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Michigan State University is one of the top 50 public universities in the United States and is in the top 100 globally. MSU was founded as an agricultural college in 1855 and has evolved into a powerhouse educational institution that provides education in nearly every field, including nuclear physics, where it excels as the #1 graduate program. On campus, you'll find a diverse population of bright and engaged students, each pursuing a passion.

Overview of Michigan State University (MSU)

The university proclaims that diversity is power and their numbers support that with an undergraduate population that is comprised of 50% women and 23.8% minority students. You can explore your interests in this vibrant community via over 700 student organizations.

As for academics, there's no doubt that your needs will be met at MSU. The university is home to over 200 undergraduate, graduate, and preprofessional study programs. A full 33 of these programs are ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.

If you wish to study abroad, the university is ranked 12th for overseas education. Over 2,500 students studied overseas in the 2017-18 academic year. Stateside, MSU is #25 for hosting international students. These opportunities will serve you well as our world becomes even more interconnected in the years to come.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 80%
Year Founded 1855

Student Enrollment

Total Students50,351


Undergraduate Student

Male 19,317
Female 20,106

Graduate Student

Male 5,355
Female 5,573

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MSU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Female 17,258


Male 12,062
Female 13,634

Acceptance Rate78%

Male 76%
Female 79%

Enrollment 8,786

Male 2,987
Female 2,899
Application Fee $65
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Program Required
Recommendations Recommended
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline November 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

MSU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Michigan State University's tuition and fees are not cheap, but they are a bargain when you consider the value offered. For in-state students, a yearly tuition is currently around $14,460. When you add on books, supplies, and living expenses, students will pay an average of $29,130 a year. Their out-of-state classmates, on the other hand, face stiffer fees. Out-of-state tuition is $39,766 and then the total cost including fees, books, and living expenses totals and average of $54,436 per year.

Spartans can offset their out-of-pocket expenses with things like scholarships and grants. In a recent academic year, 20,591 MSU students received a scholarship or grant, for an impressive total of $238,122,905. That works out to an average amount of $11,564 per student. For an in-state student, scholarship money can cover much of a full year's worth of a four-year degree.

Naturally, many MSU students need to take out student loans to cover all their costs. In 2017-18, 16,397 took out federal student aid loans to cover their expenses. That total loan amount was $111,674,427, which works out to an average loan amount of $6,811.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $16,227
Average Total Aid $12,436
Students Receiving Financial Aid 66%
Room & Board $10,322

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $14,460
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $39,766
  • Books and Supplies - $1,108
  • Room & Board - 10,322
  • Other - $2,972

Academics and Most Popular Majors at MSU

MSU's academics are excellent and only seem to be getting better. This is evidenced by the fact that of full-time, first-year students, 92% return to the MSU campus for their second year. Part-time students aren't retained at that level, but more than half come back for a second year. More than half of all first-year student tend to graduate within four years and 80% complete their degrees within six years. There is a 12% transfer-out rate, meaning that even if those students don't finish as Spartans, they use the excellent springboard to complete a degree elsewhere.

One reason for these excellent retention and graduation numbers could be the student-faculty ratio. In the fall semester of 2019, MSU boasted a 17:1 student-teacher ratio. That means that you won't feel like a number in the classroom. Students can have easy access to instructors for advice and pertinent discussion.

Students also love things like MSU's commitment to student life. Students from all walks of life are welcome on campus and the university makes it easy for students to engage with a wide range of social, academic, and recreational opportunities. If you don't make one of the NCAA teams, you can always play for a club or intramural team. At MSU you might find a pastime that becomes a lifelong passion.

Student Population Total

Student Population 50,351

Evening Classes : Yes
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,591 Total Graduates / 18%
Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management 388 Graduates
Finance, General 362 Graduates
Accounting 238 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 200 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 196 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 1,101 Total Graduates / 12%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 471 Graduates
Neuroscience 200 Graduates
Zoology/Animal Biology 110 Graduates
Physiology, General 97 Graduates
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 59 Graduates
Communication, Journalism and Related Programs 1,083 Total Graduates / 12%
Advertising 496 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 239 Graduates
Mass Communication/Media Studies 225 Graduates
Journalism 123 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 838 Total Graduates / 9%
Mechanical Engineering 255 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 132 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 111 Graduates
Engineering, General 104 Graduates
Civil Engineering, General 76 Graduates
All Social Science Majors 815 Total Graduates / 9%
Economics, General 323 Graduates
Social Sciences, General 127 Graduates
Sociology 106 Graduates
International Relations and Affairs 104 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 96 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 40%

Outcome & Salary

After a total estimated four-year cost of $103,000, MSU graduates can expect a return on their educational dollars of around 8.4% per year. That totals up to a hefty ROI of $417,000 after 20 years. When you graduate, you will hit the ground running with an average salary of around $56,500 and by mid-career you will nearly double that figure to around $106,200. Keep in mind that your field of study and other factors will play a role in your starting salary, as some earn as much as $74,700 in their early career.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $56,500
College Grads Average Salary $70,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $106,200
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $700,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,762,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $64,908
10 Year Projected ROI $635,092
20 Year Projected ROI $1,697,092
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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