Graduate & Undergraduate Support

Michigan State runs its graduate and undergraduate academic operations in a decentralized manner. Departments have considerable latitude to array their academic programs in a manner befitting their disciplines and faculty preferences. That said, there are a number of services, tasks, operations, policies, and offices that are shared resources throughout the university in the conduct of efficient undergraduate and graduate program operations.

General Services & Information


  • Academic Calendar
  • Schedule of Courses
  • Overrides
    • Overrides are an authorization that typically originate with an instructor to grant permissions for students to enroll in a given course. Students can directly request an override for 999 (Dissertation Continuation) credits. The authorizations are processed through SIS, the Student Information System, which is mainframe software.
  • CLIFMS (Course Load Instruction Funding and Modeling System)
    • CLIFMS is the way MSU connects instructors to their courses to appear on the Schedule of Courses, as well as contingent services and information repositories. CLIFMS data and SIS data typically refresh overnight to update all related services (such as the Schedule of Courses).
  • Work Copy
    • Work copy is the fundamental charting of courses that will eventually populate the Schedule of Courses for the upcoming academic year. Departments (and colleges) can use work copy to calculate course coverage, ensure faculty obligations are being met, determine graduate teaching assignments, determine where and when courses might run, set enrollment limits, etc. Colleges also use work copy to help assist the university and the department to comply with established campus, state, and federal guidelines and policies.
  • 25Live Classroom Scheduling
    • Faculty, staff, and students can use 25Live to determine if a space is room is available for reservation. All classroom requests are reviewed/approved by the classroom scheduling personnel of the Registrar's Office.
  • Schedule and Enrollment Limit changes
    • Depending on the department, advising specialists, faculty, program directors etc. will request changes for room and enrollment issues. Use 25Live to make room changes; enrollment limit changes are done through the RO Faculty & Staff menu under "Enrollment Limit Changes."

Grad Student Academics


  • Annual Progress Report
    • Annual Progress Reports are filed by each program for each graduate student. Ideally, the annual progress report gives students a chance to reflect upon their progress within their respective programs, as well as for faculty to give their interpretation of that performance from a disciplinary and administrative point of view. Annual progress reports are required as part of the Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities (GSRR), and information and samples can be found on the Graduate School's GSRR website.
  • Dissertation/Thesis Completion Form
    • Ph.D. students and M.A. students are required to complete this form when they complete their dissertation or thesis. It requires the signature of their committee chair, and must be filled out in its entirety. Students can submit the form directly to the Graduate School (contact info is on the form), but should cc the program's graduate secretary upon submission.
  • IRB (Institutional Review Board)
    • For those students and faculty who are doing research on human subjects, they are required to obtain approval for their research projects for research compliance. They use the Click compliance system to facilitate this process.
  • RCR (Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship)
    • Graduate students are required to participate in a number of modules of research training during their time at MSU, as well as participate in a number of face-to-face hours with program faculty.
  • GradPlan (student), GradInfo/GradAudit (typically staff and graduate directors)
    • GradPlan is used by the Ph.D. students to track their program progress, as well as their graduate directors, secretaries, and committee members. GradInfo/GradAudit are backend systems meant to review and enter information necessary to help students complete their GradPlan, as well as enter alumni placement data and track other information.

Grad Student Affairs


Grad Program Funding


Grad Student Human Resources


  • Graduate Assistantships
    • Class of student employees who are graduate students of MSU programs that work for stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance from various units that are typically divided into two main categories of work assignment: teaching assistants (TAs) and research assistants (RAs). Teaching assistants are represented by the Graduate Employee Union (GEU), research assistants currently are not. Information for why not is a matter of Michigan law.
  • GA coding list
    • In order to link a student's billing status in StuINFO to their entitled tuition waiver and stipend, graduate secretaries/assigned staff submit APIDs to the Registrar's Office for specified semesters to code students as entitled to their contractual employment benefits. 
  • GA health insurance
    • Health insurance benefits for GAs is overseen exclusively through MSU Human Resources, faculty and staff should direct students to Human Resources and their webpages for associated information.

Grad Student Admissions


  • Staff admissions role
  • Graduate assistantship offer letters
  • Rejection letters
  • Rolling admissions
  • Auditions
  • Interviews

Grad Operations


  • Graduate Handbook
  • Graduate Secretary Meetings
  • Graduate Secretary Resources
  • GEU Contract

Undergrad Academics


Undergrad Programs and Operations