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Admission for Post-Bachelor's Teacher Certification Candidates

Please note! There has been an important change to testing requirements for admission to teaching preparation as per the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), effective October 18, 2016. Please see the information under (2) Admission to the College of Education \ Test Scores Required for Admission below. ACT scores of 22 in Reading, Mathematics and Writing are now acceptable.

Applying to the Post-Bachelor's Teacher Certification Program

Applicants must apply separately to (1) Michigan State University and (2) the teacher preparation program in the College of Education at MSU.

(1) Admission to Michigan State University

Post-bachelor’s applicants typically apply to MSU as undergraduate students pursuing a second degree (although degree completion is not necessary for certification). Applicants not previously admitted to MSU as undergraduate students should apply for undergraduate admission as transfer students. Applicants who have already earned undergraduate degrees from MSU should apply for readmission to MSU. Whether applying for admission or readmission, post-bachelor’s applicants should not list Education as their major. This major is available only to traditional undergraduate students in Elementary Education. Instead, a degree major related to the teaching major or teaching minor should be selected (again, it is not necessary to complete the degree for certification purposes). Questions about what to declare as a major should be discussed with a post-bachelor’s advisor in 134 Erickson Hall. Applicants should answer “no” to the question on the application that asks if the credits earned will be applied toward certification (answering “yes” routes the application to our office for review; this step is unnecessary in the case of post-bachelor's applicants). Applicants who apply as second degree undergraduate students will pay the undergraduate tuition rate (see the Tuition, Fees and Housing Calculator for more information).

In some cases, post-bachelor’s applicants apply as Lifelong Education (non-degree) students. These applicants should also answer “no” to the question on the application that asks whether credits will be applied toward certification. Lifelong Education students are assessed at the Lifelong Education tuition rate. There are no additional fees associated with this status, which minimizes cost (note that out-of-state rates still apply and international students still pay an additional fee); however, Lifelong Education students are not eligible for most sources of financial assistance (the Mildred B. Erickson Scholarship is an exception). A post-bachelor’s advisor in 134 Erickson Hall can advise applicants about the most appropriate application and enrollment status.

(2) Admission to the College of Education

Applicants must also apply to the College of Education for admission to the Post-Bachelor’s Teacher Certification Program. Admission criteria include (but are not limited to) GPA (a minimum GPA of 2.5 is required), experiences related to teaching and diversity, a written essay and demonstration of basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing using a test approved by the Michigan Department of Education (see detailed information below).

Online Application

A portion of the College of Education application is completed online and includes scheduling a timed and proctored essay. An active email address is required to login to the application. After logging in, a unique password for the application will be sent to your email address. The password is necessary to complete the application process, so please treat it carefully.

There is a $50 nonrefundable application fee and a $20 essay fee. Applicants who are not offered admission the first time they apply may submit one additional application within the following 12 months without paying another application fee. The $50 application fee must be paid online using a credit card or checking account. The $20 essay fee is paid separately as part as the online application.

Choosing Majors/Minors and a Certification Level

Applicants pursuing elementary certification must choose one of four elementary teaching majors.  The Special Education and Child Development majors are "add on" elementary certification options that require completion of the full elementary certification program, including one of the four elementary teaching majors. Applicants pursuing elementary certification can also add elementary minors but they are considered extra and optional.

Applicants pursuing secondary certification must choose at least one of the secondary teaching majors and one of the secondary teaching minors offered at MSU (exceptions to the minor requirement are the Art Education, Music Education, Physical Science, IDS SSE and JMC majors).

Timed and Proctored Essay

At the end of the online application, you will be given information about how to schedule a timed and proctored essay. Scheduling the essay requires online payment of a $20 essay fee using a credit card or electronic check. After you have reserved a space in a session, you will receive an email message confirming the date, time and location. Please print and keep that information so you know where and when to write your essay. You must bring picture identification, your application login and password, and your essay fee receipt to the testing site. Please arrive at the assigned testing site at least 20 minutes early. You will need this time for instructions and pre-test paperwork. You will not be permitted to enter a session late. Do not bring a dictionary, thesaurus, backpack, books, computer disk, computer software, food or drink to the testing site. You will be given one hour to complete the essay using word-processing software. You will not be permitted to print or save copies of your essay, except as directed at the testing site. Software used to detect cheating is applied to all essays. Evidence of plagiarism, cheating or falsification will result in denial of admission. Essays that do not directly address the essay prompt will not be considered (view a sample essay question, sample essay answer and essay scoring guide).

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 ACTt Writing test after 9/1/2015, you may skip this step.  
  2. Combine your best ACT English score in the vertical column on the left with your ACT 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.

Additional Assistance

MSU’s Learning Resources Center offers help to students who are preparing to take the ACT (or PRE). Please contact the LRC to schedule an appointment at or 355 2363. If you are seeking help with PRE preparation, you must complete a free practice test before your appointment. Please request a copy of the practice test from an advisor in the College of Education or the Student Affairs Office in the College of Education ( or 353 9680).

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.

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission to the Post-Bachelor’s program 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

The Application Package

A complete application package for the teacher preparation program includes the items listed below. Paper materials (Pre-admission Experience Forms for admission to Special Education, and unofficial copies of transcripts) must be sent to 620 Farm Lane, 134 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824. Official transcripts should be sent to the MSU Office of Admissions and Scholarships. You must submit the following:

  • Online payment of the $50 application fee
  • A complete online application
  • A timed and proctored essay (scheduled and paid for within the online application)
  • Demonstration of basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing using a test approved by the Michigan Department of Education
  • For Special Education applicants, Special Education Pre-Admission Experience Forms
  • Unofficial copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (sent to 620 Farm Lane,134 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended sent directly from the issuing institution to the MSU Office of Admissions and Scholarships, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 250 Hannah Administration Building, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824.

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