Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

First-year Student Admission

A high school student planning to apply as a first-year student should submit an application as soon as possible at the beginning of their senior year. There are many advantages to applying early. For example, some programs are filled on a first-admitted basis. Students interested in being considered for merit scholarships should apply by November 1, for maximum consideration, and the regular admission deadline is April 1. Students should apply using the online application.

The university requires students to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students must submit official transcripts from all high schools attended, proof of GED (if applicable), an essay, and official ACT or SAT scores (if applicable, as MSU is currently test optional).

Admission to Michigan State University is competitive, but there are no minimum requirements. Freshman admission is based on your academic performance in high school; the strength and quality of your curriculum; recent trends in your academic performance; your class rank; your ACT or SAT results (if applicable, since MSU is test optional); and your leadership, talents, conduct and diversity of experience. Typically, the most important element in the admissions process is high school academic achievement. Applicants who are admissible will be granted admission pending confirmation of satisfactory status regarding final grades and other admission criteria.

Applicants may receive an offer of admission to the subsequent term if space is not available for the term in which they have applied. The chief academic officer of the university has authority to grant waivers of the usual entrance requirements. 

Admission to the university is conditional upon the applicant providing accurate admissions information and upon the applicant updating such data if circumstances arise that make the previously provided information inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete in an any way. Submission of an application authorizes the university to investigate the accuracy of statements made and data provided by the applicant and those who submit materials or information on behalf of the applicant. Falsifications, misrepresentations, or omissions in application answers or supporting data may constitute grounds to deny or revoke admission to the university. Admission to the university may be denied or revoked if the university learns that an individual has engaged in conduct that indicates to the university that the individual is not ready to be a responsible member of the university community. 

The university encourages all applicants to visit campus. Admissions presentations and campus tours are available Monday-Friday throughout the year and on select Saturdays during fall and spring. There is no charge, but pre-registration is required.


MSU is test optional, which means that prospective freshman students can apply for admission without submitting an ACT or SAT score. Students will indicate on the application whether they would like SAT or ACT exam scores included in their evaluation. Freshman applicants who would like to have test scores considered will have the ability to self-report scores on the application. Admitted students who chose to apply with self-reported test scores will be required to provide official test results to the university before they attend New Student Orientation. First-year student applicants have an option to take the writing portion of either the ACT or the SAT. SAT II exams are not required by Michigan State University. Michigan State University does not superscore for either test.

Scores must be sent to MSU directly from the testing agency. MSU's ACT code is 2032. MSU's SAT code is 1465. Information on the ACT is available at SAT information can be found at

High School Curricular Requirements

Michigan State University recognizes that adequate preparation for collegiate-level programs demands comprehensive work in academic subject matter areas and substantial training in writing. These high school course work requirements provide the foundation on which university work is built by providing basic competencies in the following core areas noted in the sections that follow. MSU recognizes that there will be students who have potential for academic success at Michigan State University, but who have not precisely met the high school course requirements, e.g., students whose high schools do not offer all the courses, non–traditional students, and international students. The absence of any particular component of high school course work should not be an insurmountable barrier to admission. Michigan State University urges all interested individuals to apply for admission.

English:  Four (4) years of college preparatory composition and literature courses. The ability to comprehend what is being read and to read critically is fundamental for success in college. A student must come to college with the basic ability to recognize assumptions, to identify intentions, to acknowledge the various forms of literary expressions, and to understand and react to the author's message. It is expected that a high school student is familiar with a wide range of literature representing various literary forms and drawn from a variety of cultures.

Clarity of expression is also important. College programs typically require the ability to organize, present and evaluate information and concepts in written form. A student must be able to use the conventions of written English to convey ideas in an effective and efficient manner. Successful students will be able to write analytically and critically, to construct arguments, and to see relationships between content and form, while reorganizing, revising, and refining to achieve a logical sequence of ideas leading to a conclusion.

Mathematics: Three (3) years of college preparatory mathematics, including two (2) years of algebra and one (1) year of geometry. College-bound students must understand the language, notation, and deductive nature of mathematics and be able to express quantitative ideas with precision. They must have skills in such basic areas as the solution of equations and inequalities, and the simplification of algebraic expressions. To be best prepared, students are strongly advised to pursue mathematics courses beyond the three–year minimum required for admission. It is recommended that a calculus preparatory course be included.

Biological and Physical Sciences: Two (2) years of college preparatory science courses from the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science. College-bound students need an understanding of fundamental scientific concepts. They must know enough about laboratory methods and fieldwork to ask appropriate scientific questions and to recognize experimental approaches to the solution of such questions. They should understand in some depth scientific concepts and should have a year of experience in laboratory methods. Additional science courses are highly recommended, particularly if a student is considering a scientific or technical field of study.

History and the Social Sciences: Three (3) years of college preparatory work in history and the social sciences with at least one (1) year of history and one (1) year of social sciences (from such areas as anthropology, economics, geography, government, political science, psychology or sociology). Through their study of history, college-bound high school students should be able to recognize historical trends and relationships. Students should understand the interactions among peoples of different civilizations, races, and cultures, and know the chronology of major historical events or periods and social movements. It is equally important to understand the underlying political, economic, social, or psychological forces that shape those events. Students should have basic factual knowledge of major social, political, and economic institutions within their historical context, as well as introductory knowledge of the content and concepts of the social sciences. A course which shows how the scientific method can be utilized in the social sciences to examine major issues and to address problems would be particularly useful.

Foreign Languages: Two (2) years of college preparatory work in a single foreign language. Students intending to major in areas that require foreign language are encouraged to complete additional work.

Additional Recommended Course Work: The courses noted above constitute minimum preparation for degree programs in the university. To enhance your application for admission and further prepare for academic success at Michigan State University, a minimum of three additional academic college preparatory courses is recommended.

Advanced Payments and Deposits

Refer to Costs section of this catalog for information.

Office of Supportive Services

The Office of Supportive Services (OSS) is a multifaceted holistic initiative designed to address the needs of TRIO students; first generation, income eligible, students with disabilities and students who meet other priority participant criteria. Through the collaborative efforts of MSU faculty and staff, the Supportive Services personnel implement intensive and comprehensive services. Students have access to program services from the time they enter the University, through graduation and placement into graduate school. The primary goal of OSS is to assist in the retention and graduation rates of program participants. This is accomplished by offering a variety of services which foster student academic achievement, self-confidence and leadership.

For more information about OSS and TRIO, please call 1-517-884-6670 or visit us at 434 Farm Lane, Room 209 Bessey Hall or online at

Advanced Placement Program (College Board AP Exams)

Credit or advanced standing may be granted to students who have earned specific scores on College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations.

Visit the admissions Web site for Michigan State University's AP Equivalencies for waivers or course credit. Students must have their AP scores sent directly to the Office of Admissions.

Students who wish to request removal of Advanced Placement credits from their academic record need to submit their request to their advisor before the end of the first term of enrollment. After the first term of enrollment, the associate dean of the student’s college will review each case, including its accordance with federal financial aid policy, and  may recommend the addition or the removal of Advanced Placement credits by submitting a request to the Office of the Registrar. 

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Board has examinations designed to assess competence achieved prior to enrolling at Michigan State University and this competence level would be equivalent to taking beginning college level courses. Individuals desiring recognition of CLEP examinations for credit at Michigan State University must present official CLEP Examination reports for all exams taken.

Visit the admissions Web site for Michigan State University's CLEP equivalencies.

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support - Subject Standardized Tests (DANTES)

Prometric has examinations designed to assess competencies usually attained by taking college-level courses. Individuals desiring recognition of DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) examinations for credit at Michigan State University must present an official DSST Transcript for all exams taken.

Visit the admissions Web site for Michigan State University's DANTES equivalencies.

International Baccalaureate Program

Michigan State University accepts the results of the International Baccalaureate Examinations for placement and course credit.

Visit the admissions Web site for Michigan State University's International Baccalaureate (IB) equivalencies.


Opportunities for High-Achieving High School Students (MSU Dual Enrollment)

Michigan State University offers programs for high-achieving high school students to take courses at Michigan State University and earn college credit while pursuing their high school programs. Credits earned in the High Achieving High School status may be applied to a Michigan State University undergraduate degree. For additional information on course applicability, see the Dual Enrollment by High School Students section of this catalog. Details and admissions requirements for High Achieving High School programs are available at Information about dual enrollment can be found at

A student must complete the Application for Admission for High Achieving High School Students, submit their high school transcript, and be recommended by the high school counselor or principal. Permission to enroll under the High-Achieving High School Students enrollment status is determined by the following criteria: (a) courses in which enrollment is desired represent advanced study for that student at a level not offered by the high school and are approved by the high school counselor/principal and representative of Michigan State University's Honors College as compatible with that student's academic program and qualifications. Performance in these courses will be monitored as a condition of continued high-achiever status; and (b) enrollment of a student as a high achiever does not assure regular admission to Michigan State University upon completion of high school graduation requirements.

Students who enroll in a course are charged lifelong education course fees and receive Michigan State University credit for each course successfully completed. Students who enroll in courses in the semester immediately preceding matriculation as a degree candidate will be charged regular undergraduate tuition and fees for those courses. Students are subject to all university rules and regulations that apply to regularly enrolled students.  Coordination of high school class schedules with enrollment at Michigan State University, transportation arrangements to and from the university, and parental approval for participation are the responsibility of the student and the high school.

Students enrolled under the High-Achieving High School Students enrollment status who wish to be admitted as undergraduate candidates must complete an application with the Office of Admissions in accordance with established application deadlines. Application information may be found at

Dual Enrollment by High School Students

High school students who dually enroll for courses at accredited institutions of higher education may receive credit for work taken at these institutions for courses that have been recognized for transfer to Michigan State University in accordance with the University’s transfer credit policy.

Students enrolling while still in high school are not eligible for financial aid from Michigan State University.

Early/Middle College Applicants

MSU welcomes applications from students in early/middle college programs. Early middle/college students should apply as first year students if they plan to attend MSU immediately after receiving a high school diploma. This includes students who receive a high school diploma at the same time as an associate degree. Early/middle college students are reviewed the same as other first year applicants and are eligible for first year scholarships. Tuition and financial aid can be affected by the number of credits transferred. Early/middle college students who have completed college course work must submit an official college transcript for credit consideration and an official transcript from the high school. For more information, visit