Frequently Asked Questions

Housing/Dining Classes and Academics GENERAL
  • Does being Exploratory Preference delay graduation?
    Since the number of credits required for most majors is just a fraction of the total number of credits required for a degree, and since all majors require electives, it is possible to take courses from different majors and still graduate on time. Moreover, the requirements for many majors can be completed in two years (which may or may not include summer classes). Most students who begin MSU with a major end up changing majors once or more, while Exploratory students have the advantage of more intentionally exploring their options from the start, and thus potentially changing majors fewer times.
  • How can I pick a major if I don’t know what career I’m interested in?

    While many careers require a college degree, many don’t require a specific major. For many fields your major is not the most important qualification. An interest in the field, well-rounded experience (student organizations, internships, volunteer work, study abroad, undergraduate research, etc.), and good grades often matter more than your major. Employers value the range of transferrable skills students acquire in successfully completing the rigors of a broad undergraduate education, regardless of major. In fact, the curriculums of many majors are not designed to prepare you for specific careers because a major alone is not what makes an undergraduate education valuable; and many majors comprise only a fraction of the total credits required for graduation. A major’s value is that it is one piece of a larger whole--a broad education--which includes all the courses you take, and co-curricular activities. The purpose of the broad, general design of undergraduate education is to expand personal growth (which also enhances employability), and to develop a range of transferrable skills that provide many options beyond those related to any given major. In our modern economy, most people have multiple careers in their lifetime, thus a broad education and transferrable skills make college graduates, regardless of major, versatile and adaptable in the complex, constantly changing work world. If you have a career in mind, research it to find out if certain majors or preparation make sense. Otherwise, explore your passions and find a major you would enjoy!

  • How long can I be Exploratory Preference?

    All students must have a major by junior standing (56 credits), though it is possible to change majors after that--and even graduate on time in many cases, since the number of credits required for most majors is a fraction of the total credits required for graduation (which include university requirements and electives).

  • Where can I find information about majors and minors?
    -NSSC and major advisors

    -The Academic Programs Catalog:

    -Department websites

    -Marathon of Majors (a majors and resources fair held in October and February)
  • What are the university requirements (general education requirements)?
    --One WRA 101 (Tier I writing) (4 credits)

    --Two ISS courses (Social Science): one ISS 200-level* (4 credits), one ISS 300-level (4 credits)

    --Two IAH courses (Arts & Humanities): one IAH 201-210 (4 credits), one IAH 211 or higher* (4 credits)

    Diversity requirement: Students must include at least one "N" course and one "I"  course in their ISS/IAH programs.  A "D" course may meet either an "N" or an "I" requirement, but not both.

    --Two Integrative Studies science courses: one ISP* (3 credits), one ISB* (3 credits)

    --One two-credit lab: either one ISP lab* or one ISB lab*

    (Science-based majors that complete an alternative science track do not take ISP or ISB courses, but fulfill this requirement with other designated science courses – consult an advisor)

    --Math requirements vary by major – consult an advisor

    Students in residential colleges and the honors program may have alternative ways of fulfilling some of these requirements.

    * Certain social science, humanities, and science credits earned prior to matriculation may fulfill these requirements – consult an advisor.
  • When are the add and drop deadlines?
    The midpoint of the semester is the final deadline for dropping a class or classes for that semester. There is no refund at this point. The refund deadline occurs earlier. For fall and spring the add deadline is the 5th day of classes for that semester. These deadlines can be found by clicking on the section number of a class in the Schedule of Courses.
  • Can I add a class after the add deadline?
    Normally, no course may be added after the designated period for adding courses. Any add after this period must be approved by the department offering the course. Instructor permission may also be required.
  • How do I get an override?
    Permission to add a course after the add deadline or to add a course that is full is granted at the discretion of the department offering the course. The department may require instructor permission. Some departments have an online request form. Contact information for a department can be found in the Schedule of Courses, just above the course listings once you have entered a course search.
  • Can I get a late drop (after the middle of the semester)?
    A student may drop a course or withdraw after the middle of the term only to correct errors in the enrollment or because of events of catastrophic impact, such as serious personal illness. Documentation will be required. Exploratory students should meet with a Neighborhood Advising Director. Students with a major should contact their College.
  • What happens if my cumulative GPA drops below 2.0?
    You will be placed on academic probation or Recessed (suspended for at least a year). Students who have previously been Recessed may be Dismissed (suspended for at least two years).
  • I’m on academic probation: what do I do?
    Academic probation is a serious warning that you must return to good standing by the end of the next semester to avoid academic Recess. You must thoughtfully complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) form, then meet with an advisor for a probation conference (SAP meeting) to discuss your academic progress and develop a plan for success. To avoid a hold on your account, this should be done by the add deadline (5th day of fall and spring classes). Exploratory students meet with a Neighborhood advisor, while students with a major meet with their major advisor.
  • I have a hold on my account: what do I do?
    Check Stuinfo for the contact information of the office that placed the hold and contact that office right away. If the hold was placed by NSSC you are likely on academic probation and need to thoughtfully complete the SAP form, then meet with an advisor (an NSSC advisor if you are Exploratory Preference, a major advisor if you have a major) for a probation conference (SAP meeting) to discuss your academic progress and develop a plan for success.
  • I’ve been Recessed: what do I do?
    Recessed students are ineligible to take MSU classes for at least one year. It is very important during your year away from MSU to assess what went wrong and to take steps to address the factors that led to Recess. These steps should include something more than simply resolving to do better or study harder. Make concrete changes to the problematic circumstances, practice behaviors that address difficulties so that when you return there are new circumstances and behaviors already practiced and in place.

    If you experienced extenuating circumstances, you may petition to meet with a reinstatement committee who will review your special circumstances and any relevant documentation. You must also provide evidence of changed circumstances or new behaviors that address the factors leading to Recess, and which the committee finds to make a compelling case for a strong likelihood of success. Being reinstated is not automatic. It is an exception to university policy.
  • How do I withdraw due to a medical condition?
    Withdrawal after the middle of the semester will be granted by the Medical Withdrawal Committee only in exceptional circumstances. A withdrawal after the middle of the term of instruction is an extraordinary remedy and is intended to be applied narrowly. All requests for consideration of Withdrawal for Medical Reasons must be initiated in the Office of the Associate Dean (or designee) of the student’s college for students with a major, or with a Neighborhood advisor (NSSC) for Exploratory students.
  • How many credits do I need to graduate?
    All MSU undergraduate degrees require a minimum of 120 credits.
  • Where can I find information about my account, previous semesters’ grades, when I can enroll, etc.?
    You can access your information using Stuinfo.
  • I’ve been Dismissed: can I return to MSU?
    Academic dismissal does not imply future readmission nor does it mean that the person is forever barred from enrollment at Michigan State University. After a period of at least two years, a student dismissed for academic reasons may apply for readmission using the online Readmission form.  The applicant must be prepared to submit evidence of growth in maturity and responsibility indicative of capacity to perform university-level work. Declarations of good intentions are not sufficient. Each application will be considered on its merits. If the student has attended another institution while on dismissal, he or she must submit an official transcript to be considered for readmission.