Get Schooled: Jxn's Colleges and Universities

Jackson has no shortage of history, culture and – education from liberal arts to top-tier medical research.

The city’s competitive academic environment offers a wide range of study paths for potential and current collegians while churning out some of the state’s and nation’s best and brightest.

Jackson State University. Image: JSU

JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY

As a Historically Black College and University, the mission of Jackson State University (JSU) is to empower its diverse student base to become leaders through quality teaching, research and service to the community.

Campus tours showcase JSU’s rich history, including the Margaret Walker Center, the school’s extensive African American Experience archives and museum, named and founded after celebrated author, poet, and alumna Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander.

During Saturdays in the Fall, expect an electric football and tailgating atmosphere, where Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders charges the Tigers on to another victory. During halftime, don’t miss out on The Sonic Boom of the South and the Prancing J-Settes, JSU’s famous marching band and dance line who put on a show you won’t soon forget.

cheerleaders run out of an inflatable tunnel
Millsaps College. Image: Millsaps College

MILLSAPS COLLEGE

Sitting on 100 beautiful acres in the heart of the city, Millsaps College is a selective undergraduate institution that is frequently ranked as one of the best values in higher education.

Students can expect to enjoy intimate class settings structured around “academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression.”

Despite its size, the Millsaps Majors compete in 18 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports.

Liberal arts students have top-line resources to express their creativity at The Windgate Visual Arts Center. The school’s notable ELSEWorks brings students’ dreams to life, including Jackson’s Midtown Depot, a student-founded art and craft beer garden that features rotating visual and performance art by local and regional creatives.

ballet dancers
Belhaven University. Image: Belhaven University

BELHAVEN UNIVERSITY

Established in 1883, Belhaven University continues to be a top-tier Christian college, known for its nationally recognized academics on-campus and online, notable faculty, and “best buy” affordability.

To date, the school has the distinction of being among only 36 universities nationally accredited in each of the major arts—music, theatre, visual art, and dance.

The Belhaven University Dance Department is celebrated for its contributions to the performing arts world, including Jackson’s hosting of the prestigious International Ballet Competition (IBC) rotating between the prominent cities of Helsinki, Finland; Varna, Bulgaria; and Moscow, Russia.

Known as The Blazers, the school boasts an impressive 15 athletic teams competing in the NCAA Division III and features a newly completed, state-of-the-art track and field facility.

TOUGALOO COLLEGE

Tougaloo College is a Historically Black College and University and was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. In the 1960s, the school served as a haven for Freedom Riders and other Civil Rights workers and leaders who helped strategize the fight for freedom, equality, and justice in ending segregation.

Tour the college’s Mississippi Civil Rights Collection, which contains personal papers, oral histories, photographs, and other memorabilia of Civil Rights leaders like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ed King.

Today, Tougaloo has gained national respect and attention for its high academic standards and drive for social responsibility. A notable program includes The Jackson Heart Study Program, a collaborative effort involving Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center to promote cardiovascular medical research studies and careers among minority students.

A highly designed interior featuring parallel lines and interestingly shaped furniture
MSU School of Architecture. Image: MSU

THE MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE

Since 1973, The Mississippi State University School of Architecture has been continuously accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) for its five-year professional degree. During students’ final year of study, they spend their time at the Stuart C. Irby, Jr., Studios in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. Participants not only learn to balance theory and practice, but also receive hands-on experience through studio-based learning and opportunities in Jackson’s rich architectural landscape. The school’s alumni base is solid, representing many top-tier firms in the state and beyond, like Wier Boerner Allin Architecture and Dale Partners Architects, P.A.

A stone building with blue glass windows
The UMMC School of Medicine. Image: Drew Dempsey

UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER

Located in the heart of Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood, The University of Mississippi Medical Center serves as the state’s only academic health sciences medical center.

With seven health science schools, UMMC offers world-class, competitive programming for future healthcare specialists.

As an integral part of the city and statewide community, one of UMMC’s main goals is to help eliminate differences in the health status of Mississippians based on “race, geography, income, or social status.” One of the unique ways they accomplish this is through the Jackson Free Clinic, a student and volunteer-run facility that offers non-emergency healthcare services to those that cannot afford it. With over 10,000 full and part-time employees, UMMC is one of the largest employers in Mississippi and is constantly striving to enhance and improve healthcare research and accessibility across the state and beyond.

MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE SCHOOL OF LAW

Mississippi College’s law school is strategically located in the heart of downtown Jackson, putting students and alumni at the center of the capital’s lawyers, judges and other legal experts. Many of the community’s legal professionals have embraced MC Law, visiting as speakers or teaching classes as adjunct professors. Although a Mississippi-based institution, the school’s study abroad programs offer a global experience in places including France, Germany, Mexico, South Korea and Cuba.