Aug 15, 2020  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gulf Coast History

Return to: University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast  

Academic Programs

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast provides a flexible educational delivery system designed to respond to the needs of the constituency served. A sufficient number of courses are offered so that students may earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in a variety of specialty areas. As the scope of the Gulf Coast program broadens in response to students' needs, additional areas of specialization will become available. 

Southern Miss Gulf Coast operates under the semester calendar and awards semester-hour credits for all courses. Classes meet in the morning, afternoon and evening.


The genesis of The University of Southern Mississippi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast goes back to 1947, when what was then Mississippi Southern College first organized classes at Van Hook Hall, Methodist Camp Grounds, in Biloxi. At that time, there were no permanent personnel assigned. In 1958, classroom space and facilities for Mississippi Southern on the Gulf Coast were furnished by Mary L. Michel Junior High School in Biloxi, and thus the operation moved from the Methodist Camp Grounds. At that time, one person was assigned permanently to a combined teaching and administrative position. For teaching personnel, MSC on the Gulf Coast drew upon the talents of local professors, teachers and other qualified instructors. Supplementing this teaching group were occasional professors who commuted from the main campus to teach night courses.

By 1962, Mississippi Southern College had attained university status and was renamed the The University of Southern Mississippi. In the 1960s, the demands for education in all phases grew to the extent that course offerings were broadened to meet the needs of the various occupational fields and interests. Included in these categories were Keesler Air Force Base personnel and their dependents; the industrial community, including Ingalls Ship Yards at Pascagoula; NASA at Bay St. Louis; civil service personnel associated with the naval base at Gulfport; the two Veterans Administration hospitals and other government agencies.

At the end of the 1964 summer session, The University of Southern Mississippi moved from Mary L. Michel Junior High School to Keesler Air Force Base. In September 1965, in addition to KAFB, other classroom facilities were obtained for night classes from the Jefferson Davis campus of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College District. The addition was called The University of Southern Mississippi Harrison County Resident Center. In September 1966, The University of Southern Mississippi further extended its offerings by adding the Jackson County Resident Center, located on the Jackson County campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in Gautier.

In March 1972, The University of Southern Mississippi Harrison County Resident Center program moved from the Jefferson Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College to the campus of the former Gulf Park College for Women located on Highway 90 in Long Beach. In July 1972, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning established The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park and Keesler Air Force Base Teaching Sites as an upper-level, degree-completion regional campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. The Jackson County Resident Teaching Site continued as a center to deliver higher education programs and courses to the citizens of Jackson County. A new building to provide facilities for the Jackson County Resident Center was constructed and equipped by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors in 1982-83.

By this time, a comprehensive plan was developed for providing needed higher education opportunities on the Gulf Coast. Basically, the plan entailed close cooperation and coordination between the Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College District, which would be responsible for all freshman/sophomore courses, and The University of Southern Mississippi, which would be responsible for all junior, senior and graduate offerings. Accordingly, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College established the Jefferson Davis-Keesler Center for freshman/sophomore course work in 1972, while Southern Miss continued to administer its upper-level work at Keesler.

The cooperation that had long existed between the university and the local junior colleges was formalized in July 1976. The landmark Two Plus Two Agreement between The University of Southern Mississippi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College District provided fully coordinated comprehensive programs through the associate's, bachelor's, master's and selected specialist levels for Gulf Coast citizens. The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast and Pearl River Community College also formalized a Two Plus Two Agreement in 1992.

In 1998, The University of Southern Mississippi was classified as a dual-campus system. In 1999, the State of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning approved The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast to add freshman and sophomore course work. Southern Miss Gulf Coast admitted its first freshman students in the summer session of 2002.

In Spring 2007, night classes returned to the Gulf Park Campus in the Holloway and Business complexes on the north end of the property. In Fall 2007, both day and night classes returned to the Fleming Education Center in the center of the property. The Gulf Park Library reopened in Spring 2008.

During 2011-12, renovation and restoration projects on the three most southern buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina began. Additionally, a new Science Building construction project began and an existing building was converted to the College of Nursing Building.

The first buildings to be completed on the Gulf Park Campus were the Science Building and Nursing Building, both located on the northwest corner of campus. The Science Building, a $10 million new construction project, features nine teaching laboratories, research space, approximately 20 faculty and administrative offices and an 80-seat instructional classroom. The $1.5 million Nursing Building was a renovation project and features two laboratories, faculty offices and student learning and study areas within the 10,000-square-foot facility.

The historic restoration projects for Hardy Hall and Lloyd Hall were completed in Spring 2013. The $10 million project for Hardy Hall included renovations, as well as new construction for the Barnes and Noble Bookstore and an adjacent parking lot. The three-story building also houses dining services, the College of Education and Psychology, and administrative offices including Admissions and Student Services. Lloyd Hall was a $2.4 million project which provided ten classrooms for students.

Elizabeth Hall, which houses the College of Arts and Letters, was the final building to complete renovations after all five buildings broke ground in 2011. In addition to faculty offices, Elizabeth Hall is also home to the university's Film Program which currently occupies ten rooms. The renovation project for Elizabeth Hall cost $1.7 million.

Geographic Locations
Gulf Park Campus

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus brings the excellence that is Southern Miss to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the second campus in the university's dual-campus system. Southern Miss Gulf Park offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

The 52-acre beachfront Gulf Park Campus features state-of-the-art teaching, research and student service facilities. With recent renovations and restoration projects the Spanish mission-style architecture is evident throughout the campus. Along with classroom facilities, there are teaching and research laboratories, a Learning Commons, a 55,000 square-foot library, a dining facility, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Fitness Center, Health Center, public tennis courts, a 500-seat auditorium and a center that serves community members with disabilities.

Keesler Teaching Site

Telephone: 228.376.8479
Building 0701, Sablich Center, Room 217
Office Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
(Closed Fridays)

The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Keesler is conveniently located to provide educational services to Keesler Air Force Base military and civilian personnel. In cooperation with MGCCC-Keesler, and with the help and advice of the Keesler Education Services Office, the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Keesler offers courses, programs and services designed to meet the unique needs of the Keesler community. Anyone eligible to attend Gulf Park may also attend Southern Miss Gulf Coast Keesler. Registration, advisement and other student services are provided by the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Keesler staff, as well as by advisers from Gulf Park and Hattiesburg who maintain office hours at Keesler. The Southern Miss office is located in room 219 in the Sablich Center.

The University of Southern Mississippi Keesler tuition and fees are the same as for the other Southern Miss Gulf Coast sites. Active duty military have first priority in Southern Miss Gulf Coast Keesler courses.

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) occupies 275 acres at two sites in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. GCRL is the home of a summer field program in the marine sciences that has operated continuously since 1947. Headquartered at the GCRL are the Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, the Marine Education Center and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. The Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center also operates through the GCRL. Approximately 200 faculty, technical personnel, support staff and students work at the GCRL.

Center for Fisheries Research and Development

The Center for Fisheries Research and Development addresses fisheries issues important to Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico region. Focusing on fisheries, habitats and invasive species, fisheries Center scientists work closely with marine resource users and managers in conducting research and putting new knowledge and skills to use. The Center's scientists fill roles as leaders in charting directions for future research strategies and as sources of accurate and timely information needed for resource management plans based on scientific findings.

Marine Education Center

The Marine Education Center is the educational and outreach arm of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and endeavors to enlighten the citizenry to produce a cadre of well informed and knowledgeable stewards of our coastal eco systems. The Center supports a career based working environment utilizing formal, non-formal, free-choice learning and higher education strategies focusing on the coastal ecosystems of the north-central Gulf of Mexico to promote careers in marine science and foster community involvement.

Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center

The Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center is headquartered at GCRL and is committed to the development of sustainable, scientifically-based marine aquaculture that will contribute to the management of important marine resources through responsible stocking programs and economic development through the advancement of technology to support commercial marine aquaculture as part of the U.S. seafood industry. The center comprises over 100,000 square feet and is one of the premier marine aquaculture facilities in the United States.

John C. Stennis Space Center

The John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Miss., is home to The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Marine Science and the Center of Higher Learning. NASA's lead center for rocket propulsion testing and earth sciences and the location of numerous other government and private agencies involved in ocean-related activities; Stennis is the ideal setting for the marine science program. Networking opportunities for students are unparalleled as more oceanographers work at Stennis than any other single location in the world. The Department of Marine Science offers degrees in marine science and a master of science degree in hydrographic science. The Center of Higher Learning is a consortium of three universities and one community college located at Stennis Space Center to provide graduate and undergraduate education, training and applied technology opportunities to employees of the space center and residents of the surrounding area.