowships (for women in business), Diversity Scholars, ROMBA Fellowship (for LGBTQ+ applicants), military scholarships and more (see here).


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 15th 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:

  • Undergraduate degree required (all backgrounds are welcome), must provide transcripts
  • Required to complete three essays of 250 words
  • GMAT or GRE is required. Students receiving merit scholarships typically score over 650 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 all semesters, including financial accounting, marketing management, organizational behavior and strategic management. Students have around 32 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 Finance, Healthcare Leadership and Management, Marketing, Real Estate and Supply Chain Management.

SMU Cox’s approach to specialization differs in that you can choose up to two areas of concentration to fit your program around your interests and goals. Each concentration requires 12-16 credit hours. Concentrations offered include Accounting, Management, Strategy & Entrepreneurship and Business Analytics.

The Global Leadership Program is a mandatory year-long immersion culminating in an all-expenses paid 10-day trip touring a region’s corporate headquarters and meeting c-suite executives. 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: the 2017 Fortune 500 list showed that the city of Dallas has nine Fortune 500 companies, with the region having 22.

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$90,000 – US$100,000.

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, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan and Toyota. 


This article was originally published in July 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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