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USM Graduate Programs Recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Fri, 03/22/2019 - 02:21pm | By: Van Arnold

The University of Southern Mississippi's Master's in Nursing program made a significant leap in Best Graduate Schools rankings for 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. The USM program climbed from No. 136 in the 2019 rankings to a new position of No. 111.

The University's part-time Master's in Business Administration program also made a return to the rankings for 2020, occupying the No. 213 spot among more than 320 eligible programs.

According to the report, USM's Master's in Nursing is Mississippi's top-ranked program. Dr. Lachel Story, associate dean of USM's College of Nursing and Health Professions, notes that the rankings help validate the efforts made by faculty, staff and students in the graduate program.

“This improvement recognizes the continued excellence of these programs that prepare advanced practice nurses for primary care across the lifespan in medical and mental healthcare settings,” said Story. “These graduates work to improve the health of the state and the region.”

Story further explains that the college's graduate nursing program is undergoing a substantial shift in direction. In 2018 the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty released a statement that mandated all nursing practitioner programs move to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree as the entry level into practice for nurse practitioners by 2025.

“This move is important as it means that nurse practitioners will be educated at the highest degree possible and will be essential as the remaining states, including Mississippi, consider full practice authority for NPs,” said Story.

Anticipating the change, USM's College of Nursing and Health Professions started the transition in Fall 2018 by offering the DNP option for its nurse practitioner programs. The last Master's in Nursing students will be accepted in Fall 2019.

USM's part-time MBA program ranking coincides with the University's online MBA program being ranked as well by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Elizabeth LaFleur, MBA director and associate dean in the College of Business and Economic Development, notes that USM's part-time MBA students represent a deeply diverse group – working professional adults with substantial business experience.

“These students have undergraduate degrees in business, science, engineering, medicine and health care, humanities and the arts, along with related business experience in those fields,” said LaFleur. “This diversity, in addition to our dedicated graduate faculty in the college, combine to make the learning environment rich in our part-time MBA program.”

To see the complete rankings by U.S. News & World Report, visit: