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Partnership Creates Pathway for Northeast Mississippi Community College Students to Join USM Honors Program

Fri, 03/31/2023 - 09:14am | By: Van Arnold

A new partnership between The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) will create a seamless pathway for NEMCC honor students to join the USM honors program.

Officials from the schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, March 29 at the Trent Lott National Center on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

Northeast Mississippi Community College President Ricky Ford, left, and USM President Joe Paul sign the Memorandum of Understanding. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

Northeast Mississippi Community College President Ricky Ford, left, and USM President Joe Paul sign the Memorandum of Understanding. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

Students who have graduated/will graduate in good standing from the Honors Institute at NEMCC and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher will be granted automatic admission to the two-year Keystone program of USM’s Honors College. Although admission is automatic, students must follow the standard university admissions procedure for transfer students and complete the Honors College Keystone Application in full.

“We take great pride at Southern Miss in that we have been the university of choice for community college graduates for decades, and we are seeking the best and brightest from our community colleges,” said USM President Joe Paul. “We know that community college students from schools like Northeast excel academically at Southern Miss, and to know that the Honors Institute students there can come and be a part of our academic enrichment program through our Honors College is very heartening to us.”

Added NEMCC President Ricky Ford: “It is a great partnership. This is going to be a win-win situation for all of us, but the real winners are going to be the students because they will have something now on their resume that will help them in future employment as they move forward. We’re proud and thankful for the opportunity to join forces with The University of Southern Mississippi.”

An NEMCC student with an Honors Diploma must complete the following requirements to graduate from the USM Honors College:

  • HON 300 (Developing the Honors Thesis I, 1 hour) 
  • HON 301 (Developing the Honors Thesis II, 3 hours)
  • 492H course in the student's thesis discipline (Honors Thesis, 3 hours)

To remain in good standing in the USM Honors College, all students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, participate in Honors advising, and make satisfactory progress toward degree completion.

“We are so excited to partner with USM and the Honors College to provide this transfer avenue and pathway for our students," said Morgan Ricks, co-director of the NEMCC Honors Institute. "Both Northeast's and USM's honors programs emphasize the importance of individualized education and academic scholarship. This relationship will be fruitful for NEMCC's honors students for years to come."

Juniors and seniors in USM’s Keystone curriculum can chart their own course through the design and completion of an original research or creative project - the senior Honors Thesis. Working with Honors faculty and with a faculty adviser in their chosen discipline, students will move through a five-hour course sequence, distributed across four semesters that guides them through the thesis experience.

“The new partnership will benefit Honors students on both campuses by smoothing the way for Honors Institute graduates from Northeast Mississippi Community College to seamlessly transition to our program, and by helping us recruit Northeast Mississippi Community College’s most academically gifted students to the research portion of our Honors College,” said Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, Interim Dean, USM Honors College.

To learn more about the USM Honors College visit their website or call 601.266.4533.