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Program Types

MSU offers over 275 credit-bearing programs around the world through a wide range of program types and experiences. Before you dive in to the program search, let's learn about the different opportunities you have available at MSU.

Study Abroad Programs

Study abroad programs range from an entire academic year, a semester, or a short-term summer, spring or winter break option. These programs offer a great opportunity to earn credit towards your degree and spend time culturally immersed in your host country. All course work on study abroad programs is taught in English, with the exception of intensive language-learning programs.

Image of three student photos - one group in Iceland, one student holding Spartan flag on Great Wall of China, and student in front of Australian university sign


Student standing in red telephone booth in London, EnglandParticipants on a faculty-directed program go abroad with an MSU faculty member and take MSU courses. These programs are generally offered over the summer or during a break and range from one to eight weeks. This type of program can prove to be a convenient option if you don’t want to spend a long time abroad or would like the guidance and support of MSU faculty throughout the experience.


Student holding Spartan flag in front of sign that reads Bowland College

As a participant, you will enroll as a visiting student at one of MSU’s partner institutions abroad for a summer term, an entire semester, or even a full academic-year. Direct enroll and exchange programs provide a great opportunity for cultural immersion in your host country.

Student support services are usually provided by the host institution staff (at varying levels, depending on location), requiring you to exercise more independence and initiative.

What's the difference between direct enroll and exchange?


Group of students posing in South Africa holding up Spartan flagStudents coming to MSU for their first year of college have the opportunity to study internationally or domestically between their high school graduation and the start of the MSU school year through First-Year Seminar program. These seminars are designed to combine both the cultural and experiential learning of education abroad with the introduction to the expectations, pace, and structure of academic and social life at Michigan State. In addition to making friends with other first-year students, participants develop meaningful relationships with MSU faculty and staff who can help support their personal and academic success as they transition to college. See First-Year Seminars Abroad and Away for more details.

Experiential Programs

As a part of your major or degree requirements at MSU, you might have the opportunity to complete an internship, conduct undergraduate research, or even get involved serving the larger East Lansing community. As you learn more about this options around campus, consider exploring the international opportunities available to you through our programs.

Image of three student photos, one group in Italy, student researchers in Germany, and students playing with children in Mexico


Students standing with local woman in South AfricaInternational internships are unpaid, credit-bearing programs that allow participants to gain work experience in a new culture. Internships abroad can help develop career planning and decision-making skills for the future and allow exploration of organizational structures, communication styles and work cultures.


Student standing between two local women in NepalResearch is offered as a component of numerous education abroad programs. Projects encompass a wide variety of fields including biodiversity, environmental science, mechanical engineering, molecular biology, information and communication technology, public health and more, and are primarily offered at the undergraduate level.

Research abroad can be done in conjunction with a faculty-directed program or independently, and is a credit-bearing experience.

See Research Abroad for more details.


Students with children at local orphanage in MexicoGlobal Community-Engaged Learning (GCEL) combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. GCEL programs involve students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community.

Additional Program Options


Affiliated Partner Programs are offered with provider organizations in which MSU has an existing relationship. These programs are offered all over the world in a wide variety of academic areas and provide a high level of support to participants.

Programs offered through Affiliated Partner Programs vastly expand your education abroad opportunities at MSU and offer a wide range of locations, types of experiences, and academic content.

Current Affiliated Partner Programs include Arcadia Abroad, CEA Study Abroad and CIS Abroad. Programs available to MSU students will be listed in the MSU Via TRM program search for each of these organizations.

Students participating in Affiliated Partner Programs will pay their program fee directly to the provider organization, including any required deposits. In addition, MSU’s Office for Education Abroad will bill a $650 program fee to the student’s MSU account which covers student support services and mandatory international health insurance. The $650 will be billed as follows:

  • $100 upon submission of an application to the MSU Education Abroad Via TRM portal
  • $200 upon commitment to the program through the MSU Education Abroad Via TRM portal
  • $350 balance according to the university’s regular billing cycle*

*mid-July for fall semester programs; early November for winter break, spring semester and spring break programs; early April for summer programs.


Virtual International Learning Opportunities are offered in an online format with provider organizations and partner institutions where MSU has an existing relationship. Participating in virtual courses allow you to connect with students and faculty from around the world and become part of a global classroom while staying local. Email abroad(at) for more information about virtual options.

The Office for Education Abroad does NOT process applications for programs not sponsored by Michigan State University.

When you begin your search, you will find that some study abroad programs offer experiential learning options or are solely focused on an internship, research, and global community-engaged learning.  If you are getting lost in finding the right program, it might be helpful to look back on your goals for why you want to take your education abroad.