Scientific diving occurred sporadically at the University of Mississippi until 1995, when several marine science hires necessitated a more formal program; UM is currently an organizational member in good standing with the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. The Diving Safety Officer was appointed by UM, and the DSO reports to/carries out the mission of the Diving Control Board (a committee within the UM Office of Research Integrity & Compliance). While the program is relatively small (5-10 active scientific divers in any given year), the research groups are internationally-recognized for their work in marine sciences and their advancement of the field via technical diving procedures (e.g., mixed gas, rebreathers, and cave/ice/deep diving).
The Scientific Diving Program exists to facilitate safe and successful diving research projects by UM faculty and students. The program facilitates research projects around the world using SCUBA and technical mixed gas modes of diving, and the UM SDP provides training and logistical support to funded research projects. Scientific diving status at UM is achieved by either taking the UM-sanctioned research diving course, or by providing proof of training at another AAUS organizational member.