Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

Neighborhood Student Success Center

Undergraduate Pathway Programs

The Pathway Programs Unit, a coalition of four programs—Detroit M.A.D.E., Dow STEM, FLI Vanderploeg, and TRIO SSS Scholars—promotes academic proficiency, institutional navigation, and socio-emotional engagement for student success. Aligned with Undergraduate Education’s mission, the unit facilitates the empowerment of students to pursue knowledge, access resources, and develop skills. Its goals contribute to the broader institutional objectives of closing opportunity gaps for underserved students by enhancing persistence, retention, and graduation rates. 

Michigan State University (MSU) has a First-Gen Forward Designation through NASPA Center for First Generation Student Success. The First-Generation College Student Initiative aims to inspire first-generation college students to persist and graduate by eliminating barriers, providing high-impact learning experiences, and ongoing development. Key partners at MSU steer First-Generation students in the right direction by providing access to resources and support.

These efforts earned MSU the national designation of First-Gen Forward Institution in Spring 2022. The Pathway Programs unit offers specialized programs such as the First-Generation Leadership and Innovation Vanderploeg Scholars Program and the TRIO Student Support Services, specifically designed to meet the needs of first-generation students. Additionally, more than half of the students in the other Pathway Programs (Detroit M.A.D.E. and Dow STEM) are first-generation students, further highlighting the significant impact and support of these programs for first-generation student success.

Detroit M.A.D.E. Scholars
The Detroit M.A.D.E (Mastering Academics Demonstrating Excellence) Scholars Program focuses on college retention, graduation, and career development for students who are both Detroit residents and graduates of Detroit Public or Charter high schools. Funded by the Gilbert Family Foundation, the Detroit M.A.D.E. program promotes personal and academic excellence through pre- college outreach, as well as individualized academic advising and cohort activities while in college. Students in the program engage in specialized, high- impact practices spanning four years—including a first-year seminar, service-learning projects, education abroad or study away, and undergraduate research. Through these opportunities and initiatives, Detroit M.A.D.E. students will enter conversations and experiences connecting them back to the city of Detroit.
Dow STEM Scholars
The Dow STEM Scholars (DSS) Program is designed for students who scored under an 11 on the MSU Math Placement Test and are pursuing a degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) major. The program enables students to take a specialized online math course during the summer before they begin at MSU. Through the Dow STEM math course, engaging activities and fieldtrips facilitated by dedicated Dow STEM staff and peer mentors, the program has shown significant success in enhancing DSS student’s academic and career achievements in STEM fields. Active Dow STEM Scholars are eligible for Dow STEM Funding to participate in high impact experiences such as research, internships and education abroad.  Enrollment is limited to the first 80 students who apply, so—if you are a US resident planning on a STEM major as an MSU first- year student and scored under 11 on the Math Placement Test.
First-Generation Leadership and Innovation (FLI) Vanderploeg Scholars
The First-Generation Leadership and Innovation (FLI) Vanderploeg Scholars program provides first-generation college students at Michigan State University with access to opportunities to develop leadership skills and become innovators in their chosen field by providing access to support as well as funding. The program is funded by a generous gift from Alumni and Donor Dr. Martin J. Vanderploeg in honor of his father, the FLI Vanderploeg Scholars program aims to be a premier scholarship program at MSU for first-generation college students by creating opportunities for career and leadership development, opportunities for programmatic and individual innovation, and participation in high-impact practices while creating a community where first-generation scholars have a deep sense of belonging to the program and MSU.
TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)
The TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program at Michigan State University is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It aims to create opportunities for academic development, aid students in meeting essential college requirements, and inspire those who are first-generation, income-eligible, or have documented disabilities to successfully complete their post-secondary education. The primary objective of TRIO SSS is to enhance college retention and graduation rates among its participants. Within the MSU TRIO SSS Program, students are granted access to customized cultural activities, academic support services, and peer mentoring that facilitate their adjustment to university life and enable them to build strong relationships with peers, instructors, and advisors.