Southeast MIssouri State University began as the Southeast Missouri State Normal School, an institution that prepared schoolteachers for the Missouri school system using the normal method (which relied on experiential education in model classrooms). Founded in 1873, SEMO has the distinction of being noted in Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, and its riverside campus has often been recognized for its beauty. Today, SEMO is ranked in the top 30 regional public universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, and is one of the state’s leading institutions for teacher education and online study, which has further raised Southeast Missouri State’s national profile in recent years.
Since its origins as a normal school, Southeast Missouri State has grown into a comprehensive university offering more than 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as a doctorate in education. Understandably, the College of Education is one of the state’s most successful, preparing more teachers for Missouri’s public school system than any other college in the state. The Harrison College of Business has also emerged as a regional leader, with a large endowment for scholarships and a 90% job placement rate for graduates. Other highly regarded professional programs, including nursing, criminal justice, and social work, have earned national rankings, including high honors for SEMO’s online degree programs.
In recent years, it is Southeast Missouri State’s online and adult education that has received the most attention, with more than two dozen fully online degree programs available worldwide. From in-demand graduate programs like the MBA, MA in Education, and the new Master of Public Administration, to key bachelor’s completion programs like the RN to BSN and Criminal Justice, SEMO is making crucial educational opportunities available to working adult students, whether they are rural residents who cannot reach campus, or busy professionals who cannot afford to take time from their careers to earn the credentials they need for promotion and advancement.
With just over 10,000 students, Southeast Missouri State is an active, engaged community. More than three-quarters of the student body is from Missouri, with a substantially higher number of women than men, while a quarter of the student population includes minority or international students. While the majority of the student body is still made up of traditional-aged residential students, SEMO’s turn to online and adult education is quickly shifting those demographics; the average age is 22, but gradually moving up. With a student body diverse in backgrounds, age, nationality, and identity, there are a wealth of organizations and clubs to help students find themselves and their peers.
Greek life is also a major part of student life at SEMO, with more than 20 fraternities and sororities taking part in community service, leadership activities, and student support. Redhawks athletics are also deeply embedded in SEMO’s student life, with more than a dozen NCAA Division I varsity teams competing in the Ohio Valley Conference. Southeast is also the home of the Clark Terry Jazz Festival, honoring the legendary Missouri-born musician since 1998 with an international event attracting musicians from around the world.