Established in 1937 as Joplin Junior College, Missouri Southern State University is a public university in Missouri. Just nine professors taught the 114 students who enrolled when the college first opened. After enrollment grew, the college found itself in need of a new campus, and construction on that campus started in the 1960s. After moving to this new location, it became Missouri Southern State College. The college operated under this name until the 2000s, which was when it gained university status. Though it originally added Joplin to its name, it dropped the city name after a few years to reflect its commitment to helping all students in the southern region of Missouri. Its campus played a major role in helping locals after a tornado struck Joplin in 2011 and even served as a speech stop for President Barrack Obama. Many refer to the campus as MSSU or Missouri Southern today.

Though Missouri Southern offers a number of opportunities and activities for students living on its Joplin campus, it also offers opportunities for those who do not want to live on its campus. Students can pay to live in one of its residence halls, join an athletic team and participate in dozens of different clubs and activities. Online students have access to fewer clubs and organizations but have access to resources like academic advising and career counseling. The university launched its distance learning program several decades ago. This program slowly grew to include an online campus that now offers full degree programs.

Missouri Southern State University Accreditation Details

MSSU is one of several colleges across the country with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLS wants to ensure that students have access to all the best opportunities, which is why it investigated the university before giving it accreditation and then investigate it again each time that its accreditation comes up for renewal. This occurs at least once every decade. HLC accreditation applies to all degree and certificate programs offered by the university. Certain programs that the university offers have accreditation as well, which is a type of specialty accreditation. An example of this is the education program, which has accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Its engineering, business, dental hygiene and respiratory care have specialty accreditation too.

Missouri Southern State University Application Requirements

Missouri Southern knows that some students may have a hard time with its application process, which is why it recommends that prospective students turn to its Career Services Department for help. This department is part of the university’s graduate school. Advisers can help students figure out what to write their application essays about, let them know when they need to apply for financial aid and give them tips on sourcing letters of recommendation. While there is an online application, completing that application is just the first step in getting accepted to MSSU.

The university requires that students submit some documentation after filing the online application. MSSU requires a college transcript to get a look at the courses that student took as well as the grades that he or she received. A higher score on the GRE or a similar exam can help compensate for a lower GPA. All students need to create a statement of purpose or write a short essay that serves as a writing sample. Those who took graduate classes at the undergrad or graduate level will need to submit a transcript from the school to get credit for those classes.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Many students look at graduate schools in terms of cost, and many of those students find that they can save money attending a state school in the same state where they live. Missouri Southern wants every student to feel confident that they can afford to attend its graduate school, which is why it does not charge a nonresident rate. All full-time students pay just $4,500 per semester. Those who take more or less than nine credits of classes in a semester pay a rate based on the number of credits taken. Those taking classes in the summer pay just $1,500 per summer session.

MSSU offers financial aid packages for each student who enrolls, but to get that package, students must first file the FAFSA. Some graduate students are old enough or meet other requirements and can use their own incomes when applying, but must students will need to use their parents’ tax information to file. Graduate school aid typically includes several different loans. The government offers unsubsidized loans and Perkins loans that students can take out each year until they hit the maximum limit allowed. Alternative loans come from private lenders and are similar to car or home loans. Students qualify for these loans based on their credit histories and credit scores.

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is the study of abnormal behaviors and the criminal justice system. Missouri Southern State University offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice that can prepare student for working in some of the top government organizations and in many different roles in the corrections system. Each new student will meet with an adviser and create an Individual Study Plan (ISP). This ISP helps students decide when they will take each required class and keeps them on track as they work through the program. They all take the same 18 credits of core criminology courses, including overview of the CJ system, civil law and liability, research methods, CJ ethics and criminal justice theories. The university expects students to take a course on criminology statistics too.

Related Resource: Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Criminology Programs

Students will then need take 12 credits of electives, but they can pick the electives that most closely relate to their own individual goals and needs. They have the option of doing an independent study project in lieu of taking one elective. The university offers four options for how students can finish their studies. They can take extra classes and then sit for a criminal justice exam, write a thesis or take a capstone seminar. Missouri Southern State University also allows students to do an internship instead of doing one of the other options, but these students must work 240 hours in the field and then write papers about the experiences they had.