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Academic Matters

Courses based on program type

There are two primary types of MSU study abroad programs. They are "faculty-led" programs and "co-sponsored" programs.

Faculty-led Programs

As the name implies, faculty-led programs have an accompanying MSU program leader who coordinates all academic and administrative arrangements on site.

On faculty-led programs, your academic performance is graded by the accompanying MSU program leader. OSA strongly suggests that you contact your program leader and your academic adviser to ensure that the classes you intend to take abroad meet your graduation requirements. Courses offered are usually based on the number of students enrolled, and low enrollment numbers may result in the cancellation of courses. Excursions are an integral and academic part of many programs and should not be viewed as tourist outings. You cannot receive a refund for excursions that you do not attend.

After you have accepted admission into a program, you should drop on-campus course enrollments (if applicable), and replace those courses with study abroad courses. However, prior to receiving your acceptance letter, you should maintain your on-campus enrollment to avoid losing those courses or receiving a late enrollment fee.

You will enroll in your study abroad courses in the same manner that you enroll in on-campus courses. All other course enrollment procedures are consistent with those on campus, including deadlines.

Non-MSU students will receive a Personal Identification (PID) and a Personal Access Number (PAN) from the MSU Office of the Registrar. You will then need to activate your MSU account to enroll in your courses, receive your bills, access your student information, and receive emails from MSU.

You must be enrolled in your courses by the appropriate deadline in order to receive your financial aid refund prior to the start of the program.

The following are unique elements to the faculty-led study abroad courses:

If you are unable to complete enrollment, it is likely that (a) you have a hold on your account and should contact MSU Student Accounts at (517) 355-3343 to settle any outstanding bills; (b) you need to wait to be "cleared" to enroll (approximately three weeks after you complete your Decision Form in your My Study Abroad portal; or (c) you need an override. The Office of Study Abroad is not authorized to issue overrides; therefore, you should contact the department offering the course for assistance.

Co-sponsored Programs

Co-sponsored programs do not have accompanying MSU program leaders, Instead, they involve direct enrollment in a host institution abroad or participation in a program offered by an MSU-approved provider. If you are unsure whether or not your program is considered co-sponsored, contact your OSA Program Coordinator. Your coordinator will provide you with information and steps to follow regarding your academic courses.

There are advantages to directly enrolling in courses at a host institution. You will learn to navigate a new academic system and foreign society on your own, usually with the assistance of a Resident Director (RD). When you need help, you will turn to your host country peers and the RD for guidance, building social relationships in the process. Such experiences promote a deep understanding of the host culture, and the impact of such an experience can be long-lasting. However, with these advantages come the challenges of learning to be on your own in a new academic system and possibly operating in a second language. The courses may be structured very differently than MSU courses. Your courses may consist of only formal lectures and few exams. Or, they may consist of tutorials or discussion groups with the expectation that you will complete all of the readings on your own before the final exam. Some students have been surprised that such courses may be more challenging than their MSU courses. Whatever the academic arrangements may be, remember that the courses offered abroad are not better or worse, but guaranteed to be different than MSU courses! After all, that is one of the reasons you chose to study abroad!

While abroad, you will be registered for a fixed number of block credits and will be financially responsible for paying tuition for that minimum number of credits. If you enroll in fewer credits while abroad, you will not receive a tuition refund. On the other hand, if you take more credits abroad than the block credits you are enrolled in at MSU, you may be charged additional MSU tuition when the co-sponsored credits are posted to your MSU transcript. A minimum grade, or its equivalent, of 2.0 must be earned in each course in order for the credit to be transferred to MSU.

Credit earned for certain courses in MSU co-sponsored programs is awarded as regular MSU credit, rather than transfer course credit. This allows such credit to be listed on the MSU transcript using the course title from abroad, as well as grades earned, converted into the equivalent MSU grade. In this case all grades are posted, including those below the equivalent of 2.0. Grades earned in these co-sponsored courses will become part of a student's MSU GPA.

If you will be earning additional credits beyond the minimum program credits (such as MSU independent study credits), you must register for the actual departmental course under which you will receive the credit. This registration must be for the semester for which you wish to apply the credits. You are required to pay regular MSU tuition for these credits.

Course Approval Request Form (PDF)*.

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