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Graduate School

Graduate Education at Southern Miss

Through an extensive selection of outstanding degree and certificate programs and professional development opportunities, graduate students at The University of Southern Mississippi acquire the knowledge and skills for success. Our graduates impact the world in such diverse fields as ocean science, psychology, social work, nursing, business, and the arts. Currently, over 3,000 students from across the globe are pursuing degrees in a broad variety of degree and certificate programs across all academic colleges. 

Opportunities for Professional Development

As part of our commitment to providing a holistic educational experience, the Graduate School offers graduate students professional development opportunities to build the transferable skills necessary for success in both academic and non-academic careers.

In partnership with the Jimmy A. Payne Foundation, the Southern Miss Graduate School is thrilled to offer competitive Dissertation Completion Grants for the 2023-2024 academic year. These awards are intended to reduce the burden of dissertation-related expenses for students while helping to decrease students’ time to degree.

To be considered for a Dissertation Completion Grant, students must have achieved the status of “doctoral candidate,” which necessitates completing all required graduate coursework, obtaining a passing score on one’s doctoral comprehensive examinations, and successfully defending a doctoral project proposal or dissertation prospectus. Students must be enrolled full-time and be in good academic standing with the Southern Miss Graduate School. Students must also commit to completing their dissertations and all degree requirements by the summer 2024 term. Applicants may request up to $2,000 to be used within the final year of their doctoral program. This initiative is open to students in all doctoral programs at Southern Miss.

Application Deadline: Friday, February 2, 2024


faculty letter of recommendation

Professionals in Preparation is a professional development program designed to help students improve their transferable skills (leadership, effective communication, problem solving, management, etc.) making them more marketable and effective in an increasingly competitive job market. The two-semester program consists of:

• Bimonthly seminars and workshops
• Mentor-ship training 
• Participation in communication competitions

The Proposal Project aims to strengthen grant-writing skills of graduate students through training and practice and increase the number of externally-funded fellowships and traineeships awarded to graduate students at Southern Miss. Grant-writing workshops will be held each fall and spring semester, providing training to enable students to identify potential funding sources, to prepare competitive proposals, and to navigate the submission process.

Letter of Intent Deadline: Friday, March 8, 2024

Submit letter of intent

The Susan A. Siltanen Graduate Student Research Symposium will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2024. The symposium provides graduate students with an opportunity to present their research to faculty, staff and students in a friendly competitive environment through oral and poster presentations. The symposium aims to enhance the scholarly environment and highlight the creative and innovative research conducted by Southern Miss graduate students. 

Presentation Deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024

Submit Presentation SLides

The Graduate School's annual Three Minute Thesis Competition will be held at the Joe Paul Theater on November 9 and 10, 2023. 3MT competitors are asked to explain their thesis or dissertation in a three-minute presentation; effectively communicating the complexity of their topic and research to a non-academic audience. The competition is a great opportunity for students to hone their 30-second elevator pitch and win prizes while doing so. 

Each semester, USM Graduate students have the opportunity to apply for the Graduate Competitive Travel Award. The funds may be used to support graduate student participation in a virtual or in-person professional conference, exhibition, or other appropriate venue for purposes of presenting research or other forms of creative work in conjunction with a student’s program of study.

Applicants may request up to $500 to be used for virtual conference registration fees or domestic travel or up to $1000 for approved international travel.

Fall 2024 Travel Award Deadline: Monday, July 1, 2024

fall 2024 travel award application

faculty letter of support


Contact Us

Graduate School
143 JB George
Hattiesburg Campus

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A Carnegie R1 research university, USM garnered $91 million in sponsored funds.


USM graduate students represent 58 countries and all 50 states. 


USM offers 31 doctoral, 55 master's, 17 graduate certificates, and 6 micro-credential programs.