Eight-week program launching in April offers SMU graduate, certificate courses

DALLAS (SMU) – Military service members, veterans, and others can now enroll in a new program at SMU that aims to help them succeed in the classroom and workforce. The Catalyst Program at SMU, which welcomes its first cohort of students later this month, introduces participants to academic courses at SMU and related career-building experience at several area partner companies and organizations.

The program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Veterans Commission and eligible participants may use their Veterans Educational Benefits to fund the full cost of the program. Students will engage in a career transition-focused curriculum, receive brand management training, earn a professional certificate in project management, and complete six graduate-level credit hours.

“SMU strives to be among our nation’s best when it comes to serving the military community,” Robert Hurst, assistant director of veterans affairs at SMU, said. “The Catalyst Program at SMU is another example of SMU’s concerted efforts to support veterans, military service members, and their families as they consider what may come next in their professional lives.”

According to Hurst, the program will be the first of its kind in Texas and will help guide participants through the transition process from service to the classroom or the workforce.

Veterans enrolled in the first cohort of the program will attend the Executive Leadership course offered through the SMU Cox School of Business MBA program, and complete coursework offered through the interdisciplinary Master’s of Science in Data Science program administered by the SMU Global and Online division. The two certificate programs, Project Management and Brand Management, are offered through the SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) division.

Students will have opportunities to work with top companies with real-life operational challenges to solve while collaborating with other students to understand the issues and propose solutions. By completing the course work and professional interactions, program organizers believe participants will gain exposure to different areas of employment and be able to demonstrate individual strengths and knowledge to hiring managers, which has the potential to generate career opportunities.

The Catalyst at SMU is also open to non-veterans who wish to benefit from the curriculum and professional career-building opportunities.

“While the program is geared toward our service members and their family members, it is not an exclusive program,” Hurst said. “We encourage everyone, regardless of background, to attend. With the incorporation of case studies from our workforce partners, graduate-level course work and professional certificates, there is something for everyone within the program,” he said.

SMU recently earned the special designation of a Military Friendly School for its outreach and engagement efforts. The designation recognizes an organization’s “commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.”

“We are truly grateful for this recognition and excited to build upon the hard work and dedication shown across the SMU community and its faculty and staff,” Hurst added.

More information about the Catalyst at SMU Program, including course and program descriptions, tuition and fees, and financial aid, is available online.