Michigan State University

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Updated August 6, 2020

First established in 1855 by Governor Kinsley S. Bingham as the nation's first agricultural college, Michigan State University is now a comprehensive flagship public land-grant and sea-grant research institution. MSU is noted as the seventh largest university in the United States with over 38,700 undergraduates and 11,200 post-graduates. Although MSU is based on a sprawling 5,192-acre suburban campus in East Lansing along the Red Cedar River, courses for its over 200 academic programs can also be taken online. Michigan State University has an average retention rate of 91 percent, which indicates strong student satisfaction. As a "Public Ivy," MSU has elite membership to the Association of American Universities (AAU).

With an illustrious history of excellence, Michigan State University is currently ranked as the 75th best college and 29th top public school nationwide by the USNWR. In particular, MSU is acclaimed for hosting America's 13th best graduate education school with the #1 elementary and secondary teacher preparation programs. Washington Monthly magazine has placed MSU as the 33rd best master's-level institution for social mobility and ethics. Michigan State was honored as the 80th top research university in Forbes magazine. The Times Higher Education also distinguished Michigan State University as the 99th best college globally.

Michigan State University Accreditation Details

At the institutional level, Michigan State University is affirmed by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA), one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Effective April 2015, the MSU College of Education received discipline-specific accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for producing competent teachers. Other notable accreditations include the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAECP) and American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Teacher preparation programs also meet the standards of the Michigan Department of Education to fulfill certification requirements.

Michigan State University Application Requirements

Michigan State has a more selective acceptance rate of 66 percent, so new students must meet strict criteria before earning admissions. Online master's applicants in the College of Education must already possess a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent. Graduate students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the final two years of bachelor's study. GRE scores aren't required, but will be reviewed. Preference is given to master's students who possess valid Michigan teaching license. Online programs won't be available for residents of Kentucky or Maryland. Students from non-English speaking countries must show language proficiency with a minimum Internet-based TOEFL score of 79.

Prior to the March 15th, July 15th, and November 15th deadlines, interested students wishing to attend an online master's program must submit the following to the Admissions Office:

  • MSU Application for Graduate Study
  • Official, sealed post-secondary transcripts
  • Optional GRE scores via code 6728
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Three uploaded letters of reference
  • One to three-page goals statement
  • Professional essay sample in PDF format
  • Payment for the $50 non-refundable fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

For the Midwest, Michigan State University is ranked the 11th "Best Bang for the Buck" in Washington Monthly magazine for below average tuition and fees. In-state residents pursuing their master's degree full-time will pay $12,092 per year for tuition. Non-resident graduate students enrolled in full-time studies must afford $23,756 each year though. MSU estimates that annual budgets should include $34 for fees, $1,504 for textbooks, and $2,640 for personal supplies. Online learners save considerably by cutting out the average $10,412 cost for room and board on-campus. Health insurance is also offered for $2,293 each year.

Around 65 percent of degree-seeking MSU students receive some form of financial aid after filing their FAFSA form via federal school code 002290. Over $1.3 million in university financial aid is offered annually. Students can borrow money from the government using Perkins, Direct Unsubsidized, Direct Subsidized, and Grad PLUS loans. Some students could qualify for the Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. State residents could receive the MSU Assistance Grant or MSU Student Aid Grant. More than 3,000 students hold graduate assistantships for tuition waivers. Scholarships are also numerous, such as the Spartan Advantage Scholarship, Detroit Compact Scholarship, and Wade McCree Jr. Incentive Scholarship.

Online Degree(s) Available

The MSU College of Education is highly regarded by the U.S. News for hosting America's 13th best online graduate education programs. Currently, there are seven fully online programs for teachers seeking advanced professional study with the convenience of distance learning. All coursework is taught by the same expert faculty in accordance with CAEP standards. The rigorous, interactive online master's programs in education include the:

M.A. in Special Education

In an innovative online format, the M.A. in Special Education program at MSU prepares licensed educators for teaching individuals with mild to moderate disabilities in K-12 school systems. Teachers obtain the evidence-based instructional strategies needed to facilitate optimal learning for all student ability levels. Specialized endorsements are available in Learning Disabilities (LD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The 36-credit program typically takes two years full-time, including special education field practicum.

M.A. in Educational Technology

Offered fully online or in a hybrid format in East Lansing, the M.A. in Education Technology program gives K-12 teachers the chance to boost their confidence in applying a wide range of innovative digital technologies within the classroom. Graduates are prepared to move into in-demand careers as technology integration specialists, technology consultants, instructional designers, and school IT directors. The online program requires just 30 credits with an electronic portfolio project and applied capstone. Teachers can also take the additional three-course Serious Games Certificate program.

M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum

The M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum program at Michigan State is designed for beginning and experienced educators who are working full-time and require a flexible online schedule. The 30-credit program is focused on engaging graduate students in critical inquiry to better understand the curriculum development and instructional aspects of teacher leadership. Courses will delve into topics on classroom teaching, curriculum design, literacy instruction, socio-cultural perspectives of teaching, educational administration, and STEM education. There's also an optional ESL K-12 Endorsement offered.

Michigan State University also offers an Online All-College Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program, which has concentrations in Literacy Education, P-16 School Leadership, Science and Mathematics Education, Special Education, Technology and Learning, or Sport Leadership and Coaching.

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