On this page

Back to top

Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Mississippi: Online & Campus

Reach the pinnacle of your profession by earning a doctoral degree. Learn more about the various doctoral and PhD programs in Mississippi, including how they work and what areas of study are available.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Shannon Lee

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024

In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that about 4.5 million people in the U.S. had a doctoral degree. This was nearly double the number of degree-holders compared to 2000, when just 2 million people had a doctorate.

Higher pay and professional advancement were two major reasons for the shift. For some positions, earning a PhD or professional doctorate meant taking the next step in an existing career. For others, it led to a shift in professions. 

Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of reasons to consider earning a doctorate in Mississippi. Read on to find out what sort of doctoral and PhD programs you can find in Mississippi, what to expect once enrolled, and job prospects after you graduate.

Top-Rated PhD and Doctoral Programs in Mississippi for 2024

Mississippi is home to a wide selection of professional and academic doctoral programs, so choosing the right one for you can present a challenge. 

To help you find the best PhD programs in Mississippi, we’ve identified three top-rated institutions. These are notable for their doctoral program selection, convenient learning options, and affordability. While these schools may not have your ideal doctorate program, they can still provide a good idea of what’s available and what to look for during your individualized program search.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University is one of largest institutions of higher learning in the state, so the wide selection of PhD and doctoral programs should come as no surprise. Mississippi State University offers approximately 70 PhD programs, more than a dozen of which are offered online. Some or most of the coursework can be completed remotely, although students may have to travel to campus at certain points of their dissertation process, including its defense. Each program and college or school at Mississippi State University will have its own tuition rates, although online students can usually expect to pay the in-state tuition rate no matter where they live. Additionally, students in many of the PhD programs at Mississippi State University can apply for assistantships and fellowships to help pay for their education.

Jackson State University

Jackson State University offers 12 professional doctorate and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs across its various colleges. Most of these programs result in a PhD, and they are all offered in a traditional, in-person format. Some of the more popular programs include the Doctor of Public Health, PhD in Engineering, PhD in Business Administration, and PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Despite these programs having mostly on-campus classes, some of the required courses will be offered online. Depending on the course, online classes are available in synchronous or asynchronous formats, with students completing course requirements using platforms like Canvas, Blackboard, and Zoom. 

Each doctoral program has its own admissions requirements, but most of them will require an online application, official transcripts, and entrance exam scores, such as the GMAT or GRE.

University of Mississippi

More commonly known as Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi is another one of the more well-known universities in Mississippi. Students can choose from more than 40 doctoral programs, including an online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Higher Education degree program. The other programs are available on campus and include subject areas like Accountancy, Criminal Justice Policy Studies, Chemical Engineering, and Mathematics, just to name a few.

To apply, prospective students will need to pay a $50 fee, complete an online application, and provide official transcripts from any post-secondary schools where they earned a degree. Entrance exam scores might also be needed, as well as letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Assistantships and fellowships are available to eligible students to help defray the cost of their education.

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Available in Mississippi

By definition, all doctoral and PhD programs in Mississippi will be the terminal degree in their respective fields. But besides this similarity, they can vary in many other ways, especially in the program’s format, financial aid availability, and admissions process. Below are some of the different ways you can earn your PhD at a Mississippi university, followed by examples of these degree formats at various schools.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

Earning a doctorate can take a long time, so many programs offer full-time tracks to help students graduate as quickly as possible. However, unlike most undergraduate programs, a full-time course load won’t usually consist of 15 credits per term, but closer to around nine. Also, keep in mind that the full-time program status will have the greatest impact on the coursework, not the dissertation. Therefore, students must have the self-discipline to maintain the full-time pace, which can be challenging given the self-paced nature of the dissertation. 

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

Because many doctoral students are already in well-established careers, most doctoral programs in Mississippi will be available in a part-time format. Most part-time curricula will require students to take one to three classes per term. In some cases, PhD or doctoral programs in Mississippi may only be offered in a part-time format. This will more often be the case for programs with fewer graduation requirements, where part-time students can still graduate in just a few years.

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

Graduate degree tuition rates tend to be more expensive than the tuition rates paid by undergrads. To help alleviate some of the burden, doctoral students may have access to certain forms of financial aid that most undergraduate students aren’t eligible to receive. These are often fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. Depending on the school, students accepted into a PhD or professional doctorate program in Mississippi may automatically be eligible to receive these to pay for most or all of their tuition costs. Schools may also have special grants or scholarships available to doctoral students.

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

To make the application process as simple and convenient as possible, many admissions offices are waiving or eliminating GRE or other entrance exam requirements for doctoral programs in Mississippi. This increases the number of qualified individuals applying to their program because many of the students who want to apply are working professionals with little time to schedule a GRE exam and spend the necessary hours preparing for it. Besides that, admissions officials are increasingly aware that the academic predictive value of these scores may be limited.

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

Unlike many bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, there aren’t many doctoral programs with dedicated accelerated tracks. That’s because it’s usually the dissertation or final project that takes the most time, and the pace of this final requirement is usually up to the discretion of the student. 

Doctoral students looking to speed up the coursework portion of their degree and finish them in about a year will often have some flexibility in how quickly they can complete their courses; one example is registering for summer classes. There are also some executive programs that have accelerated curriculum tracks.

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Mississippi

The defining characteristic of a PhD program is the dissertation. This means there are very few (if any) no-dissertation PhD programs in Mississippi. 

However, many doctoral programs do not require a dissertation, although they will have a final project or capstone course that students must complete. A commonality among these programs is that they are usually professional doctorate programs where research skills are valued, but mostly when applied to real-world situations and challenges. 

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor or Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of the more popular online doctoral programs in Mississippi. Also offered in an on-campus format, DNP programs are perfect for existing registered nurses who want to obtain the highest levels of clinical and professional training. The DNP can be used to offer more specialized and advanced care to patients or to shift into administrative and managerial roles within a hospital or other healthcare facility.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education (EdD) degree is best suited for education professionals who want to move into a leadership role within a school or other education-related organization. Contrast this with the PhD in Education, which is tailored more for those who want careers in academia involved in research and teaching. The EdD degree is also great for teachers who want to work in the private, for-profit sector and could use additional executive and practical research skills.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Social Work

There are two primary social work degrees at the doctoral level. The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is best for existing social workers who want to stay in the clinical practice realm, but also want to take on supervisory and executive roles with their respective organizations. The PhD in Social Work has a more research-oriented curriculum, so students will be interested in this degree if they want to move into teaching and research at the post-secondary level.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Business Administration

Prospective business doctoral students can earn a PhD in Business Administration if they’dlike to work in academia as a faculty member and researcher developing new business theories andconcepts. A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), on the other hand, is ideal for those who would prefer to continue working in the business field but at higher levels of management. It’s also good for those who want to be involved in implementation of newly developed business principles and technological developments.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


As a psychology professional, depending on where and how you want to practice, a doctoral degree in psychology may be required. This is most evident for individuals who desire to work as a licensed psychologist. Generally, a PhD or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) will meet the requirements for licensure. However, the PhD is more research oriented, and therefore, more popular for students with future plans in research and academia. On the other hand, the PsyD is better designed to prepare future clinical practitioners.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Earning Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in Mississippi

Because many PhD and doctoral students will want to continue working while in school, it makes sense that many doctoral programs in Mississippi are offered online. These remote curricula offer much of the classroom instruction virtually, meaning students don’t have to travel to campus to go to class. As an added level of convenience, these online classes are sometimes available in an asynchronous format. This means that students can go to class from anywhere and at any time. 

Keep in mind that Mississippi online doctoral programs often have some in-person components. For example, the PhD in Nursing program from the University of Mississippi Medical Center combines online classes with on-campus coursework. And in Belhaven University’s online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program, in addition to two on-campus residencies, students must also appear on campus for their dissertation defense.

Where to Get Help Paying for Your PhD or Doctoral Degree in Mississippi

One of the great things about professional doctoral and PhD programs in Mississippi is that you’ll find diverse financial aid resources to help you fund your education. For instance, the University of Southern Mississippi offers about 900 graduate student assistantships. They also have their Golden Opportunities Scholarships Programs Application System, which allows students to apply to all available school-exclusive scholarships by completing only one application.

Doctoral students will also have other sources of gift-based financial aid available, such as grants and fellowships. These will be offered by both schools and outside organizations. While these gift-based forms of financial aid are ideal, there are also student loan options available, like the Direct PLUS Loans from the federal government.

Earnings for Doctorate Holders in Mississippi

Earning a PhD or professional doctorate will typically lead to an increase in pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with a doctoral or professional degree has a median weekly income of $2,083 or $2,080, respectively. Compare this to someone with a master’s degree, who earns a medianweekly income of $1,661.

This is national data, but similar significant salary differences can also be found in Mississippi. The average annual wage in Mississippi is $45,180, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But when you consider a profession for which a doctoral degree is common, like a nurse practitioner, the mean annual salary in Mississippi is $117,260. To see what other professionals with a doctoral degree in Mississippi can make, check out the following table.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Chief ExecutivesDoctor of Business Administration (DBA) / Online PhD in Business$123,550$239,200+
Civil EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$87,670$144,980
Clinical and Counseling PsychologistsDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) / PhD in Psychology$67,040$151,370
Computer and Information Research ScientistsPhD in Computer Science$103,790$144,980
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$80,280$170,100
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$62,040$79,110
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$42,000$68,160
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$85,440$176,970
Instructional CoordinatorsDoctor of Education (EdD)$59,610$95,220
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$108,920$153,020
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$129,080$152,480
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$97,750$126,130

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022