Undergraduate FAQ’s

Prospective Students

Q. I’m in high school, and interested in attending MSU and becoming a packaging major. Can I come in and talk to someone?
A. Sure! Please look at our Prospective Students page for tour dates, and contact Gayle Cohen at gdcohen@msu.edu to schedule. Many prospective students like to make this appointment while they are in East Lansing on a tour with the MSU Admissions Office.

Q. I am a prospective transfer student from another institution. What do I need to do to be a packaging major?
A. As a transfer student (typically at Junior status), you need to apply to MSU as a whole. If you declare packaging as your major, your admission will be based on MSU’s requirements, as well as the School of Packaging’s requirements. If you meet both, you will be accepted to MSU as a packaging major. For packaging, you need to have Calculus 1 and 2, Physics 1, and Chemistry 1.

Q. Are there scholarships for freshmen/transfer students?
A. The School of Packaging currently has one scholarship, the Dwight Schmidt Endowed Scholarship, that is specifically for incoming students. You will receive an application when the School of Packaging is notified of your acceptance to MSU and your intent of being a Packaging major. Incoming students are welcome to apply for our regular School of Packaging scholarships, which are open to any packaging student.

Current MSU Students

General Questions

Q. How do I make an advising appointment or ask a question?          
A. Email Gayle Cohen at gdcohen@msu.edu with general questions. To schedule an advising appointment, please use the advising calendar at www.msu.campus.eab.com. Select “Get Advising” on the right hand side, then Ag and Natural Resources, then packaging.

Q. I know the School of Packaging is a limited enrollment major. How do I apply?
A. If you have already declared Packaging as your major, you will be automatically reviewed once you hit 56 credits. If you are not a packaging major, and are not yet a junior, you can change your major at any time through MSU’s University Undergraduate Division (https://www.msu.edu/dept/uud/).

If you are at 56 credits or above, please make an appointment with Gayle Cohen to discuss your major change.

Q. Is there an enrollment limit in the School of Packaging?
A. No. We have admission requirements, however, which can be found on our Web site. Students who meet these requirements at 56 credits can gain admission into our program.

Q. I wasn’t accepted into the School of Packaging. Now what?
A. If you were already declared Packaging, you will need to change your major. To do this, you must contact either UUD (https://www.msu.edu/dept/uud/), or contact the advisor of the department that you wish to change into. You can request readmission once you meet the requirements.

Overrides

Q. I need an override into a course. How do I get it?
A. If you are a packaging major, please email Gayle Cohen with the following information: your name, PID number, the course AND section number, alternate section numbers that also work, the semester the override is for, and the reason for the override. If you are taking a course at another school over the summer that is a prerequisite for the course you are trying to enter, proof of enrollment (a screen shot of your schedule is fine) is also required.

Q. My friend got an override into a class. Why won’t you give me one too?
A. Overrides are done on a case-by-case basis, and many factors are involved, including expected graduation date, number of courses remaining to completed, and past academic performance (for prerequisite overrides).  If a course is full, overrides can only be done with professor permission, and only to a certain point as our labs can only hold so many students.

Q. I can’t get into Physics/Chemistry/Statistics/another non-PKG course. Can you override me?
A. Advisors only have override authority for their own department. Many departments do not do overrides. Please call the specific department hosting the course that you are trying to get into. If they require confirmation that you need the course for your major, contact Gayle Cohen.

Academic Questions

Q. What is the minimum grade I need in a course to move on?
A. If the course is not an admission requirement course (CEM 141, PHY 231, MTH 124), you only need to have received credit. At MSU, you receive credit for a 1.0. However, remember that the SoP has a GPA requirement for admission, and after that point you need at least an overall 2.0 GPA to graduate, so aim high!

Q. I did poorly in a course. Can I repeat it? How many times?
A. If you received less than a 2.0, you can repeat a course. You can repeat a course as many times as you need to, but you cannot exceed 20 total repeat credits.

Q. The curriculum guide doesn’t say anything about ISP or ISB. Do I need to take them?
A. No. The School of Packaging’s degree requirements have courses built-in that meet these university requirements.

Q. I took a course at a community college/other university this summer. How do I get my credits to MSU?
A. Once your course is complete, you need to contact the registrar’s office at the school you attended, and ask that an official transcript be sent to the MSU registrar’s office to transfer credit. DO NOT send the transcript to the School of Packaging—we cannot do anything with it! The MSU RO will process your transfer credits and add them to your academic record.

Q. What grade do I need in a course from another institution to have it transfer for credit to MSU?

A. MSU will only give you transfer credit if you receive a 2.0 or above.

 

Q. I’m a junior, can I still take classes at a community college?

A. No. You can only transfer credits from a community college while you are under 56 total credits. You may take classes at a 4 year institution after junior standing.

Internships

Q. I have an internship (PKG 493) on my academic plan. Can you describe this for me?
A. An internship in the packaging industry is not required, but HIGHLY recommended. About 90% of students in the SoP go on an internship at some point during their academic careers. Internships are usually 6 months, paid, and can be anywhere across the U.S. Companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Eli Lily, Rock Tenn, and SC Johnson take our students as interns each semester.  It is an excellent opportunity to get some real-world experience, as well as to test out a particular company or part of the industry. You must have completed PKG 101, 102 (students who started FS 16 or after), 221, 315, 322 and 323 in order to go on internship—you can accept one prior, but cannot leave MSU until you have successfully completed those courses.

Q. How do I find an internship?
A. The SoP provides you with many resources to find an internship. Placement coordinator Ron Iwaszkiewicz sends out emails frequently, as well as posts to a Facebook page and Twitter feed, with job and internship opportunities for students; you typically apply through My Spartan Career unless directed otherwise. We also have our own Career Fair every January—this is a HUGE opportunity to get an internship! The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) also has Career Gallery in the Fall semester, and companies frequently come to recruit at the SoP.

Q. Do I get credit for an internship?
A. The internship is labeled as PKG 493, worth three credits. This counts toward your packaging electives.

Q. Can I take more than one internship? Do I get credit for more than one?
A. Yes, you can. You may receive credit twice for PKG 493. Only three credits can count toward PKG electives—the other three will go toward your general electives.

Q. Do I need to take it for credit? Why can’t I just go on internship and not pay for the credit hours?
A. If you secure an internship using MSU resources, you must take the internship course PKG 493. Companies who recruit through MSU expect that the School of Packaging will be accountable for their students, and the PKG 493 course is the way we do this. If you have questions about this policy, please contact Ron Iwaszkiewicz at iwaszkie@msu.edu.

Q. Are there any summer internships available?
A. Occasionally, but there are not many and they are difficult to get. The School of Packaging always plans for students to take a six-month internship, since that is most common, and your advisor can adjust your schedule as necessary if you receive a summer internship instead.

Q. Can I graduate on an internship?
A. Yes. You can walk the semester prior, so you do not have to return to MSU. You would apply for graduation as normal, and if you meet graduation requirements will be approved and need to contact the registrar’s office to delay graduation. If you do not meet requirements (i.e. will be taking an online course to meet the remaining courses while on internship, or need the internship credit to complete your packaging elective requirements), your application will be denied, but you will still be listed in the graduation program as all students who apply are listed. In both cases you need to reapply for graduation in the correct semester. You will receive your diploma following that semester.

Q. I got an internship! Now what?
A. You need to attend an exit session with Ron before you leave. They are offered at the end of each semester. Check the board in the Packaging building for sign-up dates, or contact Ron at iwaszkie@msu.edu. He will provide the overrides after the exit session so that you can enroll in PKG 493.

Scholarships

Q. Are there scholarships in the School of Packaging? How do I apply?
A. An email is sent out to all Packaging majors every spring with a scholarship application. These are due by August 15th and will be reviewed by our scholarship committee. The application can also be found on the Scholarship portion of our Web page.