Partnership Helps Smooth Pathway for Co-Lin Students to USM Honors College

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Co-Lin) have committed to providing Co-Lin honor students with a smooth pathway to USM’s Honors College.

Officials from the schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Trent Lott National Center on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

The agreement allows students who have graduated or will graduate, in good standing from the Co-Lin Honors College to gain admission to USM’s two-year Keystone Honors College program. Students are eligible at the 10 or 21-credit-hour level and must carry a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher to earn admission.

USM President Joe Paul pointed out the rich history between the two schools, hailing the partnership as another important milestone for the University.

“We have long been the university of choice for Mississippi’s best community college graduates. And now, the best and brightest honors graduates from Copiah-Lincoln can seamlessly become a part of our honors program and our University,” said Dr. Paul. “Our transfer students from Copiah-Lincoln Community College always do well academically; they become campus leaders; they go out in the world and do great things and give back to both institutions.”

Founded in 1928, Co-Lin launched its Honors College program this fall. Dr. Stephanie Duguid, Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin, notes that an honors college has been a goal for many years, with Phi Theta Kappa student officers leading an initiative that paved the way for the program’s inception earlier this summer.

“This fall marks the inaugural semester for inviting students to be a part of something special that allows unique collaborative experiences in leadership development, student research, and community service,” said Duguid. “Those that commit to the goals and ideals of the Honors College have the opportunity to continue their path upon transfer all while enhancing their confidence to pursue their passions and commit to expanding their mind and service for the public good.”

Co-Lin President Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, a USM alumna, lauded the signing as a significant milestone for the college and a momentous opportunity for students.

“We’re very proud to establish an honors college at Co-Lin, and we’re proud to have our very first partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi,” said Dr. Hulon Sims. “We love our Co-Lin students, and we are happy when they choose to move on in programs just like this. I know they will be successful because they do such an impressive job when they are with us. An honors college is a wonderful experience for students with untold opportunities. This is a great step that we are taking here today, and I am so excited to be doing it with Southern Miss.”

Juniors and seniors in USM’s Keystone curriculum can chart their own course through the design and completion of an original research or creative project - the senior Honors Thesis. Working with Honors faculty and with a faculty adviser in their chosen discipline, students will move through a five-hour course sequence, distributed across four semesters that guides them through the thesis experience.

Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, Dean of USM’s Honors College, praised the agreement as a win-win for students and the institutions.

“We are extremely excited about this partnership,” said Heinhorst. “Co-Lin Honors College students can now smoothly transition to our Keystone program, which is the research portion of the USM Honors College. The MOU paves a smooth pathway to admission. The Southern Miss Honors College has access to a pool of academically talented, highly motivated students who want to complete their bachelor’s degree and maybe stay for graduate school at our University.”

Students must follow the standard university admissions procedure for transfer students and complete the USM Honors College Keystone application in full.

A Co-Lin student with an honors diploma must complete the following requirements to graduate from the USM Honors College:

  • HON 300 (Developing the Honors Thesis I, 1 hour) 
  • HON 301 (Developing the Honors Thesis II, 3 hours)
  • 492H course in the student's thesis discipline (Honors Thesis, 3 hours)

To remain in good standing in the USM Honors College, all students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, participate in Honors advising and make satisfactory progress toward degree completion.