2024-25 Academic Catalog

Admission Requirements

Admission Policy

The Graduate School is responsible for the administration of the University graduate admission policy.  The decision to admit an applicant to pursue graduate study at MSU is based upon evaluations of both qualitative and quantitative information.  An applicant must submit a completed application form, a statement of purpose for graduate study, three letters of recommendation, records of previous academic achievements, and a non-refundable application fee (not required of full-time benefits-eligible MSU employees).  Some degree programs may require additional credentials, such as the Graduate Record Examination or another standardized test score(s).  Requirements Quick Reference provides a snapshot of degree programs and corresponding GPA and standardized test requirements.  All admission applications and supporting documents become the property of Mississippi State University upon receipt and will not be released.  Admission to MSU for graduate study is open to qualified students regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, age, sexual orientation, group, or veteran status.

Submitting false information in the application will result in cancellation of the application without refund and/or immediate dismissal from the University.

Standardized test scores required by some degree programs represent only one element considered in the admission decision of an applicant.  Scores are never used as the sole criterion, but rather are considered in conjunction with other factors such as the applicant’s purpose for study relative to the number of positions available in the program, prior professional and employment activities, and/or recommendations of the faculty in the proposed field of study, especially regarding the availability of faculty support for research.  Consequently, an applicant who meets the required grade point average (GPA) and/or whose standardized scores fall at or above a competitive level is NOT automatically granted admission.  Admission is granted only to those students considered to have the potential to complete the program successfully and with the knowledge that there are sufficient and appropriate resources available to support the needs of the student.

The Graduate Coordinator of a department/program recommends to the Graduate School that an applicant be admitted or rejected, and the Dean of the Graduate School makes the final admission decision.  The Graduate School sends a letter to the applicant communicating the decision.  Only a written notice of admission from the Graduate School to the applicant is valid proof of admission.  

Admission to more than one program simultaneously requires the approval of the Graduate Coordinator of each program (see Concurrent [dual] Degrees).

An applicant who is admitted to a degree level and program can enroll only in the program of admission. Before registering for classes, the individual can subsequently apply to a different level and/or degree program. However, once the student enrolls in classes he/she must remain in that program for one semester before applying to another degree program. The decision to admit is valid for three terms with the admitting department's approval (including term of admission) to allow for the student's initial enrollment in classes.  Following no enrollment for one or two semesters, an admitted applicant must contact the Graduate School by email (gradapps@grad.msstate.edu) to change the admission term.  If the student does not enroll for three semesters, however, he/she must submit a new application, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and application fee.

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee is required with each submitted application.  The application fee must be paid in order to submit the application to the Graduate School. Application fees are not refunded if an applicant pays the fee and does not submit the application, a submitted application is canceled, or an admitted student decides not to enroll.  The original application fee will be applied for already enrolled students who submit an approved Request to Change Degree Level or Concentration.  An additional application fee is required for a new application to another program or for application to unclassified status.  

University Application Deadlines

University deadlines are listed in the table below.***  All deadlines are at 11:59 PM (CST) unless otherwise stated. Please note that the application must be submitted with the application fee on or before the deadline.  All dates and deadlines are subject to change.

***Some departments may have earlier deadlines.  Please refer to the departmental listings in this publication or the department’s website for degree-specific admission deadlines.  

Application Semester: Deadline for: International Applicants applying for Degree Programs or Unclassified Admission on Starkville and Meridian Campuses Deadline for: Domestic Applicants applying for Degree Programs on Starkville and Meridian Campuses Deadline for: Domestic and International Applicants applying for Distance Degree Programs All Applicants applying Unclassified: International-Distance Unclassified Only; Domestic: Unclassified on All Campuses.
Fall May 1 July 1 August 1 11:59 PM (CST) before first day of class; see University Calendar for class dates
Spring October 1 November 1 December 1 11:59 PM (CST) before first day of class; see University Calendar for class dates
Summer March 1 May 1 May 15 11:59 PM (CST) before first day of class; see University Calendar for class dates

Admission Tests

Information about required tests is found in specific degree and program requirements.  That information can also be found in the Quick Reference at the end of this publication.  See Assessment and Testing Services for MSU testing information.

Transcripts for Admission

A graduate from another institution seeking admission to graduate study at MSU must provide official transcripts from the college which the applicant is attending or has attended and from which he/she will receive or has received a bachelor’s degree.  Transcripts for all work attempted after the bachelor’s, including undergraduate and graduate, must also be provided (see General Requirements for Admission).