What is the Academic Common Market (ACM)?

Southern Studies is an approved ACM program at the University of Mississippi.  This means we offer resident tuition rates for non-resident students.

Yes, this means you can major in Southern Studies (never a bad idea) and save big bucks on the cost of college, if you meet the following conditions of ACM:

1 ) Does your home state of residence offer Southern Studies as a B.A. degree at any public university or college?  If not, you can likely apply for ACM.  Search here to find out.

2) Are you enrolled “full time” (12+ hours/term) or accepted to the university to enroll “full time”?  If so, you can apply for ACM.

3)Are you ready to declare a major in Southern Studies and pursue coursework that will result in a B.A. degree in Southern Studies? If so, you can apply for ACM.

4) Is Southern Studies your primary and only major? State stipulations require that you may not double major and receive an ACM discount.  You also cannot use ACM for a standalone SST minor. That said, as per university guidelines, your SST major must have a minor.

5) Do you want to be really marketable? Students commonly major in SST and minor in business, biology, journalism, history, African-American studies, and so  on.  This makes them the exact kind of custom-designed graduates with a grounding in the liberal arts that employers are looking for.*  The possibilities are endless.

* Don’t take our word for it.  Forbes, Harvard Business School, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and many, many other resources agree: one-track majors don’t necessarily make you marketable.

ACM Process (2022-2023)

The application process is somewhat involved and subject to change depending on the volume of applicants, students retained in the SST undergraduate major, and ACM awards finalized each year.

We encourage ACM applicants to begin the process at least three months before beginning SST coursework.   As per updated guidelines for 2022-2023, if you’re an incoming student for the Fall 2022 term, applications can be submitted at any time after conditional acceptance to the university and declaration of SST as your major.  You MUST be a declared SST major for your application to advance at a state ACM office.  

If you’re a transfer student, you may apply in any term prior to the term of attendance.  If you’re already enrolled and attending UM, you may apply at any point, although ACM benefits will not be applied until the following term.


Click here to download/print a simplified ACM Process Checklist, 2022-2023.

1) The application formally starts when you apply in your home state for ACM approval.   Search here at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to see if your state of residence is eligible, if the University of Mississippi is an eligible institution, and if SST is an eligible program for you.  The answer should also be googleable.  Just search for “Academic Common Market” and [insert home state] and start there.  Usually, the ACM office is housed in the state’s educational system.  For instance, in Georgia it starts with the University System of Georgia.  It’s similar in other SREB states.  The main thing is that your home state will check to make sure a public entity does not offer Southern Studies as a major course of study in your home state.

For most SREB states, your conditional acceptance letter from the University of Mississippi is sufficient to start the process, but it MUST note that you are a declared “Southern Studies” major, which is detailed on the admissions certificate (usually the second or third page of your admissions letter or packet; see a sample here).  If you were not a declared SST major when you applied, or are not presently, contact Admissions and have your major changed to SST.  Admissions will then re-issue your admissions certificate describing you as conditionally admitted and a SST major.  Send that revised letter along with your application to your respective state’s ACM office.

Note: On occasion, SREB states may ask for what’s called a “letter of endorsement” from either of SST’s undergraduate advisors (for 2022-2023, that’s either Dr. Grem or Dr. Delerme) that you are a SST student intending to study with us as a major.  THIS IS NOT the same as your admissions certificate.  In most cases, the admissions certificate–as long as it says you are a declared SST major–will suffice for ACM offices across the SREB.  In Georgia, the admissions certificate is the ONLY document that will suffice; letters of endorsement are not accepted in the Peach State.  

2) If approved, your home state will send an ACM certification to you and to the Provost’s office at UM.  The Provost office will double-check your major in the registrar’s system and we will make sure you are accepted and/or enrolled in the university and a declared SST major.   This may require you to be patient.   Once you’re cleared as an admitted and/or enrolled student and SST major, then the Provost’s office will notify you of your ACM eligibility and send the undergrad advisor a certification, which will be uploaded to our administrative shared box.

3) Next, during orientation and/or registration, an orientation advisor or SST’s undergraduate advisor(s) will need to check over your intended coursework.  If an incoming student, you’ll likely set up an appointment with an orientation advisor to plan your first-term coursework, although SST’s undergraduate advisor(s) can be in the loop.  If you don’t meet with an orientation advisor, then you will meet with an undergraduate advisor in SST, typically during summer orientation in May-June.  Regardless, before orientation and before your advising appointment, there will be an advising block on your account, which will keep you from signing up for courses.  This is when ACM really counts. We’ll need to make sure you are signed up for at least one SST major-related course each semester (typically any course in the SST100 series, although most students go with SST101).  You’ll need to enroll in SST-related coursework in each subsequent term.  That satisfies most home states’ and UM’s requirement of “progress toward degree.”

Remember: The ACM cannot be used just for a SST minor or double majoring.  It can only be used for a SST major toward a B.A. in SST (plus required minor in another discipline).

4) After signing off on your coursework and conducting a final audit to ensure you’re enrolled in coursework that makes “progress toward degree,” an SST undergrad advisor will initiate a formal request that Financial Aid approve your ACM discount.   You will receive a receipt for this request via email.  This request is not final approval, but it will let the Financial Aid office know that you’ve cleared all the various institutional thresholds and they should award you the ACM discount.  Financial Aid will then approve the request and will let the Bursar know to make the adjustment to your billing.  If all the ducks are in a row, you will see the discount applied for that term’s bill when the Bursar sends it out for payment (e.g., typically August 15 for Fall, although discounts can be applied as late as midterm).

5) After the discount is applied, you just have to stay in SST major coursework, show up for courses, study hard, and keep your overall GPA above 2.0.  For any course to count toward the major or its requisite minor, it also requires a C or higher for a final grade.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any  questions regarding ACM, please direct them to one of SST’s undergraduate advisors: either Dr. Darren E. Grem, Associate Professor of History and Southern Studies or Dr. Simone Delerme, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Southern Studies.

Click here for Dr. Grem’s faculty page and here for Dr. Delerme’s faculty page. E-mail addresses are located there. If your last name begins with A-K, contact Dr. Grem.  If your last name begins with L-Z, contact Dr. Delerme.  Always e-mail us instead of calling our office phones since we may not be in the office but always have our e-mail inboxes handy.