FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Application Deadlines
  2. Pre-Evaluation of Admissibility
  3. Standardized Test Guidelines
  4. MSU SPEAK Exam
  5. Waiver of Application Fees
  6. Faculty Contact
  7. Transfer During Graduate Program
  8. Graduate Admission Requirements
  9. Additional Questions

  


 

1. Application Deadlines

For full consideration for admission and financial aid:

  • December 15 for Fall enrollment.  Most common semester to start a graduate program.  Most of our financial aid offers are made for Fall semester.
  • September 15 for Spring enrollment.  A smaller number of financial aid offers are available to Spring applicants.
  • We continue to accept complete applications after these deadlines, but there is no guarantee a late application will receive full consideration.

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2. Pre-Evaluation of Admissibility

A fair appraisal of admissibility to our department cannot be provided without a complete application package, including personal and academic statements, transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters.  Please note the guidelines below that may be helpful in your self-assessment.

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3. Standardized Test Guidelines

The GRE General Examination is required of all international applicants. When applying for the GRE, use the institution code 1465 for Michigan State University.

High GRE scores are necessary for the department to nominate candidates for college or university-wide competitive fellowships such as the UDF/UEF. However, outstanding US students who apply late may be considered for admission without GRE scores. Students admitted to our program typically submit GRE scores above 153 (V) 158 (Q) and 3.5 (A).

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency, sent directly from the testing agency, with the following exceptions:

  • Bachelor’s degree earned at MSU, the majority of credits earned while on campus.
  • Bachelor’s degree earned in the U.S. or other English-speaking country, the majority of credits earned on campus in an English-speaking country.
  • Master’s degree earned at an AAU institution on a U.S. campus. 

Applicants who meet any of these criteria are encouraged to submit old exam scores to admissions if available.  TOEFL or IELTS results are preferred. We strongly encourage taking the TOEFL iBT (internet-based test). Admitted international students typically achieve a total score of 95 or above on the iBT with speaking and writing scores of 24 or above. 

When applying for the TOEFL test, use the institution code 1465 for Michigan State University.

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4. MSU SPEAK Exam

Selected applicants from China will be invited to take the SPEAK exam in either Beijing or Shanghai.  This exam is administered by MSU's English Language Center, and will be weighted heavily in comparison to the speaking portion of the TOEFL.  The exams are typically offered in late January, with invitations sent to Chinese applicants in mid- to late-December.

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5. Waiver of Application Fees

Please note that we cannot waive application fees under any circumstances. Applications received without the fee cannot be evaluated.

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6. Faculty Contact

Faculty advisors are not assigned until after students arrive on campus. You are welcome to consult our faculty directory to identify programs that match your interest.  While it is not necessary to contact faculty prior to admission, we will be happy to answer research related questions.

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7. Transfer During Graduate Program

It is our general policy not to admit students who want to transfer to our department in the middle of a graduate program at another institution. Unless there are compelling extenuating circumstances, we will only consider such students after they have fulfilled their commitment to their current university. If you are working towards a Masters degree, we will be happy to consider you for admission to our Ph.D. program after you have completed your MS degree.

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8. Graduate Admission Requirements

Admission decisions will only be made when the applicant has a complete and official application(please see checklist to ensure all steps have been followed). Applicants are evaluated based on their whole application package, so the department encourages everyone to apply. The applicant must have completed a Bachelor's or equivalent degree by the start of the semester applying for. Provisional admission is not granted except in very rare extenuating circumstances.

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9. Additional Questions

Please contact our Graduate Secretary at 517-884-6976.

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