Below is a list of frequently asked questions about applying to a graduate program in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.  If you don't see your question here,  or if you have a follow up question, email us at


  • We recommend that you begin by submitting the Pre-Application form before submitting an official application. Remember, the Pre-App is free!  You can find the Pre-App form for each program on our How to Apply page.  Response time is typically 1 - 2 weeks for the Pre-App form.
  • Browse the webpage for the degree program that you are interested in pursuing, and click on the Program Guidelines button.  Most programs have a list of Admission Requirements that will help you decide whether or not you meet those requirements.  

No.  All applicants must pay the application fee upon application submission.

If you received a bachelors, MS, or PhD from an institution in the US or a country listed below, an English proficiency exam is not required.

  1. Anguilla
  2. Antiqua & Barbuda
  3. Australia
  4. Bahamas
  5. Barbados
  6. Belize
  7. British Virgin Islands
  8. Canada (except Quebec)
  9. Cayman Islands
  10. Dominica
  11. Falkland Islands
  12. Gibraltar
  13. Ghana 
  14. Grenada
  15. Guernsey
  16. Guyana
  17. Ireland
  18. Isle of Man
  19. Jamaica
  20. Jersey
  21. Liberia
  22. Montserrat
  23. New Zealand
  24. St. Kitts and Nevis
  25. St. Lucia
  26. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  27. Trinidad and Tobago
  28. Turks and Caicos Islands
  29. United Kingdom
  30. United States Territories

There are two levels of proficiency scores, one is for admission to the program, and the other is for eligibility to work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) in the department.

  • TOEFL – 80 for admission, 93 for GTA eligibility
  • IELTS – 6.5 for admission, 7 for GTA eligibility
  • DUOLINGO – 120 for admission, 135 for GTA eligibility
  • PTE Academic - 54 for admission,  65 for GTA eligibility

We are able to use unofficial transcripts and English proficiency scores during the review process. If an applicant is admitted to the program, then official documents will need to be sent to the Graduate School. Letters of recommendation must come from the letter writers themselves or be emailed directly to the Program Coordinator from the letter writer. If a student hand delivers official transcripts, it must be in a sealed, stamped envelope.

All students who meet the minimum application requirements are eligible to be considered for a GTA. We assume all applicants are interested in a GTA unless they make note of it in their application. Decisions regarding GTA support are separate from admission decisions and are based on availability of department resources.

Admission requirements vary per program.  Please consult the specific program webpage and the Program Guidelines button to determine if your application will satisfy  the admission requirements for that program.  

In return for teaching, tutoring, or leading recitation sections, GTAs are offered a monthly stipend, tuition waivers, an additional payment to help defer the cost of health care, and a desk in a shared office.

No. In addition to a monthly stipend, students earn an additional payment to help defer health care costs. While MSU does have a health insurance plan that students may purchase, it is expensive. We recommend that students look for health insurance on the open market. Most students find this option to be much more affordable than MSU's insurance plan.

While the tuition is covered by waivers, students must pay the fees that are associated with their tutiion. These fees can range from $250 to $1200 depending on the number of credits a student is enrolled in for a given semester.  For the most up-to-date summary of tuition costs and the associated fees, consult MSU's Fee Schedule page by clicking the link below, and select the "Graduate" link.

Generally, no. If a student already knows a faculty member who has funding and is willing to fund them through an active grant, then that funding is arranged in consultation with the faculty member and the Department Head. Most GRAs in the department are PhD students who are funded to work on a specific funded project.

  • Yes, but we recommend that you call University Student Housing as soon as you accept our offer. There is a waitlist and it is first come, first served.
  • Students who apply/accept our offer late will most likely need to look for housing outside of campus
  • Very often our own students are looking for roommates.

For applicants who apply to begin studies in fall semester, decisions are typically made in February.  Please check the CollegeNet portal as an official decision will be communicated there.

The Graduate School at MSU provides a webpage to highlight some information to help incoming students prepare to enter a graduate program  on campus.