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Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, Missouri - 63701
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About Us

Southeast Missouri State University is a regional comprehensive MASTER'S institution of higher education located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Southeast was first established as the Missouri Normal School for the Third District in 1873. Today, Southeast offers over 200 areas of study for undergraduates, 35 Master's degree programs, specialist degrees in Educational Administration, Educational Leadership, and Counseling Education; and a cooperative doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. 

Southeast provides student-centered education and experiential learning with a foundation of liberal arts and sciences, embracing a tradition of access, exceptional teaching, and commitment to student success that significantly contributes to the development of the region and beyond. While serving the region, state, nation, and world, the University maintains a strong commitment to the diverse twenty-four counties of Southeast Missouri.  As a multi-purpose institution, the University achieves its educational goals through the offering of degree programs and other learning experiences to its varied constituents. Southeast provides students with high-quality, accessible and affordable educational programs and is responsive to the needs of the region with Regional Education Centers located in Sikeston, Malden Perryville and Kennett.   

Southeast is an “engaged” university supporting a wide array of research and public service programs that enrich and extend the learning environment. Recognizing its responsibility for excellence in teaching and student learning, the University supports a wide array of on-and off-campus instructional, research, and public service programs that address the intellectual, professional, personal, social, and cultural needs of its constituent groups.

  • Southeast enrolls approximately 12,000 students; undergraduate students make up approximately 90% of the total enrollment.
  • Southeast’s main campus and River Campus are located in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
  • Regional campuses are located in Sikeston, Malden, Kennett and Perryville.
  • The population of Cape Girardeau County is approximately 78,000.
  • The size of the main campus is 328 acres.
  • Southeast has five academic colleges: Donald L. Harrison College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts and College of Science, Technology and Agriculture.
  • Southeast has four schools: School of Extended Learning, School of Graduate Studies, School of University Studies & Academic Information Services, and Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Fast Facts



Southeast Missouri State University provides an excellent benefits package including retirement, medical, sick leave, holidays, individual and dependent tuition benefits. 

For complete benefit details visit our website at:


“I believe that today’s students, more than ever before, need to be able to function effectively in a society that includes people from groups with distinct characteristics. Diversity, in all its manifestations, enriches students’ educational experience, enhances their personal lives, and prepares them for successful careers in the domestic and global economy.” 

- President Carlos Vargas

Southeast Missouri State University will be a campus community where individuals from all backgrounds will feel welcomed and included; and where the campus community engages in best practices to promote cultural competence and inclusion in all aspects of its work.

Southeast Missouri State University values access to affordable, high quality education with a diverse student body, faculty, and staff that respects and celebrates a diverse learning community in a global society.

The President’s Task Force on Diversity Education was formed in November 2014 in response to concerns expressed by members of the University community regarding support for culturally diverse students, the need for diverse representation among students, faculty, staff and engaged alumni, and quality training and professional development which would increase cultural competence among these groups. While the Task Force was largely focused on race relations, the recommendations in the final report supported the pursuit of a just and inclusive community that embraces all of its members, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.The final report and recommendations of the Diversity Task Force were released in December 2015. Southeast continues to make progress toward the goals set forth in the report, as well as in further developing the University’s vision for the creation of a campus climate and culture which is inclusive, civil, engaged and welcoming to a diverse population of individuals.

The Campus Internationalization Program 

Southeast was selected as one of 11 institutions to participate in the American Council on Education (ACE) 2016-2018 Internationalization Laboratory, ACE’s premier planning process toward comprehensive internationalization efforts in teaching and learning. Ultimately, the University will review its goals and develop a strategic plan in its international education efforts that align and integrates policies, programs, and initiatives to position the University as a more globally oriented and internationally-connected institution. A leadership team comprised of Southeast faculty, staff, and students will facilitate this review process. 

Enrollment (Fall 2016)

  • Undergraduate enrollment is 10,693; graduate enrollment is 1,285.
  • Student population is 57% female/43% male.
  • Multicultural population percentage is 12%. The percentage increases to 21% when including international students.
  • There are 992 international students from 52 different countries studying at Southeast.
  • 78.2% of the undergraduate students are from Missouri. Out-of-state students represent almost all 50 states, with the largest out-of-state representation being from Illinois.
  • Average age of undergraduate students is 22. 
  • Residential student body is approximately 3,000.
  • Ratio of women to men is 1.4:1.




Southeast Missouri State University is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Established on the banks of the Mississippi River more than 200 years ago, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has evolved from a tiny trading post to a frontier settlement governed by a French-Canadian commandant to a thriving, culturally-rich community of 38,000 residents on the world's only inland cape. Only a 90 minute drive from St. Louis, Cape Girardeau is a regional hub for education, commerce, and medical care. Although the city's population is around 37,000 people, as the regional destination for healthcare, education, entertainment, shopping and employment, Cape Girardeau’s population swells to 100,000 daily as many come to Cape Girardeau daily to work, shop, go to school, or visit the many doctors' offices or two hospitals. In addition, the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, which was officially opened in December 2003, carries 26,000 cars in and out of Cape Girardeau every day.

Residents enjoy short commute times, a multitude of entertainment and dining options, and a beautiful backdrop all with a low cost of living and a welcoming small town feel. Cape Girardeau is the traffic-free alternative to big city living.

Southeast Missouri State University welcomes more than 10,000 students from the region and across the world every day. Two state-of-the-art hospitals sit within city limits. Together, the hospitals serve more than one million people from five states. Multiple private and parochial schools and more than 50 churches call Cape Girardeau home. Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus offers concerts, performing arts and other events. From state fairs to ballet, Cape Girardeau is the place for quality entertainment. Cape Girardeau has a thriving arts and performance community offering something for every taste. Local artists host a monthly art walk inviting connoisseurs and tourists alike to view their latest work. Other entertainment options include the area’s largest shopping mall and a Golf Week Top 100 course, Dalhousie.

Weekly events and learning opportunities at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center keep nature enthusiasts engaged year-round. The City of Cape Girardeau also maintains 23 individual parks that offer biking, fishing, sports and other activities. Cape Girardeau is also just 10 miles south of Trail of Tears State Park.

Cape Girardeau is the ideal place to live, work and play.


Southeast Missouri State University provides student-centered education and experiential learning with a foundation of liberal arts and sciences, embracing a tradition of access, exceptional teaching, and commitment to student success that significantly contributes to the development of the region and beyond.

Southeast Missouri State University strives to be one of the nation’s most academically competitive regional comprehensive universities, recognized for excellence in education, engagement, research, and creativity.

Student Success – Southeast Missouri State University values student-centered education and experiential learning through engaged and adaptive modes in and beyond the classroom in a safe, friendly, supportive environment that offers academic and career achievement for our students.

Excellence – Southeast Missouri State University values sustained commitment to quality teaching, research, and creative activities integrated into impactful academic and co-curricular programs that offer students a transformative educational experience.

Access and Diversity – Southeast Missouri State University values access to affordable, high quality education with a diverse student body, faculty, and staff that respects and celebrates a diverse learning community in a global society.

Community – Southeast Missouri State University values an engaged campus learning community committed through shared purposes and service; sustained by respect, accountability, and adaptability; and strengthened through collaborative partnerships that extend the expertise and accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and alumni beyond the campus.


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