Situated in the heart of the southern United States, Mississippi is home to some of the nation’s oldest and most respected universities. For instance, Mississippi State University has been nationally ranked by Forbes as one of America’s Best College Buys and the University of Mississippi was ranked among America’s Best Value Colleges. There are incredible educational opportunities available to students, so whether you strive to obtain an associate’s degree or a doctorate, your educational pursuits are well within reach.
Mississippi is widely referred to as the Hospitality State, and nowhere is this southern hospitality more evident than in the state’s thriving public universities. If you crave the bustling collegiate experience of being among a large student body in an established institution of higher learning, you will want to check out the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State, and the University of Southern Mississippi, all of which are made up of expansive multi-campus systems with myriad opportunities for personal growth and achievement.
|School||Number of Students|
|Mississippi State University||22,335|
|University of Mississippi||19,911|
|University of Southern Mississippi||19,040|
|Jackson State University||9,565|
|Delta State University||5,270|
If your aspirations involve agriculture or applied sciences, you may feel right at home at Mississippi State University. Named one of the nation’s best schools for engineering and veterinary medicine, MSU has two convenient campuses located in Starkville and Meridian. This historic American institution is divided up into 10 colleges, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Other popular areas of focus include accountancy, business and education. MSU offers undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional degree programs in a variety of subject areas as well as programs for continuing education and distance learning. The university is also home to The Shackouls Honors College, which originally started at the “University Honors Program”. In 2006, the program expanded to a college that focuses on rigorous, distinctive curriculum and research, all of which is demonstrated through a senior capstone project. MSU also has more than 300 student organizations.
If you would feel more at home in a research university, you might consider the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss. The main campus is located in beautiful Oxford, Mississippi, which is ranked as the No. 2 college town in the nation by Livability.com. Ole Miss also has campuses located in Booneville, Grenada, Southaven, Tupelo, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. With a more than a dozen schools and colleges that include applied sciences, business administration, liberal arts, law and medicine, you can explore a wealth of exciting fields and aspirations from the comfort of an intimate classroom setting—the student-faculty ratio at the university is just 19 to 1, and almost half of the classes at Ole Miss have fewer than 20 students.
Although the university’s School of Accountancy has consistently ranked in the nation’s top 10, Ole Miss offers a variety of other academic degrees and programs that are available through its 16 schools and colleges, such as the College of Liberal Arts, School of Business Administration, School of Dentistry, School of Law, and Health Sciences Graduate School.
The University of Southern Mississippi offers all levels of degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and specialty degrees. With campuses located in Hattiesburg and Long Beach (plus five teaching and research sites) Southern Miss is nationally renowned for its Center for Writers, its School of Communications, and its Polymer Science and Engineering Department. U.S. News & World Report listed Southern Miss among the nation’s Most Popular Universities. This should come as no surprise when you consider the environment. Not only does the school offer excellent academics, but also it boasts nearly 300 thriving student organizations, and is home to one of the largest student unions in the country, the 4-story R.C. Cook University Union.
Much like the University of Mississippi, Southern Miss has a low student-faculty ration of just 17:1. It offers more than 140 undergraduate degree programs and over 200 master’s and doctoral degree programs in a wide range of academic areas.
Additional four-year public colleges in Mississippi include:
Mississippi boasts a total of 15 community colleges, situated from the northern delta to the southern gulf. So no matter what region you choose to call home, you can find a quality community college to help you reach your educational goals. Obtain an associate’s degree, accumulate credits toward your four-year education, or become certified in a specialized trade. You can even obtain your GED. All community colleges are overseen by the Mississippi Board for Community Colleges, which seeks to “foster an environment of excellence to promote world-class education and job training for a more prosperous Mississippi.”
When it comes to areas of focus, your options are as broad and diverse as you’ll find at many other community colleges. From general education requirements to specialized subjects and trades, these schools will provide you with the foundation you need to pursue your desired course at an affordable cost. You may even be able to take your desired classes online through the Mississippi Virtual Community College.
|School||Number of Students|
|Hinds Community College||18,180|
|Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College||14,193|
|Northwest Mississippi Community College||11,781|
|Itawamba Community College||11,112|
|Holmes Community College||10,033|
If you prefer the structure, intimacy, and exclusivity of a private education, Mississippi has 13 private colleges from which to choose. Most are religiously affiliated, and many have a history that spans almost 200 years. For instance, Mississippi College was founded in 1826, and is the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the United States. It’s also the largest private college in the state, with nearly 6,000 students.
If you decide to pursue a private education, you’ll need to consider whether you would feel more at home at a private university or a private liberal arts college. Private universities typically emphasize specific fields and trades, while private liberal arts colleges have broader areas of focus, exposing students to a vast wealth of arts and sciences. If you’re interested in a university environment, consider Mississippi College, Belhaven, or William Carey University. If you prefer the liberal arts, you might enjoy Blue Mountain College, Millsaps College, or Rust College.
|School||Number of Students|
|William Carey University||5,704|
Students in Mississippi have a wealth of online educational options at their disposal. DeVry, Everest College, and American InterContinental University are just some of the online universities that offer comprehensive programs and degrees, but your options aren’t limited to the national online power players. Many of the state’s esteemed private and public universities have expanded their distance learning options in order to better accommodate busy students with family and work responsibilities. For instance, the following Mississippi public schools offer various online courses and degrees:
Furthermore, the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC) offers more than 2,500 courses taught by more than 1,300 real instructors, covering a wide range of subjects and certifications. The MSVCC system is open to students of all 15 community colleges in the state, and provides a highly affordable means of taking classes online.
Though commonly perceived as an agriculture state, Mississippi is home to an extensive array of thriving industries. While agriculture does remain one of the state’s largest economic providers—accounting for 29 percent of the state’s employment, according to Growing Mississippi—it’s not the only game in town. Other thriving industries include manufacturing, transportation, hospitality and finance, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent data indicates that the government is now Mississippi’s largest employer, with job opportunities expanding at both the state and federal level. The state’s other top employers include Ashley Furniture, Baptist Memorial Hospitals, BlueCross BlueShield, First State Bank, Grand Casinos, IMS Engineering, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, and Pearl River Resorts.
Mississippi State UniversityMississippi State, Mississippi
University of MississippiUniversity, Mississippi
University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg, Mississippi
Hinds Community CollegeRaymond, Mississippi
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegePerkinston, Mississippi
Northwest Mississippi Community CollegeSenatobia, Mississippi
Jackson State UniversityJackson, Mississippi
Holmes Community CollegeGoodman, Mississippi
Itawamba Community CollegeFulton, Mississippi
East Mississippi Community CollegeScooba, Mississippi