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Office of International Studies in Education

Prospective Students

The College of Education at Michigan State University is a great place to study comparative and international education. The college's top ranked departments and programs, access to well respected regional studies centers and the rich diveristy in the student body provide tremendous opportunities for student to student interaction, student and faculty interaction, enagegment with international projects, study abroad and activities.

Incoming freshmen interested in multicultural or international education at the elementary or secondary level have the unique  opportunity to apply to be a part of Global Educators Cohort Program (GECP). This program provides future educators the skills and tools they need to teach with a global viewpoint. Participants take courses with a global dimension as well as participate in an international experience abroad. See the program's website for more information.

Students at the graduate level have the opportunity to participate in one of several study abroad experiences with the financial support of the college. Previous programs have included Vietnam, China, Botswana, and Indonesia. For more information about this opportunities, see the Fellowship to Enhance Global Understanding.

Students at all levels have access to leading researchers and development practitioners, as well as course work taught by those with experience conducting research and leading outreach initiatives in a variety of cultural settings. The college has faculty with deep research experience in Africa, Asian, Europe and Latin America. The rich diversity of the student body, with both undergraduate and graduates students from all over the world, make the college a unique setting for learning and discovery. See the sample course work for more information about the type of international courses offered and refer to the student profiles to gain an understanding of how are students are currently engaged in the study of ducation systems and cultures around the world.

Prospective International Students

If you are not a citizen of the United States and wish to apply to Michigan State University as an undergraduate, we suggest that you first acquaint yourself with the information that can be found at this admission page.

We recommend that both undergraduate and graduate international students get thoroughly acquainted with the comprehensive website hosted by the Office of International Students and Scholars. This website has a information on topics ranging from housing, student life, health insurance, visa regulations, legal and counseling servives and much more.

Prospective International Graduate Students

If you interested in a Ph.D. or master's program at the MSU College of Education but you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the information below will help you through the application process. Note that in some countries, graduate programs are referred to as post-graduate programs.

An excellent place to begin exploring graduate admissions is to explore the Graduate School's website for international students. This site also has information about health insurance, campus life and a myriad of other services and resources beyond admissions.

General Information

The admissions process may seem a little complicated, but it is designed to allow you to make the best decision about which graduate program in the College of Education best suits your needs and it will help you choose a program that you can complete successfully. For best results we recommend the following:

  • Select the program and degree that best suits you

    Graduate school is a once-in-a-lifetime commitment that can be very exciting and fulfilling if you make the right choices in the beginning. The choices that you make will determine and drive your professional, personal and academic life. Be careful to seek out all relevant information that you require to make an informed decision. You need to consider your professional, academic and personal goals in making choices about your program and degree. The information provided here will assist you in obtaining pertinent information and moving through the decision-making process.

  • Choose the right university for you.

    Graduate study is a long term commitment. The right choice of university will help you enjoy your study and successfully complete your program. As you search for a university, think about more than those aspects of the program that are academic. Consider the extracurricular programs, community life, costs, climate, and the professional connections you can make. For examples, in making your decision, you may want to consider what MSU has to offer about the following:

    Also, for more general information about studying in the USA, go to EducationUSA.

  • Compile a compelling and powerful application

    MSU College of Education is a leading and highly ranked college that values and takes pride in maintaining a top quality program. We work hard to make sure our programs are among the very best in the nation. As a result, the college is able to attract exceptionally well-qualified students. As you prepare your application, remember that you will be joining a pool of very talented applicants. To stand out and be competitive, you'll need to communicate your talents to the team of reviewers who will make admissions determinations. Don't be modest, but do be accurate. Your application needs to be true, persuasive, and revealing about your talents and professional and academic experiences. This is important to the reviewers who will be looking for the competencies that you bring to the program. As you prepare your application, you will need to become aware that many different units within the university play a role in deciding whether you will be admitted. Some play more significant roles than others. If you follow the steps we lay out, you'll have a better understanding of which parts of the application require the most effort. There are four units that you will deal with in the admissions process at Michigan State University. These units are:

    1. The College
    2. The Program/Department
    3. The Admissions Office
    4. The Office of International Students and Scholars

    The following section will provide you with detailed information about the roles of these different units.

The College

The MSU College of Education is the administrative home to all of the departments from which you will choose your program and degree. There are 12 Ph.D. and 10 master's degrees from which to choose. The programs that you can choose from are:





The degrees that you can choose from are the master's or doctoral (Ph.D.). The master's degree requires that you have an undergraduate degree that is judged equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree. (This may be called a first degree in your country.) In order to be considered for the Ph.D., you may need to have a master's degree, depending upon the program.

The Program/Department

Once you have chosen an area of specialization and degree, it's time to focus on the program/department. Faculty members are an important and integral part of your doctoral study; as such you will need to check out the profiles of the faculty in the college. There is a list of all faculty as well as a searchable data base where you can search for faculty profiles according to your interests. You can also find out more about faculty with international focus and experience. The program plays the most significant role in deciding whether you will be admitted. The good news is that people in all the programs are ready and willing to work with you in the process. For best results you will need to:

  • Take the time necessary to understand the process and
  • Seek help when you need it.

The program will require a number of items from you that are pertinent in making admissions decisions. These requirements are:

  1. On-line application
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Written personal statement & academic statement
  4. GRE scores
  5. English Language Proficiency (e.g. TOEFL/IELTS/PTE)
  6. Recommendation letters
  7. Writing sample
  8. US$50 application fee

You will need to carefully prepare each of these requirements because they all contribute to the admissions decision. Pay attention to the application deadline for your program of choice. Each program regularly updates its web site so you can find current information about the application deadline. The deadlines are especially important for those applicants who want to be considered for academic fellowships and scholarships. Decisions about such awards are made promptly on a first-come, first-served basis. Early applicants have a better chance of consideration for financial awards.

How to prepare a strong application

On-line Application

Your application needs to be clearly written, precise and factual. It provides entry into your profile and background. The application asks what program you are applying for, when you want to begin your program, and information about your professional and academic qualifications. You should review requirements of your program of choice before you begin the on-line application. If you have questions, you can email people in the program. It is possible to begin the on-line application and then save it to complete at another time.

Curriculum Vitae

The curriculum vitae (CV) provides detailed information about your academic and professional profile or background. You need to provide correct information about the schools and colleges that you attended as well as information about professional experience. When you prepare the curriculum vitae, you need to consult your professional acquaintances and also search reliable web sites for ideas about content and layout of your curriculum vitae. Most doctoral programs have a template for the CV. It is important that you provide current contact information and update it every time it changes. When considering your application, the department may want to contact you for additional information.

Written personal & academic statements

Your application will be reviewed by a committee of faculty reviewers who will assess your potential to benefit from the program and successfully complete your studies. The reviewers make assessments based on your full application package. Each item in the application package makes an additive contribution to persuading (or dissuading) reviewers to recommend or deny your admission. Your personal statement tells the reviewers about your personal goals, how your goals have been shaped by your professional and academic experiences, and how the program will contribute to achievement of your goals. The personal statement can be one to one-and-a-half pages single-spaced pages, typed. You need to consult your professional and academic acquaintances to get feedback about clarity, flow of ideas, and expression in your personal statement. Always remember that you are competing with other prospective students worldwide, and that the MSU College of Education wants to select the best prospective students from the pool of applicants. Do not shy away from expressing your full potential as a prospective student. Bear in mind that, to a substantial degree, the success of graduate education depends on the richness, variety and depth of experiences of the students. Reviewers will be looking for your professional and academic experiences that will contribute to the richness and quality of the program.

You can include your personal & academic statements in your on-line application or send them directly to your program of choice. There is a link in the on-line application that will direct you to contact information for the programs.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Given that the College of Education seeks to recruit the best prospective students, your assessment score is yet another tool for the reviewers to use in determining your potential for successfully completing your studies. All programs require the three GRE general subscores (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing), but may place slightly different value on each subscore.

English Language Proficiency

International students whose first language is not English must meet language proficiency requirements. TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores can be accepted.

Financial Proof

You are required to complete the Statement of Financial Proof and Affidavit of Support for International Graduate Students to demonstrate your means and ability to pay for your study program.

Recommendation Letter

You are required to provide three letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar enough with your professional and academic experiences to be specific in their comments. Remember that you are competing with prospective students from all over the world. Be sure to provide the individuals who are writing your letters of reference with the relevant and specific information that they will require to refresh their memory about the competencies and abilities that you exhibited while you were under their supervision. The persons that you ask to write your recommendations may not fully remember all the details about you, which is why it is recommended that you provide them with your resume or CV covering the period that they have known you. This information will assist them in being specific, factual and accurate about the recommendation they make. Some programs use distinct recommendation forms that are to be attached to the recommendation letters.

Writing Sample

Provide a writing sample to demonstrate your analytical writing skills which are a central component of graduate school. This writing sample can be a paper that you have published in the past, part of your graduate thesis, or any piece of written professional work that represents your writing ability. There is no doubt that your writing skills will improve tremendously after you begin graduate school, yet the writing sample is still required to demonstrate to the reviewers your current level of writing skill. The writing sample will allow the reviewers to make an assessment of your potential to learn and master the high standard of writing that is expected and required of graduate student work.

Official or certified copies of all transcripts, diplomas, and certificates

You should request that all colleges and universities that you attended send these official documents about your qualifications directly to MSU. (A copy that you receive and open will not be acceptable.) In addition, you need to get a copy of all the documents, have them translated into English, and send the translation to MSU.

Application Fee

You will need to send a non-refundable application fee of U.S. $50. This fee will remain active for two years, which means that if you have to re-apply the following year, you will not be required to pay again.

Financial Support

Admittedly, doctoral students are automatically considered for financial aid in the forms of fellowships and/or graduate assistantship, unless they already have sufficient funding from an outside agency.

Every year, in fact, the College of Education awards millions of dollars to graduate students through an array of fellowships, scholarships, and graduate teaching and research assistantships. The awards range from small tuition scholarships to multi-year packages that can provide annual benefits in excess of $23,000 plus tuition and medical benefits. Both entering and continuing students are eligible for these awards, although specific awards are targeted to different groups of students. Most funding is reserved for doctoral students, but full-time master's degree candidates can be considered for both fellowship funding and assistantship appointments. The college typically awards about 400 research and teaching assistantships and more than 300 fellowships to graduate students.

Most fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. Multi-year and recruiting fellowships for doctoral students are typically awarded during the winter of the year preceding entry into the graduate program. Therefore, students interested in such support should complete their application process by December 1 of the year preceding enrollment. In contrast to assistantship, fellowship recipients are not required to give service to the college or its programs in return for the support.

Graduate assistantships are available in the college for both new and continuing students. Some students play a role in teaching college courses; some assist faculty with research projects; some provide other services to the college or university. Graduate assistantships vary from one-quarter time to three-quarters time. In 2010-2011 half-time assistantships, for which one works 20 hours per week, carry a monthly stipend of ranging from $1366 to $1572, a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition, a waiver of nine credits of in-state tuition each fall & spring semester, and payment of the university's graduate student medical plan.


The MSU Admissions Office

Once you have been offered a place at the College of Education, the OISS takes over the process of facilitating your visa, travel and arrival arrangements. The OISS provides you with the necessary information and assistance in securing your student visa, travel, arrival and other immigration documents. If you are a sponsored student, OISS will be your link to your sponsors and MSU Departments through the International Sponsored Student Program (ISSP). The OISS will also provide you with the relevant information about health care and health insurance for international students. If you will travel with your family or dependents, the OISS provides the necessary information pertaining to visa and immigration, health care and health insurance, and immunization requirements for your family/dependents.

Once you arrive, the OISS invites you to the international student orientation where they provide services that include:

  • Advising and assistance with immigration issues;
  • Making referrals to other campus services to assist you;
  • Helping to connect you to the community;
  • Serving as a liaison with foreign embassies and consulates


At this point, you are familiar with the application process for the MSU College of Education. You are encouraged to take full advantage of the information. If you still have further questions, please contact your program of choice. They are always ready to assist in every way possible.

Good luck! We look forward to meeting you!