Jackson State University

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Public, 4-year or above
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Jackson State University is a public, historically black university (HBCU) founded in 1877. Its original home, Natchez, MS, gave it its first name – the Natchez Seminary – when it was established by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, but its move to the state capital of Jackson gave it the name Jackson College. When the college was taken over by the state in 1940, Jackson State began the long process of growth into a large public research university, eventually approaching 10,000 students in the 21st century. Today Jackson State is highly regarded, and stands as one of the largest HBCU’s in the nation, as well as being ranked a top regional university by Washington Monthly, and a U.S. News & World Report top 20 HBCU.

Academic Programs

From a small seminary to a major state research university, rated by the Carnegie Institute for high research activity, Jackson State has demonstrated excellence at every stage of its existence. Today, Jackson State is primarily recognized for incorporating technology and cutting-edge research into every aspect of its curriculum; it is Mississippi’s only college recognized twice as an Apple Distinguished School for their use of technology, including iPads for all students. Jackson State brings interdisciplinary research to both undergraduates and graduate students, including collaborative work between students and faculty, particularly through the W.E.B. Du Bois Honors College, which emphasizes interdisciplinary work for the highest-performing students.

Jackson State is a highly distinguished university, recognized for multiple accomplishments in Mississippi and on a national level. JSU has been acclaimed by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the nation’s top producers of African-American graduates in education and the sciences, and is the only HBCU in Mississippi with both an undergraduate and graduate engineering program. It’s also Mississippi’s first legislature-approved School of Public Health. From healthcare to engineering, education to the arts, Jackson State University has proven its status as one of the best HBCUs in the nation, and one of Mississippi’s best colleges.

Student Life

As an HBCU, 90% of Jackson State’s student body is African-American, with nearly 80% coming from Mississippi. A large majority (nearly two-thirds) of the student body is female. After many years of growth, JSU is at a height of just under 10,000 students, having grown by more than 10% in just the last five years. With its location in Jackson, student life is deeply tied to the city; JSU is officially designated as Mississippi’s urban research university, and students are involved in the city’s life, from internships to community service. More than 100 official student-led organizations connect students to develop community, establish professional networks, entertain themselves, and reach their highest potential.

Jackson State’s Tigers – also known as the Blue Bengals – compete in NCAA Division I athletics, including men’s and women’s sports. JSU’s football team is known for 16 conference titles and a slew of NFL Hall of Fame veterans, and their list of rivals spreads across Mississippi into Tennessee and Texas. The marching band, known as the Sonic Boom of the South, is nationally renowned for their marching routines, song selection, and dance team.

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