About the East/Lansing Area
Download the guide to East Lansing living.
Thanks to Jeff Rozelle, Adie Slaton and all who contributed information to this page.
If you are considering doctoral study at MSU, then you want to know something about the Lansing area. In short, the Lansing area is a wonderful place to live, work and pursue graduate study. The region's hub is Lansing, the state capital located just 90 miles west of Detroit and 200 miles east of Chicago. The city has a population of 125,000, and is home to Lansing Community College, the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball team, beautiful Oldsmobile Park, Riverfront Plaza, Potter Park Zoo, Impressions 5 Science Museum and the R.E. Olds Museum.
The region is made up of three counties—Ingham, Eaton and Clinton—that are home to about 450,000 people spread across a multitude of smaller towns, each with their own distinctive identity. The second largest city in the region is East Lansing, which has a population of 46,000. East Lansing is a strong community of close-knit neighborhoods, excellent public schools and extensive neighborhood parks. The city's public library is one of the finest in the state and is used regularly by students living off campus to study. Students also use the city's many recreation facilities including the outdoor family aquatic center during the summer, biking and hiking trails year-round and championship soccer and softball fields. The East Lansing Hannah Community Center provides fitness facilities and a pool that many students use regularly.
Because of the many amenities in East Lansing and surrounding areas, quality of life in the region is high. The economy is anchored by state government, MSU and General Motors. Employment is typically stable, and the region draws labor from throughout mid-Michigan thanks to a mature network of interstate roadways connecting the area with virtually all of the other population centers of the state. Getting around is easy as well, with a typical drive between home and work of about 20 minutes. Public transportation is also readily available through a bus system that serves the campus and surrounding areas.
The region was recently awarded the "Five Star Quality of Life Quotient" rating by Expansion Management magazine, and is the only area in Michigan receiving this top rating. The economic stability, affordable housing, qualified workforce, advanced education systems and low cost of living contributed to this high honor. Culture amenities include two community theaters, one equity theater and the famed Wharton Center for Performing Arts, which annually schedules touring productions of Broadway shows and musical acts from throughout the world. Festivals and celebrations are almost nonstop at the community level, and national championship-caliber collegiate athletics are available for the sports fan at MSU, a perennial contender in Big Ten competition.
The region also boasts a strong educational infrastructure. MSU is the center of the education sector, with nearly 45,000 students and a worldwide reputation. Students come from more than 100 countries and throughout the nation. Many of the state's 17 public universities are also represented in the Lansing area offering graduate programs. Cooley Law School, the nation's third largest law school, is based in downtown Lansing, as is Davenport University and Lansing Community College. Michigan Virtual University offers online programming to support K-12 to graduate curriculums and specialized professional development courses.
If you are considering doctoral study at MSU and have children, you will be pleased with the quality of public schools available in the region. The area has more than 72,000 students enrolled in its 27 school districts that range from urban to rural. The area is home to some of the best schools in the state. The region also has an extensive system of parochial schools, including Lansing Catholic Central High School and Lansing Christian High School.
Lansing is also recognized as one of the most affordable housing markets in the nation. The median price of a home in Lansing is $51,000, and $97,000 in East Lansing. Rental prices are also affordable and readily available not only near the MSU campus, but throughout the region. (See housing list below.)
The region has an average temperature of 84 degrees in July, and 30 degrees in January. The average annual rainfall is 31 inches and average annual snowfall is 48 inches.
The Lansing area is only a few hours from many resorts and beaches along Northern Michigan's beautiful coastline. In the winter, Northern Michigan offers many opportunities for skiing and other activities, and in the summer it is a haven for water sports and tourism.
The area is easily accessible by major national airlines, Amtrak railroad and bus lines. In addition to Capital City Airport, airports in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Flint are within an hour-and-a-half drive.
In summary, the Lansing region has many of the small town amenities that provide a hometown feel, yet still tops the list with city sophistication offering exciting nightlife and attractions. Whether it's our magnificent museums and cultural attractions, stunning gardens and art galleries, outstanding schools, professional theatre or shopping galore, the region is a terrific place to pursue your doctorate.
Several news outlets from on and off campus keep us informed on the local goings-on.
We have several locations nearby, and others within easy driving distance, where can acquire our favorite goods.
This is a Big Ten school, and we have the football Saturdays to prove it. Aside from the athletic teams representing the university, we have a range of professional sports in the area ranging from the Detroit Red Wings to the Detroit Lions.
There are wonderful local theater companies as well as national touring companies that provide the Lansing area with year-round performances.
Resources for International Students: MSU's many international activities are coordinated by the Office of International Studies and Programs. Information pertaining to the needs of international students can be found through the Office of International Students and Scholars.
Resources for Minority Students:
Union Building, MSU
Coalition of Racial Ethnic Students (CORES)
MSU Black Student Alliance
Black Graduate Student Association
Culturas de las Razas Unidas
North American Indigenous Student Organization
Multi-Ethnic Counseling Center Alliance (MECCA)
207 Student Services
Multi-Racial Unity Project
W118 Owen Graduate Hall
Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)
120 Bessey Hall, MSU
Resources for LBGT Students:
Gay and Lesbian Faculty, Staff (and Graduate Student) Association
LBGT Resource Center at MSU
Exploring MSU (map)
MSU Community Engagement
Doctoral students in the Ph.D. program who have assistantships are provided with health insurance that covers medical, dental and mental health. For details about the health coverage provided, please see link below to MSU Human Resources. For all information about the Olin Health Center—the on-campus facility that handles student heath—and other MSU health resources, see links below.
Olin Health Center
The Counseling Center
Michigan State University and surrounding communities offer a variety of housing options at very reasonable costs.
Graduate students who wish to live on campus at MSU may select from two housing options: Owen Graduate Center and University Apartments. Although there are no deadlines for housing applications, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The MSU Housing Office website provides essential guidance to on-campus living.
Owen Graduate Center is specifically designed to meet the needs of single graduate students. Rooms are completely furnished and include linens and private telephones. Occupants of two rooms share an adjoining bathroom and shower. Housekeeping service is provided on a weekly basis. The hall has a lounge, recreational areas, laundry facilities and cafeteria. In addition to the website, you can contact Owen Graduate Center, which is handicap accessible, at (517) 355-9550 or 1-(800) 678-4679.
MSU also provides more than 2,000 furnished one and two bedroom apartments on campus for married students and their families as well as for single graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to the website, you can contact University Apartments at (517) 355-9550 or 1-(800) 678-4679.
The city of East Lansing and several nearby communities are home to many graduate students who choose to live off-campus. Current listings of off-campus housing are available through the Department of Student Life website, or by calling (517) 355-8286. The MSU Student Life Information Center is also helpful.
Michigan State University has over 550 registered Student Organizations; there is something for everyone here at State! RSOs cover a wide range of topics and interest areas, including but not limited to: academic, business, environmental, international, political, racial/ethnic, religious, women’s interests and sports and leisure.
Council of Graduate Students
Graduate Employee Union
Department of Student Life (For all Registered Student Organizations (RSO)
Education Graduate Student Organization - EGSO
EGSO is a support organization for education graduate students. This organization works to create support systems and networks for all graduate students; facilitate communication among graduate students and faculty, staff and administration; and promote interaction among graduate students in different programs. EGSO organizes various panels and seminars on topics of interest to graduate students. In addition, EGSO facilitates the nomination of student representatives on faculty committees to ensure that these opportunities are distributed evenly and fairly.