Michigan State University academics

Michigan State University academics
Wells Hall is a sprawling classroom and office building just south of the Red Cedar River.

Michigan State has over 200 academic programs on its East Lansing, Michigan campus. MSU is well known for its academic programs in education and agriculture, and the university pioneered the studies of packaging, horticulture and music therapy.[citation needed] MSU has the premier hospitality school in the United States, and the study abroad program is the largest of any single-campus university in the nation, offering more than 200 programs in more than 60 countries on all continents including Antarctica.[1]

As a research university, MSU is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. Since its inception as a small agricultural college in 1855, MSU has put a strong emphasis on research. Important discoveries made at MSU include hybrid corn, homogenized milk, antio-cancer drug cisplatin, and Germanium isotope Ge-60. Like other large American universities, MSU has many teaching assistants teaching upper-level courses. Michigan State University Ombudsman is the oldest continually operating ombudsman office at a college or university in the country.[2]



Michigan State University is organized into 17 degree granting colleges


The Art Deco Psychology Building originally housed the Physics and Astronomy department.

Michigan State has the seventh largest student body in the U.S. There are 45,166 total students, with 35,678 undergraduates and 9,488 graduate and professional students. The student body is 54% female and 46% male. While 89% of students come from all 83 counties in the State of Michigan,[3] also represented are all 50 states in the U.S. and about 125 other countries.[4] MSU has about 4,500 faculty and 6,000 staff members, and a student/faculty ratio of 19:1.[5] Like other large American universities, MSU has a large number of teaching assistants teaching upper-level courses. This led The Princeton Review in 2005 to rank MSU eleventh worst in the category of "teaching assistants teach too many upper-level courses".[6]


The Kresge Art Center is named for K-Mart founder S.S. Kresge.

Michigan State ranks 75th in the world, according to a Shanghai Jiao Tong University study,[7] with U.S. News & World Report's ranking MSU 70th in the U.S.[8] The university has over 200 academic programs, several of them highly-ranked. U.S. News has ranked MSU's graduate-level elementary education",[9] secondary education,[10] and Industrial and Organizational Psychology[11] programs number one for the last decade. In U.S. News also ranks MSU's nuclear physics program second, behind only MIT. Indeed, MSU’s Physics & Astronomy department ranks highly based on the number and impact of publications its faculty publishes. In addition to this, the 2007 U.S. News ranks Michigan State's Supply Chain Management program in the Eli Broad College of Business number one in the nation, beating out MIT (ranked second). The National Communication Association ranks MSU doctoral programs as the nation’s most effective in educating researchers in health communication and communication technology.[12] MSU also is ranked in the top four in several other communication fields, including international/intercultural communication, mass communication and interpersonal communication. Other programs of note include criminal justice,[13] music therapy,[14] hospitality business,[15] packaging,[16] political science,[17] and communications.[18] MSU's study abroad program is the largest of any single-campus university in the United States with 2,461 students studying abroad in 2004–05 in over 60 countries on all continents, including Antarctica.[19]


Erickson Hall houses the MSU College of Education.

The university spent nearly $380,000,000 million in 2005-06 on research ,[20] capping a long history of productive research. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. MSU dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout invented the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s. In the 1960s, MSU scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug. Today Michigan State continues its research with facilities such as the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.[21] In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60.[22] In that same year, Michigan State, in consortium with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile. The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins.[23] Since 1999, MSU has been part of another consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan.[24] The College of Communication Arts and Sciences' Quello Center researches current issues of information and communication management. Avida, an artificial life software platform to study the evolutionary biology of self-replicating and evolving computer programs, is under active development by Charles Ofria in the Digital Evolution Lab of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.[25] Albert Fert an Adjunct professor at MSU was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.[26] In February 2010, a $25 million grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation to the university to develop a Bio/computational Evolution in Action Consortium (BEACON) within the BioMedical and Physical Sciences Building.[27]


MSU's new Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building contains many laboratories and offices, several lecture halls, and a cafe.

MSU's (private, non-Morrill Act) endowment started in 1916 when the Engineering Building burned down. Automobile magnate R. E. Olds helped the program stay afloat with a gift of $100,000.[28] While this opened the door for other types of private donations, MSU has often lagged behind peer institutions in terms of endowments. As recently as the early 1990s, MSU was last among the eleven Big Ten schools, with barely over $100 million in endowment funds. However, in the early 2000s, the University started a campaign to increase the size of the endowment. At the close of FY 2004–05, the endowment had risen to $1.325 billion, raising the University to sixth of the 11 Big Ten schools in terms of endowment; within $2M of the fifth-rated school.[29] The rapid increase in the size of the endowment will help to improve outdated facilities, such as the Music Building, which the College of Music hopes to soon replace with money from its alumni fundraising program.[30]


James Madison College

The South Campus skyline

James Madison College (JMC), one of MSU’s three residential colleges, started in 1967. The concept behind Madison College was to merge the best attributes of a small public affairs college with the resources of a major university. Though JMC started as an experiment, it is now a well-respected liberal arts program.[31] Madison admits about 320 students each year, holding the total student body around 1,150. Classes in the college are small, with an average of 25 students, and most instructors are tenure track faculty with PhDs or occasionally PhD candidates.[32] As a residential college, JMC has its classrooms, offices, and student housing together in Case Hall. As part of its "living-learning" philosophy, JMC requires freshmen students to live in Case during their freshman year.[33]

Madison offers majors, which students choose at the end of their freshman year. The four majors are Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, International Relations, Social Relations, and Comparative Cultures and Politics. All of JMC’s majors require two years of foreign language and one "field experience”, either in the form of an internship or study abroad program. James Madison College also has a fairly large amount of academically successful students. Madison boasts numerous major award recipients, including Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright and Marshall Scholars to name a few. About 15% of its students are in the Honors College and though JMC only represents about 4% of MSU graduates the college, they make up around 35% of the MSU’s Phi Beta Kappa members.

Residential College for Arts and Humanities

Snyder-Phillips Hall houses the Residential College for Arts and Humanities .

In 2007, MSU accepted its first class of students for the Residential College in Arts & Humanities. Founded October 21, 2005,[34] the college provides around 600 undergraduates with an individualized curriculum in the liberal, visual and performing arts. Though all the students will graduate with the same degree, MSU will encourage students in the college to get a second degree or specialization.[35] The new college will be MSU's fourth residential college, after James Madison College, the Lyman Briggs School, and the now-defunct Justin Morrill College. Although early proposals named the college after Nelson Mandela,[36] university officials have not decided on a permanent name as of 2006, saying that it is still too early to fix a permanent name to the college.[37]

RCAH classes will start in Autumn 2007 in the Collegiate Gothic Snyder-Phillips Residence Hall. Built in 1947, Snyder-Phillips once housed Justin Morrill College. MSU is currently renovating the dormitory to make room for the new college. Along with a new dining hall and upgraded bathrooms, the expanded Snyder-Phillips will include a 150-seat multipurpose classroom and performing arts space, a student art gallery, a Wi-Fi-enabled coffeeshop, music practice rooms, and a language learning center.[38]

Lyman Briggs College

The Lyman Briggs College teaches math and science within social, historical and philosophical contexts.[39] Founded in 1967 as Lyman Briggs College, it was merged into the College of Natural Science in 1981, though the college has now regained its full college status. Many Lyman Briggs students intend to pursue careers in medicine, but the school supports 37 coordinate majors, from human biology to computer sciences.[40] Lyman Briggs is one of the few colleges that lets undergraduates teach as "Learning Assistants."[41]

MSU College of Law

Michigan State's postmodern law building

Michigan State University College of Law is a private law school. Founded in 1891, and originally named Detroit College of Law, the school was the first law school founded in Detroit. Detroit College of Law became affiliated with Michigan State University in 1995 (changing its name to MSU College of Law), and began offering joint degree programs,[42] including JD-MBA and various LLM programs. Students attending MSU College of Law come from 42 states and 13 countries, with applications tripling since affiliating with MSU in 1995. Full-time and part-time (night) students can participate in 8 concentrations, including the Trial Practice Institute. The law school publishes the Michigan State Law Review[43] and several journals.

The newly renovated and renamed Marshall-Adams Hall is home to the Department of Economics.

The first trial practice institute in the United States, the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute,[44] started at Michigan State University College of Law with a grant of $4 million from Geoffrey Fieger.[45] The Intellectual Property and Communications Law program is ranked number 1 among law schools in the Big Ten Conference, and number 17 in the United States. In addition, MSU College of Law's Indigenous Law Program offers an Indigenous Law Certificate Program.[46]

Eli Broad College of Business

The Eli Broad College of Business has programs in accounting, information systems, finance, management, marketing and supply chain management, and hospitality business and Human Resources Management. The school has 4,775 undergraduate students and 776 graduate students. The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, which Business Week magazine ranks 11th among public institutions, offers 3 MBA programs, as well as joint degrees with the College of Law.[47]

The School of Hospitality Business is an industry-specific school within the business college. Starting with 18 students,[48] It has 768 undergraduate students, 23 graduate students, and 27 faculty members.[49]

Honors College

Eustace-Cole Hall

The Honors College was established in 1956 to provide more academic opportunities to MSU students, and to emphasize academic challenge and achievement. It is currently housed in Eustace-Cole Hall on the northern portion of MSU's campus.

Members of the Honors College at Michigan State University enjoy a great deal of freedom over their academic planning. They are allowed to skip prerequisites, substitute departmental courses for general education requirements, and enroll in Honors courses. Honors College members are also eligible to enroll in graduate courses. Upon graduation from the Honors College, a student receives an Honors College stole to wear at commencement.

Human Medicine

MSU opened the College of Human Medicine was founded in 1964. The pre-clinical campus is located on Michigan State University's main campus in East Lansing. Clinical practice, undergraduate medical education during the clinical years three and four, graduate medical education, and research takes place across six campuses located in the Michigan cities of Flint, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw, and Marquette. An additional four-year undergraduate medical training facility in Grand Rapids is scheduled to be phased in to operation between 2008 and 2010 that will run in parallel to the existing program in East Lansing.



MSU's Main Library

The Michigan State University Library is the 26th largest academic library system in North America with over 4.7 million volumes and 6.4 million microforms.[50] The university library comprises nine branch locations including the main library. The Africana Collection is one of the largest of its kind in the nation with a collection of over 200,000 items.[51] Other significant collections include The G. Robert Vincent Voice Library, the largest academic voice library in the nation, containing a collection of over 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings and includes the voices of over 100,000 persons from all walks of life,[52] and the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collections which includes the extensive Comic Art Collection.[53] This collection currently includes over 100,000 comic books, and 10,000 related books and periodicals.[54][55][56]


Michigan State University Press is the publishing arm of Michigan State University. It traces its origins to the late 1940s when the Michigan State Board of Agriculture established a publishing program at Michigan State College (MSC). President John A. Hannah made a recommendation on publications to a special committee. In response, the committee members recommended to Hannah that Michigan State College Press be created. The president acted on their advice and on July 1, 1947, the publishing house came into being. In addition to its own publishing program, Michigan State University Press distributes books from The African Books Collective,[57] a consortium of more than 110 African small and scholarly publishers headquartered in Oxford, England. They also publish books for four Canadian publishers,[58] as wells as books from the National Museum of Science and Industry, London.


  1. ^ http://ntweb11.ais.msu.edu/osa_db/search.asp
  2. ^ Michigan State University newsroom Accessed: Sep,20,2007. America’s longest-operating Office of the Ombudsman turns 40
  3. ^ The Princeton Review. "Michigan State University: Student Body". 2005.
  4. ^ "Michigan State University Newsroom — MSU Facts". http://newsroom.msu.edu/snav/184/page.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  5. ^ Davis, Amy. (2005). Michigan State University Off the Record. College Prowler. p. 4. ISBN 1-59658-083-6. 
  6. ^ The Princeton Review. "Teaching Assistants Teach Too Many Upper-Level Courses". 2005.
  7. ^ "Top 500 World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. August 15, 2006. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  8. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2007". U.S. News and World Report. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  9. ^ "America's Best Graduate Schools 2006: Elementary Education." U.S. News and World Report. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  10. ^ "America's Best Graduate Schools 2006: Secondary Education." U.S. News and World Report. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  11. ^ "America's Best Graduate Schools 2006: Psychology Specialties: Industrial/Organizational Psychology." U.S. News and World Report. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  12. ^ Hollihan, Tom. "2004 Study of the Reputational Programs in Communication. National Communications Association. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  13. ^ Rykert, Wilbur Lewis. "The History of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University 1935-1963" (Masters Thesis). 1985.
  14. ^ "About Us: Fast Facts. MSU College of Music. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  15. ^ "Historic Milestones" The School of Hospitality Business. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  16. ^ "History". MSU School of Packaging. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  17. ^ "Achievements". MSU Department of Political Science. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  18. ^ "CAS > Tour > Highlights.". MSU College of Communications Arts and Sciences. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  19. ^ "Studies in Antarctic System Science — Antarctica". MSU Office of Study Abroad. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  20. ^ "The MSU news room". The Center. 2006. Accessed August 29, 2007.
  21. ^ "National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory". National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. Accessed May 14, 3007.
  22. ^ "New germanium isotope discovered at MSU". MSU Today. July 29, 2004. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  23. ^ "Points of Pride". MSU Today. March 25, 2005. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  24. ^ Truscott, John. "Governor Signs Bill Creating 'Life Sciences Corridor' in Michigan". Michigan Executive Office press release. July 19, 1999. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  25. ^ Computer Science Michigan state University
  26. ^ Adjunct physics professor at MSU wins Nobel Prize The State News Accessed: Oct,10,2007.
  27. ^ Kozlowski, Kim (February 17, 2010). "MSU grant combines biology, engineering work". The Detroit News. http://www.detnews.com/article/20100217/SCHOOLS/2170391/1361/MSU-grant-combines-biology--engineering-work. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  28. ^ Rodriguez, Michael (2004). R.E. Olds and Industrial Lansing. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 0-7385-3272-X. 
  29. ^ Seguin, Rick. "Endowment surges in growth, rankings". MSU News Bulletin. 2006. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  30. ^ "Capital Campaign". MSU School of Music. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  31. ^ Goode, Stephen. "Winning Colleges." Insight. October 2, 2000.
  32. ^ "Quick Madison Facts". James Madison College @ Michigan State University. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  33. ^ "Handbook". James Madison College @ Michigan State University. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  34. ^ Collins, Laura. "Trustees approve residential college". State News. October 24, 2005. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  35. ^ "Flexible Program". Michigan State University Residential College in Arts & Humanities. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  36. ^ McNulty, Rebecca. "[http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=26530 Report details new residential college". State News. October 28, 2004.
  37. ^ Daum, Kristen. "Officials to decide college's name." State News. April 28, 2006. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  38. ^ "RCAH Life". Michigan State University Residential College in Arts & Humanities. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  39. ^ "Educational Philosophy @ Lyman Briggs School". Lyman Briggs School of Science. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  40. ^ "Major Information @ Lyman Briggs School". Lyman Briggs School of Science. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  41. ^ "Growth and Expansion of Lyman Briggs School" Lyman Briggs School of Science. p. 13. Accessed April 13, 2007.
  42. ^ "Multi-Degree Options. Michigan State University College of Law. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  43. ^ "Michigan State Law Review". Michigan State University College of Law. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  44. ^ "The Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute". Michigan State University College of Law. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  45. ^ "Fieger'S $4 million gift to Law College at MSU establishes nation's first trial practice institute for law students". MSU Newsroom. Friday, May 5, 2006. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  46. ^ "Indigenous Law Program". Michigan State University College of Law. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  47. ^ The Eli Broad College of Business and Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. Graduate Programs.
  48. ^ Historic Milestones". The School of Hospitality Business. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  49. ^ Fast Facts". The Eli Broad College of Business and Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. Accessed April 14, 2007.
  50. ^ "ARL Statistics 2003-2004 — Rank Order By Volumes Held". Association of Research Libraries. Accessed August 12, 2006.
  51. ^ "Africana Collection". Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  52. ^ "G. Robert Vincent Voice Library". Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  53. ^ Michigan State University Libraries. "Comic Art Collection". Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  54. ^ "Comics Research Libraries Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed August 12, 2006.
  55. ^ Index to the Holdings of the Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection Accessed: 4/18/2007
  56. ^ COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY STATEMENT Accessed: 4/18/2007 Subject: Comic Art Collection, Written by: Randy Scott, Draft date: September 18, 1998
  57. ^ "Books Collective". Michigan State University Press. Accessed April 15, 2007.
  58. ^ "Canadian Publishers". Michigan State University Press. Accessed April 15, 2007.

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