International Studies & Programs

Home > Students > Getting Started > Program Types

Program Types

Michigan State University currently offers over 275 education abroad programs to over 60 countries all around the world. Programs are academically focused with credit that counts toward graduation.

Descriptions of each individual program can be found through our education abroad program search.

Study Abroad

Study abroad allows a student to take classes and earn academic credit that include instruction from MSU faculty or faculty from a host institution abroad.

1. Faculty-Directed = Students participate on a program directed by Michigan State University faculty, alongside other MSU students.

2. Partner Programs = Students participating on a partner program enroll in courses with an international institution, transferring credit back to MSU. Partner Programs include:

  • Exchanges: MSU students enroll as a visiting student at an international university and a student from the host institution comes to East Lansing. MSU students pay MSU tuition and fees.
  • Direct Enrollment: MSU students enroll as a visiting student at an international university and pay tuition and fees directly to the host institution.


Internships abroad allow students to gain work experience in a new culture and earn academic credit.


Research abroad can be done in conjunction with faculty or conducted independently, and can encompass a wide variety of fields.


Service-learning opportunities usually include partnering with local community organizations and address a variety of social, economic, environmental or health challenges facing the community.

Other ways to earn credit abroad 

Independent Study

An individual learning experience abroad for which an MSU faculty member agrees to sponsor academic credit and serve as the professor of record.

Programs not sponsored by MSU

Students may have the option to participate in non-MSU programs administered by other institutions or organizations. Students have to proactively make arrangements with a host program and work closely with the Office for Education Abroad and their academic advisers to ensure approval and credit transfer. Students pay the host institution or organization directly, plus some MSU fees.

MSU has many international exchange and direct enrollment partnerships. Students will not be permitted to participate in a non-MSU program with one of these existing partners (whether directly or via a provider organization). Instead, we encourage students to explore the Education Abroad program search to identify a suitable exchange and/or direct enrollment program.