Michigan State University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Joseph

Tough, many classes require plenty of time studying.

Rachel

Strict

Amber

The academics are planned accordingly depending on the major. When your a freshman the university requires that you take the basic university requirements because a lot of students change their interests during this time and makes it easier for freshman to explore different fields. But if you have your major or your still undecided then they have academic advisers for every college to help guide you into what you want to do throughout your stay here at MSU. Rumors about us just being a party school is what it is just rumors because this school does take pride in wanting to see it's students succeed. The academics here are just as competitive and rigorous as any school, so you can bet by the time your ready to graduate you will be ready to pursue a higher level of education or a job in your specialized field.

Naina

Agriculture program is really good, and academics are whole overall

Landon

My majors are International Relations and Chinese. I am a part of the James Madison college which is reputed for offering a very rigorous course load. The academics here are challenging and demanding.

Klaudia

Being in the public affairs college at state, James Madison is definitely very cut throat when it comes to academics. Everyone studies their BUTT off to get at least a 3.5, and those that get 4.0's are called "James Madison All Star's" and secretly everyone is jealous of them. In class discussions are informative and intellectual and you have no choice but to get involved. There are also plenty of opportunities for study abroad, internships, and field experience. Also everyone makes sure to go to professors office hours, not only to get feedback on their papers but also to let the prof get to know you and build a foundation for future recommendations.

Madison

At MSU, there is an emphasis on smaller groups. Some classes do meet in lecture halls with 300+ students, but usually there are smaller weekly meetings with about 20-30 students. In large classes, many students form study groups and meet in the library to go over practice tests, and other questions. Make sure to attend professor's office hours so they are able to recognize you, it will help a lot if you have trouble in the class or need a letter of recommendation. Some courses are very rigorous, but MSU provides many resources to succeed in them.

Kaela

The academics at MSU are great. All of my professors that I have had so far have been very good at their job. They have all been very helpful and I have had success in their classes. A lot of people complain about foreign professor because it is harder to understand them, but you will find that at any university. Some of the classes can be challenging, but its all how much effort you put into the class.

Kevin

The academics at MSU are high class and most of the courses are manageable. One of your professors may know your name depending on the size of your lecture hall. I have a class with over 300 students and then I have one with 20 and the professor knows me by name. It all depends on what route you take. Students are competitive but I get help from strangers all the time and I guarantee that you can form study groups with students in any class. I am a business major and everyone helps everyone out with the harder courses. I will definitely be seeing a career ahead of me once I leave MSU due to the fact that they have multiple career fairs a semester.

Julia

I am a little unique, as I am part of one of the smallest majors, plant biology. They graduate about 10 students per year, which is nothing when the whole student population is about 47,000. The plant biology profs know my name, as there is usually only 12 people in a class. But I have been in 500 people classes. That doesn't bother me; I actually like a mix of big and small classes. The amount of studying really depends on your major and your commitment. I am in Lyman Briggs, which is a residential science college. So most students in the college are pretty serious about school and often grad school. I also like MSU for the undergraduate research. I have been in a lab since my first semester. The experiences will definitely help me get into grad school and get a job.

Taylor

Academics are what you make of them here at MSU. We have amazing professors and researchers and it is really important to get to know them. Some of these bonds with professionals can last a lifetime and get you to places you never thought possible! My favorite class so far has been "Criminal Procedure," simply because the professor was mind-blowing. He was an amazing lecturer and really cared about pushing his students to their fullest potential! Even though our campus is very large, I often see my professors walking around and usually stop to chat with them! People here are generally very personable and willing to help outside of class. Yes, of course, some students (like any other large university) choose not to work hard. However, these kids are just setting themselves up for failure later in life too! One of the biggest struggles you may find at MSU is balancing schoolwork with activities and a social life. If you can create a good balance between these, then your four years here will be not only EXTREMELY fun, but rewarding and memorable.

Kaitlyn

Every teacher at Michigan State University wants their students to succeed. Professors know you by name, and they are always willing to help you, whether it's after class or during office hours. I don't have a favorite class - whenever I think I do, something great happens in my next class that makes me change my decision. I am majoring in English with double minor in Spanish and TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and a teaching degree. MSU is ranked #1 for their teaching program, and the academic requirements give great preparation for the future.

Brian

Academics at MSU are stressed and are obviously the main reason for the school. The classes are challenging and school is NOT easy. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and assignments stack up. Having good time management skills and an ability to stay focused is crucial. It is easy to get carried away in all the extracurricular activities that surround the school so it's important to go easy on your schedule early on. I would recommend incoming freshmen to take no more than 12-14 credits their first semester. It'll be a lot easier to adjust with a more manageable schedule. Other than the challenge, the classes are usually very stimulating and the professors are top notch and experienced in their fields. Very rarely are classes taught by a T.A. and bad professors are few and far between. I found the classes to be very useful and applicable to the field I'm going in to. The education at MSU is geared towards not just getting a job, but putting the student in the position to create and manage jobs.

Michael

There is a great academic atmosphere. You can do well in classes as long as you put in the work. There are a great number of support groups that can help you with any of your classes. With is being such a large university there are a great number of classes you can take too!

Brian

Academics at MSU are stressed and are obviously the main reason for the school. The classes are challenging and school is NOT easy. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and assignments stack up. Having good time management skills and an ability to stay focused is crucial. It is easy to get carried away in all the extracurricular activities that surround the school so it's important to go easy on your schedule early on. I would recommend incoming freshmen to take no more than 12-14 credits their first semester. It'll be a lot easy to adjust with a more manageable schedule. Other than the challenge, the classes are usually very stimulating and the professors are top notch and experienced in their fields. Very rarely are classes taught by a T.A. and bad professors are few and far between. I found the classes to be very useful and applicable to the field I'm going in to. The education at MSU is geared towards not just getting a job, but putting the student in the position to create and manage jobs.

Brian

Academics at MSU are stressed and are obviously the main reason for the school. The classes are challenging and school is NOT easy. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and assignments stack up. Having good time management skills and an ability to stay focused is crucial. It is easy to get carried away in all the extracurricular activities that surround the school so it's important to go easy on your schedule early on. I would recommend incoming freshmen to take no more than 12-14 credits their first semester. It'll be a lot easy to adjust with a more manageable schedule. Other than the challenge, the classes are usually very stimulating and the professors are top notch and experienced in their fields. Very rarely are classes taught by a T.A. and bad professors are few and far between. I found the classes to be very useful and applicable to the field I'm going in to. The education at MSU is geared towards not just getting a job, but putting the student in the position to create and manage jobs.

Kristen

Personally mine are very challenging. Once you get to your major specific classes they get a lot smaller, and much more intense. Getting to know your professors is crucial. Attendance isn't always mandatory but I don't think there is any other way to learn the things you need to learn if you don't go to class. I'm a business major and I'm proud to say that our Supply Chain program is number one in the country, but for good reason. The students work extremely hard and I think it was well deserved.

Randel

Michigan State University has many programs that are ranked #1. You will experience a broad range of class sizes, I have been in classes as small as 10 students and as large as 300. Some professors genuinely care about students and some are more focused on their research. If you are willing to work hard, there are resources to make sure you succeed.

Whitney

Academics are the most important part of college. Everyone likes to make new friends, join a sports team or a sorority, and party, but the reason you go to college is to further your education. At Michigan State, academics are taken very seriously. Some classes can be as large as 600 students, and some as small as 20. Professors don't necessarily know you by name but you have to make an effort to connect with them. Many professors encourage class participation, even grade you on it. Usually you will find that your favorite classes are the ones where you become more concentrated in your major. My favorite are my classes for my major and my least favorite were the boring Gen-Ed classes that I could care less about. Regardless if you like the class or not, it is important to try your best with everything that you do.

Erin

I love my classes. The first year is alright becuse one does have to take all the required classes but i love all the classes i have. There are plenty of options to schoose from and an honors college to challenge thoes who want it. I spend a lot of time writing papers and i enjoy all of my professors that i have.

Natalie

I have not yet started my academics at MSU yet. I just recently enrolled in all of my classes for the fall and spring semisters. I am looking forward to take my Psychology class in the fall and my advertising class in the spring. I think it will be a great oppertunity to learn and find out more about what I will be majoring in. I hope that i will know my professors names and have a way to contact them all when needed.

Lindsey

The great thing that I've learned from MSU's academic programs is their constant reminders and goals of getting their students a job/career after graduation. That is definitely one of the most stressed factors from this university. Job/Career fairs are plentiful on this campus and assuming that students are striving to push themselves so that they will be successful in the future, a career after graduation is definitely attainable from this university.

Jessie

MSu student are not very competitive, although everyone has something smart to say. The professors-or atleast the ones I have had so far- are extremely helpful, and more than willing to help you outside the classroom. STudents mainly study before finals or midterms but I guess that is the case in most colleges. My favorite class at MSu has been PHL 353 with prof. peterson. He is awesome do take him if you get the chance.

Matt

I'm part of the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities. As far as academics go, I can't think of a better program. I know everyone in all of my classes and I know all of my professors on a first name basis. I can also go see my Academic Advisor at any time. We've talked through my ideas for my future and realistically planned my academics around them.

Andrew

At MSU u are responsible for your own success. The professors will not care if u pass or fail. Most of them will not know your name, however I am in my 3rd year here and I have yet to run into a bad professor. Most of them know their shit and know how to teach. My major is hospitality business. I encourage anyone to pursue this major. It is broad and very interesting. Plus i know MSU is world reknowned for its HB school. Despite the MSU stereotype, during the week everyone studies....everyone. Most people have learned that if u don't, u won't last here.

Heather

Most classes are held in lecture halls with 200-500 students, although there are some smaller classes with 15-40 students as well. Obviously in lecture classes the professor won't know everyone's name, but they encourage class participation just as much as the smaller classes, making it feel more personal. You could easily blend into the background and never talk or even come to some classes while others have daily activities to check for attendance.

Alex

French classes are on par with other universities.

Erin

Well, because I take classes' in my residential college, the class sizes remain smaller, so it is easier for professors to learn everyone's name. If you are a freshman, don't plan on liking the classes that you MUST take, the fun will come later. Use your one elective or class that you like and let it help you keep your sanity. I myself had a hard time with the different teachings that the humanities has to offer. In my experience, I am in charge of my education and the colleges are geared towards helping me more channel what I want to do.

Aaron

With so many students there are some large classes but I don't feel it takes away from the learning experience at all.

Melissa

Classes at MSU are hard. Not impossible, but definitely difficult. You have to work hard, you have to study a lot. But if this is done, it will pay off in the end. Because a degree from MSU is a great one to have. If you are struggling in a class, there are always ways to get help.

Robin

Honestly, the academics are the same scene as your general take on the school. You can let size and personal interactions with a prof. (or lack thereof) overwhelm you, or you can choose to be involved, known, and learned. As far as level of education, the professors are top notch and even if you do have to deal with TAs some time, there is always a professor above them that you can choose to talk to instead. The school uses Angel to transfer most electronic files, powerpoints, and notes or homework ( and sometimes tests and quizzes). If you don't know what it's like or have anything to compare it to, think of it as an organized email account that makes everything in your life a thousand times easier. And leave it at that until you decide to come here. Class sizes can be big, but it's all about where you choose to be. A class is only as big as the number of people you sit behind. It's easy to chill out in the back of a huge lecture having a good time with your friends, and that's cool if you can handle the material. If you can't, then you can sit up near the front and pay attention and it's like you're in a much smaller class- none of the other people behind you matter because they aren't interupting you. Another good idea is honors classes and the honors college- you'll tend to be in smaller and have professors that are much more interested in helping you personally understand the material.

Michelle

Class at MSU really depends on what type of classes you are taking. some of the gen. ed. classes you will have to take will be huge lecture halls of 500 students. The professor will not know who you are unless you take the time to visit them during their office hours and they will not usually take a whole lot of tiem to slow down and make sure you understand everything in class because there are too many people in the class. They do however understand that this can be tough and therefore have their own office hours plus office hours for their teaching assistants to help you as much as they can. Beyond your gen. ed. classes, you will most likely have smaller classes of at most 50 people, if that. these classes you will get to know your professor better. A key to impressing your professor - class participation. If there is room for discussion, jump in, If you don't understand much about the topic, ask questions. It will still show them your are paying attention and not just surfing the web on your lap top.

Antonio

Academics at MSU are very good, as are the professors.

Jesse

In a class of 250 student( sometimes)..it is impossible for a professor to know your name. However they do keep a track of your progress in class. Meeting professors after class hours can make you well known to them and they also could help you find a job or refer you to some companies. Ive seen many undergraduate International student enter MSU ( who might not have a very good high school record). However this does not mean MSU just accepts any student. Being accepted to the University does not guaranter your admission to a particular college( For example - to enter College of Business , a student needs to maintain an overall GPA of 3.3 upto 56credits)..

Cristian

classes are generally pretty big, at least general ed classes. that said, i had a writing class with 10 people in it. class participation is common, and the professors are very friendly and willing to help. at msu, its easy to get a 3.0, but getting that 4.0 may require some extra studying, at least in the higher level classes. my favorite and most unique class thus far has been zoology 341, comparative vertebrate anatomy, because I felt it was most applicable to my major (zoology) and had a lab portion unlike any other class i've taken. take it yourself and find out why!

Stephany

Because MSU is a big university, it's an important to create a close and personal relationship with the professors there. As you get into more senior classes, the classes tend to get smaller, which is nice. Professors are always open for questions, and are always willing to help. If you make the slightest effort, they are guaranteed to remember your name. One of the things that I think make MSU so significant is the fact that a lot of its majors require students to obtain internships. I know as a Hospitality Business major, I was required to have at least 2 internships throughout my college career. I know a lot of Education majors that are required to have a whole year of internships after graduation to prepare them for the "real world."

Robin

Go to class and study. Spend time w/ your professors and ta's and make sure you get to know them. Also, going to MSU for Packaging (which is #1 in the country!!) is really nice because I know that they will help me w/ a job. They support a career fair which is very beneficial to attend.

Alex

Most professors make some effort to learn the names of those individuals who raise their hands. If a student does not make any effort to participate in the class, the professor generally does not know the name of the student. This of course also depends on class size. In some smaller classes (language classes for instance), the teacher does know everyone's name. Conversely, in larger classes (such as science classes), the teacher does not usually know everyone's name.

Ashley

MSU offers a lot. You can do all the usual studies plus more like, scuba diving, sailboating and all sorts of other topics. You'll get a variety of professors too. Some are good, some aren't so good. I've found that when I have a good professor I do better and the opposite is true as well. Advertising/Public Relations is my area. I love it. I have liked all the professors in this department and they have been great and they've kept it interesting. My advice to everyone would be to keep up to date with what you need to take and how you are doing; that way you will graduate on time and be less stressed. Meet with your advisor once if not twice a year at the least.

Dave

Professors are personable if you want them to be. It's up to you how much you want to get out of a class. MSU is definitely about getting ready for the real world - not just reading from a book. I've had some really difficult courses at MSU. It's not that easy of an undergrad.

Ainsley

Classes vary in size from under 10 to over 200. Professors offer classes of varying difficulty. However, getting acclimated to a new class takes only a couple of lectures. Professors all have office hours and are willing to help, especially with special circumstances.

Carson

The academics at MSU are amazing. This past semester my father passed away. My teachers work with me in my need to put my classes on hold. They gave me some extra time and made sure I got caught up with everything I missed.

Deb

My enrollment at MSU was for my Master's Degree, so the time that I spent there was different than for those who are on campus as resident students. However, I did spend a lot of time at MSU and had the opportunity to be exposed to a good many professors who were doing some incredible cutting-edge research. Part of my degree involved taking part in 18 weekend seminar-type classes and it didn't take long for me to be impressed by the substantial contribution that some of these brilliant men and women are making in the world of science and medicine. I must also say that one of the best classes I have ever had at any college was the summer Ecology class at the Kellogg Biological Station taught by Chuck Elzinga and Jerry Urqhart. I still can't believe how much I learned in one summer. Merle Heidemann and Ken Nadler were heading up the program that I was in and they are amazing. Merle is one of the most energetic, positive and supportive people that I have run across in my many years of academics. I can't say enough about the program through the School of Natural Science (DSME). Absolutely outstanding in every way.

Alexis

Something I like about MSU was its large amount of people, I could be just want of the masses or I could be involved and my own individual. There are classes that are large, which i liked being another face, and getting my grade without the professor even knowing my name, and on skill alone. The great thing was the professors were accessible if you didn't want to be just another face. I also enjoyed the smaller classes where class discussion took place, to me it was a perfect balance of both. I think MSU is more geared to getting you prepared for a job, where other schools i know are more geared to getting you prepared for grade school. Eli broad business college had the LEER center which was specifically tailored to help students, they have mock interviews with people that are actually in the business world, they have help with tailoring your resume. The mock interviews are extremely honest and helpful, they will tell you if you are wearing appropriate clothing, if you made enough eye contact, even if your perfume was to strong. Marketing department is mixed with the Supply Chain Department and there is a great sense of pride of members of people in the Supply Chain major because we are ranked number one. I feel that Marketing was a mistake on my part, I felt classes often were rather redundant and wished that i had gone with a more technical aspect of business such as accounting and finance but i also know many marketing students who seemed to love it. I just might have choose the wrong major for me.

Ryan

Some of the profs. are awesome & if you have a smaller class most of them will learn your name as long as you go. As for the huge lectures, obviously they most likely won't unless you make the effort to go talk to them after/out of class. Most of the beginning classes are large lectures but as you get further into your degrees the classes get smaller. My favorite class was probably MSC 313 and my least favorite class was CEM 141 (terrible). I'm not sure about every college at MSU but I know the business college is very competitive. My major is Business Administration/Prelaw but I will change it depending on how I feel about my core classes (those are the classes I am taking just to apply to Business College). The actual MSU classes that are required for everyone regardless of major are sometimes kind of shitty & you dont always get the best profs for that but they arent usually too hard.

Jesse

MSU is a great school. It is the perfect size unless you are looking for letters of recommendation from professors. Make sure that you go to prof's office hours as a freshman/sophomore/junior, your senior self will thank you! I am a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major so I can only speak from the point of view of a science major, but classes are large and you have to work to get to know professors.

Courtney

Being a part of the Education program at MSU, my classes were geared to smaller sections and more individual development. Of course, as a Freshman, due to the size of the school, the lecture halls were filled with up to 300 students at a time. A school can be as big or as small as you want it to be. Professors were always willing to spend the time with their students after class, many students didn't take advantage of this. There is not a large competitive aspect at MSU, unless you are enrolled in a smaller program/major or are trying to get in to a certain college.

Scott

Profoessors in my classese usually know your name. The classes are typically large, especially for 100 and 200 level (freshman and sophomore) classes. The largest class I ever had was also the most fun. It was a 600 person lecture, with the most charismatic professor I have ever met. We are still occasionally in email correspondence. Most of the professors like to meet and talk to students, which makes your anonymity a personal choice more than a result of the system. On the other end of the spectrum, higher level classes sometimes have very few students. I had a math class with 10 people. There are lots of conversations about classes outside of the classroom. Especially in higher level classes when you are beginning to have lots of classes with the group of sutdents in your major, and the homework gets hard enough where doing it alone is perilous, everyone likes to get together and work together (which is usually encouraged by professors). This sort of experience makes you realize how many talented intellectuals attend a university like MSU, as just about every day the students are teaching each other as much as the professor is, which is--just to clarify--definately not a bad thing. Students try to help each other on homework and understanding, but many courses are graded from the average (curved) so students have to be competetive to get good grades. I feel like this is a bad educational system, but it is pretty muchuniversal. The problem is that theoretically, a 3.0 could be very close to a 2.0 or a 4.0, however, this is getting into semantics and hair splitting. The most unique class I have taken was a communications class with 600 people (referenced above). The class was tought by Steve McCornack and his wife, and it was on relationships. Even though this course was way outside my major, it was the most fun class I have ever taken, and the way the lecture was given, it was almost like going to a comedy club twice a week. Using humor as an avenue to teach, I ended up learning a lot in that course. I am a physics major. There are probably 400 students in my major, but way more than half are freshman and sophomores, so in the classes that you really need help in, the student to faculty ratio becomes reasonable. For the freshman and sophomores, there is a lot of help provided by the upper classman on those classes. The professors are often willing to help as well. There are a lot of professors in East Lansing too, so sometimes you see them outside of class. I acutally play Ultimate (frisbee) with several professors at the institution, and I will be doing a 300 mile bike trip this fall with several other professors. You will find that the professors are very real people, and not just teachers as they sometimes are in high school. MSU's degree completion requirements assure that you will have a basic grasp on the subject, which is the goal of an undergraduate curriculum. I would say that the classes that are required are--although sometimes annoying--almost always beneficial to the fireld that you have chosen. Your educational experience at any institution is really what you make it, and what you put into it. That being said, typically the more important upper level courses are geared towards what you really need to know in a job or in the "real world" and sometimes the other stuff gets pushed aside a little bit. Usually it is coverred bu not emphasised. This is neither good or bad, but just a philosophical statement of how my professors have been on average. Some of my professors have been just the opposite. It just depends on their goals and interests.

Elizabeth

Professors generally do not know your name. The class sizes are huge, especially for the entry-level classes. As you get more specialized into your major, you may have smaller classes and more personal relationships with your professors. The classes are very flexible and open. You can take online classes, half-online classes, lecture halls, small classes, residential colleges; anything you want, MSU has it.

Stephanie

As a student, you will have a mixture of large, lecture-style classes and small, more intimate classes. I have had classes where I have never talked to the professor and others where the professor knows me by name. It is always beneficial though, in any class, to get to know your professor and ask them questions. They are there to help you--don't be afraid to ask questions or go to office hours. You will need to study A LOT! Even if you didn't have to in high school, college is way different. #1: Go to class. #2: Take notes and take more than you think you will need. #3: Buy the books for the class, and read them! #4: Try to study a little everyday for your classes (or at least start studying a week before an exam) #5: Go to review sessions! They will give you good tips and hints. The most unique class I have taken is IAH241A: Music and society: The 60s and the Beatles. (<--take that one!) I also liked taking an FSC class: Science on Your Plate. I did not enjoy Organic Chemistry 1 or 2...I don't think anyone does. If you can, take your basics, math, science, writing, at a community college or smaller college (OU or OCC for example) that will transfer the credits to MSU BEFORE you get to junior status. They are easier and cheaper there. Also, take summer classes. MSU offers off-campus MSU courses around the state as well and it is easy to knock out a class (ISS or IAH for example) in 7 weeks during the summer. My major is Biological Sciences Interdepartmental with an Integrated Science Endorsement and a Chemistry Minor for Secondary Education (aka to be a high school science teacher). Add as many things as you can to your major because it makes you more marketable--talk to your advisor about this, they will help you. I am in the Academic Scholars Program which is a 2 year program prior to applying to the Honors College. If you get asked to be in this program, do it. Meet with study groups that you come up with on your own with students from your classes. Meet up at the library, it helps to study that way. Also, if you want quiet in the library, go to the basement or 4th floor.

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