College of Professional and Continuing Studies
Advancing Research and Innovation

Our Passion

Our Passion

At the College of Professional and Continuing Studies at Mississippi State University, we pride ourselves on a rich legacy of research excellence that is deeply rooted in practical experience. Our faculty members are not just educators; they are seasoned practitioners who have worked extensively in the fields of online learning, adult education, STEM education, and career and technical education. This unique blend of academic rigor and real-world expertise enables us to offer an unparalleled educational experience.

Our research initiatives are designed to address the most pressing challenges in today's rapidly evolving professional landscape. We leverage cutting-edge methodologies and technologies to produce actionable insights that inform best practices and drive innovation in the industry. Our commitment to research is not just an academic exercise; it is a promise to our students and stakeholders that we are at the forefront of educational advancements, ensuring that our curricula are not only relevant but also transformative.

Other Applied Research Focal Areas

Other Applied Research Focal Areas



At CPCS, we are acutely aware of the unique challenges and opportunities that adult learners face. Our research is tailored to explore the intricacies of adult education, particularly for those balancing work, family, and other commitments. We specialize in developing flexible, modular educational pathways that are both stackable and relevant. These pathways are designed to meet adult learners where they are, allowing them to acquire credentials at their own pace while ensuring that the educational experience remains rigorous and industry-relevant.

Applied Degree

Our research in applied education degree models is revolutionizing the way adult learners engage with higher education. We are pioneering stackable, modular pathways that allow students to earn credentials at their own pace, without sacrificing quality or rigor. Our faculty are actively involved in developing curricula that are not only industry-relevant but also flexible enough to accommodate the diverse needs of our student population.

Student Success and Retention

Our research in student success and retention is geared towards understanding the unique challenges faced by adult learners, particularly those who are juggling work, family, and education. We employ data analytics, surveys, and qualitative studies to identify key factors that influence student engagement and persistence. Our findings inform the creation of targeted support services and interventions that help our students achieve their academic and career goals.


Transfer students often face a unique set of challenges that can impact their academic success. Our research focuses on understanding the motivational factors and support capital models that can help these students thrive. We are investigating how institutional support, peer networks, and academic advising can be optimized to facilitate a smooth transition and enhance the overall educational experience for transfer students.


Featured Research Area

Research Spotlight

The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree program at MSU offers a combination of general education courses and professional-technical courses, making it an attractive option for nontraditional learners such as working adults. According to a recent study by the American Association of Community Colleges, there has been a 22% increase in the number of students transferring from community colleges to pursue a BAS degree in the past five years (2019). This degree type is just one of many ways Mississippi State has worked in recent years to provide better offerings for all populations of students and companies seeking their future employees.

Cultivating Partnerships by Owen in Techniques March 2023

Associate Dean Sean Owen discusses the importance of cultivating partnerships in education in 'Cultivating  Strong Postsecondary Partnerships,' published in the March 2023 issue of Techniques.