Michigan State University College of Natural Science

Michigan State University College of Natural Science

The College of Natural Science at Michigan State University is home to 24 academic departments and programs serving over 6,000 undergraduate majors and 1,000 graduate students in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences[1].

The College of Natural Science offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to enhance their education through research projects in labs on campus and field locations throughout the world. Advanced degree programs in the college provide graduate students a forum for interacting with more than 400 faculty and collaborate across traditional boundaries in a wide array of research initiatives ranging from nanotechnology to the origins of the universe and from gene expression to the bioeconomy.


Departments and Programs

Graduate Studies

Advanced study is available through the following degree programs and specializations:

  • Astrophysics and Astronomy
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Cell, Molecular, and Structural Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Cognitive Science
  • Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Human Nutrition
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Quantitative Biology and Modeling
  • Science and Mathematics Education
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Zoology

More information on degrees andadvanced studies can be found on the college website[2].

Professional Science Masters (PSM) Programs

The College of Natural Science offers several PSM Degrees to prepare and train students in technical areas for positions in industry. The PSM is a professional M.S. degree in science or mathematics for students interested in a wider variety of career options than provided by current graduate programs in the sciences and mathematics.

The three areas of program development include:

  • In-depth technical training in a science discipline,
  • College certification of training in basic business practice including communication and presentation skills,
  • Industrial internship or industrial case studies, developed in cooperation with industrial affiliates.

Industrial advisors offered consultation and guidance in the design of these two-year degrees. This design partnership assures graduates are qualified for positions in business and industry. Students who desire advanced training in a disciplinary area and are interested in a more applied approach will find these degrees attractive.

PSM Programs[3]:

  • Biomedical Laboratory Operations
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Food Safety & Toxicology
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Integrative Pharmacology
  • Zoo & Aquarium Science

Undergraduate Majors

The College offers both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees.

  • The BS requires more science and mathematics credits and less non-science, humanities and social science coursework in the 120 credit program. The BS is intended for individuals preparing for professional work in the sciences or for graduate/professional school.
  • The BA is designed for individuals pursuing K-12 teaching careers or scientific application areas such as public policy, technical sales, law, and communications. The BA requires more humanities and social science credits, thus providing greater balance between science and non-science credits in the 120 credit program.

Majors in the college include[4]:

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biological Science (Interdepartmental; For teaching majors only)
  • Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics (formerly titled Medical Technology Program)
  • Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Diagnostic Molecular Science
  • Medical Technology
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Biology/Plant Biology
  • Environmental Biology/Microbiology
  • Environmental Biology/Zoology
  • Specialization in Environmental Studies
  • Geological Sciences
  • Environmental Geosciences
  • Geological Sciences
  • Geophysics
  • Human Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Actuarial Science Specialization
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Genomics and Molecular Genetics
  • Nutritional Science
  • Physical Science (Interdepartmental; For teaching majors only)
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Physics
  • Physics and Geophysics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Environmental Biology/Plant Biology
  • Preprofessional Coursework (Pre-med, etc.)
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Research Centers, Institutes and Facilities

As a major research institution, the College has a variety of resources available to researchers.


James Kirkpatrick is dean for the College of Natural Science. He has more than 20 years experience in college administration and served as Executive Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne before joining MSU in 2007. He received his PhD in Geology from UIUC in 1972 and has authored of more than 200 research publications. His research focuses is on the application of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling in geochemistry, mineralogy and materials chemistry[5].


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