How do I apply to the undergraduate program?
All applications for admission are filed with and approved by the MSU Admissions Office. You can indicate your major on the application.
Does the department offer online degree programs?
At this time, we do not offer online undergraduate degrees.
What are the admissions requirements?
Visit the MSU Admissions Office for specific admissions requirements for freshman, transfer, and international students.
I am an international student. Can I study integrative biology or zoology at Michigan State University?
I already have a Bachelor's degree. Can I complete a second degree in Integrative Biology or Zoology?
Yes. Apply for admission to MSU through the Office of Admissions. You will be considered a transfer student and be admitted as a second-degree candidate.
What is the cost of tuition?
Estimated costs for in-state freshmen and non-Michigan freshmen or international freshmen are available from the Office of Admissions.
What scholarships are available?
Scholarship opportunities are available through:
- Office of Admissions
- Office of Financial Aid
- College of Natural Science
- Lyman Briggs Honors College
- National/International Fellowships & Scholarships
- MSU Scholarship Search
Students seeking financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid.
What majors does the Department of Integrative Biology offer?
We offer the following undergraduate degrees:
How do I decide which department major is right for me?
There is no absolute answer. Decisions about your courses and your future are determined by who you are as an individual: what your career goals and interests are. Compare the degrees by carefully reading the course descriptions for each major of interest. Each course contributes different information to that major. Take some IBIO courses and keep investigating careers.
Why are there degrees in Zoology and Integrative Biology?
Many undergraduates want a B.S. in Zoology, and we will continue to offer this degree with its different concentrations. Students preparing to pursue a professional degree, as well as other students interested in biology, may find the B.S. in Integrative Biology more attractive.
What is the difference between a degree in Integrative Biology and Zoology?
Degree in Zoology: Defined classic zoological “subjects” including ecology, animal behavior, marine biology, and zoo & aquarium science.
Degree in Integrative Biology:
- Use of multidisciplinary course options
- Offer wide diverse courses from other departments
- Allow incorporation of “outside” programs within the degree or as a parallel Internship less specific and broader (e.g., water quality lab at BEO vs. aquatic wildlife at DNR)
I really would prefer a B.S. in Integrative Biology. Can I switch to that major instead?
Yes, you can switch to that major.
I cannot decide between the B.S. in Environmental Biology-Zoology and the B.S. in Zoology.
You can declare either degree and still keep your options open. Check the requirements for the B.S. in Environmental Biology-Zoology, and include some of those courses (such as CSS 210) alongside the courses for the B.S. Zoology concentration you are interested in.
Which Zoology degrees offer concentrations?
Only the B.S. Zoology degree includes concentrations.
Will my B.S. in Zoology concentration be printed on my diploma?
No. Your diploma will read a "Bachelor of Science with a Major in Zoology." Concentrations will only appear on your transcript.
I'm declaring the B.S. in Zoology major. Do I need to declare a concentration?
Yes. All students declaring the B.S. Zoology major must declare a concentration.
How do I choose a concentration?
The best way to decide if a concentration is right for you is to look at what you will study. Carefully examine what is covered in each required course of the concentration. Read course descriptions. You can wait until you have taken some IBIO courses before you make a concentration choice.
Can I complete more than one concentration?
Yes. In order to complete your B.S. in Zoology, you must complete a minimum of 33 credits (44 credits for Zoo & Aquarium Science) of upper-level coursework offered by the Department of Integrative Biology in addition to the course requirements imposed at the university and college levels. This requirement is met by completing one of the concentrations, as each one contains at least 33 credits.
If you look at the actual requirements for each concentration, there is some overlap in the courses. You may be able to complete the requirements for more than one concentration within the 120 credits (123 credits if a student took MTH 1825) needed for your B.S. Zoology degree.
A concentration is not a degree. You will only receive one diploma for one degree: the B.S. in Zoology. The only place your concentrations(s) is (are) indicated is on your transcript.
How do I declare my concentration(s)?
Students wishing to declare their concentration(s) can ask a Department of Integrative Biology advisor to submit a concentration request.
Can I change my concentration(s)?
Students wishing to change their concentrations can ask a Department of Integrative Biology advisor to submit a concentration change.
How do these additional programs fit into my curriculum?
An MSU Bachelor’s degree usually requires 120 (or 123 if you take MTH 1825) credits. Most credits come from the required university, college, and major courses. Additional general elective credits, however, may be needed to reach the total 120 (123) credit graduation requirements. These general elective credits may be taken in any discipline and any level.
One way is to use your general electives is to use them toward a minor, additional major, or a second undergraduate degree.
What is a minor?
A minor focuses on an interdisciplinary topic. It is obtained by meeting the requirements for that program alongside your degree requirements. The number of required credits for minors vary, but it usually is in the range of 15 to 35. The advisor for the program can discuss the course requirements and initiate the process to add the minor to a student’s academic record. A full list of formal minors is available.
Does the Department of Integrative Biology offer minors?
What is the difference between an additional major and a dual degree?
The differences between the additional major and dual degree are:
- A second degree must have a minimum of 150 (153) credits, but an additional major could be done in 120 credits or slightly more.
- A second degree is two diplomas. An additional major is a notation on the transcript.
- Additional majors cannot be added after the first degree has been conferred.
How do I declare an additional major?
Declare any additional major by contacting the major advisor. All students declaring the B.S. Zoology major must declare a concentration.
How do I declare my second degree?
Contact the major advisor.
If you have graduated from MSU within the past year:
Declare a second degree in the same way you declared your first major. Once the degree is added to your record, you could begin to enroll as a student in that major.
If three (3) semesters have passed since you graduated:
MSU alumni must apply to the MSU Registrar for readmission to MSU in your new program.
Students with a bachelor's degree from another university must apply through the Office of Admissions to be admitted as a second-degree candidate.
Can I complete dual degree requirements at the same time?
Requirements for the second degree can be completed at the same time as courses for the primary degree or one degree may be completed before the second degree.
Can my first-degree courses apply toward my second Bachelor's degree?
It is possible that courses used for one degree may also apply to the other degree. Check with both degree programs to be certain.
According to Academic Programs: "To be granted a second bachelor's degree, a student must earn at least 30 credits in residence in addition to the credits required for the first degree and meet the specified requirements of the second college and major."
How do I change my major?
Students who want to change to one of our department majors can contact a major advisor to request a major change.
Lyman Briggs College majors must change or declare their coordinate majors at the Lyman Briggs College Office.
How do I change out of Lyman Briggs and still complete the major through the College of Natural Science?
Start your major change request through Lyman Briggs. Lyman Briggs will contact the College of Natural Science to complete the major change.
All of the department's academic advisors are available by appointment to meet with current or prospective students during the academic year. Typically advising appointments are between 8 am to 5 pm Monday thru Friday.
Do I need to meet with a particular advisor?
Department majors can meet with any Department of Integrative Biology advisor for scheduling, advising issues, career preparation, and how to obtain independent study credit.
I'm in the Honors College. Who is my Honors Zoology advisor?
Each Honors College member has a designated major advisor. If you are new to the department or do not know your advisor, you should schedule your first advisor meeting with Dr. Sue Hill.
Do I need to meet with an Honors College advisor?
Yes. Honors College students need to meet with an advisor at the Honors College for questions about required Honors experiences and general education requirements.
I'm in Lyman Briggs. Should I meet with a Department of Integrative Biology advisor?
Yes. Lyman Briggs coordinate majors are highly encouraged to meet with a Department of Integrative Biology advisor to discuss major requirements.
I'm in Lyman Briggs. Do I need to see a Lyman Briggs advisor?
Yes. Lyman Briggs students receive advice on all aspects of their program except their cognate major from the advisors in Lyman Briggs College.
What if I'm a pre-professional student?
Advisors in your undergraduate program are not familiar with admissions requirements of professional schools. Be sure to meet with a preprofessional advisor to discuss professional school related-topics.
Each professional school has its own set of prerequisite courses and admissions tests. Application dates and materials will vary. Check with each school's Admissions Office to be sure you have the most accurate information.
How do I prepare for an advising appointment?
Bring a written list of questions to each meeting. Advisors cannot fully answer questions that are not asked!
What common topics can I discuss with my academic advisor?
- Are there issues or concerns affecting your academic performance? What campus resources can help you address such problems?
- Academic and career goals.
- Current semester courses and performance in coursework.
- Plan future semester courses.
- Review degree requirements. It is the student's responsibility to be sure that all requirements are met, but your advisor can help sort these out.
- Extracurricular activities.
- Work and experiential opportunities to help you attain your career goals.
- Plan for Education Abroad.
- Long term planning towards graduate school.
- Other questions specific to you.
How do I schedule an advising appointment?
Current students may access MSU's Student Success Dashboard to schedule an appointment with an academic advisor.
Dr. Richard Snider does not schedule advising appointments electronically. Stop by his office (03 Natural Science). If the door is unlocked or open, enter and schedule your appointment with him directly. He normally is in his office by 8 a.m. Monday thru Friday.
When are new advising appointments posted?
Appointment times are opened on a week-by-week basis.
There aren't any advising appointments open (or the open slots don't work for me).
All of the open availability for a given advisor will be displayed in the Student Success Dashboard. If no openings are displayed, it is because all advising appointment slots are full for that week or the advisor does not have time available. Keep trying on the web-based schedule system in case someone cancels an appointment.
How do I cancel my advising appointment?
Are walk-in advising hours available?
Department of Integrative Biology academic advisors only meet with students by appointment.
All seats available in a course/section are full.
1. Keep trying on the Schedule Builder from Schedule of Courses:
- There is a lot of change in enrollment especially at the start of a semester. If you are on the system when someone else drops the class, you can get that seat. You can change your courses at any time through the first week of classes in a given semester.
- Add an Alert on the course/section using Schedule Builder
2. If you are still unable to get into the class by the first week of classes, go to the first meeting of the class that semester. Ask the professor about getting into the class or about an override.
I am unable to enroll in a course.
You may be unable to enroll in a course because:
You do not have all the prerequisites.
A prerequisite is a course(s) which must be completed before you can enroll in a particular class or apply to a particular program. If you do not have the prerequisite course(s) posted in your academic record, you will not be able to enroll in the class. Prerequisites for MSU courses are listed in the MSU Course Descriptions catalog.
The section is locked.
Locked sections of courses are usually reserved for students in a particular program. If you are not in that program, you will be unable to enroll in that section. To find out if a section is locked, see Schedule of Courses. You will see a padlock icon in front of the section number. If a professor is listed for the course section, you can try e-mailing that person. If a professor is not listed, you must keep checking until an instructor is listed.
The course has restrictions
Restrictions usually are placed on courses so that only students in a particular program may take the course. Restrictions for MSU courses are listed in the MSU Course Descriptions
Some common restrictions are:
- Not open to freshmen
- Open only to students in the ____________ major.
You must obtain permission from the professor before enrolling in the class.
When is the last day to add a course?
Refer to MSU's Academic Calendar. Look for "online open add period ends at 8 p.m."
When is the last day to drop a course?
There are two drop deadlines:
- "End of tuition refund period for semester courses – no refund after this date."
- "Middle of Semester; 8 p.m. – deadline to drop full-semester courses for the spring semester with no grade reported."
Refer to MSU's Academic Calendar for specific dates.
What is the minimum course load to be considered full-time?
At MSU, students must carry at least 12 credits each semester to be considered full-time and:
- Participate in intercollegiate athletics
- Qualify for the Dean's List that semester
- Qualify for most scholarships, awards, and financial aids. Students should determine the specific requirements from the appropriate agency or contact the Office of Financial Aid.
- Be certified in full-time status to loan agencies and other external entities.
Students participating in authorized forty hour/week internships or cooperative work programs are considered full-time for all the purposes listed above.
What might be affected if I drop below 12 credits?
- Financial aid or scholarships. Check with the appropriate offices, including the MSU Office of Financial Aid.
- Health insurance. If a student is covered by parent’s insurance, it will depend on the policy. These policies often will provide coverage if a student is enrolled full time. If you are on your parent's health insurance, find out if you have to be a full-time student to be insured. There is no way to check this on campus. Your parents will need to check the policy.
- Living in a dorm. Per the Residence Education and Housing Services, only students with less than 6 credits are ineligible. Check with Residence Education and Housing Services for more information.
As an Integrative Biology or Zoology major, do I need to get a 2.0 in every class I take at Michigan State University?
No. You must have a 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.0 major GPA.
As an Integrative Biology or Zoology major, do I have to get a 2.0 in every College of Natural Science or Department of Integrative Biology class I take?
No. You must have a 2.0 GPA in the group of classes used to complete your major requirements. These are the courses used to compute your major GPA.
What grade is needed to pass a course?
Only a 0.0 is truly a failing grade. You do not get credit for a class with 0.0. If the course is a required course, a 0.0 means you have NOT met the requirement. Any grade above a 0.0 is a passing grade.
I earned a 1.0 or 1.5 in a course. Do I need to repeat it?
1.0 and 1.5 are passing grades. You have earned credit in the course. Consult with your advisor before repeating a course.
Can I repeat any course I have previously taken?
A student may only repeat a course in which s/he has earned a 0.0, 1.0, or 1.5.
Do I have to repeat the same course?
In order to replace one grade with another in your GPA, in general, yes. For example, you receive a 1.5 in IBIO 341, you must repeat IBIO 341 to replace that grade in both your Zoology and overall GPA calculations. There are exceptions. Consult with your advisor before repeating a course.
What factors do I need to consider if I'm thinking about repeating a course?
- You may not exceed 20 repeat credits at MSU.
- Federal financial aid limits the number of times a student may repeat a course and receive financial aid for that course. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to see how repeating a course will impact your financial aid.
- Background Knowledge: You may wish to repeat a class if it is a prerequisite for something else. The low grade may indicate that you do not have adequate background for the next course up.
- Cumulative Credits: If you received a 1.0 or 1.5, you passed the class. When you retake it, the credits will not be added toward your total. For example, if you repeat a 3 credit course that you have passed (with a 1.0 or 1.5), the 3 credits will not be added to your total MSU credits.
- Transcript: The original course and grade will always be on your transcript in the original term. If you repeat the course at MSU, the course and new grade will also appear on your transcript for the semester that you re-took it.
- GPA: Once you successfully complete the course, your MSU GPA will be re-calculated: the previous grade will be removed and the new grade substituted in the calculation. Exception: if you repeat a course at another institution and transfer it back to MSU.
- Grade for Repeated Course: According to Academic Programs: "Whenever a course is repeated on a credit basis, the last grade and credits earned completely replace the previous grade in the satisfaction of requirements and computation of the cumulative grade-point average. All entries remain a part of the student's permanent academic record." This means that if you repeat a course for which you have a grade of 1.5, and you receive a 1.0 or 0.0, that new grade is the one that is factored into your GPA.
- Cost: If you received a 1.0 or 1.5, you passed the class. When you retake it, you will pay for those credits again.
- Repeat at MSU: If you repeat the course at MSU, just sign up for the course.
- Repeat with a Transfer Course: You may repeat a course with a transfer course. You also must earn at least a 2.0 in the class at the other school in order to transfer it to MSU. The original course and grade will remain on your MSU transcript. The grade, however, will be removed from your MSU GPA calculation when you successfully complete the course again and it has transferred. Grades do not transfer with courses. The only change in your cumulative GPA will be from removing the previous grade. You may only transfer a course from a community college until you reach 56 credits. After 56 credits, you must take the course at a 4-year institution.
What grade do I need to transfer a course back to MSU?
You must receive a 2.0 or above in each course to transfer a course back to MSU.
As a current MSU student, can I take courses at a community college?
Credits from a two-year school (community college) can be transferred to MSU until you reach a maximum of 56 credits. After 56 credits, you must take courses at an accredited four-year school.
I'm a senior at MSU. Can I transfer credits from another four-year institution?
If you are a senior, be aware that according to Academic Programs: "...(if you have) earned sufficient credits from this University and met the minimum requirements as stated below, through prior arrangement with the associate dean of the college and the registrar, (you) may be permitted to transfer not to exceed 10 of the last 30 credits from an accredited four-year college or university."
How do I figure out how other schools' courses transfer to MSU?
Search for course equivalencies using Transfer MSU. The course must transfer into MSU as a specific department code and number in order to meet a requirement.
Check with your academic advisor to discuss if and how the course applies to your degree program.
There is no course listed from that school which matches the MSU course I need.
If there is no course listed from that school which matches the MSU course you need, you may be able to identify a course that is equivalent to the MSU course:
- Compare the other school's course descriptions to see if one closely matches the MSU course description.
- Take the description of both courses to the relevant MSU department (e.g., for a physics course, go to MSU Physics department). If that department approves the course, it will fill out the paperwork necessary to get the course into your MSU transcript.
How do I apply to take courses at another school?
For Michigan schools, generate a "Guest Application Form" from the MSU Registrar's website.
For non-Michigan schools, find out about registration, fee payment, deadlines, etc. from that school. You might be able to obtain application forms (and other information) from the Registrar of that institution.
Remember to take or send the forms to the institution. Plan ahead. Summer registration often begins in late February or in March.
How do I transfer credit back to MSU?
To have transfer credit appear on your MSU transcript, you must request the official transcript to MSU. Check with the school to see if this can be done electronically. Otherwise, transcripts can be sent to the following campus address:
Office of Admissions and Scholarships
250 Administration Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
As soon as you finish the course, request that an official transcript be sent to MSU. If the course is not in your MSU record and it is a prerequisite for an MSU course, you will be denied enrollment for the MSU course unless an override is given.
I am an incoming freshman/transfer student who enrolled in courses at the summer Academic Orientation Program (AOP). When can I make changes to my schedule?
In the summer, Schedule of Courses will not be open to you for several weeks after you leave AOP. No one else can change your schedule for you during those weeks either. Once the computer enrollment system opens up to you again, only you can adjust your schedule.
To find the date Schedule of Courses re-opens for enrollment changes:
- Go to the MSU Academic Calendar
- Choose relevant semester from the pull-down menu
- Look for the date when "Summer Academic Orientation Program (AOP) students may begin to adjust their schedule." Further down this list is the date and time the "Online open add period ends." Between these dates, the enrollment system is open to you to make adjustments for that semester.
In general, as an incoming freshman or transfer student, you will have the first week of classes to change courses or sections for fall semester. You will have all fall semester and through the first week of spring classes to change your courses or sections for that semester.
I am an incoming freshman/transfer student. How do I change my classes after AOP? Can I change my schedule or does someone else change it for me?
- Once the computer enrollment system opens up again you can adjust your schedule.
- Use Schedule Builder from Schedule of Courses to change your courses.
- You will have all fall and through the first week of classes to change courses for spring semester.
I am an incoming student and I do not have biology in my schedule this year. Is that okay?
When you are a freshman or transfer student, the classes you are eligible for are contingent upon your Math Placement Score. Math is the prerequisite for your science courses.
Students must have prerequisite courses in order to go on with later classes. Examples:
- MTH 103 before CEM 141 and CEM 161
- CEM 141 is required before BS 161 and CEM 251
- BS 161 and BS 171 are required before BS 162 and BS 172
- BS 161 and BS 162 are required for all IBIO courses
- BS 171 and BS 172 labs may be required before some IBIO courses.
Does my math placement mean I am behind in my major?
No. Students come to MSU with a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Each student has to progress at her/his own pace.
Have my AP scores been received by MSU?
- Check STUINFO to see if they are recorded. AP scores show up as transfer courses.
- If they have not been recorded, contact MSU Office of Admissions to see whether scores were received. Admissions Office staff are swamped with work in the summers. It may be the scores were received but no one has had time to enter them yet. Normally they are all recorded by the end of August.
- If not received, you will have to make a request for your AP scores to be resent to MSU.
How do I tell for which MSU course(s) my AP credit will count towards?
See the 'View AP score Equivalencies pdf' from the MSU Office of Admissions.
My AP exam gives me a waiver (WVR) for a course, not credit. What does that mean?
STUINFO may list a WVR for a course. WVR means you have a waiver for that course. A waiver does not give you credit for that course. In some cases, a waiver may be used to satisfy a requirement.
A waiver allows you to enroll in any course for which your waived course is a prerequisite. For example, a waiver in PSY 101 allows you to enroll in a PSY 200 level course.
In terms of meeting the admissions requirements for graduate or professional school, check each school's policy.
I had credit from an AP exam for a particular course, but I decided to enroll in that same course at AOP. Now, I have decided not to take that course, but my credit from the AP exam is not showing up on STUINFO.
Contact the MSU Admissions Office or go there in person (250 Hannah Administration Building).
How do I tell if the credit from an AP exam has satisfied a degree requirement?
Once a passing AP test score has been received by MSU, the course will be applied to your degree requirements. Degree Navigator will show how the course is applied to your degree.
I have credit for the AP Biology exam, but I only transferred in 8 credits. The MSU courses are 10 credits. Do I have to take more Biological Sciences (BS) courses?
The maximum number of credits that MSU gives for an AP exam is 8 credits. An AP Biology score of 4 or 5 will also give you a one credit waiver for each of the two credit laboratory courses, BS 162 and BS 172. Your biological sciences requirement has been fulfilled.
I need 28 credits to be a sophomore. My advisor at AOP suggested that I take lighter course load Freshman year. Why?
Reasons for lighter credit loads, especially for the first year include:
- Stress: All the new experiences (new living environment, different ways of teaching, huge campus, etc.) cause stress from learning the new patterns.
- Teaching Styles and Speed: University classes are usually taught differently than classes in high school. University classes move through material at a faster pace, and learning the study skills for this amount of material takes time to learn.
- Grades: Good grades matter, especially if you want to go to graduate or professional school. Some employers do look at grades, too.
- Knowledge: You need to understand the basic material thoroughly so can understand advanced topics. All the later courses in your major build on the one you take as a freshman, especially chemistry and math.
- Program: Some MSU programs require that students only take 12 credits a semester in freshman year. These programs have collected data on how incoming students grades are affected by adjusting to the new living and teaching environments at MSU. These programs find that lighter credit loads in freshman year result in better grades and more success in later classes.
- Prerequisites Issues: As a science major, many prerequisite courses are required in order to go on with later classes. Example: MTH 103 is required for CEM 141 which is required for BS 161.
- MTH 1825: Data has been collected on how the grades of incoming students enrolled in MTH 1825 are affected by the factors above in their first semester. Based on this data, many advisors strongly recommend taking a lighter credit load (12 credits) that first semester because greater success in later semesters is noted for students who take fewer credits.
- Choices: There might not have been many course options when you went through enrollment in the summer. If you were in a late enrollment session, a lot of the courses you might have wanted may have been full.
Many students find that if they give themselves time to adjust when they are freshmen, they are able to handle more credits per semester in later years.
What are the effects of having less than 28 credits?
- Freshmen (0-28 credits), including transfer students, must live in on-campus housing.
- Enrollment: In Spring Semester, the Registrar assigns dates for each student for enrolling in the next academic year (summer is separate from fall & spring semesters). Each student has a day and time when they can access the enrollment system to enroll, and a student cannot begin enrolling before their assigned appointment time. These dates are usually assigned by the number of credits a student has accumulated.
How many credits can I transfer to MSU from another institution(s)?
You will be able to bring in a maximum of 60 credits from a 2-year school and up to 90 from a 4-year school.
What grade do I need to earn in order to transfer a course to MSU?
You must obtain a 2.0 in each course in order to transfer it to MSU.
Can I see how my course(s) will transfer to MSU?
Search for course equivalencies using Transfer MSU. The course must transfer into MSU as a specific department code and number in order to meet a requirement. Compare these courses to the requirements for your MSU degree program.
How long will it take to complete the remaining degree requirements once I enter MSU?
There is no quick answer. It depends on what courses are transferred to MSU, if prerequisite courses have been completed, how many credits you want to take each semester, etc.
As a newly admitted transfer student, when can I enroll in my courses?
All students who are admitted as transfer students to MSU are required to attend an academic orientation program (AOP). At that orientation session, you will meet with an academic advisor to discuss course scheduling. You will enroll in courses at AOP. You cannot enroll for any courses unless you attend an academic orientation program.
Am I required to apply for graduation?
Yes. Students must apply to graduate.
How and when do I apply for graduation?
Fill out the application to graduate in the first week of the semester in which you expect to complete your degree requirements.
Do I have to walk at commencement?
Each year, there are two commencement ceremonies for MSU degree candidates: one in Fall and one in Spring. You may choose to attend one of these ceremonies, but attendance is not required.
Can I walk in the spring commencement ceremony and complete my remaining coursework during that summer semester?
Couldn't find your answer? Contact an Integrative Biology academic advisor.