Michigan State University Review

Michigan State University offers a wide range of online graduate education programs that appeal to all kinds of students who don't mind paying a little more.

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The Good

Deep selection of popular degree options

Michigan State University (MSU) offers a great mix of online graduate degree options, including popular programs in general education, educational technology, curriculum studies, and adult and lifelong learning. The general education program gives you the opportunity to concentrate your studies in one of six different areas of focus, such as literacy, leadership, or athletic coaching. MSU also offers relatively rare online graduate degree programs in health professions education, autism spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities. This great variety of programs adds up to one of the best offerings in the nation, surpassed only by Auburn University and the University of Northern Colorado.

Good reputation for student engagement

In the most recent survey of online graduate education programs by U.S. News and World Report, Michigan State University places among the top 40 programs in the nation on measures of student engagement. Student engagement scores are based on a variety of factors, including online course design, instructor availability, class size, amount of personalized student feedback, and student collaboration requirements.

Solid student retention rates

In recent years, Michigan State University has reported solid success in their efforts to engage and motivate new students and keep them working toward a degree. In three of the last four years, 85% or more of all first-year students re-enrolled for a second year of studies. That is quite a success rate for an online program that has more than 800 enrolled students. During the 2011-12 academic year, the school’s retention rate dropped slightly to 76%. However, this figure isn’t all that bad compared to other online programs with similar enrollment numbers.

Standardized test scores not required

If you aren’t a fan of standardized testing, Michigan State University is one of the few top schools that doesn’t require applicants to submit a GRE or GMAT score. Instead, MSU is willing to base its admissions decision solely on your academic record, letters of recommendation, and record of work experience. That said, you can choose to submit a recent GRE score can be submitted for consideration along with the rest of your application materials.

The Bad

Tuition on the expensive side

At more than $700 per credit, Michigan State University online education degrees are not as cheap as others. If cost is a key consideration in your search for the perfect online degree, you can find a number of excellent programs that cost less than $500 per credit. Some are as low as $400 per credit, representing a significant cost savings over Michigan State. However, if you’re interested in pursuing a degree in health professions education, autism spectrum disorders, or learning disabilities, MSU is your best choice, since these programs are rare among other top online graduate education programs.

Graduation rates could use improvement

In recent years, Michigan State University has reported three-year graduation rates of 70% or less. While these rates are not the worst, they do represent a step down from the school’s first-year student retention rates, which have hovered in the 80% range in three of the last four years. Given that MSU graduate education degrees are designed to be completed in two years or less, you would think graduation rates would be nearly as high as first-year retention rates.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2001 - 2002
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Location: MI
  • Number of Graduate Education Programs: 4
  • Region: Midwest
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per credit)

  • In-State: $710
  • Out-of-State: $710


  • Degrees: Education (M.A.), Educational Technology (M.A.) Special Education (M.A.), Teaching and Curriculum (M.A.), Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education, Educational Psychology and Educational Technology


  • Certificates: N/A

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Average Student Age: 28
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.51
  • Avg. GRE Analytical Writing: 3.6
  • Avg. GRE Quantitative: 149
  • Avg. GRE Verbal: 149
  • Gender Ratio: 79.6% female, 20.4% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 25
  • Total Enrollment: 846


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 7 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 51
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 23

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009-2010): 90%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010-2011): 85%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011-2012): 76%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2012-2013): 86%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 56%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 70%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 74
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 41/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 76
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 75/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 40
  • Student Engagement Score: 79/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 19
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 62/100

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