Mississippi is in the Deep South portion of the United States, and its western border is mostly defined by the Mississippi River. Surrounding states include Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, with Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico bordering the south and west. Jackson, Mississippi is the state capital as well as the largest city within the state with a population of around 170,000 people.

The website for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning states that there has been almost a 38% increase in STEM degrees in the past five years and 8.9% increase overall in conferred degrees. The website also states that more than 60% of residential students are working in the state of Mississippi five years after graduation.

The state provides eight public universities and a number of satellite centers around Mississippi. In addition, it is responsible for research and public service facilities such as The University of Mississippi Medical Center and The Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the accrediting body for each of the public universities in Mississippi.

In addition to the public universities, there are seven private colleges and universities in Mississippi. Also, there are four liberal arts colleges within the state. Altogether there are 19 colleges and universities as well as 17 public community colleges throughout the state.

In this ranking, we explore the ten best four-year institutions in the state of Mississippi which were determined using the methodology detailed below.


AffordabilitySources used for this ranking include:

For a school to be in this ranking, the presence of online programs and courses is required. In some cases, there may be minimal participation required on campus. This can be a good reason to choose a local school, even for online programs. Schools are ranked by adding together the percentage numbers for freshman retention and graduation rates, a numerical equivalent of the overall grade provided by Niche, and the number assigned for affordability based on the cost of attendance.Niche letter to number

Charts which explain our conversion of Niche grades to numbers and the residential cost of attendance into an affordability factor can be found in this section.

The formula for the ranking score is explained in the following example:
80 (percent freshman retention) + 55 (graduation percent) + 80 (A- Overall Grade) + 75 (affordability factor) = 290 (final score for ranking)

Note: None of the institutions in this ranking or any of OnlineCollegePlan’s rankings have received preferential treatment, nor have we been requested to do so. Our methodology is fully disclosed so that anyone can arrive at the same ranking using the formula as explained.

Students may also be interested in, “Top 100 Best Online Colleges” which covers the overall best institutions in the United States with online programs. The Best Online College or University By State or Location may help you find a local school with online programs if you are not living in Mississippi. We have also designed the Ultimate Guide to Online Colleges to help students learn more about online school.

  1. MERIT: 305.60
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,983

    Ole Miss LogoThe University of Mississippi is most often referred to as Ole Miss and is a public, research university. The Ole Miss campus is located in Oxford, Mississippi with regional campuses in Grenada, Tupelo, DeSota, and Booneville. The school was chartered in 1844 and welcomed its first class of 80 students four years later. Today, more than 23,000 students attend Ole Miss with well over 18,500 being undergraduate students. Some of the talented and successful people who are Ole Miss notable alumni include John Grisham, James Meredith, William Faulkner, Kate Jackson, Archie Manning, Eli Manning, and Michael Oher to name a few.

    Ole Miss online offers students degrees such as a Master of Hospitality Management from their School of Applied Sciences; an Online MBA from their School of Business; a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media; an online 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, and a MEd Ed Leadership Program from their School of Education. The School of Education at Ole Miss also offers an Ed Specialist in Counselor Education—Play Therapy Track, and an EdS Ed Leadership Program in an online format as well.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    The image is courtesy of Mmblevin1.

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  2. MERIT: 290.90
    View Profile Average Cost: $24,370

    Mississippi State University MSU LogoMississippi State University, or MSU, are common names for The Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science. The university is located adjacent to and partially in the city Starkville, Mississippi. However, the technical address of the university is Mississippi State, MS. The university is a public, research university and is the largest campus in the state when measured by enrollment. Today, more than 21,000 students attend the flagship campus of MSU. Mississippi State University notable alumni include Mark E. Keenum, John Grisham, Richard Adkerson, Jerry Clower, Erick Dampier, Rafael Palmeiro, and many more talented and successful individuals.

    The online programs offered at Mississippi State University include undergraduate and graduate programs. Bachelor’s degrees offered online through MSU include a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with concentrations in Early Childhood or Middle School, Bachelor of Science in Geosciences with a concentration in Broadcast and Operational Meteorology, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.

    There is a large variety of master degree programs offered online at MSU. These include, but are not limited to, a Master of Arts in Teaching – Community College Education; Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education; Master of Business Administration; Master of Engineering; Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering; Master of Science in Educational Leadership with a concentration in School Administration; Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Master of Science in General Biology; Master of Science in Geosciences with concentrations in Applied Meteorology, Environmental Geosciences, or Teachers in Geosciences; Master of Science in Information Systems; Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering; Master of Science in Secondary Education; Master of Science in Technology; and more.

    Doctoral degree programs offered in the online format include a Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership; Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Engineering; Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering, a concentration in Civil Engineering, or with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

    There are also several certificate programs offered online at MSU.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/msstate/

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/msstate/

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  3. MERIT: 278.70
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,302

    Mississippi College, or MC, is a private, Christian college in Clinton, Mississippi. The college was founded in 1826, making it the second oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the United States. The Clinton campus is approximately 80 acres and the Mississippi College School of Law is in nearby Jackson. Currently, more than 5,000 students attend MC with the majority being undergraduates. Mississippi College is currently ranked as number five in our Top 20 Best Colleges for Online Paralegal Degrees ranking of colleges and universities across the nation. Mississippi College notable alumni include a variety of talented and successful people, such as Phil Bryant, Fred McAfee, Larry Myricks, Anita Renfroe, Ted DiBiase Jr., Gregg Harper, and many more.

    Mississippi College undergraduate students who qualify are able to take part in programs online for degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Science in Communication, Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security, Bachelor of Science in Loss Prevention, or RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN). There are also undergraduate certificate programs in Homeland Security or Loss Prevention.

    Graduate students have considerably more choices for online programs which include, but are not limited to, Master of Health Services Administration, Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Special Education, Master of Education in Educational Leadership, Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance, Master of Science in Communication in 3 different specializations, Master of Science in Athletic Administration (Intercollegiate), Master of Social Science in Loss Prevention,. Master of Social Science in Homeland Security, or a Master of Science in Health Informatics. MC offers three Master of Business Administration programs, which are the Accelerated Online, Accounting Focus, and Finance Focus.

    In addition, there is an online Doctor of Professional Counseling and an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership program with options in K-12 Administration or Curriculum & Instruction. There are several online graduate or post-baccalaureate certificate programs, too.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mississippicollege

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/misscollege

    The image is courtesy of Robby Followell.

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  4. MERIT: 278.00
    View Profile Average Cost: $27,952

    William Carey University MississippiThe private Christian liberal arts college of William Carey University has its main campus located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and a second campus located in the Tradition community in Biloxi. The university was founded as a boarding school in 1892 by W. I. Thames and was originally located in Poplarville, Mississippi. Over the years the school has grown and changed names reflecting its growth. Today, the main campus is 170 acres and the university serves over 4,500 students, both undergraduate and graduate students. The school motto is, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” William Carey University notable alumni include Chris McDaniel, Larkin I. Smith, Ezell Lee, Dan Jennings, John Stephenson, and many other talented and successful people.

    William Carey University offers online programs through four different schools within the university. The School of Education offers a B.S in Physical Education as well as a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education, K-6, Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Secondary Education, 7-12, and a Master Education (M.Ed.) in Mild and Moderate Disabilities, K-12. The school also offers a Specialist (Ed.S.) in Instructional Leadership and a doctoral program in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.). The School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences offers students an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

    The School of Nursing has online programs for Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration (MSN/MBA). The School of Music and Ministry Studies offers online programs for a Master of Music in Church Music and a Master of Music Education.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WmCareyU

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/WmCareyU

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  5. MERIT: 276.90
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,103

    Blue Mountain College MississippiBlue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi was founded in 1873 as a women’s college. Initially, the school was named Blue Mountain Female Institute and enrolled 50 students. The school was officially chartered by the state in 1877. While the school started a course to train men for church-related vocations in 1956, the school was not officially co-educational until 2005. Today, BMC campus consists of 44 acres and enrolls around 600 students with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Blue Mountain notable alumni include former president of Mississippi State University George Duke Humphrey, poet Muna Lee; and the American artist, Dusti Bongé.

    Blue Mountain College offers students an online Bachelors of Science in Business Administration program. Courses are eight weeks long and the average student will take 12 hours each semester in Fall, Spring, and Summer. BMC also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program which also has eight-week online courses and typically students will take 12 hours per semester. Online programs are designed to help students expand their knowledge and education while fitting it into their schedules without being required to spend time and money on travel.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bluemountaincollege

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/tweetbmc

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  6. MERIT: 272.10
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,746

    The University of Southern Mississippi, also called Southern Miss or USM, has its main campus located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The school is a public research university and was founded in 1910 as Mississippi Normal College and served as a training school for teachers. In 1924, the school changed its name to Mississippi State Teachers College, then later in 1940 as the school added more areas of study, the name change to Mississippi Southern College to reflect its growth. It was in 1962 that the school became the University of Southern Mississippi. Today, well over 14,000 students attend USM. Some of the University of Southern Mississippi notable alumni are Phil Bryant, Jimmy Buffett, Brett Favre, Clarence Weatherspoon, Ray Guy, Cat Cora, Trishelle Cannatella, along with numerous talented and successful people.

    A select few online programs offered by Southern Miss do have on-campus components which are required. Prospective students can visit their webpage for online programs to get more information about programs and a complete list of all online programs that are offered.

    Undergraduate programs offered online at University of Southern Mississippi include, but are not limited to, a BS in Applied Technology, BSBA Business Administration (General Business), BSBA Management, BS in Construction Engineering Technology, BS in Elementary Education [for Teacher Assistants], BS in Industrial Engineering Technology, BIS Interdisciplinary Studies, BLS Liberal Studies, BS in Special Education, and Nursing (RN-BSN) among others.

    Graduate students at Southern Miss have a large variety of online programs from which to choose. Areas of study for master’s degree programs include Business Administration (MBA), Education in multiple specializations (MEd), Public Health (MPH), Nursing (MSN) in two areas of specialization, Teaching of Languages (MATL) in French, Spanish, or TESOL, Sports Management, Nutrition and Food Systems, Child and Family Studies, and more.

    There are also doctoral programs available online which include EdD Education Administration or Higher Education. There is also a PhD in Nursing Leadership program online and a PhD in International Development program online with some on-campus requirements.

    Online programs in the Executive Format include MS and PhD in Human Capital Development programs, and a Public Health Online Degree. There are also several graduate certificate programs which can be taken online as well.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/usm.edu

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/southernmiss

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  7. MERIT: 267.20
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,019

    The Mississippi University for Women, commonly called “The W”, is a public university which was founded in 1884. Upon its founding, The W was the first public women’s college in the United States. The institution later became co-educational in 1982. Today, over 2,700 students attend The W and around 19% of those are male students. Some of the talented Mississippi University for Women notable alumni are Eudora Welty, Doris Taylor, Toni Seawright, Chris Fryar, Valerie Jaudon, and many more.

    Overall, The W offers its students over 50 undergraduate majors and concentrations and 11 graduate programs. Some of the top majors at The W are now offered as partial or completely online degree programs. Prospective students should contact The W about programs they may be interested in participating in to find out more information.

    There are 2+2 Programs offered online which means students can complete two years at a community college, then they are able to participate in two years online at The W in order to earn their bachelor’s degree. Programs available include Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration, both in several areas of specialization; RN to BSN program; BS in Public Health Education, or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health Education.

    Graduate students are offered online master’s degree programs for a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Education (MEd, concentrations available in Educational Leadership, Gifted Studies, and Reading/Literacy), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Public Health (MPH).

    There is also a General Business Executive Certificate program available online at The W.

    Minors which may be studied online include General Business, Health Care Management, Human Resources Management, Legal Studies, Management, and Management Information Systems.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MUWedu/

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/muwedu

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  8. MERIT: 249.90
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,123

    Jackson State University, commonly called Jackson State or JSU, is a public, historically black university located in Jackson, Mississippi. Founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York City in 1877, the school was originally located in Natchez, Mississippi and was named Natchez Seminary. Later the school was moved to Jackson, Mississippi in 1882 and renamed as Jackson College in 1899. It began to build the present campus in as early as 1902. In 1940, the school became a state-supported public institution and continued to grow so that it became Jackson State College in 1956. By March of 1974, JSU had grown and reached university status.

    The school currently enrolls over 7,700 students and is one of the largest HBCU’s in the country. JSU can be found ranked as #15 in our Top 20 Best Historically Black HBCU Colleges with Online Programs. Some of the talented and successful Jackson State University notable alumni include Eddie Payton, Walter Payton, Rod Paige, Bennie Thompson, Tonea Stewart, and Cassandra Wilson to name just a few.

    Jackson State University also has many undergraduate, graduate and specialist programs available online from which students can choose in addition to their on-campus selection. Bachelor of Science online programs are offered in Childcare and Family Education, Criminal Justice, Healthcare Administration, Professional Interdisciplinary Studies, and Technology – Emergency Management Technology Concentration.

    Graduate programs online include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in History, and Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary & Secondary Education Concentration. Online Master of Science programs in Early Childhood Education; Education Administration and Supervision; Health, Physical Education and Recreation; Reading; Special Education; and Sport Science.

    Online Specialist Programs are Specialist in Education – School Counseling Concentration, Specialist in Education – Psychometry Concentration, and Specialist in Special Education.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JacksonState

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/jacksonstateU

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  9. MERIT: 249.40
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,584

    Delta State University, or DSU, is a public university in Cleveland, Mississippi and the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The institution was established in 1924 as a teacher’s college, and today, the university maintains a reputation for excellence in teacher education. Over the years, DSU has added more and different programs to provide a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate curriculum and continues to expand offerings. Currently, the school has approximately 3,500 students in attendance. Some of the Delta State University notable alumni are Steve Azar, Eli Whiteside, Lusia Harris, Margaret Wade, and more.

    Delta State University also offers students several fully online programs for graduate students. Programs offered include an Integrated Master of Business Administration, Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Information Technologies, Master of Arts in Teaching, and a Master of Commercial Aviation program. DSU also offers 2 Master of Education programs, one in Elementary Education and the other in Special Education. Master of Science programs are available in Community Development, Nursing, and Social Justice & Criminology.

    Family Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate is also offered in a fully online program. Educational Specialist in Administration & Supervision and Educational Specialist in Elementary Education programs are also available. Currently, there is also a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program available online at the university.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/deltastateuniversity

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/deltastate

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  10. MERIT: 248.80
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,918

    Alcorn State University HBCU MississippiAlcorn State University was founded at the former Oakland College which had closed during the American Civil War. In 1871, the facility was established as Alcorn University, named in honor of James L. Alcorn who was Governor of Mississippi at the time. The institution was established as a land-grant institution as well as a historically black college (HBCU) and was the first school in the United States with that distinction. In 1878, the school changed names to Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, and nearly a century later the school became known as Alcorn State University to reflect the growth of the institution. Today more than 3,700 students attend the university. Some of the Alcorn State University notable alumni are Michael Clarke Duncan, Medgar Evers, Steve McNair, Donald Driver, Larry Smith, and many other talented and successful people in their chosen fields.

    Students interested in programs offered at Alcorn State University should be sure to contact the university for more information. Online programs can sometimes have components which may require on-campus visits. Alcorn State University offers online undergraduate programs in Criminal Justice, Child Development, and Business Administration.

    There are online graduate programs at Alcorn State University in the areas of Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner Option, Post-Masters Family Nurse Practitioner, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Masters of Biology, History, Workforce Education Leadership, and an Executive Master of Business Administration in Gaming and Hospitality Management program.

    If you would like to connect on social media, please use the following links:

    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AlcornStateU

    Twitter – https://twitter.com/AlcornStateU

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