Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

Academic Orientation and Transitions


Academic Orientation and Transitions Process

New undergraduate students engage in a comprehensive orientation process designed to support and guide them as they transition to MSU. Because of MSU’s commitment to student success, as a condition of course enrollment, all new undergraduate students are required to attend the Academic Orientation Program (AOP), an early step in the academic orientation and transitions process.

AOP for new students who enter MSU fall semester takes place in June and July. The program lasts a day and a half for first-year and one day for transfer students. There is a program in late August for students who are not able to attend a program in June or July. International undergraduate first-year and transfer students on an F1 or J1 visa who enter fall semester complete an online pre-arrival module, attend a mandatory week-long orientation program prior to the start of classes, as well as an extended orientation during the fall semester. International students with other visa types who enter fall semester contact academic orientation and transitions staff to arrange their orientation date. All undergraduate first-year and transfer students who enter spring or summer semester attend a one-day AOP session immediately preceding the first day of classes for that semester.

Prior to attending the Academic Orientation Program, students take one or more online placement tests. During AOP, new undergraduate students learn about their program of study and MSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals (ULGs), set their own goals as they think about their purpose and passion, meet with an academic advisor and enroll in courses, and learn about strategies for academic success. They also become familiar with campus resources, campus life and what it means to be a Spartan. After AOP, the academic orientation and transitions process continues as faculty, academic advisors, other university staff and students collaborate to support our new students as they engage in their undergraduate education. Students discover more about themselves and what they want to study and develop professional abilities associated with the ULGs as they: make connections, stretch themselves, discover their purpose, learn from difference, and take time to reflect.

First-year and transfer students are required to register for the Academic Orientation Program online at www.orientation.msu.edu. Students who do not register for and attend the Academic Orientation Program will have their admission to the university cancelled.

 

Academic Placement Tests

Each entering undergraduate student will take one or more placement tests depending on the nature of the student's previous academic program and intended academic program at Michigan State University. The results of these tests will be used by the student and the academic advisor to develop an academic learning plan. Following is a brief explanation of the use of the various placement tests:

 


First-Year Writing

Although some international students place in WRA 101 after completing their required ESL courses, placement in First-Year Writing (WRA) is usually determined based on relevant ACT or SAT scores.  There are three possibilities for placement in WRA courses: general (WRA 101); honors (WRA 195H); and preparatory (WRA 1004). Students who place into and complete WRA 1004/0102 must subsequently enroll in the WRA course numbered 101. Students placed into WRA 1004 who wish to appeal their WRA placement have the opportunity to write a placement essay during the fall welcome period immediately preceding the start of classes.


 


Mathematics

All students entering MSU are required to complete the un-proctored Math Placement Services (MPS) examination online, before attending their scheduled Academic Orientation Program (AOP) with the following exceptions: (1) students who have either an ACT Math sub-score of at least 28 or an SAT Math sub-score of at least 660, (2) students with credit for MTH 103 and also credit for either MTH 101, MTH 102, MTH 112, MTH 114, MTH 124, MTH 132, MTH 152H, or  MTH 201, or STT  200, or STT 201, (3) students with credit for both MTH 101 and MTH 102, and  (4) students with credit in MTH 110 or  MTH 116. Transfer students who must complete introductory MTH or STT courses required for their degree and will not have transferred them must take the placement test. Students transferring specific college course credits should enroll in the next level course as appropriate to their degree program.

Students are urged to take the test online before their AOP, preferably by mid-May. The test, in addition to practice tests, can be accessed at www.math.msu.edu/mps. However, a student choosing the option of fulfilling the university math requirement via waiver must complete the test in a proctored setting at AOP or at one of Michigan State University’s Testing Centers to be eligible for the waiver.

Each student whose score on the MPS exam indicates the need for additional pre-college preparation in mathematics must successfully complete MTH 1825 prior to fulfilling the University math requirement or demonstrate readiness for college mathematics by repeating the MPS exam, prior to matriculation to MSU, and receiving the appropriate score.

Questions regarding the math placement exam can be emailed to mps@math.msu.edu.


 


Foreign Language

A student who has studied a foreign language in high school and (1) wishes to enroll for a course in the language or (2) wishes to use it to meet the graduation requirement in an academic program must take a placement test in that language. However, all students who have studied a foreign language in high school are encouraged to take the relevant placement test. Students transferring college credit in a foreign language are not required to take a placement test. 

Language placement tests in French, German, and Spanish should be taken online at least one month prior to the student’s assigned Academic Orientation Program. These tests are available at http://flplacement.cal.msu.edu.

For further information regarding these exams and placement in other languages, contact the appropriate department:

Department of Romance and Classical Studies at http://www.rcs.msu.edu or 1-517-355-8305. For more information on the French and Spanish placement tests, see http://www.rcs.msu.edu/undergraduate/language-placement/.

Department of Linguistics, Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at www.linglang.msu.edu or 1-517-353-0740. Students wishing to take the Japanese placement test should follow the directions at: http://linglang.msu.edu/degree-programs/japanese/japanese-placement-test/. Students wishing to take the Chinese placement test should follow the directions at: http://linglang.msu.edu/degree-programs/chinese/chinese-placement-test/


 

Remedial-Developmental-Preparatory Courses

The policy governing remedial–developmental–preparatory types of courses was established to protect the academic standards of Michigan State University undergraduate degrees while at the same time reinforcing the university's commitment to assist students in remedying their academic deficiencies in fundamental skill areas. The policy serves to motivate students to overcome their deficiencies while ensuring that all students complete a minimum of 120 credits of college level work as a condition of graduation.

Remedial-developmental-preparatory course numbers are four digits, rather than the three digits used for all other courses. The fourth or last digit identifies the type of remedial-developmental-preparatory course. For example, Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures 1004 is a Type 4 course.

There are five types of remedial-developmental-preparatory courses.

Type 1:
Single courses designed to remedy deficiencies identified by Michigan State University placement test scores. The removal of any such deficiencies, either by one retest or by passing the course, is required as a condition for graduation.

Credits earned are included in all university computations except the total number required for graduation.

Type 2:
Course sequences designed to remedy deficiencies identified by Michigan State University placement test scores. The removal of any such deficiencies, either by one retest or by passing the courses, is required as a condition for graduation. More than the usual number of contact hours may be required.

Credits earned are included in all university computations except the total number required for graduation.

Type 3:
Courses designed to remedy deficiencies identified by Michigan State University placement test scores. The removal of such deficiencies, either by one retest or by passing the course, is required only as a condition for entry into some degree programs, and is required as a condition for graduation only for students in those programs.  More than the usual number of contact hours may be required.

Credits earned are included in all university computations and are included in the total number required for graduation.

Type 4:
Courses that students place into because of inadequate scores on Michigan State University placement tests that identify relevant skill deficiencies, although they do not measure knowledge in the course material. The removal of skill deficiencies is not part of the course objectives. It is expected that students will be enrolled concurrently in Type I and/or Type II and/or Type III courses for purposes of remedying those deficiencies. More than the usual number of contact hours may be required. 

Credits earned are included in all university computations and are included in the total number required for graduation.

Type 5:
Courses that may be required by departments or colleges for some students. The course may be designed either to prepare the student to handle the subject matter of a required entry level college course, or to improve his or her study skills or ability to make productive use of university offerings in general. More than the usual number of contact hours may be required.

Credits earned are included in all University computations except the total required for graduation.

Remedial–developmental–preparatory courses may not carry numbers above the 100 level and may not be offered under variable content numbers.

The removal of academic deficiencies, which would preclude graduation from Michigan State University, should have the highest priority in student program planning. Drops from Type I and Type II courses should not normally be processed except to facilitate transfer between sections. If a course overload requires that a student drop one or more courses in a specific semester, courses in the regular program of studies shall be dropped in preference to those designed to remove deficiencies.

The University Committee on Curriculum controls the number of  remedial-developmental–preparatory courses and assures conformity of such courses with existing policy. Upon recommendation by the University Committee on Curriculum, the Faculty Senate approves remedial–developmental–preparatory courses by type.