Mississippi Valley State University

July 27, 2016


Mission/Description | Goals/Curriculum | Admissions | Faculty | Accreditation/Application


The Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning Program is a graduate program unit in the Department of Social Sciences. The Program seeks to provide the broader Delta region, the state of Mississippi and the nation with graduate education in rural public policy and planning for those individuals interested in, or currently serving in, various administrative capacities in rural and small town governments, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as those who desire to pursue doctoral studies in public policy, planning,administration, management, and related fields.


The Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning seeks to fulfill the need for graduate study in rural communities and small town governments like those in the Mississippi Delta and the broader Delta region. The Program provides opportunities for graduate education for those individuals interested in or currently serving in various administrative capacities in rural and small town governments, private and non-profit organizations as well as those who desire to pursue doctoral studies in public policy, planning, administration,management, and related fields. The program appeals to the non-traditional students seeking to expand their knowledge bases and problem solving approaches in addressing the myriad of problems in the everyday life of rural communities.



The program goals are:

1. To prepare professional practitioners who demonstrate state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise in the formulation, implementation, evaluation, and analysis of rural public policies;

2. To prepare professional practitioners with the skill set for policy and program planning and evaluation for rural private, public, and nonprofit agencies; and

3. To prepare students for doctoral studies 



The MRPP curriculum consists of thirty-six (36) credit hours. The program’s core courses consist of twelve (12) credit hours whereby students are required to complete six (6) credit hours of research and statistics, six (6) credit hours of thesis or six (6) credit hours of practicum, twelve (12) credit hours in the area of specialization which includes three (3) credit hours of recommended electives.The program has three areas of specialization namely: rural health policy, nonprofit policy, and social and economic policy.  


Applicants to the Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning Program must be admitted both to the College of Graduate Studies and the degree program. To be eligible for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor degree from an accredited institution and meet the basic requirements for graduate admission at MVSU that includes:

 (a) Grade Point Average (GPA) ofat least 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale

 (b) An official transcript of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)

 (b) Graduate Record Examination(GRE) General Test Results

 (c) Three letters of Recommendation

 (d) Personal Statement

 (e) General or Scholarly Writing Sample


Students who show academic promise but fail to meet the requirements based on the aforementioned indicators may be admitted on a provisional basis.  Students will be required to complete nine (9)hours toward the degree while on provisional status, and must earn a minimum of a “B” or above in each class.  After the provisional period, the faculty will review the student’s progress and determine if he or she should be allowed to continue.  Those students who are allowed to continue will then be unconditionally admitted to the program.

 Non-degree seeking students initially permitted to take graduate courses are allowed to take up to nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit after which they may apply for regular admission. The nine (9) semester hours taken as non-degree seeking may be applied to the program. 



The Rural Public Policy and Planning Program faculty is diverse with specialties in the areas of Health Policy, Nonprofit Policy, and Social and Economic Policy.



Dr. Cassie Osborne
Professor of Political Science/Rural Public Policy
Dr. Morgan EroAssociate Professor, Public Administration/Rural Public Policy 
Dr. Richard Mushi

 Associate Professor, Public Administration/Rural Public Policy

Dr. Elizabeth Evans

 Assistant Professor of Public Administration/Rural Public Policy

Dr. Kathie Golden Professor of Political Science/Rural Public Policy (Part-time)
Dr. Adrian Brown

 Adjunct Professor, Urban and Regional Planning



MVSU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools(SACS). The program is compiling data that will be used to apply for the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) accreditation review after its five years of its existence.


The Master of Arts in Public Policy and Planning is an interdisciplinary program. The various departments within the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies at Mississippi Valley State University provide courses in the specialty areas. 


For application materials or program-specific information, interested candidates should contact:

The Department of Graduate Studies, (662) 254-3439 or Program Coordinator, Master of Arts in Rural Public Policy and Planning, (662) 254-3352/7.

For general information contact: MVSU Admissions and Recruitment Office, 662-254-3347.