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Application & Admissions for Transfer Students

Applications Available

Do you already have your bachelor's degree?

View the instructions for Post-Bachelor's admissions here

Who is a transfer student?

A transfer student is a student who has attended any post-secondary institution after high school graduation, with the exception of the summer immediately following high school graduation.

Direct Transfer Admission to the College of Education

Direct transfer admission refers to admission to the teacher preparation program in the College of Education concurrent with admission to Michigan State University. Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements for direct transfer admission to the College of Education may transfer to MSU and then follow the regular admission process for MSU undergraduate students. MSU undergraduates typically apply in the Fall Semester of their sophomore year, but can also apply in a subsequent Fall Semester and accelerate their program.

Please note! There has been an important change to testing requirements as per the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), effective October 18, 2016. Please see the information under Test Scores Required for Admission below. ACT scores of 22 in Reading, Mathematics and Writing are now acceptable.

Applying for Direct Transfer Admission

Test Scores Required for Admission

Official ACT scores (or an approved alternative such as the MTTC PRE; see detailed information below) are required for admission to MSU’s Teacher Preparation Program. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) requires teacher candidates to have the following ACT scores:

  • Reading                     22 (or higher)
  • Mathematics              22 (or higher)
  • English + Writing      22 (or higher) Note that the MDE changed the allowable English + Writing score from 24 to 22, effective October 18, 2016.

If you have already taken the ACT and your scores meet or exceed those levels, you have met MDE’s “basic skills” requirement. If you have already taken the ACT and your scores do not meet or exceed those levels, you may take the test again and have official scores sent to MSU. If you have taken the ACT more than once, we will use your best score in each subarea (Reading, Mathematics, and English + Writing) across multiple test dates. The ACT can be taken a maximum of twelve times.    

Official scores are those sent to Michigan State University from the company that administers the ACT. MSU’s institutional code is 2032. For information about having your ACT scores sent to MSU, see the Sending Your Scores to Others on the ACT website. For registration information, see Registering for the ACT Test. It is possible to register for the ACT with or without the Writing subtest, but it is not possible to register for and take individual ACT subtests. You will need to register for and take (or retake) the entire ACT (with or without Writing, depending on whether you need to improve your English + Writing score). Finally, see ACT Online Prep for online resources to help you prepare for the ACT.

The ACT no longer offers an English + Writing subtest. Effective September 1, 2015, the ACT English + Writing subtest was replaced by a new ACT Writing subtest. A score of 22 or higher on an ACT English + Writing subtest taken prior to September 2015 is still acceptable. A score from the new ACT Writing subtest (taken September 2015 or later) can be combined with your best ACT English score (taken February 2005 to present) using an ACT Writing/English Combined Score table and several simple steps:

  1. If you took the ACT Writing test between 9/1/2015 and 9/1/2016, you will need to convert the new ACT Writing subscore to a “concordant value” using the two horizontal rows at the top of the table. Find your ACT Writing subscore in the top (green) row and convert it to the concordant value in the (gold) row below it. If you took the ACT Writing test after 9/1/2016, you may skip this step.
  2. Combine your best ACT English score in the vertical column on the left with your Writing score taken after 9/1/2015. If your combined score lies in the area highlighted in green, your score is 22 or greater and acceptable for admission. If your combined score lies in the area highlighted in red, it is less than 22 and does not qualify you for admission to the teacher preparation program. You may retake the ACT and we will use the best score in each subarea (Reading, Mathematics and English + Writing) across all tests dates.

Alternatives to the ACT

Applicants may also take the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) Professional Readiness Exam (PRE). Applicants may pass all three PRE subtests (Reading, Mathematics and Writing), or they may combine passing scores from the ACT, PRE and MTTC Basic Skills Test (the Basic Skills Test is no longer available, but we will continue to accept those scores). For example, an applicant may have an ACT Reading score of 25, an ACT Mathematics score of 22, and an ACT English + Writing score of 23. In this case, the applicant could use ACT scores to demonstrate basic skills in Reading and Mathematics, but would need to retake the ACT (with Writing) or pass the PRE Writing subtest to demonstrate basic skills in Writing. In another example, an applicant might pass the PRE Reading subtest, use an ACT score of 22 or better to demonstrate basic skills in Mathematics, and use a pass on the Writing subtest of Basic Skills Test to demonstrate basic skills in Writing.    

In addition to combining passing scores on the ACT, PRE and Basic Skills Test, the MDE allows an additional alternative pass measure. For applicants who have passed two subtests (e.g., for those who have passed two PRE subtests, have two acceptable ACT scores, or have passed one PRE subtest and have an acceptable ACT score for a second subtest), a scaled score within -1 Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) of the PRE passing scaled score (220) may be used to demonstrate basic skills in the third area. Basic Skills subtests may not be combined with PRE subtests or ACT scores for this purpose. Scores that are within -1 SEM of the passing score can change with each PRE administration. Minimally acceptable scores (within -1 SEM) are posted after each test administration on the MTTC website. Generally speaking, scores within -1 SEM of the passing scaled score (220) are:  193-200 (depending on the test administration) for Reading, 196-198 (depending on the test administration) for Mathematics, and 197-202 (depending on the test administration) for Writing.

Like the ACT, the PRE requires separate registration and fee payment. Please visit the MTTC website for information about test preparation and registration. Students should request that official results be sent to MSU when they register to take the test (MSU's Institution Code is 18). Students who do not use MSU's Institution Code at the time of registration will need to request that an official report be sent to MSU at a later date (at an added cost to the student). This could delay admission. Both the paper-based test (PBT) and the computer-based test (CBT) are acceptable (but the paper-based version is less expensive).

The Professional Readiness Exam is a challenging test, and we strongly encourage applicants to prepare before taking it. This is especially true of the Writing subtest. Study materials, including full-length practice tests, are available on the MTTC website.Commercially-available study materials are available at the Reserve Desk in the MSU Main Library and in all of the neighborhood engagement centers. These and other study materials for the Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) are also available for purchase online. If you fail to pass one or more of the PRE subtests, you only need to retake the subtest(s) you did not pass. Consult the MTTC website for more information.

The MDE does not accept SAT scores as alternative pass measures at this time.

Using Your Scores to Apply for Admission to the Teacher Preparation Program

Before students can be admitted to the teacher preparation program, MSU must receive official notification that they have demonstrated basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing. Students should take the ACT (or PRE) or be registered for the ACT (or PRE) before completing the application. Applicants who have registered to take/retake a test, but have not yet taken it, may apply; however, they cannot be admitted until official, passing results have been received.

For students in our current applicant pool, we will apply alternative pass measures automatically (i.e., it is not necessary for applicants to request this). However, we cannot speculate or advise students who are not in our current applicant pool about their scores, as we are unable to predict what MDE policies will be in effect if/when they apply for admission in the future.

Applying to MSU

Prospective transfer students interested in earning teacher certification must first submit an online application for undergraduate admission to the MSU Office of Admissions, and indicate on the application their intention to earn a teaching certificate. Students interested in becoming elementary or special education teachers should select Education or Special Education as their major. Students interested in becoming secondary education teachers should select the major corresponding to the subject they wish to teach (e.g., Mathematics, English, Biology, Art Education, etc.).

When a transfer applicant indicates an intention to pursue teacher certification, the MSU Office of Admissions determines if he or she is eligible for direct transfer admission to the College of Education. To qualify for direct admission a student must have: 

  • At least 42 transferable credits at the time of admission
  • An overall GPA of at least 3.1 (including all courses, all attempts, all schools)
  • No remedial math or writing courses required at the time of transfer to MSU (students must have exceeded the Intermediate College Algebra level by course credit or placement score prior to admission)

College of Education Online Application for Direct Transfer Admission

The MSU Office of Admissions determines eligibility for direct transfer admission and provides eligible students with a link to the online College of Education Direct Transfer Admission application. Students should apply as early as possible (i.e., once 30 or more credits have been earned and current enrollment is expected to yield 42 or more credits). Students selected for direct transfer admission must meet the following requirements at the time of their matriculation at MSU to retain their admission status in the College of Education: 

  • Transfer of at least 42 credits 
  • Completion of all remedial/developmental coursework (e.g. Intermediate Algebra)
  • Overall GPA of at least 3.1 (including all courses, all attempts, all schools) 
  • Demonstration of basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing using a test approved by the Michigan Department of Education 
  • Final transcripts sent to the MSU Office of Admissions

Students applying for admission to Special Education must complete the Special Education Pre-Admission Experience and submit the form to the Special Education advisor 134 Erickson Hall.

College of Education Online Transfer Application and Essay

Only students who receive a link from the MSU Office of Admissions are eligible to complete the online application for Direct Transfer Admission.

  • The online application contains information about how to schedule the required timed and proctored essay at a testing site on the MSU campus. There is a $20 essay scoring fee that must be paid online (within the application) using a credit card, debit card or checking account.
  • Paper materials should be returned to 134 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • Official transcripts must be sent to the MSU Office of Admissions and Scholarships, Room 250 Hannah Administration Building, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • Applications that are incomplete cannot be considered.

Application Deadlines

Applications for direct transfer admission are reviewed on a rolling basis. To be considered, applications must be complete by the following deadlines (or the closest business day when the 15th falls on a weekend). Incomplete applications cannot be considered. Admission decisions will be communicated approximately four to six weeks prior to the start of the admission semester. Please contact the Student Affairs Office at (517) 353-9680 with questions.

  • May 15 for Fall Semester
  • November 15 for Spring Semester
  • March 15 for Summer Semester

Traditional MSU Undergraduate Application Option

Students who are not eligible for direct transfer admission may transfer to MSU and then apply to the teacher preparation program through the regular MSU undergraduate application process which occurs during the Fall Semester of each year. Undergraduates who have transferred to MSU are eligible to apply if they:

  1. Are currently enrolled at MSU
  2. Have earned at least 28 credits (or will have earned at least 28 credits by the end of the application semester)
  3. Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 at the end of the application semester
  4. Have demonstrated (or will demonstrate before end the application semester) basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing using a test approved by the Michigan Department of Education
  5. Have successfully completed any developmental coursework required in mathematics and/or writing (e.g., MTH 1825)

FAQs for Transfer Students

For More Information

Please contact the Office Of Student Affairs
134 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 -1034
Telephone: (517) 353-9680