Frequently Asked Questions




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 that you wish to be a Integrative Biology or Zoology major on that MSU application.

Does the department offer online degree programs?

At this time, the Integrative Biology Department does not offer undergraduate degrees which are fully online or via satellite.

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 from another four-year institution. Can I come to MSU for 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 an Integrative Biology or Zoology second degree candidate. All of your credits at your first institution will transfer to MSU. These will form the base for the 150 (minimum) credits you must complete for an MSU second degree.

Usually, the University requirements are waived if you have completed an undergraduate Bachelor's degree from another accredited four-year institution. Therefore, you will only have to meet college and major requirements to finish the MSU Zoology degree or integrative biology degree.

See 'Transferring to Michigan State University From Another Institution' FAQ below for further information.

What is the cost of tuition? 

Estimated costs for in-state freshmen, non-Michigan freshmen and international freshmen are available from the Office of Admissions.

What scholarships are available?

Scholarship opportunities are available through the Office of AdmissionsOffice of Financial AidCollege of Natural ScienceLyman BriggsHonors CollegeNational/International Fellowships & Scholarships, and the MSU Scholarship Search.

Students seeking financial aid should visit the Office of Financial Aid.



Impact of Department Name Change on our Curriculum

Why did the Department change its name from Zoology to Integrative Biology?

The Faculty feels that the term “integrative biology” is a more accurate representation of faculty interests, the materials we cover in our teaching, and the areas of research in the Department. There are very few departments of zoology in the country because new tools and methods of integrative interactions cross boundaries between old disciplines. Read the Department Name Change Announcement for more information.

When did the name change occur?

The name change was effective July 1, 2015.

What majors will the Department of Integrative Biology offer?

All undergraduates pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the department may continue to pursue their current major.

The following undergraduate degrees will continue to be offered in the Department of Integrative Biology:

  • B.S. in Zoology  
  • B.A. in Zoology
  • B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology

In addition to the three majors above, the Department offers a B.S. in Integrative Biology. Read more about the majors offered in the Department of Integrative Biology on our Undergraduate Degrees web page

Why will there be both a B.S. in Zoology and a B.S. in Integrative Biology?

We plan to offer both degrees (and also the B.S. in Environmental Biology-Zoology and B.A. in Zoology) to expand the options for undergraduates. 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 more broad (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 and fulfill the requirements for it.

Will I continue to enroll in courses under the ZOL subject listing?

To enroll of our courses, students must use the IBIO subject listing.



Additional Majors, Minors, Second Degrees & Dual Degrees

How do these additional programs fit into my curriculum?

An MSU Bachelor’s degree usually requires 120 (or 123) credits. Most of those come from the required university, college and department courses. Additional credits, however, may be needed to reach the total 120 (123) credits. These credits, called general elective credits, may be taken in any discipline or any level.

There are many ways to choose electives. One way is to use your electives toward another credential, such as an additional major, specialization, minor or second undergraduate degree.

What is a minor?

A minor is a type of additional major at MSU which focuses on an interdisciplinary topic. it is obtained by meeting the requirements for that program alongside the primary degree requirements. The number of required credits for specializations varies, but it usually is in the range of 23 to 35. The advisor for the program can provide a list of requirements and begin to process the appropriate paperwork to add the specialization to a student’s record. 

A full list of formal minors is available. For Zoology majors, common minors include: Agribusiness Management; Bioethics Humanities and Society; Cognitive Science; Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement; Environmental Studies; Health Promotion; Marine Ecosystem Management; Museum Studies; Public Relations or Spatial Information Processing.

Does the Department of Integrative Biology offer minors?


Can I complete an additional major or dual degree in Zoology?

Yes. You are held to the requirements for both the College of Natural Science and the Department of Integrative Biology. Any additional major or second degree in Zoology has the same requirements. The only differences are: 

  1. A second degree must have a minimum of 150 (153) credits, but an additional major could be done in 120 credits or slightly more.
  2. A second degree is two diplomas. An additional major is a notation on the transcript.

Can I complete requirements for my dual degrees concurrently?

Requirements for the second degree may be completed alongside those for the primary degree, or one degree may be completed before the second degree.

When do I have to declare my second MSU degree?

Current MSU undergraduates may add and complete a second MSU degree while they finish their first degree. 

If you have graduated from MSU within the past year, you may still declare a second degree in the same way you declared your first major (additional majors may not be added after your first degree has been conferred).  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 (e.g. summer, fall, and spring), you will have to 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 my completed first-degree courses apply toward my second MSU bachelor's degree?

University requirements are fairly consistent across all MSU colleges. It is possible that what you take for one degree may be applied to the second degree too, so you may not have to take any additional University requirements. Nonetheless, be sure to check with the department.

Normally the student is held to college and department requirements for each degree. The number of credits for College requirements is determined by that college. Department requirements are at least 33 credits. Academic Programs lists the college and department requirements for any undergraduate degree.

It is possible that courses used for college or department requirements for one degree may also be applied to the other. Be sure to check with both degree programs to be certain.

According to Academic Programs (see Undergraduate Education>Graduation Requirements> Requirements for a Second Bachelor's Degree): "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."



Major Change

How do I decide which Zoology 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 desires and interests are.

First, see what the differences are between the degrees (or the concentrations) by carefully reading the course descriptions for that major. You will see that each course contributes different information to that major (or concentration). Take some IBIO courses and keep investigating what you want to do in the future. Remember you can change your major at any time until senior year.

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.

How do I change my major?

College of Natural Science students wishing to change to a Department of Integrative Biology major must fill out the appropriate form at the Academic Student Affairs Office of the College of Natural Science in room 106 Natural Science or request a major change by a department advisor.

Juniors and seniors wishing to change to majors outside the College of Natural Science will need to go to the college Academic Student Affairs Office of their new major.

Seniors who change their major should be aware that, according to Academic Programs, to receive the Bachelor's degree you must "complete at least 20 credits at Michigan State University while enrolled in the major in the college in which the degree is to be earned."

Lyman Briggs College majors must change or declare their coordinate majors at the Lyman Briggs College Office.

How do I declare an additional major or second degree in Zoology?

Declare any additional major the same way you declare a major. Refer to the 'how do I change my major' question above. If interested in the B.S. in Zoology, you must declare a concentration.

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. If you declare the B.S. in  Zoology, remember to declare a concentration.

I'm declaring the B.S. in Zoology major. Do I need to declare a concentration at the same time?

Yes. All students declaring the B.S. Zoology major should declare a concentration at the same time. 




Which Zoology degrees offer concentrations?

Only the B.S. Zoology degree has 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.

How do I choose a concentration?

The best way to decide if a concentration (or major) 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 of upper-level (300 +) 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, you will see, however, that there is some overlap in the courses.  This means that you may be able to complete the requirements for more than one concentration within the 120 credits needed for your B.S. Zoology degree (or you may only need a few more credits to do so). Remember that the 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 a ask a Department of Integrative Biology advisor to submit a concentration change.


Academic Advising

Advisor Availability

All of the department's academic advisors are available by appointment to meet with current or prospective students during the academic year. Each advisor will have appointment slots open every week for times which fit with that advisor's other work commitments. Typically advising appointments are between 8 am to 5 pm Monday thru Friday.

Department of Integrative Biology advisors are generally employed for the academic year. As a result, appointment times and e-mail responses will not be readily available in the summers. In fact, there may be times when, due to other commitments, even an advisor who is working in the summer will not be available.

Do I need to meet with a particular advisor?

Any integrative biology or zoology major can meet with any of the Department of Integrative Biology advisors to scheduling, advising issues, substitutions, and how to obtain independent study credit.

I'm in the Honors College. Who is my Honors Zoology advisor?

Each Honors College member in Integrative Biology or Zoology has a designated advisor. You should be certain to see your designated advisor for advice related to the major. 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 see advisors at the Honors College itself?

Yes. You need to see an advisor at the Honors College for questions about your required Honors experiences and for advice on meeting the general education requirements.

I'm in Lyman Briggs. Should I meet with a Department of Integrative Biology advisor?

Lyman Briggs coordinate majors are highly encouraged to meet with a Department of Integrative Biology advisor to discuss Zoology 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 specialists on admissions requirements of professional schools. Be sure to meet with a preprofessional advisor. Each professional school will have 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 or issues 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 Study Abroad.
  • Long term planning towards graduate school.
  • Other questions specific to you.



Scheduling an Advising Appointment

How do I schedule an advising appointment?

Current students may access MSU's Student Success Dashboard to schedule an appointment with a Department of Integrative Biology academic advisor. 

When are new advising appointments posted?

Appointment times are opened on a week-by-week basis. Department of Integrative Biology advisors typically post advising appointments for each week on Monday or Tuesday of that week.

There aren't any advising appointments open (or the open slots don't work for me). 

All of the open slots 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 to meet with students that week. Keep trying on the web-based schedule system. If someone cancels an appointment, you could get that one.

How do I cancel my advising appointment?

The Student Success Dashboard will allow you to cancel the appointment. Please cancel with at least 24-hour notice so that other students may take advantage of the time slot.

How do I schedule an advising appointment with Dr. Richard Snider, Undergraduate Director for Academic Advising & Career Development?

Junior and senior B.S. Zoology majors in the Zoo & Aquarium Science concentration should meet with Dr. Snider.

Dr. Snider may not have advising appointments open on the Student Success Dashboard. 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.

Are walk-in advising hours available?

The Department of Integrative Biology academic advisors meet with students by appointment only.




There are no seats available in a course and/or section I need.

1. Keep trying on the Schedule Builder from Schedule of Courses:

  • There is a lot of change in enrollments in classes, especially the week before classes start and the first week of classes.
  • If you are on the system when someone else drops the class, you can get that seat.
  • You can try putting an Alert on the course/section with the Schedule Builder from Schedule of Courses
  • Remember that for any semester, you can change your courses at any time through the first week of classes in that semester. The only time you cannot change your enrollment for the next year is during the summer weeks of AOP.
  • If you cannot get into the class/section you need, you may wish to consider adding miscellaneous courses to your schedule until you can get a seat in the class you want so you are not "hit" with late enrollment fees.

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 then about getting into the class or about an override.

I am unable to enroll in a course.

Reasons why you may be unable to enroll in a course include:

  • You do not have all the prerequisites. 

A prerequisite is a course (or courses) which must be completed before you can enroll in a particular class or apply to a particular program. The only way you can enroll in the course is if you have the prerequsite course(s) posted in your academic record.Prerequisites for MSU courses are listed in the MSU Course Descriptions catalog. In the listing for a particular course, prerequisites are the fourth (4th) item down. If you do not have the prerequisite course(s), you will not be able to enroll in the class.

  • 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 not be able 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 an instructor/professor is listed for the course section, you can try e-mailing that person. If no instructor/professor is listed, you must keep checking until an instructor is listed. Then contact the instructor/professor.

  • 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 catalog. In the listing for a particular course, restrictions are usually the fourth (4th) or fifth (5th) item down.

Some common restrictions are:

Not open to freshmen

Open only to students in the ____________  major.

You must obtain permission from the instructor before enrolling in the class. Contact the applicable instructor directly via e-mail.

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:

  1. "End of tuition refund period for semester courses --no refund after this date." 
  2. "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 per semester to be considered full-time?

At MSU, students must carry at least 12 credits in order to be considered full-time and:

  • Participate in intercollegiate athletics
  • Qualify for the Dean's List for the semester
  • Qualify for most scholarships, awards, and financial aids. Most of these are limited to undergraduate students carrying at least 12 credits a semester excluding credits for any course carried as a visitor. 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 (from Academic Programs> Undergraduate Education  > Enrollment >  Semester Credit Load > Full-Time Students).

What might be affected if I drop below 12 credits?

  1. Financial aid or scholarships. Check with the appropriate offices, including the MSU Office of Financial Aid.
  2. 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.
  3. Living in a dorm.  Per the Residence Education and Housing Services, only students with less than 6 credits are not eligible. Students should check with Residence Education and Housing Services to be sure.



Incoming Freshman and Transfer Students

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 the system opens to you:

  1. Go to the MSU Academic Calendar.
  2. Choose relevant semester from the pull-down menu.
  3. Scroll down below the initial grid of the most relevant dates. You will find a very detailed list.  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 a given 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?

  • No one else can change your schedule for you.  Once the computer enrollment system opens up to you again only 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 Department of Integrative Biology major and I do not have biology in my schedule this year. Is that okay? Or do I need to fit it in my schedule in order to take upper-level classes next year for my major?

When you are a freshman or transfer student, the classes you enroll 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 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” the “normal” schedule of courses for Integrative Biology or Zoology students?

No. Students come to MSU with a wide variety of academic backgrounds, there is no normal.  Each student has to progress at her/his own pace.

Have my AP scores been received by MSU?

  1. Check STUINFO to see if they are recorded.  AP scores show up as transfer courses.
  2. 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.
  3. If not received, you will have to make a request to the AP folks to send it again.

I have received my AP exam score, but it is not recorded yet at MSU. How do I tell for which MSU course(s) my AP credit will give me credit?

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 does allow you to enroll in any course for which your course is a prerequisite. For example, a waiver in PSY 101 allows you to enroll in a 200 level PSY course for which PSY 101 is a prerequisite.

In terms of meeting the admissions requirements for graduate or professional school, waivers are not usually accepted. Be sure to check each school's policy.

I had credit from an AP exam for a particular course, but I decided to enroll in that course at AOP (which means I signed a paper declining the transfer of the AP credit). 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 the AP _______ exam has satisfied a University, College or Department requirement for me?

Once a passing AP test score has been received by MSU, the course can be applied to your requirements. Consult Degree Navigator to see how that course is applied to a requirement.

In terms of meeting your College of Natural Science or Department of Integrative Biology major requirements, it does not matter whether you take the course at MSU or have it as a transfer course (from another school or an AP exam). As long as you have credit listed for the course in STUINFO, your College or major requirement is met. Check STUINFO to be sure the course is recorded and Degree Navigator to see how it is applied.

If the course is a prerequisite for another course, you will not be able to enroll in the second course until your credit has been received at MSU. Transfer or AP credit for a course will be listed in STUINFO after MSU receives it.

In terms of meeting the admissions requirements for graduate or professional school, check each school's policy to see if AP or transfer courses will be accepted. 

I have credit for the AP Biology exam in STUINFO, but it seems to be only 8 credits. The MSU courses are 10 credits. Don't I have to take the MSU Biological Sciences (BS) series?

True, the required Biological Science courses at MSU (BS 161, BS 162, BS 171, and BS 172) total 10 credits. The maximum that MSU will give you for an AP exam is 8 credits. 

Degree Navigator may indicate that you still need to fulfill credits in BS 162 and BS 172. Your AP Biology score will give you a one credit waiver for each of the two credit courses BS 162 and BS 172. A waiver for the course means that the course content is the same even though the credit numbers do not match up. In terms of meeting your major requirements, either the 10 credits for the MSU courses or the 8 credits from the transfer of the AP exam are fine. Therefore, even though you only have one credit for each of the labs, as far as the Integrative Biology Department is concerned, your requirement has been met. That requirement in Degree Navigator will be adjusted at some point during your first three years here.

In terms of meeting the admissions requirements for graduate or professional school, check each school's policy to see if AP or transfer courses will be accepted. 

In order to be a sophomore, I need 28 credits. But my advisor at AOP suggested that I take 12 credits in both fall and spring semesters my 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. They also take energy and time to get used to.
  • Teaching Styles and Speed: The way college/university classes are taught usually is very different than classes in high school. It takes time to get used to this different style. College/university classes also move through the material at a much faster pace, and learning the study skills for this amount of material takes time too.
  • Grades: Good grades matter, especially if you want to go to graduate or professional school. Most programs require a minimum 3.5 GPA. Some employers do look at grades, too.
  • Knowledge: You need to understand the basic material thoroughly so can understand the advanced classes. Particularly crucial the first year(s) of curriculum for a science student. All the later courses 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.....therefore if you are in MTH 1825 fall semester, you will not be able to take CEM 141.
  • 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 to adjust when they are freshmen, they are able to handle more credits per semester in later years.

If I have 24 credits at the end of spring semester, will I be “behind” the “normal” schedule of courses for Zoology students?

No. Students come to MSU with a wide variety of academic backgrounds, there is no normal. Each student has to progress at her/his own speed.

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. A student may enroll anytime after their appointment time. The scheduled enrollment access time for each student is posted on STUINFO.
  • These dates are usually assigned by the number of credits a student has, so someone with 27 credits will enroll before someone with 28 credits.  



Repeat Courses

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.

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 the Integrative Biology Department 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 the 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 credit in the course. You do not have to repeat the class unless you wish to do so. Consult with your advisor before repeating a course.

Can I repeat any course I have previously taken?

A student may repeat only 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. Therefore, if you are taking 12 credits the semester that you repeat that course, only 9 credits will add on to your cumulative credit total.
  • 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 again, however, 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 (under General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations>General Procedures and Regulations>Repeating a Course): "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 be paying for those credits again. 
  • Repeat at MSU: If you repeat the course at MSU, just sign up for the course as you would any other.
  • 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. The original course and grade will always be on your MSU transcript for that semester.  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. Remember you may only transfer a course from a community college until you reach 56 credits at MSU. After 56 credits, you must take the course at a 4-year school.  



Transfer Courses (Current MSU Students)

What grade do I need to earn in order to transfer a course back to MSU?

You must receive a 2.0 or above in each course at that institution in order to transfer the course back to MSU.

As a current MSU student, can I take courses at a community college?

You will be able to bring credits from a two-year school (community college) until you reach a maximum of 56 credits at MSU. After that, 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 (Undergraduate Education>Graduation Requirements>Graduation Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree): "...(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 is applicable in your degree program. Contact the MSU Admissions Office for more specific information on appropriate schools, bringing in transfer courses and other procedures.

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 one at the other school 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, for example, 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 that the other institution send an 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 is sent. 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.



Transferring to Michigan State University From Another Institution

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 (community college, etc.); up to 90 from a 4-year school. You must obtain a 2.0 in each course at the other institution in order to transfer it to MSU (see Academic Programs>Undergraduate Education>Admission>Transfer Student Admission).

Contact the MSU Office of Admissions if you have additional questions.

What grade do I need to earn in order to transfer a course to MSU?

You must receive a 2.0 or above in each course at that school in order to transfer the course 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. 

Who do I contact if I have questions about admissions and transferring courses to MSU?

Contact the MSU Office of Admissions for more specific information about bringing in transfer courses and application procedures.

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 advisor and discuss what classes to schedule. Then you enroll for the classes in an enrollment lab. 

You cannot enroll for any courses unless you attend an academic orientation program (the computer system is locked to you otherwise). 




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?