Welcome to the College of Arts and Sciences at the Mississippi University for Women. The College is composed of eight departments housing disciplines that educate students in a broad array of abilities including inquiry, qualitative and quantitative research and analysis, written and oral communication, and creativity/performance. We are proud that the College lies at the historical foundation of the University: founded in 1884 as the vocationally-oriented Industrial Institute and College but always with a firm grasp on liberal arts and sciences education.
Twenty-first century students sometimes wonder how such classical education fits in with a world that is increasingly technical and that serves highly specialized markets. A&S educates the whole mind and prepares students to be effective decision makers who can see and evaluate the larger picture—attributes that are vital at a time when breakdowns and crises often stem from the narrowness of political, economic, and social visions.
Below are some ways the departments comprising the College educate the whole mind.
The Department of Art and Design has emerged as a true creative hub of the University. Students and visitors are drawn to the galleries in Summer Hall with their ever-changing exhibitions of works by students, faculty members, alums, and invited artists. Students may pursue a BFA degree in Fine Art, with concentrations ranging from Graphic Design to Ceramics. The department also offers a minor in Art History and has built a bridge to our Public History program (see below) through a course in Museum Studies.
The Department of Communication prepares students for careers in media production (TV, film, radio & Web), journalism, advertising, and public relations, and it is a focal point for student involvement on our campus: staffing the student newspaper (The Spectator) and the campus radio station (WMUW 88.5 FM). Students also engage in hands-on projects using our TV studio and production equipment. The department also offers a minor in Film Studies.
The Department of History, Political Science, and Geography offers a variety of major and minor programs, some drawing options into their curricula from a diversity of disciplines. The core programs are History and Political Science, with their heavy emphasis on expository and analytical research and hands-on/experiential learning. The faculty is proud of its Public History concentration, which trains students in the methods of archiving and historical preservation and makes heavy use of the Martha Jo Mims Digitization and Conservation Lab here on campus. There are many other possibilities for a student to find his/her calling through the department, including the brand new Political Science concentrations in Social Studies (for future secondary school teachers) and Non-Profit Advocacy, the Interdisciplinary Studies major, and multidisciplinary minor programs (American Studies, Human Geography, International Studies, Pre-Law, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies).
The Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy may be best known in the region for hosting the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium every October for more than 30 years. Students benefit year-round from major programs in English (including a concentration in Creative Writing), Spanish, and Women’s Studies, as well as a variety of minor programs, such as Philosophy and Religious Studies. Secondary teacher certification for English and Spanish may also be earned, as well as an add-on certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. Additionally, the department houses two graduate degrees: an MA in Women’s Leadership, which offers an interdisciplinary curriculum to prepare students to be difference-makers in the public and private sectors, and an award-winning MFA in Creative Writing, offering low-residency training in the writing of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays, and writing for new media.
The Department of Music resides in Poindexter Hall, what many claim is the most beautiful building on the MUW campus. The sounds of concerts and recitals by students, faculty, and invited artists pull in any passerby. Students perform in at least one ensemble (choral or instrumental) as part of their work in the Music BA or Music Education BM program. The BA program offers concentrations in Composition and Performance. The department is also proud to offer one of the very few Music Therapy BM programs in the entire mid-South region, allowing students to develop their creative interest into clinical treatment to aid children and adults with medical, mental health, and other special needs.
The Department of Psychology and Family Science emphasizes rigor in students’ understanding of social science research methodology, but there is also attention to applied dimensions of education, including the possibility for students to earn status as Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE). The department also offers a minor in Gerontology and a certificate program in Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST). Graduates have launched very successful careers that have taken them into family/child case management, parent education, substance abuse recovery education, juvenile justice, mental health professions, and counseling (private practice and in schools).
The Department of Sciences and Mathematics provides a solid education in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics, developing student abilities in scientific inquiry and quantitative analysis that can pave the way for careers in medicine and with a range of corporations and governmental research institutions. Students may choose the secondary teacher certification option for Biology, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences. Faculty regularly conduct grant-supported research, affording many opportunities for students to work as laboratory assistants.
The Department of Theatre always generates buzz with a schedule of stage productions ranging from classics to children’s plays. Performances also include improvisation events and student-authored works. Most productions are put on in Cromwell Communication Center’s “black box” theatre, where the audience is never far from the action. The heart of the department’s academic offerings are the BA in Theatre and an option to earn initial teaching licensure in Theatre Education, and the department proudly offers a distinctive low-residency MFA degree in Theatre Education for more-seasoned educators in the region.
I join the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences in welcoming all students who seek broad possibilities in their university education. We would love to talk with you about how you may find a home in the College, but don’t just take our word for it: our alums can attest to the great value of an A&S degree from MUW. Our graduates go on to thriving careers with companies and in government agencies and non-profit organizations. Many utilize their undergraduate degree as a foundation for success in graduate school, medical school, and law school. The possibilities are indeed broad for those who seek education of the whole mind.
Please explore the web sites of each of our eight departments. You will find that your future is here.
Dean of the College Arts and Sciences