Michigan State University is authorized under immigration regulations to enroll nonimmigrant students and welcomes applications from such persons. An international student is defined as a person holding a nonimmigrant visa.
Prospective students are encouraged to begin the application process one year prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.
Students from abroad, educated in academic systems whose requirements are comparable to 12 years in an elementary and secondary college preparatory education program in the United States, may apply for admission. Official copies of all mark sheets, transcripts, diplomas and certificates from high schools, and ALL other academic institutions must accompany the application. These records must show courses taken and grades earned, and must be translated into English if the original records are in another language. If a translation is supplied, it should be certified as accurate and correct by an appropriate public or school official, or sponsoring agency or government. The official record in the original language should also be included.
For information on international student admission, see https://admissions.msu.edu/apply/international/default.aspx. For information on transfer admission, see https://admissions.msu.edu.apply/transfer/default.aspx.
When admitted, a digital letter of admission will be available on the student's online portal. All international applicants seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa are also required to submit adequate evidence of financial support to cover the cost of attendance for at least one full year of study at Michigan State University. Students, however, must consider that financial resources will be needed for the entire four- to five-year period required to complete an undergraduate program. PLEASE NOTE: No need-based financial aid is available for international undergraduate students.
Evidence of adequate financial support and payment of the Advanced Enrollment Deposit must be received before the I-20 or DS-2019 forms will be mailed. All international students studying on an F-1 visa are required to present the I-20 Form when applying for an F-1 Student Visa and again at the port-of-entry into the United States. Students applying for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa will need to present a DS-2019 Form. This form is available from the organization/program sponsoring the student, or from the Office of International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University. Applicants enrolled at another U.S. institution with an F-1 Student Visa must be released from SEVIS by their current institution before MSU can issue a new I-20 Form.
Details are available at https://admissions.msu.edu/admitted/international/reserve-your-place/obtain-your-immigration-documents.aspx.
Students who enter the United States with an I–20 Form from another institution should be aware that they must enroll at that school before they are eligible to transfer to Michigan State University. Such transfers require both formal admission to Michigan State University and notification to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Only students intending to enroll at MSU should enter the United States with the I-20 Form issued by MSU. Additional up-to-date information concerning immigration guidelines can be found at www.oiss.msu.edu.
Opportunities for High-Achieving International Students
Michigan State University recognizes the educational value of certain pre-matriculation programs by granting academic credit, waiving requirements, and/or placing students in advanced courses. Such programs include the Form VI (A-level work) and those described in the Freshman Admission section of this catalog.
Information on A-level equivalencies is available at https://admissions.msu.edu/documents/MSU_International_A_Levels.pdf. The SAT or ACT examinations are not required for international students, but are highly recommended. To receive an invitation to and be eligible for merit-based scholarships from the Michigan State University Honors College, SAT or ACT scores are required.
English Language Proficiency Requirement
All international undergraduate applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Michigan State University offers provisional admission to applicants who meet the academic and financial requirements, but whose English language proficiency does not meet the levels for regular admission. Provisionally admitted students must take an English Language Center placement test upon arrival at MSU to assess their need for additional language instruction at the English Language Center, and to correct their deficiency within three consecutive semesters of enrollment. English Language courses taught through the English Language Center will likely delay the start of a student’s academic program.
For information regarding the number of credits that may count towards a bachelor's degree, refer to the Graduation Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree section of this catalog.
Minimum Requirement for Regular Admission
All international applicants are required to be proficient in English as a condition for regular admission to MSU. Applicants will be required to demonstrate their proficiency by meeting certain minimum standards on any one of the following tests:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A total score of 550 (paper version), 79 (Internet version) or above with no subscores below 52 (paper version) or 17 (Internet version) is required. Visit www.ets.org/toefl for details.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A score of 6.5 or higher. Visit www.ielts.org for details.
- Michigan State University Certificate of English Language Proficiency (CELP). A score of 65 with no subscores below 15.
- Michigan State University English Language Test (MSUELT). An average score of at least 80 with no subscores below 80, or an average score above 85 with no subscores below 78, is required. The MSUELT is given on the campus of Michigan State University at the English Language Center.
- Advanced Placement English Language (APIEL). A score of 4 or higher. Visit https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse for details.
- SAT Verbal. A score of 480 or higher. Visit www.collegeboard.com for details.
- ACT English. A score of 18 or higher. Visit www.act.org for details.
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA). A minimum score of 53 and no subscore below 48.
Minimum Scores for Provisional Admission
International applicants who have acceptable academic credentials may be admitted to Michigan State University on a provisional basis with scores between 500 and 549 (paper version) or 60 and 78 (Internet version) on the TOEFL; 6.0 on the IELTS; or between 65 and 79 on the MSUELT; or between 46 and 52 on the PTEA.
Provisionally admitted students must take English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at the English Language Center, and restrictions are placed on the number of academic courses that they may take, if any. In order to remain enrolled, any international student admitted provisionally because of an English language deficiency must reach English language proficiency within three (3) consecutive semesters of enrollment in appropriate English as a Second Language (ESL) courses (Summer may be excluded) or demonstrate consistent progress in English language proficiency as determined by the Director of the English Language Center.
Students enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses who wish to test out of additional English language courses may submit official evidence of English language proficiency as noted in the Minimum Requirement for Regular Admission. In order to have the official score accepted as evidence of English language proficiency, students must also complete their current ESL enrollment successfully. Official scores of English language proficiency received after the first day of classes in any semester will not be reviewed until the student’s current ESL enrollment is completed successfully.
Required English Language Center Attendance
As the language requirement is a university policy, a decision by the English Language Center (ELC) for a student to enroll in its program is binding and is not negotiable by the student. Students who are required to attend ELC classes are obligated to show good class attendance and make an earnest effort to remove the language deficiency as soon as possible. The ELC program must be satisfactorily completed before regular admission status may be granted.
See Costs in the General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations section and the English Language Center in the College of Arts and Letters section of Academic Programs for additional information.
International Student Accident and Health Insurance
International students are required to have health and accident insurance. Students are required to purchase the Michigan State University Student Accident and Health Insurance Plan unless they have evidence of alternative insurance equal in benefits and provisions to the Michigan State University plan. Fees for the student's insurance are included with the bill for tuition and fees during registration. Waivers to allow purchase of alternative plans must be submitted via a student's StuInfo account at https://stuinfo.msu.edu.
New undergraduate international students must attend the mandatory international orientation program. Admitted international students should access their "Next Steps" by logging onto their online account at www.admissions.msu.edu/your-account. The mandatory orientation program will introduce new international students to the services available to undergraduate students and provide academic advising. For regularly admitted students, academic advising includes the selection of courses, preparation of a class schedule, and registration in classes. Information on orientation, instructions for arrival on campus and tentative orientation schedule is available through the Office for International Students and Scholars at http://oiss.isp.msu.edu/pre-arrival-orientation/orientation-overview.