English language proficiency

Standardized test requirements

Although an ACT or SAT exam is not required for international undergraduate admission, MSU strongly encourages students to submit one of these exam scores if possible. In many cases, ACT English or SAT critical reading scores will meet the English proficiency requirement. Further, MSU uses ACT and SAT scores in course placement and consideration for Honors College eligibility. Students with an ACT or SAT score may receive higher consideration for scholarships as well.

Students should request that the testing agency send scores directly to Michigan State University. MSU’s TOEFL and SAT code is 1465; the ACT code is 2032.

Minimum English requirements

International applicants whose first language is not English must meet one of the following language proficiency requirements for regular admission to Michigan State University. Students with acceptable academic credentials who do not meet language proficiency requirements may be admitted on provisional status with the scores indicated below.

The following requirements pertain to undergraduate students only. Graduate applicants should consult MSU's Graduate School for minimum English language requirements.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Regular admission:
  • Internet-based test: score of 79 with no subscore below 17
  • Paper-based test: score of 550 with no subscore below 52
Provisional admission:
  • Internet-based test: 60-78
  • Paper-based test: 500-549

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Regular admission: Score of 6.5 or higher

Provisional admission: Score of 6.0

SAT Critical Reading

Regular admission: Critical reading score of 480 (old SAT) or evidence-based reading and writing score of 510 (new SAT)

ACT Exam

Regular admission: Subscore of 18 or higher on the English section

Michigan State University English Language Test (MSUELT)

Regular admission: Average score of at least 80 with no subscore below 80, OR Average score of at least 85 with no subscore below 78

Provisional admission: Average score of 65-79

Advanced Placement English Language

Regular admission: Score of 4 or higher

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

Regular admission: Average score of 80 or higher

International applicants taking the MELAB must also complete the MELAB speaking test.

Michigan State University Certificate of English Language Proficiency (CELP)

Regular admission: Score of 65 with no subscore below 15

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE A)

Regular admission (undergraduate): Minimum score of 53; minimum subscore requirement of 48

Provisional admission (undergraduate): Average overall score of at least 46

Provisional admission

Provisionally admitted students must take the MSU English Language Test (MSUELT) upon arrival on campus to determine eligibility to enroll in academic courses. Students admitted provisionally will receive information about registering for the MSUELT prior to arriving at MSU. The results of the MSUELT will determine if you are able to enroll in:

  • Full-time academic courses
  • A combination of academic and English language courses
  • Full-time English language courses through MSU’s English Language Center

If MSU receives a new test score that fulfills the English proficiency requirement for an incoming provisionally admitted student prior to the start of the semester, MSU will change the student’s admission status from provisional to regular admission. If MSU has already issued an initial I-20 and the student subsequently meets the English Language proficiency based on a new test score, MSU will not issue a new I-20 until after the student arrives on campus.

Students remain at provisional status until attaining the minimum competency. As a provisionally admitted student, MSU will still classify you as an undergraduate student in your requested major preference; you will live on campus in residence halls with other MSU students and have full access to MSU facilities and support services.

For more information about arriving as a provisionally admitted student, visit the OISS website.