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#94 Overall Influence #1461 Desirability Rank

Michigan State University

Public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, United States
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

From Wikipedia

Michigan State University is a public land-grant research university in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU was founded in 1855 and served as a model for land-grant colleges and universities later created under the Morrill Act of 1862. The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country's first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


, East Lansing MI 48824-1046

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

13 per 100K

Violent Crime

1 per 100K

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

15 per 100K

Violent Crime

2 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

#67 World Rank
#34 World Rank
#76 World Rank
#51 World Rank
#134 World Rank
#61 World Rank
#115 World Rank
#134 World Rank
#77 World Rank
Political Science
#168 World Rank
#75 World Rank
#99 World Rank
#130 World Rank
#121 World Rank
Computer Science
#63 World Rank
#152 World Rank
#98 World Rank
#56 World Rank
#131 World Rank
Religious Studies
#21 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#125 World Rank
#140 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#47 World Rank
#96 World Rank
Social Work

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, Business, and Nursing

Erik Qualman

Erik Qualman

American writer

Lou Anna Simon

Lou Anna Simon

President of Michigan State university

Ted Peters

American theologian

John P. Walters

Director of the National Drug Control Policy to George W. Bush

Luther Christman

Luther Christman

American nursing professor and administrator

Phaedon Avouris

Greek scientist

Theodore L. Brown

American scientist known for research, teaching, and writing in the field of physical inorganic chemistry, a university administrator, and a philosopher of science

Jeffrey Arnett

American psychologist

D. Lawrence Kincaid

American academic

Vinita Bali

Vinita Bali

Indian businessman

Stephen Porges

Stephen Porges

American psychologist

Shereef Akeel

American lawyer