About us


The Department of Educational Studies and Research’s (ESR) programs prepare students for careers as:

  • College and university faculty, researchers, and social science methodologists
  • Student affairs professionals
  • Administrators and staff in higher and adult education
  • Grant evaluators and assessment specialists
  • Research consultants
  • Community College professionals
  • Literacy, faith-based, and military educators
  • Data analysts

Programs Offered

Admissions Information 

Admission to a degree program in ESR requires a two-step process.

  • Apply and be admitted to The University of Southern Mississippi Graduate School.
  • Apply and be admitted to a specific ESR program. General guidelines for applying to specific programs, as well as program contacts, can be found here. Specific information for each program can be found below.

Who Takes ESR Courses?

There are three categories of students who take courses within the ESR Department. These include:

  1. Students seeking a degree within the ESR department (see above).
  2. Students seeking a degree in a different department. ESR offers many courses, especially those with REF (Research and Education Foundations) prefixes that are required and/or recommended in degree programs outside the department. Additionally, ESR courses are frequently chosen as electives, especially by students who wish to work in higher education settings.
 All ESR courses are open to students formally admitted to the university; however, some have prerequisites. Students are advised to review Course Descriptions for the Degree Program in which they are interested, and consult with their academic advisor and/or course instructor prior to registering.
  3. Non-degree students. There are many reasons a student may have a non-degree status and still wish to take courses. Non-degree students may take ESR courses. Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for Regulations Governing Non-Degree Graduate Students.

Information for Prospective Degree Students

Flexibility of Schedule

We teach using different delivery formats such as face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online. To accommodate the needs of students including working adults, we offer some coursework on varied schedules (evenings, Saturdays, and compressed formats). Each program has a listing of when their courses are offered. Refer to the program websites by clicking the links above.

Faculty Excellence

Our faculty are committed to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to the university, profession, and community. We engage students in work that is critical and respectful of diversity. Experiences are designed to foster an understanding of democratic leadership, and authentic teaching and learning in higher education and other organizations.

 We seek to develop students’ analytical skills in ways that prepare them to conduct sound research that extend the boundaries of knowledge. We are committed to the idea that our graduates will leave ESR with the knowledge and skills needed to make positive contributions to schools, community colleges, universities, and other community organizations that foster learning.

Tuition and Fees

A current listing of graduate tuition and fees can be found here.

Financing Your Education

Many of our students are able to secure financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. A financial aid officer should be able to assist you with your financial situation. There may also be additional resources available to help fund student research. Full-time students may apply for a graduate assistantship (see Graduate Assistant Handbook). A graduate assistantship provides full tuition waivers during fall and spring semesters and pays a modest stipend. There may also be a limited number of on-campus employment opportunities that become available.


The Department of Residence Life offers a variety of housing options on the Hattiesburg campus, including options for Graduate/Family housing.

Registering for Classes

Once a student is admitted and advised, the advisor flags the student in the system allowing the student to register for courses through SOAR. If a student has not been flagged, he/she cannot register for classes. Registration is open during prescribed times/dates as listed in the University’s Academic Calendar.

Billing Information

Student billing information can be found on the Business Services website.


SOAR (Southern's Online Accessible Records) is the University's Student Information System. If admitted, students can view their grades, registration records, transcripts, course schedules, and progress to degrees within the system.

Other Links of Interest

More Information
Can't find everything you need? Email us at elsc-esr@usm.edu