Mississippi’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges of 2021

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Mississippi offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Mississippi’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Mississippi

The majority of the learning institutes in Mississippi are public schools, with the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, being the largest. This university, located in Oxford, boasts alumni like William Faulkner, John Grisham, and James Meredith. Tuition at Ole Miss runs about $9,000, just below the national average. The eight private colleges, all of which have religious affiliations, range in tuition costs from $10,000 at Rust College to $40,000 at Millsaps College.

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Students who attend these schools have the option to pursue degrees in fields like nursing, business, dentistry, Christian ministry, education, and literature. Additionally, all of these private schools are considered small schools, serving under 5,000 students. Mississippi also offers up to $12,000 of undergraduate loan forgiveness, over the course of four years, for teachers who work in designated shortage areas or who teach in critical shortage subjects, like special education or mathematics.

From Mississippi mud pie to fried chicken, Mississippi brings a whole new meaning to the term comfort food. The Magnolia State is easy on the eyes too. With nearly endless forests spilling over with hickory, pine, and oak trees, the intricate river system, and the Gulf Island National Seashore, Mississippi is a true destination for lovers of outdoor adventure. And students who plan on earning their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in Mississippi have 31 colleges and universities to choose from.

Explore some of the top schools and career paths Mississippi has to offer.


What are Mississippi’s Colleges & Universities?

Mississippi’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Mississippi's best colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified a total of 9 liberal arts colleges and universities in Mississippi, all of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best liberal arts schools in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 30%.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities in Mississippi

  1. #1

    Tougaloo College

    #1553 institution's historical influence
    #538 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    865/18

    Tougaloo, MS

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    What is Tougaloo College known for?

    Tougaloo College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
  2. #2

    Millsaps College

    #1132 institution's historical influence
    #320 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/23

    Jackson, MS

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    What is Millsaps College known for?

    Millsaps College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Sociology
  3. #3

    Belhaven University

    #3010 institution's historical influence
    #810 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    4K

    Jackson, MS

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    What is Belhaven University known for?

    Belhaven University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  4. #4

    Delta State University

    #2334 institution's historical influence
    #1013 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/21

    Cleveland, MS

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    What is Delta State University known for?

    Delta State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
  5. #5

    Alcorn State University

    #1258 institution's historical influence
    #425 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    38%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    885/20

    Alcorn State, MS

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    What is Alcorn State University known for?

    Alcorn State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Mississippi University for Women

    #1872 institution's historical influence
    #445 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/21

    Columbus, MS

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    What is Mississippi University for Women known for?

    Mississippi University for Women’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Mississippi Valley State University

    #4118 institution's historical influence
    #623 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    2K

    Itta Bena, MS

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    What is Mississippi Valley State University known for?

    Mississippi Valley State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Rust College

    #1841 institution's historical influence
    #323 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    29%

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    <1K

    Holly Springs, MS

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    What is Rust College known for?

    Rust College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Blue Mountain College

    #8517 institution's historical influence
    #704 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/20

    Blue Mountain, MS

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    What is Blue Mountain College known for?

    Blue Mountain College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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Photo By: RebelNation1947 - Millsaps College campusUploaded by Allstarecho, CC BY-SA 2.0