Michigan State University
#103 Overall Influence#1461 Desirability Rank

Michigan State University

Public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States

About This School

How does this school stack up?

By James Barham, PhD

Michigan State University (MSU) was founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, the first of its kind in the US. Its original curriculum elevated the study of the natural sciences over the Classical languages and humanities, which was quite unusual at the time.

The state reorganized the curriculum just six years later, in 1861, restoring a more traditional balance between the sciences and the humanities. At this time, the school’s name was changed to State Agricultural College.

The following year, in 1862, the first of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts was passed by the US Congress under the leadership of President Lincoln. These Acts were intended to encourage the development of publicly supported institutions of higher learning throughout the US.

Michigan’s State Agricultural College was mentioned by the first Morrill Act as a model for the other states to emulate. In addition, the Act established a new system of public financing—the “land-grant” system—under which the states obtained the right to sell off certain federal lands for the purpose of setting up publicly supported colleges.

In 1863, following the passage of the Morrill Act, the agricultural college was designated Michigan’s official land-grant college; as such, women students were permitted to attend classes and the school’s curriculum was further expanded.

By 1925, the agricultural college’s curriculum had expanded so much that its name was changed to the Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. The institution continued to rapidly evolve, and finally in 1964 its name was changed to its present form.

Today, MSU is one of the largest universities in the US, with a student body numbering nearly 50,000.

MSU is associated with three Nobel laureates, namely,

  • Physicist, Albert Fert
  • Chemist, Robert Grubbs
  • Bacteriologist, Alfred Hershey, for physiology or medicine

Other prominent MSU connected individuals include the following:

  • Poet, Carolyn Forché
  • Novelists, Richard Ford, Jim Harrison & Thomas McGuane
  • Film directors, Michael Cimino & Sam Raimi
  • Actors, James Caan, Robert Ulrich, Tom Sizemore & Anthony Heald
  • Popular singer and songwriter, Paul Stookey
  • Rapper, Tee Grizzley
  • “Muckraking” journalist, Ray Stannard Baker
  • Intellectual historian and political theorist, Russell Kirk
  • Physicist and optical fiber pioneer, Donald Keck
  • Paleontologist, Robert L. Carroll
  • Existential psychologist, Rollo May
  • Social psychologist, Daniel Wegner
  • Laser-printer inventor, Gary Starkweather
  • Journalist and essayist, Susan Jacoby
  • Former International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President, James P. Hoffa
  • Current US Senator, Debbie Stabenow
  • Current Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer

Admissions

What does this school look for?

Annual Applications

33,129

Acceptance

78%

Graduation Rate

78%

Median SAT Score

1210

Median ACT Score

26

Costs

How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)

$15,555

Fees (in-state)

$0

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings

$63,200

Employed

93%

Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body

43K

Under-Grads

37K

Graduates

5K

The Campus

Where will you be attending?

Location

, East Lansing MI 48824-1046

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

13k per 100k

Violent Crime

1k per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

15k per 100k

Violent Crime

2k per 100k

What is Michigan State University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#21 World Rank #18 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#29 World Rank #24 USA Rank
Nursing
#39 World Rank #30 USA Rank
Education
#69 World Rank #38 USA Rank
Psychology
#45 World Rank #39 USA Rank
Business
#78 World Rank #41 USA Rank
History
#77 World Rank #42 USA Rank
Biology
#51 World Rank #45 USA Rank
Communications
#94 World Rank #47 USA Rank
Sociology
#64 World Rank #48 USA Rank
Engineering
#70 World Rank #49 USA Rank
Political Science
#173 World Rank #61 USA Rank
Physics
#120 World Rank #63 USA Rank
Economics
#101 World Rank #64 USA Rank
Medical
#93 World Rank #70 USA Rank
Social Work
#200 World Rank #77 USA Rank
Chemistry
#145 World Rank #78 USA Rank
Law
#153 World Rank #81 USA Rank
Computer Science
#187 World Rank #89 USA Rank
Anthropology
#243 World Rank #95 USA Rank
Mathematics
#274 World Rank #97 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#340 World Rank #124 USA Rank
Philosophy
#463 World Rank #186 USA Rank
Literature
#463 World Rank #227 USA Rank
Religious Studies

Influential People

Who are Michigan State University's Most influential alumni?

Michigan State University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Education. Michigan State University’s most academically influential people include Alfred Hershey, Don E. Schultz, and David Sloan Wilson.

Alfred Hershey
Alfred Hershey

American chemist

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Don E. Schultz

American academic

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David Sloan Wilson
David Sloan Wilson

American biologist

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Russell Kirk
Russell Kirk

American political theorist and writer

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Richard Ford
Richard Ford

American novelist and short story writer

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Rollo May
Rollo May

American psychiatrist

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Vernor Vinge
Vernor Vinge

American mathematician, computer scientist, and science fiction writer

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Ray Stannard Baker
Ray Stannard Baker

American journalist

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William F. Friedman
William F. Friedman

American cryptologist

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Geoff Johns
Geoff Johns

American comic book writer

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Michael Waterman
Michael Waterman

American scientist and professor at the University of Southern California

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Liberty Hyde Bailey
Liberty Hyde Bailey

U.S. botanist

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