Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

Joby Bass

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

David Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Mark Miller

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology


This study assesses the appearance of collegiate culture on the landscape of college towns in Mississippi. The research will add to the understanding of this phenomenon by contributing more focused studies of college towns not yet explored. Refining and adding to the concept of a “college town” by identifying physical and cultural factors that characterize it will open opportunities and provide options that will serve as a gateway for more pointed cross-disciplinary research. Not only are these towns havens for geographic research, but also for cross-disciplinary research pursuits due to their unique cultural characteristics. Using U.S. Census-derived maps and a list of expected college-related demographic and physical characteristics, 11 towns were evaluated based on the degree and presence of those characteristics, respectively. A scoring system was then used to relatively order the towns from most to least influenced. Generally, towns with more students were more heavily influenced. The results show that a standard definition of college towns can be used, but clearly different types of college towns exist and should be evaluated as such to see the specific effects of institution and municipality/community cooperation. Implications and principles are useful for any town focused on development because knowing the community– its demographic composition and assets present on the landscape– could help leaders in any town make decisions that respond to the needs of that community.