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When most people think of colleges in Michigan, they think of both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Michigan State University, better known as MSU, is the oldest public university in Michigan and the oldest land grant college in the entire country. Founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, fewer than 70 students originally signed up for classes. The college was unique because it required all students to gain some practical knowledge doing internships and working off campus at the same time that they took classes on campus. It wasn’t until 1964 that it adopted its current name of Michigan State University. In addition to its main East Lansing campus, MSU also has a smaller campus overseas in Dubai.

According to publications like ARWU and U.S. News and World Report, MSU ranks among the top 100 colleges in the nation, and Washington Monthly ranked MSU within the top 50. Rankings issued by ARWU, Times and QS listed MSU as one of the top colleges in the world today. Several of the degree programs that it offers rank among the nation’s best, including its programs in media and communications, political science, criminal justice and hospitality. U.S. News & World Report also called MSU one of the most selective colleges in the nation. Though it’s a public school with a rolling admissions policy, it typically admits fewer than 70% of students who submit applications every year.

Michigan State University Accreditation Details

MSU has more types of accreditation than almost any other public college in Michigan. As a new student, you’ll appreciate knowing that it has regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). With NCACS accreditation, you can transfer credits from this college to another and from other colleges into its programs, but this type of accreditation also lets you seek and apply for federal financial aid and enter a doctoral program after completing a graduate program. MSU has program accreditation from more than 20 organizations across the country as well, including accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc., National Association of Schools of Music and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Some of the degree programs offered by MSU that have accreditation from other organizations include its programs in urban and regional planning, interior design, landscape architecture, construction management, marriage and family counseling and journalism.

Michigan State University Application Requirements

Students applying to the Michigan State University Graduate School can download and print a paper version of the application, complete it on their own time and mail it back to campus. Many students prefer using the online system, which often helps them get a response faster. With the online application, you can start filling out the application, save your work and return to do a little more work or complete your application later. You must have a bachelor’s degree or will have a degree of this type before enrolling. The application will ask you where you earned your degree, what you studied and the date of your graduation. You’ll also need to state your grade point average.

After filling out the application, MSU requires that you submit your score from the GRE or a similar higher level exam. You also need an official transcript from an accredited college. Depending on the program you decide to enter, you may need to submit a copy of your resume and/or letters of recommendation as well. Some programs also ask for a statement of purpose or a personal essay. This essay, which is usually 500 words or shorter, gives you the chance to talk about the experiences you had outside of school and your career or future goals.

Tuition and Fees

Like other public state schools, Michigan State University keeps tuition low for state residents. Michigan residents taking a full course load can expect to pay around $12,100 a year for all fees and tuition. Students taking classes online or on campus who come from outside of Michigan pay tuition and fees of closer to $24,000 a year. MSU has residence halls on campus that are open to graduate students and meal plans that grad students can purchase too. A dorm room and meal plan can add more than $10,000 to a student’s total yearly costs.

The Office of Financial Aid on campus can help students learn more about the FAFSA and even file this form before enrolling. MSU bases the amount and type of aid that grad students receive off the information on this form. Loans are available for both students and the parents of dependent students, but students can also get grants or scholarships. MSU also offers fellowships to qualified students and allows grad students to work in a research, teaching or housing position. Also known as assistant positions, these jobs require that students either work with professors or work with students. The jobs often come with a benefits package that pays for a student’s tuition and fees. Some programs come with stipends for school and living expenses, health insurance and even a dorm room on campus.

Online Graduate Degrees

Michigan State University now offers hybrid programs that combine online learning with traditional classroom experiences, but students can also apply for a spot within one of the online programs as well. With MSU online programs, students can complete their degrees without taking a single class on its East Lansing campus. Its Master of Science in Criminal Justice is just one of its online only programs. This is a program suitable for anyone who wants to work for the state or federal government, future college professors and even those working in advanced criminal justice positions.

MSU also offers a unique education program designed for those who want to teach adult students. Though it’s available in a hybrid option, the online option lets students earn an MA degree while working from home. Other online degree programs that do not require a residency component include those in program evaluation, social work, special education, teaching and curriculum and youth development. Many of the Michigan State University online graduate programs require that students write a thesis during their last year or do some type of capstone or special research project.

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