An applicant for admission to a graduate program leading to a master's degree or an educational specialist degree must be a senior in or a graduate of an institution having substantially the same requirements for a bachelor's degree as Michigan State University. An applicant for admission to a doctoral or doctor of education degree program may be required to have completed a master's program or its equivalent. In certain departments and schools, however, a student may be allowed to begin a doctoral program directly after obtaining a bachelor's degree. Normally, a grade–point average of at least 3.00 (B) in the third and fourth years of undergraduate study is required by all departments and schools for regular admission to graduate programs.
Upon admission to a graduate program a student is classified in one of two categories, regular or provisional. Specific criteria for distinguishing between these categories are determined within each college for its own programs. In general, these criteria are:
- Regular: Students who are considered to be fully qualified to undertake a program toward the graduate degree for which they are admitted.
- Provisional: Students of promise who have some remediable inadequacy of qualification such as a minor deficiency in subject–matter preparation or for whom there is incomplete interpretation of available records. A student who is admitted to provisional status will be eligible for change to regular status when specific written conditions for transfer to regular status have been met.