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Michigan State University College Portrait

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Michigan State University

One of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University advances the common good with uncommon will.

Michigan State University Spartans power and empower to create opportunity and extraordinary impact for a better world. The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU is home to a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders, and offers nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs. MSU is a leader in study abroad participation among public universities and provides students with opportunities to work side-by-side with faculty on research and creative projects that push the boundaries of discovery and help provide solutions to the big problems of our time.


Living in the Spartans Community

At MSU, students are empowered to customize a world-class education from a remarkable array of high-caliber opportunities.

Graphic Silhouette of College Students

At MSU, an open, collaborative culture and a vast array of opportunities—from 200 programs of study and more than 600 student organizations to big-name events and Big Ten athletics—enable Spartan students to create powerful, personalized paths and to compete with the best in the world. Students study abroad, participate in internships, conduct research, and lead and volunteer locally and globally, with the support of diverse campus communities—from Greek-letter to living-learning environments and residential Neighborhoods. Graduates, who have earned a reputation as top employee prospects, continue a proud and powerful Spartan tradition that provides a lifelong network of friends and opportunities.


The Big Picture: How many students were on campus in Fall 2014?

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Undergraduate and Graduate Student Total
Total Students 50,085

Undergraduate Snapshot

Undergraduate Student Demographic Breakdown
Total Undergraduate Students 38,786
Women 19,468 50%
Men 19,318 50%
American Indian / Alaskan Native 80 <1%
Asian 1,679 4%
African American / Black 2,594 7%
Hispanic 1,475 4%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 31 <1%
White 26,207 68%
Two or More Races 1,032 3%
International 5,306 14%
Race/Ethnicity Not Reported 382 1%
Geographic Distribution (Degree-Seeking)
Where do MSU undergraduates call home?
Michigan 77%
Other US States & Territories 9%
Other Countries 13%
How old are MSU undergraduates?
Average Age 20
Percent of Undergraduates Age 25 or Older 3%

New Student Applications (Fall 2014)

Of the 33,211 new freshman applicants, 66% were admitted and 37% of the admitted students enrolled at Michigan State University in Fall 2014.
Of the 5,019 transfer applicants, 40% were admitted and 83% of the admitted students enrolled at Michigan State University in Fall 2014.

New Freshmen High School Background and Test Scores

Test(s) Required for Admission: SAT or ACT recommended

Shows middle 50% of testing range
Test Scores of Enrolled New Freshmen ACT SAT
Composite 23 - 28  
Math 23 - 28 540 - 690
English 23 - 29  
Critical Reading   430 - 580
50% of admitted students have test scores within the ranges listed, 25% have scores above, and 25% have scores below.
High School Preparation
High School Background of Enrolled New Freshmen
Percent in top 25% of High School Graduating Class 68%
Percent in top 50% of High School Graduating Class 95%
Percent of New Freshmen who submitted HS GPA 46%
Average High School GPA (4-point scale) 3.66
Percent who submitted High School GPA 84%

Sticker Price: How much does it cost on average?

Typical Undergraduate Costs for without Financial Aid (Full-Time, In-State Students)

Total Typical Cost of Attendance: $25,286

Out-of-State & Other Costs

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The cost to attend Michigan State University varies based on the individual circumstances of students and may be reduced through grants and scholarships.

How much would I pay?

Financial Aid: How much help is there to pay?

Scholarships & Grants

  • <1% of full-time undergraduates received need-based grants or scholarships; the average award for the year was $0. Scholarships and grants are financial aid that does not need to be repaid and is sometimes referred to as gift aid.

Annual Need-Based Loans

  • <1% of full-time undergraduates received need-based work-study and/or loans (not including parent loans); the average loan for the year was $0. Loans need to be repaid. Typically, repayment starts once you are no longer enrolled full-time. Please refer to page 12 of the Funding Education Beyond High School guide on the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information about Financial Need.

Percent of 2012 Full-time Beginning Students Receiving Each Type of Financial Aid

NOTE: Students may receive aid from more than one source.


MSU Classes & Instructors

Classroom Environment
Students per Faculty 17 to 1
Undergraduate classes with fewer than 30 students 57%
Undergraduate classes with fewer than 50 students 77%
Total Full-Time Instructional Faculty 2,413
% of Full-Time Instructional Faculty Who Are Female 39%
% of Full-Time Instructional Faculty Who Are Persons of Color 22%
% of Full-Time Instructional Faculty Who Have the Highest Academic Degree Offered in Their Field of Study 90%

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Campus-based Housing

96% of new freshmen live in campus-based housing or residence halls.
39% of all undergraduates live on campus

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Campus Safety

Creating and maintaining a safe and secure campus environment is paramount at MSU. The MSU Police provide emergency management, community team policing, and education on crime prevention, safety, and reporting to the campus community.

Campus Crime Statistics


Carnegie Classification of Institutional Characteristics

The Carnegie Classification's were created "to reference the great diversity of colleges and universities in the United States, and ... enable [people] to identify groups of roughly comparable institutions." For information on the Carnegie Classifications system, please visit their website: http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/

Basic Type
Research Universities (very high research activity)
Size and Setting
Large four-year, primarily residential
Enrollment Profile
High undergraduate
Undergraduate Profile
Full-time four-year, more selective, lower transfer-in
Undergraduate Instructional Program
Balanced arts & sciences/professions, high graduate coexistence
Graduate Instructional Program
Comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary

NOTE: Institutional classifications based on the Carnegie 2005 edition.

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Student Activities and Involvement at MSU

Students who are actively involved in their own learning and development are more likely to be successful in college. MSU offers a wide variety of ways for students to become engaged with new ideas, people, and experiences--both in and out of the classroom. MSU measures in a number of ways the effectiveness of these opportunities in order to track what types of activities and programs students find the most helpful and to fine-tune offerings.

Institutions participating in the VSA program measure student involvement on campus using one of four national surveys. Results from the one survey are reported for a common set of questions selected as part of VSA. Following are the selected results from the National Survey of Student Engagement v2 (NSSE2). The questions have been grouped together in categories that are known to contribute to student learning and development. The results reported below are based on the responses of seniors who participated in the survey.

Group Learning Experiences

  • 96% of senior worked with other students on course projects (1h)
  • 98% of seniors explained course material to one or more students (1f)
  • 31% of seniors spent at least 6 hours per week participating in co-curricular activities such as student organizations and intramural sports (15b)

Active Learning Experiences

  • 86% of seniors spent at least 6 hours per week preparing for class (15a)
  • 36% of seniors worked on a research project with a faculty member (11e)
  • 64% of seniors participated in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement (11a)
  • 10% of seniors spent at least 6 hours doing community service or volunteer work (15e)
  • 27% of seniors participated in study abroad (11d)
  • 91% of seniors made at least one course presentation last year (1i)

Institutional Commitment to Student Learning and Success

  • 96% of seniors who believe this institution emphasizes providing support to help students succeed academically (14b)
  • 65% of seniors who rated the quality of interactions with academic advisors to be positive (13b)
  • 73% of seniors reported that this institution provided help in coping with work, family and other non-academic responsibilities (14g)
  • 85% of seniors reporting that their course challenged them to do their best work most of the time (10)

Student Interaction with Campus Faculty and Staff

  • 92% of seniors reported that faculty members provided prompt and detailed feedback on tests or completed assignments (5e)
  • 78% of seniors discussed course topics, ideas, or concepts with a faculty member outside of class (3c)

Experiences with Diverse Groups of People and Ideas

  • 67% of seniors reported that they often tried to understand someone else's point of view (2e)
  • 92% of seniors reported their experiences at this institution contributed to their understanding people of other backgrounds (17h)
  • 68% of seniors often had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity (8a)

Student Satisfaction

  • 86% of seniors would attend this institution if they started over again (19)
  • 92% of seniors rated their entire educational experience as good or excellent (18)
  • 85% of seniors who rated the quality of interactions with other students to be positive (13a)
  • 82% of seniors who rated the quality of interactions with faculty to be positive (13c)

Evaluation of Experiences

Survey Administration Process

Survey Information


Majors and Degrees

Degrees awarded at Michigan State University in 2013-14
Degrees awarded at Michigan State University in 2013-14
Bachelor's 7,924
Master's 2,388
Doctoral 1,172
Total 11,484
Areas of Study with the largest number of bachelor's degrees awarded in 2013-14
Areas of Study with the largest number of bachelor's degrees awarded in 2013-14
Links to degree programs at Michigan State University
Links to degree programs at Michigan State University





Future Plans of Bachelor's Degree Recipients


Student Success & Progress Rate

A 95% four-year success and progress rate means that 95% of students starting in Fall 2008 either graduated or are still enrolled at a higher education institution four years later.
Counts for the Fall 2008 entering class shown in the graph above.
  • 7,249 First-Time, Full-Time Students
  • 1,362 Full-Time Transfer Students

Success & Progress Rate Table


Retention of Freshman Class

First-time students in Fall 2013 that returned for their second year: 92%


Student Learning at Michigan State University

All colleges and universities use multiple approaches to measure student learning. Many of these are specific to particular disciplines, many are coordinated with accrediting agencies, and many are based on outcomes after students have graduated.

Learning Assessment Examples


Pilot Project to Measure Core Learning Outcomes

Colleges and universities participating in the College Portrait measure the typical improvement in students' abilities to think, reason, and write using one of three tests. This is part of a pilot project to better understand and compare what students learn between their freshman and senior years at different colleges and universities.