Updated: August 1, 2017
The Magnolia State is home to a plethora of extraordinary colleges and universities. From Ole Miss and William Carey University, to Jackson State and Southern Miss, there are thousands of programs in Mississippi for those interested in pursuing higher education. Now, with the rise of technology and innovation in software, students don’t have to be from, or even live in, Mississippi to attend one of these high-ranking schools.
Whether you’re an adult already in the workforce, or if you’re looking to obtain a degree while taking care of your family, there are plenty of schools in Mississippi that now offer distance learning and online options for you.
Of the more than 50 post-secondary institutions in Mississippi, 13 now offer online programs. From degrees in teaching and nursing, to those in music and, even, commercial aviation, there truly seems to be a program for everyone. Students can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or even a Doctoral degree from anywhere in the world through these flexible online programs. Many of these programs also cater to those who are serving, or who have served, in the US military.
The list below is not made up of strictly online colleges; they started as traditional brick-and-mortar schools that now offer incredible online programs for those who need a bit more flexibility in earning a degree. Many of the below schools also offer equal resources and opportunities for those taking online courses as those who attend more traditional on-campus classes – so you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out!
What are the best online colleges in Mississippi?
You’re probably wondering how we decided what makes an online college great. In our mind it comes down to three factors: excellence of the school, satisfaction of the students, and the return on investment that graduates get. As such, we’ve built our rankings around these three factors. For excellence, we use data from U.S. News & World Report and the National Center for Education Statistics, for student satisfaction we aggregate responses from real students who rank their college experience on different student sites, and for return on investment we compare tuition at a school to the expected salary of graduates from that school. This data comes from Payscale and the National Center for Education Statistics.
Mississippi State University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $15,426
Located in Starkville, Mississippi, MS State is a public university dedicated to learning, service, and research that was established in 1878. With more than 160 degrees offered, including 85 bachelor’s degrees, the university’s most popular degrees are in the field of education. MS State currently ranks in the top 100 Public Schools and Universities in the United States (U.S. News & World Report).
Mississippi State’s Center for Distance Education offers an extensive list of programs at all levels for those looking to earn an online degree. Prospective students looking for a Bachelor’s degree can apply to one of four programs, including:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Technology Education
- BS in Elementary Education with concentrations in Early Childhood or Middle School
- BS in Geosciences with a concentration in Broadcast and Operational Meteorology
- BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
All distance programs at Mississippi State are offered in fall, spring, and summer semesters; following the same academic calendar schedule as on-campus courses.
Students who opt to earn a degree through the Center for Distance Education need not worry about a lack of support or guidance along their journey. The school provides support and online tutoring for all students registered in a distance learning course, as well as technical assistance through the Center’s helpdesk. MS State also offers an online tool called the SmarterMeasure Assessment to see if an online program is a good fit for you.
University of Mississippi
College Choice Score: 96.67
Average Net Price: $14,918
Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss, is a public research university located in Oxford, Mississippi. The largest university in the state, Ole Miss’ funding for external research and sponsored projects topped over $100 million in 2015. With enrollment at an all-time high, Ole Miss is home to some notable alumni, including: NFL players Archie and Eli Manning, and author William Faulkner.
Ole Miss Online is a great opportunity for those who are looking for a more flexible degree program without sacrificing quality. Ole Miss only offers Master’s degrees online at this time, most of which are through their top-ranked School of Education:
- Online MBA
- Education Specialist in Counselor Education – Play Therapy Track
- Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
- Master of Education in Elementary Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching
- Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Personnel
Every online program at Ole Miss offers advisors who are available to help students with course planning and online registration.
U.S. World News & Report recently ranked Ole Miss’ online MBA and online School of Education graduate programs among the best in the country. Online learners have the advantage of being able to work and study from anywhere. There’s also an added value as there’s no out of state tuition for online students.
College Choice Score: 95.82
Average Net Price: $16,017
Mississippi College, founded in 1826, is a Christian university located in Clinton and it’s also the oldest college in Mississippi. With 83 undergraduate degrees and 16 graduate degrees, as well as a variety of doctorate programs, MC is not just a brick-and-mortar institution. Students around the globe are invited to pursue an online degree program at MC.
Voted one of the best online programs in 2017 by Best Colleges, MC’s online school offers unique accelerated 8-week bachelor’s degree programs that cater to working professionals in areas of business administration, communication, and applied communication. There are six other undergraduate programs and 15 graduate programs that do not follow an accelerated schedule. Other bachelor’s degree programs offered online include:
- Loss Prevention
- Paralegal Studies
- Homeland Security
Online students shouldn’t worry about lacking campus resources. In fact, students who pursue an online degree at MC will have access to several academic and personal services, including: tutoring, counseling, library resources, study groups and career services.
The online programs at MC provide working adults with both the flexibility and opportunity to further their careers. These programs help prepare countless students for long-term success. MC online is also very affordable and offers many scholarships and financial aid options to their students.
University of Southern Mississippi
College Choice Score: 93.76
Average Net Price: $12,055
Founded in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. With over 16,000 students from over 65 countries, Southern Miss is actually a dual-campus university that offers more than 180 programs through its six colleges. Research is a big part of student life at Southern Miss; in fact, one of the school’s research projects was one of only two worldwide selected by NASA to explore whether life can survive on Mars!
Southern Miss Online offers over 10 online undergraduate programs, including BA, BS, BSBA and BLS degrees. Those looking to earn an advanced degree online can choose from nearly two dozen programs which include: MS degrees, MES degrees and an MBA. Southern Miss also offers a hybrid format of learning for those students who are interested in taking primarily online courses with some on-campus instruction. Currently, students from more than 44 states and around the globe are taking advantage of the flexibility that Southern Miss’ online programs offer.
The University of Southern Mississippi has been ranked the No. 1 college in the state of Mississippi for online education. Online student support services include live tutoring, career services, and assistance with speaking and writing.
William Carey University
College Choice Score: 89.37
Average Net Price: $15,026
Named after a British Christian missionary, William Carey University is a private liberal arts college in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The university is currently ranked the #2 Best Value School in the Southern Region. Not just a brick-and-mortar school, William Carey’s online programs look beyond the traditional classroom setting to provide more flexible options to students across the country.
William Carey Online offers a bachelor’s degree in physical education, along with an RN to BSN as well as graduate programs in education, criminal justice, and more. The school even offers a Master of Music (M.M.) in Church Music; courses are taught by working, practicing church music professionals. Students may also work towards a doctorate in education leadership which typically takes three years to complete. For those who wish to take a couple of on-campus classes along with their online courses, William Carey offers three Hybrid Online Programs; one in the School of Education and the other two in the School of Nursing.
If prospective students are worried about missing out on campus resources by taking all online courses, WCU stands out to help. Not only do distance learners have access to over 50 research databases at WCU (including e-journals and ebooks), but they can even request to have print resources mailed to them through WCU Libraries!
College Choice Score: 85.20
Average Net Price: $15,527
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University is a private Christian liberal arts college which has been repeatedly named one of “America’s 100 Best College Buys.” With over 70 areas of study offered, Belhaven boasts some impressive programs. In fact, the university’s science curriculum is one of only two Christian universities recognized by the White House STEM Initiative.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Belhaven as having one of the top online bachelor degree programs in America. The nine BA degree areas include: Applied Psychology, Biblical Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Business Administration, Health Administration, Accounting, Management, Management with Criminal Justice Concentration, and Nursing (RN to BSN).
All online undergraduate degree programs at Belhaven are designed to be completed in less than four years. Belhaven also offers multiple Master’s programs as well as a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Though online students may not be on-campus, they still have access to constant personal support from Belhaven staff and frequent interaction with incredible professors.
What makes Belhaven repeatedly rank highly for its online programs is the flexibility offered to students. Whether you have to travel, work late, or if you’re in the military, courses at Belhaven are designed for those with unpredictable schedules. No matter your situation, an online degree at Belhaven can work for you!
Jackson State University
College Choice Score: 84.87
Average Net Price: $12,755
Jackson State University is a public institution that was founded in 1877 and offers more than 90 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. With degrees ranging from Bachelor of Music Education to a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, there is something for everyone to pursue at Jackson State.
Online degree programs at JSU are designed for those with busy schedules who need flexibility. Undergraduate programs include: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Childcare and Family Education, BS in Healthcare Administration, BS in Technology, and more! JSU Online also offers ten graduate degrees and four specialist programs. Students in these programs are provided with resources equivalent to those provided to students on campus.
What makes JSU unique in online learning is that the professors work to make it so that students feel no limitations of geographical boundaries and space. JSU Online also offers hybrid courses which use a combination of face-to-face instruction and online courses. Hybrid courses meet face-to-face at least 51 percent of the time and all first-time distance learning students enrolled at JSU Online must take a student orientation.
Blue Mountain College
College Choice Score: 82.74
Average Net Price: $11,182
Founded in 1873, Blue Mountain College is a Christian liberal arts college that is currently ranked the 7th Best College in the South (U.S. News & World Report). Most popular majors at Blue Mountain include: Psychology, Elementary Education and Teaching, Biology, and Business Administration. Blue Mountain was also ranked second in Best Value of Regional Colleges in the South., making it an excellent choice for those pursuing higher education.
Truth, knowledge and virtue are the pillars of Blue Mountain College, whether you’re a student enrolled on campus or online. Through BMC Online, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in one of three programs:
- Bachelors of Science in Psychology
- Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelors of Science in Business Administration
BMC also offers some core curriculum classes that can be taken online, including: macroeconomics, general biology, college algebra, and more! These programs allow students to schedule their own study times, according to their lives. With no long drives, traffic or travel expenses to worry about, students can make the most of their online courses at BMU.
Distance learning students at BMC also have access to online resources like the library’s online public access catalog, online databases, and personalized online tutoring through the Teaching and Learning Center. BMU does not offer any Master’s level, or higher, degrees through their online platform.
Delta State University
College Choice Score: 77.15
Average Net Price: $12,883
Located in Cleveland, Mississippi, Delta State University is one of eight publicly funded universities in the state. With a teacher ratio of just 11:1, DSU prides itself on its small class sizes and hands-on learning approach. Delta’s online program is just as effective; of the more than 3,500 students who are currently enrolled at DSU, more than half participate in some form of distance or online learning. And, over 650 students take classes exclusively online.
Delta State’s online distance learning program offers multiple online degrees from Educational Specialist, to Doctor of Nursing Practice as well as degrees at the Master’s level. One really unique program of Delta’s is the Master of Commercial Aviation. It is a one-year program oriented towards aviation management and aviation education, and is taught 100% online. In fact, it is the only program of its kind in Mississippi.
Classes at DSU are offered either completely online, or as a hybrid that includes online class time, as well as face-to-face learning. No matter your schedule or career goals, Delta State University may be your best choice for flexibility and value in higher education.