Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

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.



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 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 116 or any MTH course above 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 NSO, preferably by mid-May. The test, in addition to practice tests, can be accessed at However, a student choosing the option of fulfilling the university math requirement via waiver must complete the test in a proctored setting at NSO or at one of Michigan State University’s Testing Centers to be eligible for the waiver.

Questions regarding the math placement exam can be emailed to


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 New Student Orientation Program. These tests are available at

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

Department of Romance and Classical Studies at or 1-517-355-8350. For more information on the French and Spanish placement tests, see

Department of Linguistics, Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at or 1-517-353-0740. Students wishing to take the Japanese placement test should follow the directions at: Students wishing to take the Chinese placement test should follow the directions at: