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Graduate Admissions Faqs

Applying to the Graduate Program

Applying for a Master's-only Program

Applying for Spring Semester Admission

English Language - GPA - GRE Scores

Financial Support 

Information for International Students

Visiting the Department


Applying to the Graduate Program

  • Where can I find information about applying?

    Applications to MSU Department of Chemistry are completed online. Information on the requirements, the process, and links to the materials are available through the How to Apply section. DO NOT SUBMIT MORE THAN 1 UNIVERSITY APPLICATION. If you have questions or need assistance please contact the MSU Office of Admissions at 517-355-8332 option 2 or the MSU Department of Chemistry. Do not make another application to makes changes.

  • Does MSU Department of Chemistry offer an application fee waiver?
    We understand that you will be prompted to pay the application fee.  Please contact us to see if you are eligible for an application fee waiver.

  • When and where should I have my transcripts mailed?
    Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded within the online Graduate Education Student Portal for evaluation purposes only. We do not need official transcripts during the review process.
    Students admitted to the program must provide official transcripts, sealed and stamped, from each institution they attended.

Domestic students - please have your institution mail your transcripts to:
Michigan State University
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
East Lansing MI 48824-2603

Or if your institution participates with the National Student Clearinghouse, you can have your transcript(s) sent via email to the admis@msu.edu

International students - please have your institution mail your transcripts to:
Michigan State University
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
East Lansing MI 48824-2603

The MSU Office of Admissions only accepts transcripts via mail. They do not accept any electronic transcripts for international applicants.

  • How does your review process work? When will I know if I’ve been accepted?
    We use a rolling review process due to the high number of applications we receive. The admissions committee generally starts reviewing applications in December and finishes by the end of May. Admission offers are made throughout the review process. You will be notified via email of our decision for admissions status.

  • Can I contact a professor in the department prior to being admitted?
    If you are interested in a particular professor’s research, you can email him or her directly to begin to establish contact. Nonetheless, the admissions committee reviews all applications and approves admittance into the program. Faculty members will not have an answer regarding your admissions status.

  • What is the Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose? How long should it be?
    Your Personal Statement should concisely describe how your background and life experiences - including social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges - motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree.
    When preparing your Personal Statement, please address the following questions:
    • How well do your personal goals for education and research fit with the interests of our faculty and the research activities within our department? Briefly describe research areas or questions that you find interesting and identify any specific faculty, labs or research projects at MSU that are of particular interest to you.

    • How have you demonstrated your leadership skills, or your potential as a leader? For example, you might share specific examples of how you made contributions as an officer in a student organization or how you assumed a leadership role within a team or during a professional internship. You could also discuss your potential for leadership in graduate school and afterwards by sharing your career goals and discussing your capacity to make a distinctive professional or scholarly contribution in your field.

    • How have you contributed to a diverse educational community, or how will you do so as a graduate student? How have you promoted understanding among persons of different backgrounds and ideas, or how will you do so as a graduate student? Examples might include service activities, leadership roles, education abroad, language study, etc.

    • If applicable, please describe any barriers or obstacles that you have overcome in pursuit of your educational or personal goals. Examples might include economic, social or health challenges, being the first in your family to attend college, family obligations, etc.

    • If applicable, please describe aspects of your personal background that will enhance the diversity of MSU's graduate student body, such as being multi-lingual, participating in a McNair or TRIO program, attending a minority-serving institution, etc.

    • If applicable, please describe anything else in your personal history, experience, or aspirations that distinguishes you from other applicants to our graduate programs.

  • What is the Academic Statement? How long should it be?
    Your Academic Statement should be a concise statement of your plans for graduate study, your career goals, and how MSU's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. If you have already been in contact with faculty or staff at MSU regarding your application for graduate studies, please list these contacts in your Academic Statement.

    When preparing your Academic Statement, please include the following information:
    • Briefly describe key experiences that led you to graduate studies. Examples might include research experiences, internships, coursework or extracurricular activities.

    • Share specific, relevant examples of how these experiences helped you develop skills for success as a graduate student. For instance, you might demonstrate ways that you have synthesized knowledge from the classroom, developed research skills, communicated effectively, acted as a leader, or gained skills and responsibility over time.

    • Make a clear connection between your previous experiences and your current interest in graduate studies. If your intended area of specialization in graduate school differs significantly from your previous experiences, please briefly explain why you decided to change focus.

    • If applicable, explain any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record and share unusual obstacles or hardships that you have overcome in pursuit of your educational objectives.

    • Explain how your goals for graduate study relate to your longer-term career plans, including the pursuit of additional degrees or certifications if applicable.


Applying for a Master's-only program

  • Does the department offer a Master’s program?
    We do not offer a Master’s only program. All applicants are considered for the Ph.D. program only.


Applying for Spring Semester Admission

  • I’m graduating in December. Do you have a spring program?
    We do not admit students in the spring. We only admit for Fall semester. University applications for Fall semester become active in Mid-August.

English Language - GPA - GRE Scores

  • What department code do I send my scores through ETS too?
    Please submit your scores through ETS to MSU Department Code 1465. You do not need to worry about a direct Department of Chemistry code.
  • I submitted my scores through ETS to the wrong department, can you change it for me?
    Should you want to send your scores through ETS, please make sure your scores are sent to MSU Department Code 1465. You do not need to worry about a program code, as the MSU Office of Admissions matches scores to students record once received.
  • My TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores will not be available until after December 15th, what do I do?
    Your file will not be reviewed until scores are available for the search committee to view within your application, so please plan accordingly.

    Once you receive your scoring information from ETS, please upload that document into your Graduate Education Student Portal; as well as entering the scores directly into your graduate application.
  • I am retaking my TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo exam, which score you will look at?
    When retaking an exam, if the scores will not be available until after December 1st, you will want to upload your older exam scores and then upload your newer scores once those are received. The newer scores are what is taken into consideration by the search committee
  • What are the GPA requirements?
    The MSU Graduate School requires a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The MSU Department of Chemistry typically looks for GPAs of 3.5 or higher, however the grading reputation of the school attended is also taken into account. A lower score will not automatically exclude you from consideration.
  • What are the GRE test score requirements?
    We do not require GRE scores for graduate admission. The GRE Subject Score is recommended but not required. Should you want to send your scores, keep in mind that no single score will disqualify you from being evaluated and admitted to our program since we consider the entire application (transcript, letter of recommendations, statements etc.) as a whole.
  • My GRE score will not be available when I submit my application, what do I do?
    The GRE score is not required for graduate admission and the GRE subject score is recommended but not required. However; should you want to upload your score, if you have taken the test and the score is not be available when you submit your application please upload your Examinee Score Report to your application once it becomes available.
  • Can I upload my unofficial GRE Score Report documentation, instead of submitting official scores through ETS?
    Should you want to upload your GRE scores; you may upload your Examinee Score Report that you receive via email from ETS through "My GRE Account" into your graduate application. We do not require GRE scores, therefore official scores do not need to be sent.

Financial Support 

  • Graduate Student Stipend and Benefits
    All graduate students receive a full stipend that is broken down into a bi-weekly paycheck. The stipend amount is determined on a yearly basis.
    In addition to this stipend, graduate students receive a full tuition waiver for all of the recommended chemistry courses up to 9 credits in the fall and spring, and 5 credits in the summer semester.
    Health insurance is also provided for the academic year for graduate students
  • Applying for Financial Aid and Student Loans
    Graduate students are able to apply for financial aid and apply for student loans should they feel the need to do so. All financial aid and student loan questions should be directed to the MSU Office of Financial Aid.
  • Do I need Proof of Financial Support?
    As a graduate applicant, you do not need to upload or provide any financial support or bank statements within your University application.
  • What are the statistics for students who usually receive fellowships?
    All students admitted to the Chemistry graduate program receive support for five years, either as a teaching assistant or a research assistant. 
    A variety of merit or need based fellowships are available to graduate students and can be applied for at various times while the student is in the program.
  • Is it common for graduate students to receive NSF funding? Is there adequate support for students who want to apply for funding or need help with writing grants?
    NSF graduate fellowships are small in number and the competition is stiff.  Faculty will help students write applications.  We encourage students to apply but the most important thing is for them to make progress on their research.
  • Is there support for students to attend conferences?
    Yes, both through their advisor and through some resources available from The Graduate School.

Information for International Students

  • How many international students does the department admit each year?
    We do not have an established number of international students that we will admit each year. About 25-30 percent of our graduate students are international students.
  • Does the department conduct Zoom interviews with international students?
    Zoom interviews are usually conducted with students who the admissions committee are considering offering admittance. The admissions committee performs these interviews. You will be contacted via email if they wish to speak with you, once you have applied.
  • Do I need to submit any bank or financial statements into my MSU application?
    You do not need to submit any financial statements onto your application. Should you be offered admittance and accept our offer, you will be fully supported. Therefore, we do not need any documentation of your bank statements uploaded into your application
  • Do I need to take the GRE advanced subject test in chemistry?
    We strongly recommend that international students take the subject GRE test in chemistry. Although we realize that it is not possible to take the test in a small number of countries, and thus it is not an absolute requirement. The admissions committee pays particular attention to the score for making their decision. Therefore it is to your great advantage to have taken the GRE subject test.
  • My TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores will not be available until after December 1st, what do I do?
    Your file will not be reviewed until scores are available for the admissions committee to view within your graduate application, so please plan accordingly.

    Once you receive your email from ETS with your scoring information, please upload that document into your graduate application and enter those scores directly into your graduate application as well.
  • Are the TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo required?
    English proficiency scores are required for all international students.

    All international students who received their Bachelor’s degree from a NON U.S. institute MUST submit English proficiency scores. Previous teaching experience or courses being taught within the English language, does not exempt the need for English proficiency scores.
  • How recent must my score be?
    TOEFL/IELTS/DUOLINGO scores are required by the University and scores older than 2 years will not be accepted per University guidelines
  • Does the department grant TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo waivers?
    Applicants will receive an automatic English proficiency score waiver, ONLY if they earned a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S..
  • I received my Masters degree in the U.S., can I get a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo waiver?
    If you received your Masters degree from a U.S. institute a waiver may be looked into. However; it is not a guaranteed approval. The University only provides automatic waivers for institutions who are AAU members.
  • I received a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo waiver, do I have to take the SPEAK test?
    If you take the TOEFL exam and passed the SPEAKING section with a score of 27 or higher, you are not required to take the SPEAK test, however you are still required to attend the Academic Culture and English Skills (ACES) Program.

    Not providing English proficiency scores will delay your application being reviewed by the admissions committee.

    To find out more information regarding TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo score requirements and waiver information please click here: https://www.chemistry.msu.edu/graduate-program/prospective-students/how-to-apply/English%20Language%20Proficiency%20Requirements.aspx
  • What is Academic Culture and English Skills (ACES) Program ?
    All incoming international students are required to attend the Academic Culture and English Skills (ACES) Program. This is a department and graduate school requirement. The Academic Culture and English Skills (ACES) Program is a department-based program of intensive English language study and teaching practice for new graduate assistants who plan to be TAs before they begin their fall studies. The program beings mid-July through late August and participants meet daily with ESL teachers and qualified undergraduate tutors to undergo rigorous language exercises in English language and in language training specific to their disciplines. In order for students to become a TA for Fall semester, they must meet the requirement of receiving a passing score on the SPEAK test.

Visiting the Department

  • Can I come for a department visit before I apply to the program?
    Applicants are more than welcomed to contact faculty members that they may be interested in meeting with. However; if you are wanting to meet with faculty outside of our visiting season, contacting faculty and scheduling a meeting date is left for the student to gather. Please note that faculty travel frequently and have busy schedules; therefore they may not be available for meetings during your visit, and especially if you plan your visit on short notice.
  • Can I come for a department visit after I'm accepted to the program?
    We can only accomodate domestic student visit. If you are offered admittance into our program you will receive information about our visiting schedule. Our visiting season runs from January-April.

    For applicants traveling 90 miles or more: We typically have applicants arrive on Thursday afternoon; meet one-on-one with faculty, a group lunch with current graduate students, meet with the Associate Chair of Education and meet with the Admissions Director all-day Friday and depart on Saturday morning.

    For applicants traveling less then 90 miles: We typically have applicants arrive and depart on Friday. However; if weather conditions are a concern, we will look into other travel arrangements