MSU Facts

Michigan State University Spartans work to advance the common good in uncommon ways. The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world—on one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the nation—and is home to a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders.



Founded in 1855

Prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862

First institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture

Official name changes

February 12, 1855 – Agricultural College of the State of Michigan

March 15, 1861 – State Agricultural College

June 2, 1909 – Michigan Agricultural College

May 1, 1925 – Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science

July 1, 1955 – Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science

January 1, 1964 – Michigan State University


  1. Joseph R. Williams (1857–1859)
  2. Lewis R. Fisk (1859–1862)
  3. Theophilus C. Abbot (1862–1884)
  4. Edwin Willits (1885–1889)
  5. Oscar Clute (1889–1893)
  6. Lewis B. Gorton (1893–1895)
  7. Jonathan L. Snyder (1896–1915)
  8. Frank S. Kedzie (1915–1921)
  9. David Friday (1921–1923)
  10. Kenyon L. Butterfield (1924–1928)
  11. Robert S. Shaw (1928–1941)
  12. John A. Hannah (1941–1969)
  13. Walter Adams (1969–1970)
  14. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. (1970–1978)
  15. Edgar L. Harden (1978–1979)
  16. Cecil Mackey (1979–1985)
  17. John DiBiaggio (1985–1992)
  18. Gordon Guyer (1992–1993)
  19. M. Peter McPherson (1993–2004)
  20. Lou Anna K. Simon (2005 –)


Nickname: Spartans

Colors: Green and white

Mascot: Sparty

Conference: Big Ten

Campus profile

Located in East Lansing, three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing

5,200-acre campus with 2,100 acres in existing or planned development

545 buildings, including 103 with academic or instructional space

Approximately 19,600 acres throughout Michigan used for agricultural and natural resources research and education

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Lou Anna K. Simon

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

June Pierce Youatt

Board of Trustees

Joel I. Ferguson, Chairman (term ends January 1, 2021)

Mitch Lyons, Vice Chairman (term ends January 1, 2019)

Brian Breslin (term ends January 1, 2019)

Dianne Byrum (term ends January 1, 2017)

Melanie Foster (term ends January 1, 2023)

Brian Mosallam (term ends January 1, 2021)

George Perles (term ends January 1, 2023)

Diann Woodard (term ends January 1, 2017)

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Students (fall 2015)

Approximately 50,543 total: from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and more than 138 other countries

39,143 undergraduate, 11,400 graduate and professional

51.6 percent women, 48.4 percent men

18.1 percent students of color, 15 percent international

Faculty and academic staff

Approximately 5,300

Support staff employees

Approximately 6,800

Living alumni

Approximately 541,000 worldwide

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More than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study

Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 42; Rhodes, 17; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; Hollings, six; Gates, four; and Mitchell, one

Freshman class profile (middle 50 percent of fall 2015 entering class): high school GPA, 3.48–3.92; SAT combined score (math and critical reading), 1030–1210; ACT composite score, 23–28

More than 260 study abroad programs on all continents in more than 60 countries

Degree-granting colleges

  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources • Ronald L. Hendrick
  • Residential College in Arts and Humanities • Dean: Stephen L. Esquith
  • College of Arts and Letters • Dean: Christopher P. Long
  • Eli Broad College of Business/Eli Broad Graduate School of Management • Dean: Sanjay Gupta
  • College of Communication Arts and Sciences • Dean: Prabu David
  • College of Education •  Dean: Robert Floden
  • College of Engineering • Dean: Leo Kempel
  • College of Human Medicine • Interim Dean: Aron Sousa
  • James Madison College • Dean: Sherman W. Garnett
  • College of Law (affiliated) • Dean: Lawrence Ponoroff
  • Lyman Briggs College • Dean: Elizabeth H. Simmons
  • College of Music • Dean: James Forger
  • College of Natural Science • Dean: R. James Kirkpatrick
  • College of Nursing • Dean: Randolph Rasch
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine • Dean: William D. Strampel
  • College of Social Science • Interim Dean: Neal Schmitt
  • College of Veterinary Medicine • Dean: John Baker
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External funding totaled $584 million in 2014–15

Top federal funding agencies: Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, and Department of Defense

Accelerating key research areas through the recruitment of more than 100 new faculty members as part of the newly launched Global Impact Initiative 

Selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to design and establish the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, a $730 million facility that will advance understanding of rare nuclear isotopes and the evolution of the cosmos

MSU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison awarded $125 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to continue their work on advanced biofuels at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Home of AgBioResearch, which funds the research of more than 300 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 13 outlying research centers across the state

Notable discoveries include homogenization of milk and the anticancer drug cisplatin

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More than $50 million in international funding annually 

Received $45 million from The MasterCard Foundation in support of a nine-year partnership to provide talented, yet financially disadvantaged youth from Africa with access to quality education

Ranks in the top 10 for both study abroad participation and international student enrollment

More than 1,400 faculty and staff members engaged in international research and teaching

More than 280 partnerships with international institutions

25 internationally focused centers, institutes, and offices

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Reaches into all 83 counties in Michigan through MSU Extension to share resources with individuals, communities, and businesses

Academic and professional degree and certificate programs extended to off-campus learners, with more than 20,000 enrollments in more than 80 degree and certificate programs

Music education, music therapy, and performance opportunities offered to residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities in Greater Lansing and Detroit by MSU’s Community Music School

Offers expanding community connections and opportunities for community-based scholarly work in Southeast Michigan through the MSU Detroit Center

Registered 26,127 students for service-learning and civic engagement placements in 2014-15

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U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU

  • 75th among the world's top 100 universities 
  • 46th among the nation's public universities 
  • First in the nation for 22 straight years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in nuclear physics, organizational psychology, and rehabilitation counseling 
  • First in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain

Ranks 50th among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2015 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges

Member of the prestigious 62-member Association of American Universities

Only university in the country with on-campus medical schools graduating allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians, and veterinarians (DVMs)

Among the largest single-campus residence hall systems in the country with 27 halls in five neighborhoods and two apartment villages

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General fund budgeted revenues (2015–16): $1,263,800,000

  • Tuition and fees: $891.1 million
  • State appropriations: $268.3 million
  • Other university funds: $95.6 million

General fund budgeted expenditures (2015–16): $1,263,800,000

  • Salaries: $808.9 million*
  • Supplies, services, and equipment: $413.1 million*
  • Labor: $41.8 million*

    *These are estimates. 

Tuition (2015–16)

Resident undergraduate students

  • Lower division: $452/credit
  • Upper division: $503.50/credit

Resident graduate students: $671.75/credit

Nonresident undergraduate students

  • Lower division: $1,212/credit
  • Upper division: $1,250.25/credit

Nonresident graduate students: $1,319.75/credit

Housing (2015–16)

Residence hall rates

  • Undergraduate (double room/silver meal plan): $4,737/semester
  • Graduate (permanent single room/traditional meal plan): $4,192/semester

Apartment rates

  • One bedroom (standard): $656/month
  • Two bedrooms (standard): $782/month

For a more detailed estimate of costs, visit:

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25 varsity squads: 12 intercollegiate sports for men and 13 intercollegiate sports for women

2015 Cotton Bowl champions and 2014 Rose Bowl champions 

18 straight NCAA appearances by men’s basketball team, including seven Final Four appearances

One of the largest intramural sports programs in the nation

Facilities: Spartan Stadium, Breslin Student Events Center, Daugherty Football Building/Skandalaris Football Center, Berkowitz Basketball Complex, Munn Ice Arena, Jenison Field House, McLane Baseball Stadium (Kobs Field), DeMartin Stadium (soccer), Forest Akers Golf Courses, McCaffree Pool, Ralph Young Field (field hockey/track), Old College Field, MSU Tennis Facility, and three intramural facilities

Culture and entertainment

Broad Art Museum: committed to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art

Wharton Center for Performing Arts: four venues–Cobb Great Hall, Pasant Theatre, MSU Auditorium, and Fairchild Theatre–host a variety of cultural events

Breslin Student Events Center: state-of-the-art arena hosts special events such as concerts, commencements, ice shows, sporting events, banquets, conventions, and trade shows

MSU Museum: offers anthropological, biological, folklife, geological, and historical exhibits and programs

Abrams Planetarium: houses a Digistar 5 computer graphics planetarium projector and a 150-seat Sky Theater

Horticulture Gardens: six distinct gardens over 7.5 acres provide a living laboratory where plants and people grow together

Student organizations

Registered student groups: more than 600 each year

Student media: The State News and Impact 89 FM radio

Greek-letter community: more than 50 nationally affiliated organizations

Programs for persons with disabilities

Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities: provides disability-related information and referrals

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