Prospective graduate students apply electronically at http://www.grad.msstate.edu. The statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and required test scores are submitted electronically. If the academic department requires a résumé, it is also submitted electronically. To fulfill the recommendation requirement, the applicant will submit the names and email addresses of three people who have agreed to submit a recommendation and these individuals will receive an email request from the Graduate School. Their timely response is critical to the student’s application process. Applications are not processed until the application fee has been paid.
An applicant must request an official transcript from the bachelor’s degree institution and from each college or university attended following the bachelor’s degree. If fewer than 60-70 hours were completed at the institution which awarded the bachelor’s degree, an official transcript from the previous institution(s) is required as well. The department may require previous transcripts to verify prerequisites. The official transcript must be in a sealed envelope bearing the institution’s return address with the Registrar’s signature or stamp across the flap. The Graduate School will accept electronic transcripts directly from Escrip. Electronic transcripts sent by Escrip should be sent to Mississippi State University, Graduate School.
Some departments may have different deadlines; please refer to the departmental listings in this publication for degree specific admission deadlines. Because of anticipated delays in obtaining visas, applicants are encouraged to submit admission materials by January 1 for consideration for the fall semester. Applicants should request official transcripts from all institutions where undergraduate or graduate coursework has been completed. The official transcript must be in a sealed envelope bearing the institution’s return address with the Registrar’s signature or stamp across the flap.
Completed applications received on or prior to the deadline dates above will receive consideration for the desired academic term. Some programs may have earlier application deadlines that override the Graduate School deadlines; they are found in the description of the specific program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all supporting materials are received. The Graduate School requires applicants to use the online application process. All required materials not submitted electronically must be mailed to:
Mississippi State University
The Graduate School
Mississippi State, MS 39762
International Application Checklist
- Non-refundable application fee
- Statement of Purpose
- Names and email addresses of three academic references
- GRE or GMAT scores if required by academic department
- Official Academic Records (in native language along with translated copies if appropriate)
- Document of Support Form must be completed, including all required signatures (not required if applying for a distance program)
- Bank Letter or other Document of Financial Support (not required if applying for a distance program)
- TOEFL or IELTS score if the applicant is not from a TOEFL/IELT Exempt Country listed below
TOEFL/IELT Exempt Countries
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Canada (except Quebec)
Isle of Man
Republic of Ireland
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
English Language Test Score Requirements
An international student holding one or more degrees (baccalaureate or higher) from a college or university in the U.S. is not required to submit English language test scores for admission.
An international student from a country where English is the first language, as documented by a statement on the high school graduating certificate that English is the official (first) language of the country, or who holds one or more degrees (baccalaureate or higher) from a college or university where English is the first language is not required to submit English language test scores. However, the student’s academic department may require the student to schedule one or more ESL (English as a Second Language) courses.
An international student whose primary language is not English, as described above, must submit either a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score or an IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) score. If more than one test score is submitted, the highest score will be the valid score to determine if the student qualifies for regular admission or must complete ESL courses to gain full admission. If a student has submitted an official TOEFL or IELTS score and takes the test again to improve his or her score, that official TOEFL or IELTS score must be received by the Graduate School five business days (or more) before the first day of class and prior to course registration in a graduate program at Mississippi State University.
An international applicant to Unclassified graduate status (non-degree-seeking) who is not from a country where English is the first language or who does not hold a baccalaureate or higher degree from a college or university where English is the first language must submit an appropriate TOEFL or IELTS score.
A minimum TOEFL score of 477 PBT (Paper-Based Test) or 53 iBT (Internet-Based Test) is required for admission to Mississippi State University. The required IELTS score is 4.5. The following degree programs require higher test scores than the University requirement:
- The College of Veterinary Medicine requires a minimum TOEFL score of 500 PBT or 61 iBT or an IELTS score of 5.5.
- The College of Education requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 PBT or 79 iBT or an IELTS score of 6.5 for admission to master’s and doctoral level programs.
- The College of Business requires a minimum TOEFL score of 575 PBT or 84 iBT or an IELTS score of 7.0.
The applicant must check the requirements of the specific department.
The following requirements satisfy the English language proficiency for international graduate students. A student admitted to the University with a national TOEFL or IELTS score less than the proficient-level equivalencies must enroll in the specified English as a Second Language (ESL) course requirement(s) beginning with the initial enrollment period.
I. An international applicant whose English-language test score falls within the following ranges is eligible for admission and award of a graduate assistantship.
- An applicant who attains a national TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 PBT or 79 iBT or an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 is considered proficient in English. If the academic department requires a higher test score, the applicant must attain the higher score or be admitted contingent on satisfying this University requirement. The applicant can be considered for admission for Spring, Summer or Fall terms.
- An applicant with either a TOEFL score between 547-523 PBT or 78-69 iBT or an IELTS of 6.0 will be required to enroll in ESL 5323 Academic Research and Writing. This course is designed for international graduate students whose test score indicates a need for assistance in English writing, research, and editing skills. The course is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. The student required to take ESL 5323 can also enroll in up to 6 credit hours in his/her graduate program. The applicant can be considered for admission for Spring, Summer or Fall terms.
II. An international applicant whose English-language test score falls within the following ranges is eligible for admission but is not eligible for award of a graduate assistantship until the English-language requirements of ESL 5110 and/or ESL 5120 are satisfied.
- An applicant with either a TOEFL score between 520-500 PBT or 68-61 iBT or an IELTS score of 5.5 is required to enroll in ESL 5120, a 9-hour intensive English course designed by the English as a Second Language Center. This course is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. The student cannot register for courses in his/her graduate program while completing this required course. A student enrolled in ESL 5120 will complete the course when he/she passes the English Proficiency Exam consisting of grammar, reading, writing, oral, and aural skills; has attended the English immersion class regularly for at least one semester; and has done satisfactory work. The student is then eligible to enroll in ESL 5323 Academic Research and Writing.
- A qualified student with either a TOEFL score between 497-477 PBT or 59-53 iBT or an IELTS score of 5-4.5 is required to enroll in ESL 5110 , an intensive English language course especially designed by the English as a Second Language Center. This course is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. The student cannot register for courses in his/her graduate program while completing this requirements. A student enrolled in ESL 5110 will complete the course when he/she passes the English Proficiency Exam consisting of grammar, reading, writing, oral, and aural skills, has attended the English immersion class regularly for at least one semester, and has done satisfactory work. Such student must then complete ESL 5120 (a 9-hour immersion course) and, subsequently, ESL 5323. The applicant can be considered for admission for Fall term only.
III. An applicant whose TOEFL score is below 477 PBT or 53 iBT or whose IELTS score is 4.5 is not eligible for admission to the Graduate School.
This individual can enroll in the English Language Institute on a non-credit basis after which he/she can retake the English-language test in preparation for another application to graduate study at MSU.
The Dean of the Graduate School will monitor the students’ progress and certify each graduate student as he or she fulfills the English proficiency requirements. A hold is placed on the student’s record and is released when the required ESL coursework is completed. Until release of the hold, the student must meet with his/her advisor to establish a semester schedule of courses. This schedule must immediately be submitted to the Office of the Graduate School by the student or major professor using the TOEFL-Hold Registration Form found at http://www.grad.msstate.edu/forms/pdf_forms/TOEFL.pdf. The OGS will ensure that the student is registered for all classes. Once the hold is released, the student can self-register for classes.
English-Language Test Scores and Requirements
|550 PBT or 79 iBT (TOEFL) or 6.5 (IELTS)1||Eligible for regular admission; no ESL course required. Assistantship can be awarded.|
|547-523 PBT or 78-69 iBT (TOEFL) or 6 (IELTS)2||Eligible for admission; ESL 5323 required. Assistantship can be awarded.|
|520-500 PBT or 68-61 iBT (TOEFL) or 5.5 (IELTS)3||Eligible for admission; ESL 5120 and ESL 5323 required. Assistantship cannot be awarded.|
|497-477 PBT or 59-53 iBT (TOEFL) or 5-4.5 (IELTS)4||Eligible for admission; ESL 5110, ESL 5120, and ESL 5323 required. Assistantship cannot be awarded.|
|ESL 5110 Below 477 PBT or 53 iBT (TOEFL) or 4.5 (IELTS)5||Ineligible for admission.|
Eligible for Regular Admission for Spring, Summer, or Fall terms.
Eligible for Admission with TOEFL/IELTS Hold. May be considered for Spring, Summer, or Fall terms.
Eligible for Admission with a TOEFL/IELTS hold. May be considered for Spring or Fall terms only.
Eligible for Admission with TOEFL/IELTS hold. May be considered for Fall term only.
Ineligible for admission.
Mississippi State University does not accept ESL transfer work from another college or university. All required ESL courses must be taken at MSU.
International Transfer Students' Test Score Requirements
An international student not holding a U.S. degree (baccalaureate or higher) who desires to transfer to Mississippi State University from another U.S. college or university and does not have a current (less than two years old) national test score must retake the test and score a minimum of 477 PBT or 53 iBT on the TOEFL or 4.5 on the IELTS.
English Language Institute (ELI)
The English Language Institute (ELI) provides an intensive language and culture program to support all international students. The ELI is responsible for the administration of the intensive English language courses for those students who score less than 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL). Other score equivalents are TOEFL Internet-based Test: 79-80 and International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6.5. For details please visit the ELI website.
|ESL 5110||American Language and Culture I (TOEFL score between 457 and 499 [or equivalent] or consent of instructor. Does not count toward any degree.)||1-18|
|ESL 5120||American Language and Culture II (ESL 5110 or TOEFL score between 500 and 524 [or equivalent] or consent of instructor. Does not count toward any degree.)||1-18|
|ESL 5323||Academic Research and Writing (ESL 5120 or TOEFL score above 500 [or equivalent]. Does not count toward any degree.)||3|
|ESL 5333||Critical Reading (ESL 5120 or TOEFL score above 500 [or equivalent]. Does not count toward any degree.)||3|
|ESL 5313||Classroom and Communication and Presentation (ESL 5120 or TOEFL score above 525 [or equivalent]. Does not count toward any degree.)||3|