2013-14 Academic Catalog


This is an archived copy of the 2013-14 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.msstate.edu.



Mississippi State University is a comprehensive, doctoral degree granting, land-grant university. It forms part of a cohesive community with the growing town of Starkville, population 24,000. Located in the eastern part of north-central Mississippi, the university is 125 miles northeast of Jackson, 165 miles southeast of Memphis, and 150 miles west of Birmingham. It is served by U.S. Highway 82, state highways 12 and 25, and by commercial air service through Golden Triangle Regional Airport, 14 miles east of campus.

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Mississippi State University.

Mississippi State University comprises of the following academic units: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, including the School of Human Sciences; the College of Architecture, Art, and Design; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business, including the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy; the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, including the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering; the College of Forest Resources; the College of Veterinary Medicine; the College of Education; the Graduate School; and the Center for Distance Education. Four regional research and extension centers representing both the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES) and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are located in different parts of the state. MAFES conducts research at 16 off-campus sites throughout the state. The Mississippi State University Extension Service offers programs and services in all 82 counties of Mississippi. Supporting the academic and educational programs of the total university are the Mitchell Memorial Library and branch libraries.

Mississippi State University operates off-campus sites with undergraduate and graduate programs in Meridian, Miss., as well as the School of Architecture's fifth-year program in Jackson, Miss.

Several centers and institutes perform specialized teaching, research or service activities. Among these are the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology; Center for Safety and Health; High Performance Computing Collaboratory; Mississippi State Chemical Lab; National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (nSPARC); Research Curriculum Unit; Institute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies; Carl Small Town Center; Design Research and Informatics Lab (DRIL); Educational Design Institute; Jackson Community Design Center; Gulf Coast Community Design Studio; Biological and Physical Sciences Research Institute; Center for Computational Sciences; Cobb Institute of Archaeology; Institute for the Humanities; John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development; Center for Family Enterprise Research; Mississippi State Entreprenership Center; Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy; Center for Educational Partnerships; Early Childhood Institute; Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute; National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision; T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability; Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS); Center for Computer Security Research; High Voltage Laboratory; Institute for Clean Energy Technology (ICET); Raspet Flight Research Laboratory; Forest and Wildlife Research Center; Franklin Furniture Institute; Center for Education and Training Technology; Energy Institute; Geosystems Research Institute (GRI); Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology; International Institute; Northern Gulf Institute (NGI); Social Science Research Center (SSRC); Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and Sustainable Energy Research Center (SERC).

The grounds of the University are comprised of about 4,200 acres, including farms, pastures, and woodlands. The net investment in buildings and grounds is approximately $1 billion.

The university began as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, one of the national land-grant colleges established after Congress passed the Morrill Act in 1862. It was created by the Mississippi Legislature on February 28, 1878, to fulfill the mission of offering training in agriculture, horticulture and the mechanical arts . . . without excluding other scientific and classical studies, including military tactics. The College received its first students in the fall of 1880 in the presidency of General Stephen D. Lee. In 1887, Congress passed the Hatch Act, which provided for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1888. Two other pieces of federal legislation provided funds for extending the mission of the College: in 1914, the Smith-Lever Act called for instruction in practical agriculture and home economics to persons not attendant or resident, thus creating the state-wide effort which led to Extension offices in every county in the State; and, in 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act provided for the training of teachers in vocational education.

By 1932, when the Legislature renamed the College as Mississippi State College, it consisted of the Agricultural Experiment Station (1887), the College of Engineering (1902), the College of Agriculture (1903), the School of Industrial Pedagogy (1909), the School of General Science (1911), the College of Business and Industry (1915), the Mississippi Agricultural Extension Service (1915), and the Division of Continuing Education (1919). Further, in 1926 the College had received its first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. By 1958, when the Legislature again renamed the institution, as Mississippi State University, the Office of the Graduate School had been organized (1936), doctoral degree programs had begun (1951), the School of Forest Resources had been established (1954), and the College of Arts and Sciences had been created (1956). The College of Architecture admitted its first students in 1973. The College of Veterinary Medicine admitted its first class in 1977, and the School of Accountancy was established in 1979.

Past Presidents of the College/University

  1. General Stephen D. Lee (1880-1899)
  2. John Marshall Stone (1899-1900)
  3. John Crumpton Hardy (1900-1912)
  4. George Robert Hightower (1912-1916)
  5. William Hall Smith (1916-1920)
  6. David Carlisle Hull (1920-1925)
  7. Buz M. Walker (1925-1930)
  8. Hugh Critz (1930-1934)
  9. George Duke Humphrey (1934-1945) 
  10. Fred Tom Mitchell (1945-1953)
  11. Benjamin F. Hilbun (1953-1960)
  12. Dean W. Colvard (1960-1966)
  13. William L. Giles (1966-1976)
  14. James D. McComas (1976-1985)
  15. Donald W. Zacharias (1985-1997)
  16. Malcolm Portera (1998-2001)
  17. J. Charles Lee (2001-2006)
  18. Robert H. Foglesong (2006-2008)

Vision and Mission Statements


Mississippi State University will be a leading public research university that is globally aware and involved, accessible and responsive to the many constituencies it serves, and fully integrated with the intellectual, social, and economic development of the state, while delivering excellent programs of teaching, research, and service.


Mississippi State University is a public, land-grant university whose mission is to provide access and opportunity to students from all sectors of the states diverse population, as well as from other states and countries, and to offer excellent programs of teaching, research, and service.

Enhancing its historic strengths in agriculture, natural resources, engineering, mathematics, and natural and physical sciences, Mississippi State offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs; these include architecture, the fine arts, business, education, the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and veterinary medicine.

The university embraces its role as a major contributor to the economic development of the state through targeted research and the transfer of ideas and technology to the public, supported by faculty and staff relationships with industry, community organizations, and government entities.

Building on its land-grant tradition, Mississippi State strategically extends its resources and expertise throughout the entire state for the benefit of Mississippis citizens, offering access for working and place-bound adult learners through its Meridian Campus, Extension, and distance learning programs. Mississippi State is committed to its tradition of instilling among its students and alumni ideals of diversity, citizenship, leadership, and service.