#1 University of Mississippi
Located adjacent to Oxford, the University of Mississippi (UM and otherwise known as Ole Miss) is a public institution and research facility offering rigorous online degrees, mostly at the graduate level, except for one bachelor’s and one doctoral degree. It enrolls 16% of its graduate students in distance-only education. Online master’s degrees are available in fields of study, including applied science, business, education, journalism and new media, and law. Some of the notable online graduate degrees include business administration, criminal justice, teaching, and air and space law.
UM uses Blackboard as its learning management system for online curriculum delivery. It has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and serves approximately 5,000 graduate students. Online student resources include tech support, access to the library, access to the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, and proctored exams. Its Career Center is also open to distance learners, including resume and job search help, virtual job fairs, and help locating internships.
#2 Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University (MSU) is a public institution featuring many online bachelor's degree programs. The university's most sought-after undergraduate degree is its customizable Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree, which is available online. The online Bachelor of Business Administration is another popular choice. MSU accepts 80% of bachelor's applicants and eventually graduates 60% of its bachelor's students.
Online learners at MSU complete coursework using the Canvas LMS. The university serves mainly full-time on-campus students, but 9% of enrollees are part-time, and the same percentage attends online courses exclusively. MSU is known as a research university that currently accounts for more than half of all the research and development funding in Mississippi.
#3 University of Southern Mississippi
The public University of Southern Mississippi (USM) offers a variety of online bachelor's degrees. These include some of USM's most popular programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for current registered nurses, and the Bachelor of Liberal Studies. This school has a 96% acceptance rate for bachelor's candidates, and half of all bachelor's degree students graduate with degrees.
USM uses the Canvas learning management system to deliver online courses. Fifteen percent of the university's students take a part-time course load, and 20% of all enrollees are exclusively online learners.
#4 Belhaven University
Belhaven University is a private Presbyterian school offering multiple online bachelor's degrees. Common choices include the school's Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, and Bachelor of Health Administration. Belhaven accepts half of all applicants to bachelor's programs, and 45% of admitted bachelor's students end up earning degrees.
Belhaven is a predominantly Black institution, with 39% of enrollees identifying with this background. Forty-one percent of students are part-time learners, and about one-third study online exclusively. All undergraduates take a course called Kingdom Life: Family and Workplace in their final year, which aims to help students live Belhaven's Christian values.
#5 Jackson State University
Jackson State University (JSU) is a public institution with a few online bachelor's degrees on offer. One of these online programs is the university's most popular degree, the Bachelor of Science in Professional Interdisciplinary Studies. Students can also opt for online bachelor's programs in criminal justice, childcare and family education, and healthcare administration. JSU has a 90% acceptance rate and a 45% graduation rate for bachelor's degree programs.
JSU's online learners sign in to the Canvas LMS to work on courses. JSU is a historically Black college or university (HBCU) with a current enrollment of 92% Black students. One-third of students are enrolled in online-only programs.
#6 William Carey University
William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg is a private, Baptist institution offering online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in some of today’s most in-demand fields. These fields of study include health sciences, business, education, nursing, and natural and behavioral sciences. Degrees of interest include nursing (at the undergraduate and graduate levels), business administration, physical education, and criminal justice. Overall, the school is considered reasonably competitive, accepting a little over half of applicants, with just under half of students graduating.
WCU delivers its online coursework and instruction via Canvas. It has a student body of approximately 6,000 and a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. About one-third of graduate students and 14% of undergrads enroll exclusively online at WCU.
#7 Mississippi University for Women
Despite its name, Mississippi University for Women (MUW) is a coeducational public university. It provides more than a dozen online bachelor's degrees to choose from, with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree having the highest enrollment. Many students also opt for the Bachelor of Business Administration in General Business or Bachelor of Applied Science in General Business degrees. For bachelor's degrees, the university's acceptance rate is 99% and its graduation rate is 62%.
MUW uses the Canvas platform to host online courses. Nearly one-third of students are enrolled in fully online programs. In addition, 41% of enrollees identify as Black and 79% as female.
#8 University of Mississippi Medical Center
As part of UM, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson is a public institution offering online degrees in healthcare and health sciences at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Notable online bachelor’s degrees include majors such as health informatics and information management, radiologic sciences, and nursing. Online master’s degree programs include nursing, health systems administration, and population health science. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are also available for online students.
UMMC delivers its online curriculum via Blackboard. The school is classified as an R1 university for its very high research activity and its doctoral degree program by Carnegie. It has also earned the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.
#9 Mississippi College
Mississippi College (MC) in suburban Clinton is a private institution following the Southern Baptist doctrine. It offers online degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels across various disciplines that 5% of undergrads and 37% of graduate students enroll in. Popular majors include business administration, Homeland Security, nursing, cybersecurity & information assurance, and teaching arts. Several online programs are available in an accelerated format, including bachelor’s degrees in nursing and business administration and master’s degrees in special education, elementary education, and curriculum and instruction. MC accepts approximately half of applicants, and 52% of students graduate.
MC uses Canvas for online program delivery. It serves just over 4,000 students and has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. MC awards academic scholarships to students and the Speed Scholarship to Mississippi residents. Speed Scholarships award full tuition to eligible Mississippi high school students and transfer students.
#10 Delta State University
Cleveland’s Delta State University (DSU) is a public institution offering online graduate degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Over 80% of graduate students at DSU enroll exclusively online. Notable majors include business administration, counseling, education, nursing, and social justice and criminology. DSU also offers two unique online master’s degree programs in geospatial information technologies and commercial aviation.
Canvas is DSU’s digital learning platform. While most coursework and instruction are delivered asynchronously, some programs are delivered synchronously, requiring students to log on at specific times and days. DSU has a low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small classes. DSU is relatively diverse, with 54% of students identifying as White and 36% as Black. Distance learners represent all 50 states and just as many countries.
#11 Alcorn State University
Alcorn State University (ASU) in rural Mississippi is a public, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) with campuses in Lorman, Natchez, and Vicksburg, offering a limited selection of online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Over half of graduate students and 9% of undergrads at ASU participate in distance-only learning. Fields of study include nursing, education, criminal justice, and child development. Majors of interest include online master’s degrees in nurse educator, biology, and workforce education leadership. ASU is competitive, accepting only 39% of applicants. Just over 40% of students graduate with degrees.
Online students at ASU access Canvas to participate in classes and complete coursework. ASU has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. As an HBCU, 93% of its students and 61% of its full-time staff are Black. ASU looks at the whole student when accepting applicants of “every background, interest, talent, and outlook” to gather diverse and promising individuals who will “challenge, inspire, and encourage one another.”
#12 Wesley Biblical Seminary
Wesley Biblical Seminary (WBS) in suburban Ridgeland is a very small, private, interdenominational faith-based institution offering three online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels targeting ministry careers. Virtually all WBS students enroll in distance-only education. Its online degrees include a bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry, a master’s degree in divinity, and a doctoral degree in ministry. An online graduate certificate is also available in four concentrations: apologetics, Biblical literature, Christian studies, and theology.
Coursework and instruction are delivered live via Zoom. However, WBS students can still receive instruction asynchronously as their schedules allow via the platform Brightspace. WBS serves approximately 250 students and has a 26:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Therefore, students can expect small class sizes. Online students are eligible for all WBS scholarships to help pay for college. WBS is diverse, with 40% identifying as White and 45% as Black.
Higher Education in Mississippi
Mississippi is one of the country's most important agricultural states, but it is also heavily invested in manufacturing, aerospace, natural resources, logistics, and other key industries. Among the state's top employers are Nissan, McKesson, McLane, La-Z-Boy, and Sanderson Farms.
Mississippi residents have many options when it comes to preparing to join the state's workforce with a college degree. Public schools include the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, Hinds Community Colleges, East Mississippi Community Colleges, and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Colleges. Private institutions in the state include Mississippi College, Millsaps College, and Belhaven University.
If you're thinking of pursuing a bachelor's or graduate degree through distance learning, there are a number of four-year online colleges in Mississippi, including the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University. Most Mississippi two-year colleges also offer online classes, and several offer fully online associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Some of the most common fields of study include business administration, health sciences, accounting, and English.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an online college in Mississippi — in addition to cost and program offerings — is accreditation. All of the schools on our list of the best online colleges in Mississippi are accredited, usually by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC).
Enrollment in an accredited online college is required to receive financial aid and to transfer credits between colleges. A college degree from an accredited institution may also be needed to enroll in a graduate program or to obtain a state-issued license to practice certain professions, such as a teaching credential.
FAQs About Online Colleges in Mississippi
How Many Colleges Are in Mississippi?
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator lists 54 postsecondary institutions of higher education in Mississippi. About half of them are state universities, community colleges, and other public institutions. The other half are private for-profit and nonprofit schools.
What Are the Best Colleges in Mississippi?
Many notable colleges can be found in Mississippi, perhaps the most familiar being the University of Mississippi in University, often referred to as Ole Miss. Other well-known colleges in the state include Mississippi State University, Mississippi College, the University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Alcorn State University.
How Much Is Mississippi College Tuition?
According to 2020-21 data provided by the NCES, Mississippi's college tuition and fees are lower than the national average in nearly every category. However, earning a college degree can still be a significant investment, so you might consider some of the following ways to minimize your expenses:
- Enroll in a Mississippi college online degree program. Some schools set lower tuition rates for their online degree programs than for their traditional, on-campus programs.
- Complete your general education coursework at an affordable online community college in Mississippi. You can then transfer your credits to a four-year university where you can earn an in-person or online bachelor's degree.
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financial aid. After completing this form, you'll be considered for federal aid as well as state-funded programs such as the Higher Ed Legislative Plan, the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant, and the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant.
Are There Any Historically Black Colleges in Mississippi?
Yes, Mississippi is home to seven HBCUs — five 4-year universities and two community colleges. Jackson State University in Jackson and Alcorn State University in Alcorn are the two largest HBCUs in the state, both offering a full array of on-campus and online degree programs. The remaining HBCUs are Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Rust College in Holly Spring, Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, and Hinds Community College in Utica.
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