Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

International Student Admission

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 outside of the U.S. who are 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 international student admission.

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. However, students must also 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 Form I-20  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 Form I-20.

Details are available at obtaining your I-20 or DS-2019.

Students who enter the United States with a Form I–20 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 Form I-20 issued by MSU. Additional up-to-date information concerning immigration guidelines can be found at

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.

Visit the Office of Admissions Web site for information on A-level equivalencies.

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 reach English language proficiency 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:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A total score of  79 or above with no subscores below 17  is required. Visit for details.
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A score of 6.5 or higher. Visit for details.
  3. Michigan State University Certificate of English Language Proficiency (CELP). A score of 65 with no subscores below 15. 
  4. Michigan State University English Language Test (MSUELT). An average score of at least 80 with no subscores below 80, or an average score of at least 85 with no subscores below 78, is required. The MSUELT is given on the campus of Michigan State University at the English Language Center.
  5. Advanced Placement International English Language (APIEL). A score of 4 or higher. Visit for details.
  6. SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing. A score of 510 or higher with a composite score of at least 1110. Visit for details.
  7. ACT English. A score  of 18 or higher with a composite core of at least 23. Visit for details.
  8. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). A minimum score of 53 and no subscore below 48.
Michigan State University reserves the right to use alternative testing methods to demonstrate English language proficiency.

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 60 and 78 on the TOEFL; 6.0 on the IELTS; between 65 and 79 on the MSUELT; or at least 46 on the PTE Academic.

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 must reach English language proficiency within three (3) consecutive semesters of enrollment in appropriate English as a Second Language (ESL) courses (summer semester 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 improve English language proficiency 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 automatically enrolled in the MSU student health insurance plan administered by the Blue Care Network. The cost of the student health insurance plan will be assessed to the student account at the time of enrollment in courses for each semester. International students are not allowed to waive this requirement. Learn more about the student health insurance plan on the MSU Human Resources Web site.

New Student Orientation

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. 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 a tentative orientation schedule is available on the orientation Web site.