International Studies & Programs

Selecting Coursework

Selecting courses for your exchange or study-abroad semester can be exciting, but it can also be confusing. In an effort to best support our semester-long students, this section is meant to offer a bit of guidance.


With your application to ASP or the Exchange program, you are required to submit a list of at least 10 preferred courses. You have found our lists of courses and looked MSU's Schedule of Courses, but they are listed differently than you are used to. This is understandable, and we're here to help! Please look through the questions and answers below for guidance.

For additional questions, please contact the exchanges coordinator at msuex(at)msu.edu and the American Semester Program coordinator by sending an email to american(at)msu.edu.


Where do I look for courses?

Take a look at MSU's course schedule.

Students need to make sure that they enter the correct semester at the top of the website. Not all courses are offered during all semesters, so you want to make sure you are looking for the semester you are applying to.

If a course is not offered during a specific semester, it will not be offered. Not all courses are offered each semester.

Where do I find course for undergraduate students?

Courses for undergraduate students are courses with the course code 100 to 400.

For example, if you look at the course code ENG 201:

  • ENG means that this is an English course
  • 201 means that the course is an undergraduate course

As long as the course code does not include a number larger than 499, you would be looking at an undergraduate course.

What is a graduate course?

Courses for graduate students are courses with the course code 500 and above. The 800 and 900 level course codes are most common for graduate students, but they may be courses leading to doctoral degrees rather than Master's degrees.

For example, if you look at the course code ENG 801:

  • ENG means that this is an English course
  • 801 means that the course is a graduate level course

Students must meet all prerequisites for the courses they wish to enroll in and admission to graduate courses will often involve interviews and more detailed discussions about a student's academic background.

Can I take graduate level courses?

Courses at 800 and 900 level course codes are most common for graduate students, but they may be courses leading to doctoral degrees rather than Master's degrees. Students must meet all prerequisites for the courses they wish to enroll in and admission to graduate courses will often involve interviews and more detailed discussions about a student's academic background. 

Only if all requirements are met and the academic background is sufficient will students be able to enroll in graduate level courses. This is to ensure that incoming short-term students are successful in the courses they are enroled in while also exploring the U.S. culture.

What if I can't find a specific course in the course schedule?

If a certain course is not listed in the course schedule for a given semester, it will unfortunately not be offered. Not all courses offered during all semesters. If you encounter this situation, it is important to work closely with your adviser at your home university and the American Semester Program Coordinator or the Exchanges Coordinator at MSU to find possible alternate courses.

For questions, please send an e-mail to: msuex(at)msu.edu or american(at)msu.edu

How do I get enrolled?

With your application, you submit a list of at least 10 courses you are interested in taking during your semester at MSU. The American Semester Coordinator or the Exchange Coordinator will take this list and work with advisors in the colleges at MSU to begin creating a course schedule for you.

Unfortunately, our short-term students are only able to enroll themselves in courses that do not require the completion of prerequisite courses. (Prerequisites are courses that you must complete first before you can take another course.) Given that you have not yet taken courses at MSU before, an advisor will need to look at your academic background to determine which prerequisites you meet and the individually approve you for each course that you are eligible for.

This means that you need to work closely with your American Semester Coordinator or your Exchange Coordinator through the course selection process.

What if I do not have a full course schedule before arrival?

Please do not worry if you do not yet have a full course schedule before you travel to MSU! Many students will make adjustments in meetings with advisors during orientation week or during the first week of classes (this week is also known as the add-drop-period).

Sometimes, enrollment in certain courses is not possible until arrival on campus, because a personal discussion regarding the objectives of the course and your academic background.  

That said, it is important that you come prepared with a list of additional possible course options, that you answer all e-mails from your American Semester Program Coordinator or your Exchange Coordinator and that you attend the necessary orientation meetings (or any other meetings that you are asked to attend).

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