Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is a historically black university (HBCU) located just outside of rural Itta Bena, Mississippi. The school is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
According to its mission statement, the university "values and promotes excellence in its central mission of teaching and strives to provide an inviting and supportive learning and living environment.” It is classed as a Baccalaureate College—General by the Carnegie Institute. Its emphasis is on service to the Mississippi Delta region.
The institution, originally a vocational school, was founded in 1950 in hopes of enrolling African American students while easing the escalating pressure of ending the legal segregation of public schools, which was declared unconstitutional just four years later in the historic Supreme Court case Brown v. the Board of Education.
The former Mississippi Vocational College was renamed Mississippi Valley State College in 1964 and the college was granted university status in 1974, when it also received its current name.
The university offers academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It is comprised of the following colleges and schools:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Education
- College of Professional Studies
- Honors Program
- Graduate School
Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges. Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in English, public administration, industrial technology, education, mathematics, biology, environmental health, and more.
Master’s degrees are offered in teaching, criminal justice, elementary education, environmental health, and special education.
MVSU also offers students the opportunity to earn a double major, provided they complete at least 30 credit hours in each major field. Areas of concentration are also allowed, provided the student completes 18-21 credit hours of courses in that particular field, as approved by the department in which it is offered.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Department of Criminal Justice is one of the university’s largest departments. Approximately 375 students are enrolled in the department’s various programs. Degrees offered include the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
MVSU also offers the Bachelor of Science in Public Administration through the Department of Social Science. It is the only undergraduate program in public administration in the State of Mississippi.
Mississippi Valley State University has an open undergraduate admissions deadline, but early applications are encouraged. Applications can be submitted online. Applicants must also submit official high school transcripts along with standardized test scores. Students who are still enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent to the Admissions Office after graduation.
Students should have completed high school courses as follows: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 3 units of history and social studies, 3 units of science, 2 units of electives, and ½ units of computer applications. In general, students must also meet GPA and standardized test scores set by the admissions department.
Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.
Students applying to the graduate programs at Mississippi Valley State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying for all requirements and application deadlines. General graduate school requirements include and a bachelor’s degree and undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or greater as well as GRE, GMAT, or other appropriate standardized test scores. Three letters of recommendation are also required.
All students who are interested in determining eligibility for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). MVSU sees financial aid as a supplement to a student’s family resources. The financial aid office calculates the cost of a student’s attendance and subtracts the family’s expected contribution to tuition. The remaining amount is considered financial need. MVSU considers income, assets, expenses, family size, and the number of children in calculating a family’s expected contribution.
Types of aid that eligible students may receive include grants, scholarships, loans, and work study. Some types of aid do not require repayment while others, such as loans, must be paid back with interest.
Entering freshmen must have a grade point average of 3.00 to qualify for aid and, based on test scores, can receive a variety of aid packages. Institutional awards include the Diversity Scholarship, which is up to $700 for undergraduate students who are non-African American, who come from out of state, or have taken at least two years away from high school or other college.
Graduate students who have a 3.0 GPA are eligible for assistantships requiring 20 hours of work a week. A Graduate Diversity Scholarship is also available to help cover tuition and fees.
Student Financial Aid Details
Student life at Mississippi Valley State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. There are 8 fraternities and sororities, academic, professional, and honor societies, a university band, two campus ministries, and the Cliché Fashion & Modeling Squad, among others.
MVSU is home to eight different Greek-letter organizations that are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. There are also several dozen other student organizations on campus, including Army ROTC, various residence hall councils and clubs, and academic societies. The campus is home to over 1,000 residential students who occupy ten different “living/learning centers.” There are five male halls and five female halls.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
MVSU is a member of the NCAA Division I and the Southwestern Athletic Conference except for the football team, which participates in NCAA Division I-AA. Men’s sports teams are nicknamed the Delta Devils while women’s teams are known as the Devilettes.
Student athletes receive academic support from the university through the recently remodeled Student Athlete Academic Resource Center, which provides Internet access and tutoring.
Famous althetic alumni include the NFL’s Jerry Rice, who played for the Delta Devils from 1981 to 1984 and subsequently earned the nickname “World” because “there wasn’t a football in the world he couldn’t catch.”
Among the university’s many various traditions are freshman orientation, Annual Fall Convocation, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Student Christmas Dinner, and Founder’s Day during an entire week of celebrations for the university’s founders.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.