Undergraduate FAQ

General Advising Questions

Check MSU’s academic calendar frequently to verify deadlines for adding or dropping courses or withdrawing from the university. Generally, students have until the end of the first week of class to add a course, and the middle of the semester to drop with no grade penalty (although the period for receiving a tuition refund is before the middle of the semester).

An independent study can be completed when a student wishes to study a specific topic for which a course is not available. Independent studies are not done often and students are expected to have a high GPA and evidence of strong work in prior classes. Interested students must identify a faculty member and work with him/her to develop the following:

  • a description of what you plan to study
  • the rationale behind the independent study
  • a description of the preparation you have had that enables you to do the work
  • what work you will do for the independent study
  • a schedule of times you will meet with the supervising instructor
  • deadline for submission of work
  • criteria for how you will be graded

The student and instructor will then sign the completed form and submit it to the student’s academic advisor, who will also sign it. At this time, the advisor will issue an override for CJ 490 (or CJ 890), which will allow the student to enroll for the section. Finally, a copy of the independent study form is given to the student, the instructor, and the College of Social Science. The original is kept on file in the advisor’s office.

MSU provides current and prospective students with a website that can assist with finding out what course equivalencies would be for credit earned at other Michigan colleges and universities, along with some major universities outside the state of Michigan.

Once a student submits a final transcript to Credit Evaluation for review, a credit summary will be sent to the advisor in the student's declared major. The student will then need to meet with an advisor to review how the credit will be applied toward degree requirements. Review the requirements for degree programs online.

There is a wide range of careers to pursue in criminal justice. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the United States Department of Labor maintain websites containing detailed information on careers in criminal justice and career outlooks in the field. The following books may also be helpful: Your Criminal Justice Career: A Guidebook for Seeking Employment in Criminal Justice and Related Fields.

Students can also attend career fairs and make contact with professionals in the field through internships or classes. Career and internship opportunities are also posted on bulletin boards in Baker Hall and the Student Reception and Resource Room in 135.

If you are a Freshman or Sophomore, you may change your major via the link below.


Please note: this form was created using Google Apps. Your MSU NetID grants you access to this Google Form. If you receive the message "You need permission," log out of all Google Accounts and close all open tabs or windows running Google Apps, and follow the above steps again.


Students with 40 credits or more should make an appointment to see a Criminal Justice Advisor to review degree requirements and get instructions on how to change majors.

Make An Appointment

The College of Social Science offers two choices to students wishing to add criminal justice as their primary major. Students may either complete an additional major or opt to complete a second degree. In the case of an additional major, students only complete the requirements for that major; in the School of Criminal Justice, that is 30 credits in criminal justice coursework. Students completing an additional major do NOT receive a second diploma but it is noted on their final transcript.

A student wishing to complete second degree must complete the 30 credits of criminal justice coursework mentioned above AND complete College of Social Science requirements: 15 credits in social science coursework, 9 credits in arts and letters coursework, and 6 credits in natural science coursework. The student is also required to complete a minimum of 150 credits (153 if either MTH 1825 or WRA 0102/WRA 1004 were taken, or 156 credits if both MTH 1825 and WRA 0102/WRA 1004 were taken). A student will receive a second diploma for a bachelors in criminal justice upon successful completion of all requirements.

A student wishing to complete either the additional major or the second degree must meet with an advisor to complete the necessary paperwork and to review requirements.

Please visit the School of Criminal Justice Career Services and Internship website to learn more.


You may also make an appointment with Criminal Justice Advisor Tim Homberg (hombergt@msu.edu) via msu.campus.eab.com

Graduation From MSU

Yes—students must apply for graduation with the Registrar’s Office before the end of the first week of classes. However, they are encouraged to apply well before that date so the advising staff can verify that all requirements are met.

No, 120 credits is the minimum number of credits an MSU student needs to graduate. There is no penalty or negative association with having more than 120 credits. NOTE: Students that have taken MTH 1825 or WRA 0102/WRA 1004 (formerly ATL 0102/ATL 1004) will need 123 total credits to graduate. If both MTH 1825 AND WRA 0102/WRA 1004 were taken, those students will need 126 credits to graduate. Make an appointment to see an advisor to clarify how many credits are needed to graduate.

Yes, students completing degree requirements in the summer can still participate in spring commencement, since there is no summer commencement offered. However, when applying to graduate, students will need to apply to graduate for the summer session when they will be certified for graduation. Those students’ names will appear in the commencement program under the list for summer graduates, and they will receive diplomas after completing degree requirements for summer session. These degrees are usually mailed out at the end of the second summer session.

Keep in mind that not all classes are offered during the summer sessions. For example, the School of Criminal Justice does not offer Tier II writing or research methods in summer session, and it frequently rotates its course offerings. Check the Descriptions of Courses and the Schedule of Courses or speak to an advisor to determine what will be offered for students who are planning to graduate in August.

Graduate Programs In Criminal Justice

The School of Criminal Justice offers a forensic science degree at the masters level with concentrations available in chemistry, biology, and anthropology. Students in the chemistry and biology concentrations are expected to hold a degree in the natural sciences (i.e. chemistry, biochemistry, biology, etc). Students in the anthropology concentration are expected to have a background in physical anthropology that includes human osteology. Prospective students should contact Melissa Christle at burrier@msu.edu or 517- 353-7133.

Application deadlines for the masters degree program are February 1 for the following fall semester and September 1 for the following Spring semester.

Interested students learn more about the on-campus program HERE or the online programs HERE.


Instructors can make errors in grading so a student should talk to his or her instructor first about the grade. Students can contact Dr. April Zeoli, Director of Undergraduate Studies, for more information. She will explain the procedure used in the School of Criminal Justice for appealing a grade received in a criminal justice course.

While advisors are valuable sources of information, students are ultimately responsible for knowing graduation requirements and ensuring these have been met. All students should regularly check MSU’s Degree Navigator to review requirements (selecting “Audit – Full Report” will display remaining requirements).

Students can also speak to the Director of Academic Student Affairs in the College of Social Science if they are unhappy with advising in their major.

See an academic advisor immediately—there may be a solution. To avoid this problem, students should always print a completed copy of their course schedules after they have completed enrollment.

Make An Appointment

Juniors or seniors who wish to withdraw completely from the university during a semester in which they are enrolled should go to the Office of Student Affairs in the College of Social Science, 201 Berkey Hall. Freshmen or sophomores should go to one of the Undergraduate University Division offices—they have several locations on campus to serve freshmen and sophomores. Unauthorized withdrawal, or leaving the university without obtaining an official withdrawal, will result in the student being reported as having failed all courses and the forfeiture of any fees or deposits that might otherwise be refunded.

This problem emphasizes the need to enroll as soon as the appointed enrollment time arrives. Many students procrastinate and miss the opportunity to add a required course. To add a course that is full, students may request an override or e-mail the professor to request an override. Either way, the final decision is up to the instructor, who may turn away students looking to add a course at the last minute.