Access to Success

Close up of a graduating student's mortar board decorated with a map

For all students, college is a pivotal time. Whether it’s exerting a newfound independence, expanding knowledge, growing professionally, exploring diverse opportunities, taking a leadership role or studying abroad, students are on the cusp of major change and becoming a major changer. At Missouri State, we’ve found that assessing the needs of our students honestly has allowed us to set our students up for lifelong successful careers where they can become global leaders.

We’ve increased the number of alternative pathway options for students, made transferring credits easier, created new programs and developed initiatives directed at diversifying the student body in an attempt to give greater opportunities to the students we serve.

HLC accreditation

In spring 2016, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) granted Missouri State University full accreditation for another 10 years. Although we’ve continually been accredited by the HLC since 1916, it’s not something we take for granted. It’s a rigorous process of meeting standards and providing documentation of all levels of Missouri State’s operations. It’s a nod to the quality education we provide. It also speaks to our ideals of continual improvement and operating with integrity.

The official notification of accreditation followed a comprehensive self-study and evaluation visit to Missouri State by an HLC team, and we are proud to live up to the standards they demand.

Expanding online offerings

In response to market demands and in order to give greater access to students where they are, online courses have grown exponentially since 2011. Now, a student can complete 14 graduate degrees, 11 undergraduate majors and 18 certificates online with Missouri State outreach.

In order to prepare faculty for this leap into digital instruction, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning began offering the Digital Professor Academy in 2011.


  • 14 graduate degrees
  • 11 undergraduate majors
  • 18 certificates
  • MOOCs
72 degree programs offered via alternate pathways — up from 42 in 2011

Misty Freeman

  • Project manager
  • Remote-learner e-learning services
"I did my master's program completely online. The program really prepared me for my job now, where I work from home and use the virtual environment."
Online programs


Online programming at Missouri State is a point of pride and has garnered recognition from many prestigious entities, including:

  • Master’s in project management ranked among top online programs by Go Grad
  • Master of Business Administration was ranked as a 2014 Best Online Program by U.S. News and World Report
  • Computer Science Online ranked the information technology service management (ITSM) program third out of 52 for the 2015 Best Online Computer Science Degrees

Massive Open Online Courses

To share the expertise of Missouri State faculty with the world, we began offering Massive Open Online Courses, focusing primarily on the area of Ozarks history.

  • 15,253 students enrolled in the three courses offered in 2014–15
  • The first course for 2015-16 had 1,007 enrolled

New needs new programs

Passions motivate you. They help you find your career path, your network, your calling. As the world changes, and the job market demands shift, so have Missouri State’s offerings.

4,524 degrees and certificates awarded during fiscal year 2015, compared to 4,463 in fiscal year 2012


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Enrollment growth exceeds expectations

One measure of Missouri State’s success is our enrollment, as it shows that students place their faith in our university to help them grow into the citizens they hope to be. In 2011, the Springfield campus reached an enrollment of 20,802, and we have continued a steady increase of enrollment across all categories since that time.

Even in an environment of economic recovery, students and families still sought out opportunities in higher education. We are proud that our high-achieving student body continues to flock to us as we groom them to become passionate, educated and motivated.

22,834 students on the Springfield campus in fall 2015, exceeding the 2016 goal by more than 500
77% of first-time, full-time students complete 24 credit hours in one academic year. This number continues to rise.

Bar chart of total enrollment: 2011 at 20,802; 2012 at 21,059; 2013 at 21,798; 2014 at 22,385; 2015 at 22,834

Enhancing the student experience

A thriving student body requires more than just targeted recruitment of motivated students. It also requires specific retention programming and resources for student success.

We innovated and designed a space for students to collaborate and get the help they need — it’s the Bear CLAW located in Meyer Library. This center, which puts many academic support services under one roof, has been instrumental to student success.

While Student Orientation, Advisement and Registration (SOAR) grabs students and gets them interested in the possibilities that lie ahead at Missouri State, we decided that we could do more to keep them engaged.

The Ursa Experience

In fall 2015, we began the Ursa Experience — a three-day, two-night off-campus adventure that immerses students in life at Missouri State University:

  • Building friendships
  • Learning about university history and traditions
  • Exploring personal strengths
  • Discovering what it means to be a Bear

Making these connections builds a strong student body.

Getting involved

During this period, we’ve also expanded our campus opportunities like first-year foundation programs, Peer Assisted Study Sessions, Living-Learning Communities, Maroon Madness and grand traditions like Bear Path. These programs and groups highlight the community aspect of being a Missouri State student. New Bears feel the pride of being a Missouri State Bear now more than ever before.

  • Student experience begins with SOAR

    New students have the opportunity to make friends and get familiar with campus and culture during Student Orientation and Registration.

  • Building Bear bonds

    Throughout the academic year, students finds many ways to get involved on campus and build relationships – whether it’s in the residence halls, in class or in one of the more than 300 student organizations.

  • Immersing during Ursa

    Students immerse themselves in all things Bear during Ursa.

  • Finding the inner Bear

    During Ursa, students learn about Missouri State traditions and about being a #CitizenBear.

  • Welcoming atmosphere

    Students participate in activities at Fan Fest and Bear Bash each fall as part of the Welcome Weekend.

  • Getting into the groove

    Whether it's intramural sports, Greek life, Living Learning Communities or one of the other 300 student organizations, students find many ways to plug in at Missouri State.

  • Making memories

    On a campus with more than 20,000 students, students are always able to find others with shared interests.

  • A great place

    Students swarm the Plaster Student Union for many events throughout the academic year, including comedy shows, movies, lectures and performances.

  • Being an ambassador

    The first time a student sets foot on campus, we hope it feels like home. Our student ambassadors provide a tour to prospective students and families – now starting from the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center.

  • BearWear everywhere

    The university community has fully embraced the BearWear Friday tradition – and BearWear is more popular than ever.

  • Bear Up

    A new football coach and a new student section at Plaster Stadium caused many students to cheer. Students enjoy free admission to practically every sporting event on campus.