Because the number of credits required for most majors is just a fraction of the total number of credits required for a degree, and all majors require electives, it is possible to take courses from different majors and still graduate on time. Moreover, the requirements for many majors can be completed in two years (which may or may not include summer classes). Most students who begin MSU with a major end up changing majors once or more, while Exploratory students have the advantage of more intentionally exploring their options from the start, and thus potentially changing majors fewer times.
While many careers require a college degree, many don’t require a specific major. For many fields your major is not the most important qualification. An interest in the field, well-rounded experience (student organizations, internships, volunteer work, study abroad, undergraduate research, etc.), and good grades often matter more than your major. Employers value the range of transferrable skills students acquire in successfully completing the rigors of a broad undergraduate education, regardless of major.
In fact, the curriculums of many majors are not designed to prepare you for specific careers because a major alone is not what makes an undergraduate education valuable, and many majors comprise only a fraction of the total credits required for graduation. A major’s value is that it is one piece of a larger whole–a broad education–which includes all the courses you take, and co-curricular activities. The purpose of the broad, general design of undergraduate education is to expand personal growth (which also enhances employability), and to develop a range of transferrable skills that provide many options beyond those related to any given major. In our modern economy, most people have multiple careers in their lifetime, thus a broad education and transferrable skills make college graduates, regardless of major, versatile and adaptable in the complex, constantly changing work world. If you have a career in mind, research it to find out if certain majors or preparation make sense. Otherwise, explore your passions and find a major you would enjoy!
All students must have a major by junior standing (56 credits), though it is possible to change majors after that–and even graduate on time in many cases, since the number of credits required for most majors is a fraction of the total credits required for graduation (which include university requirements and electives).
Students in residential colleges and the honors program may have alternative ways of fulfilling some of these requirements.
* Certain social science, humanities, and science credits earned prior to matriculation may fulfill these requirements – consult an advisor.
The midpoint of the semester is the final deadline for dropping a class or classes for that semester. There is no refund at this point. The refund deadline occurs earlier. For fall and spring the add deadline is the 5th day of classes for that semester. These deadlines can be found in the Class Information page via the Class Search. For more information, view the Registrar’s Office website.
Normally, no course may be added after the designated period for adding courses. Any add after this period must be approved by the department offering the course. Instructor permission may also be required. View more information on the Registrar’s Office website.
Permission to add a course after the add deadline or to add a course that is full is granted at the discretion of the department offering the course. The department may require instructor permission. Some departments have an online request form. Contact information for a department can be found in the Class Information page after selecting a course from the Class Search.
A student may drop a course or withdraw after the middle of the term only to correct errors in the enrollment or because of events of catastrophic impact, such as serious personal illness. Documentation will be required. Exploratory students should meet with a University Advisor. Students with a major should contact their college. Find more information on the Registrar’s Office website.
You will be placed on academic probation or Recessed (suspended for at least a year). Students who have previously been Recessed may be Dismissed (suspended for at least two years). Find more details on the Registrar’s Office website.
Academic probation is a serious warning that you must return to good standing by the end of the next semester to avoid academic Recess. You must thoughtfully complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) form, then meet with an advisor for a probation conference (SAP meeting) to discuss your academic progress and develop a plan for success. To avoid a hold on your account, this should be done by the add deadline (5th day of fall and spring classes). Exploratory students meet with a University Advisor, while students with a major meet with their major advisor. Find more details on the Registrar’s Office website.
Check your “Tasks” tile in the Student Information System for the contact information of the office that placed the hold and contact that office right away. If the hold was placed by University Advising, you are likely on academic probation and need to thoughtfully complete the SAP form, then meet with an advisor (a University Advisor if you are Exploratory Preference, a major advisor if you have a major) for a probation conference (SAP meeting) to discuss your academic progress and develop a plan for success.
Recessed students are ineligible to take MSU classes for at least one year. It is very important during your year away from MSU to assess what went wrong and to take steps to address the factors that led to Recess. These steps should include something more than simply resolving to do better or study harder. Make concrete changes to the problematic circumstances, practice behaviors that address difficulties so that when you return there are new circumstances and behaviors already practiced and in place.
If you experienced extenuating circumstances, you may petition to meet with a reinstatement committee who will review your special circumstances and any relevant documentation. You must also provide evidence of changed circumstances or new behaviors that address the factors leading to Recess, and which the committee finds to make a compelling case for a strong likelihood of success. Being reinstated is not automatic. It is an exception to university policy. Find more information on the Registrar’s Office website.
Withdrawal after the middle of the semester will be granted by the Medical Withdrawal Committee only in exceptional circumstances. A withdrawal after the middle of the term of instruction is an extraordinary remedy and is intended to be applied narrowly. All requests for consideration of Withdrawal for Medical Reasons must be initiated in the Office of the Associate Dean (or designee) of the student’s college for students with a major, or with a University Advisory for Exploratory students. Find more information on the Office of Student Support & Accountability website.
All MSU undergraduate degrees require a minimum of 120 credits.
You can access this information via the Student Information System.
Academic dismissal does not imply future readmission, nor does it mean that the person is forever barred from enrollment at Michigan State University. After a period of at least two years, a student dismissed for academic reasons may apply for readmission using the online Readmission form. The applicant must be prepared to submit evidence of growth in maturity and responsibility indicative of capacity to perform university-level work. Declarations of good intentions are not sufficient. Each application will be considered on its merits. If the student has attended another institution while on dismissal, he or she must submit an official transcript to be considered for readmission. Find more information on the Registrar’s Office website.