MSU brick entrance sign on Kalamazoo Street.

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a large public university. Located in East Lansing, the university has a large campus with modern buildings and some older and more historic buildings open to students. Thanks to its online system, MSU also provides students with the option of taking classes online, and many students complete their degrees through this online system. Though MSU originally opened as an agricultural school, it didn’t take long before students demanded access to science programs as well as other courses. The university responded with new courses. As the population grew, the university established two campuses in Michigan, several satellite campuses and a regional campus in Dubai.

Multiple organizations around the world rank MSU highly. ARWU, U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly all put MSU on its list of top colleges in the United States and within the top 100 schools. Forbes ranked MSU a little higher at number 169 on its list. ARWU, QS and Times all ranked MSU as one of the best colleges in the world too. Some of the individual programs the college offers that received national rankings include its nursing and business program. With a total enrollment of more than 50,000 students, Michigan State University is one of the largest public colleges in the United States.

Michigan State University Accreditation Details

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools was the first organization that granted accreditation to MSU, and MSU passed each of its renewals without any problems in the past. The university is also a member of several top tier organizations that offer additional opportunities for students. The HLC requires that Michigan State University apply for a renewal of its accreditation at least once every decade. Some of those organizations include the Association of Graduate Schools, Committee on International Cooperation and the Council of Graduate Schools. MSU also has accreditation for degree programs it offers both on campus and through its online system. It also has accreditation from the following organizations for some of its online programs:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Council for Interior Design Accreditation
  • Council on Rehabilitation Education
  • Council on Social Work Education Office of Social work Accreditation

How Do I Choose An Online College?

Michigan State University Application Requirements

Though Michigan State University offers a number of online graduate programs, graduate students must go through the same application process as students taking classes on campus do. The first step is the application for admission, which is available online. This application asks students about their background, where they studied in the past and any degrees or experience they have in the field. Students must also pay an application fee of $50. After completing the online application, the university requires that students submit any verifying documents to the campus. This often includes an official transcript that shows the student graduated from an accredited university with a bachelor’s degree, the courses the student took and his or her grade point average.

Students entering one of the MSU graduate programs with a bachelor’s degree in another field may receive conditional approval. This means that students will take introductory courses in their chosen fields before entering the program. Students must maintain a high grade point average while waiting to enter the program. Each individual graduate school department may have different requirements as well, and most programs ask that students submit a resume and three letters of recommendation. A panel of admissions officers will meet to discuss each application and determine which students will enter the university each year.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Every student hoping to attend graduate school knows that these programs cost more than what they paid for their bachelors’ degrees. Michigan State University charges the same tuition rate for students taking online graduate courses as those who take classes on campus, but the university does offer lower tuition rates for Michigan residents. Students hoping to receive in-state tuition rates will need to prove that they lived in the state before classes started. MSU estimates the yearly tuition rate for Michigan residents at around $12,000 per year. The cost for students living outside of the state who take online graduate courses is closer to $24,000 a year. Students must also pay their own living expenses and for their own textbooks.

Those who live on campus may receive financial aid in the form of teaching assistant or research assistant jobs. Students taking online classes should contact MSU directly to find out about any special scholarships available to them. All students should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA form asks specific questions to determine the amount of need a student has. Most graduate students can take out unsubsidized student loans from the government. Online students can also borrow from private or alternative lenders.

Online Degrees Available

MSU originally offered a distance learning program for students who wanted to take classes or earn their degrees without attending classes on campus. That program later became its online program, which offers both online degree programs and hybrid programs. Hybrid programs require that students take some classes on campus or attend learning sessions on campus. Its online programs include a Master of Arts in Family Community Services, a Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis, a Master of Science in Marketing Research and a Master of of Arts in Education.

The Family Community Services program shows students how to work with those struggling with family problems and social issues, while the Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis program is best for those who want to investigate others and work for the government. Many students with a lower level degree in business enter the Marketing Research program because they want to work in advertising and/or conduct market research. The MA in Education program at MSU is a general program designed to help students gain the experience and education they need for working in public or private schools. Michigan State University also offers several other graduate programs for online students.