Domestic

Application Instructions

Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents should complete a domestic application. All applicants should apply for fall admission.

Step A

Jump to Item:

  1. MSU Online Graduate Application
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Academic Statement
  4. Resumé
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation
  6. GRE Scores
  7. Official Transcripts

Step B

Jump to:

 Download Printable Application Instructions (updated August 2019)


Helpful Links


Item 1 - MSU Online Graduate Application

Submit Item 1 using the MSU Office of Admissions Domestic Graduate Application portal.

If you forget your applicant ID and/or your password, contact the MSU Office of Admissions for assistance. Use the same name that appears on legal documents, such as a passport or identification card, to complete your application. No paper or email applications can be accepted. The online portal allows you to request letters of recommendation, request letter of recommendation cover forms from your recommenders, view and send e-messages from/to the CSUS Department, submit your application, and check the status of your application.

Select the major code for your desired program on the applicant portal. Major codes are:

MS Codes – Plan A and Plan B

  • 5389: CSUS (Community Sustainability)
  • 5376: STPAM (Sustainable Tourism & Protected Area Management)

PhD Codes

  • 5390: CSUS (Community Sustainability)
  • 5377: STPAM (Sustainable Tourism & Protected Area Management)

Applicants must answer the supplementary questions on the MSU online graduate application before submitting the $65 application fee.

Leave blank the sections on the MSU online graduation application for Personal Statement and Academic Statement. The CSUS Graduate Admissions Committee requires both statements be uploaded as individual PDF files on the applicant portal – this allows the applicant to follow the required formatting guidelines (and statements are easier to read).


Item 2 - Personal Statement

Submit item 2 using the MSU applicant portal.

A typed personal statement is required of all applicants. The personal statement gives the applicant an opportunity to share personal experiences with the Admissions Committee. Prospective faculty advisors and other faculty members also read personal statements during the review and advisor selection process. Upload the statement to the applicant portal. The content below should be addressed in your personal statement, using format guidelines.

Content: Background and Life Experiences

  • How have your background and life experiences (social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, and/or other opportunities or challenges) motivated your decision to pursue your selected graduate degree from the Department of Community Sustainability?
  • Describe how these experiences have prepared you or led you to your proposed degree work. You can choose to focus on a single aspect of your background or write about multiple experiences.
  • Applicants who have overcome economic barriers or extreme personal, social, or cultural obstacles to seek a graduate degree are encouraged to include this information in the personal statement.

Format

Follow the format guidelines below in preparing your personal statement:

  • Essay format
  • Single-spaced, using 12-point font in a Word document, converted to PDF
  • Maximum length: 500 words
  • 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper, not A4 (use only white paper)
  • Use the title Personal Statement at the top of each page (in the header).
  • Include your first and last names (as appear on your application) in header of each page.
  • Include the program and degree type to which you are applying (CSUS or STPAM; MS-A, MS-B, or PhD) at the top of each page (in the header).
  • Include page numbers at the bottom of each page (in the footer).
  • Do not include any of the following anywhere on your personal statement:
    • MSU PID
    • Phone number, address, email address
    • Photo

Item 3 - Academic Statement

Submit item 2 using the MSU applicant portal.

A typed academic statement (external to the MSU application) is required of all applicants. The academic statement gives the applicant an opportunity to share proposed academic and career goals with the Graduate Admissions Committee. Prospective faculty advisors and other faculty members also read academic statements during the review and advisor selection process. Upload the statement to the applicant portal. The content below should be addressed in your academic statement, using the format guidelines provided.

Content: Plans for Graduate Study

  • Identify the program option to which you are applying (CSUS or STPAM).
  • Identify the degree option for which you are applying (MS-A, MS-B, or PhD).
  • Discuss with specificity what you want to study/research during your degree work.
  • Identify faculty members you believe most closely match your interests (review faculty bios from http://www.csus.msu.edu/people/faculty ; click names for links to information).
  • Include a summary of discussions you have had with potential faculty advisors.

Content: Academic Interests, Passions, and Careers Goals

  • Discuss why you want to earn the degree specified above.
  • Describe what motivates your interest in this program.
  • Describe what experiences have led to this choice.
  • Explain why this interdisciplinary, systems-based program (rather than a disciplinary program) is a good fit with your goals.
  • Explain how the CSUS or STPAM graduate program will help you meet your educational and career goals.

Content: Contributions

  • Discuss what you will contribute to the Department of Community Sustainability graduate program, to Michigan State University, and to fellow students (especially in your cohort).

Content: Weaknesses

  • If you have apparent weaknesses in your application materials, explain them in your academic statement and describe strategies for addressing them in the future.

Format

Follow the format guidelines below in preparing your academic statement.

  • Single-spaced, using 12-point font in a Word document, converted to PDF
  • Maximum length: 750 words
  • 8.5” X 11” white paper, not A4 (use only white paper)
  • Use the title Academic Statement at the top of each page (in the header).
  • Include your first and last names (as they appear on your application) in header of each page.
  • Include the program and degree type to which you are applying (CSUS or STPAM; MS-A, MS-B, or PhD) at the top of each page (in the header).
  • Include page numbers at the bottom of each page (in the footer).
  • Do not include any of the following anywhere on your academic statement:
    • MSU PID
    • Phone number, address, email
    • Photo

Item 4 - Resumé

Submit Item 4 using the MSU applicant portal.

A typed resumé is required of all applicants. The resumé must be two pages in length and formatted on 8.5” X 11” white paper (not A4). Do not include a photo. Upload your resumé to the applicant portal.

The following content should be included in your resumé:

  • Education
  • Professional experiences (paid and/or unpaid)
  • Other relevant experiences (if any)
  • Certifications, honors, awards (if any)
  • Professional organization memberships and/or involvement
  • Publications and professional presentations (as relevant)

Item 5 - Letters of Recommendation

Request Item 5 using the MSU applicant portal.

Three letters of recommendation are required of all applicants. Applicants must request letters from 3 different recommenders via the portal. Be sure to indicate whether or not you waive your right of access to the recommendations.

  • MS applicants: at least 1 (preferably 2) of your letters of recommendation should be academic. PhD applicants: at least 2 (preferably 3) of your letters should be academic. Be sure they speak to your match with CSUS programs.
  • After the applicant identifies a recommender on the portal, an auto-recommendation request is sent (by email) to the recommender.
  • Applicants cannot submit the recommendation materials on behalf of the recommenders.
  • Applicants can view their recommendation status in the portal.
  • Applicants must follow up with their recommenders to ensure letters of recommendation are submitted before the CSUS application deadline.

Item 6 - GRE Scores

Request Item 6 from testing agency.

GRE scores are required of all applicants. Applicants must contact ETS and request GRE reports be sent directly to the MSU Office of Admissions, identifying one of the codes below. The MSU general code is 1465. The general code identifies to ETS to which university/universities you want your GRE scores sent. Select only one of the ETS codes below to identify your MSU degree program interest. It does not matter which code below you select.

  • 0110 – Resource Management
  • 0111 – Parks and Recreation Management
  • 0113 – Renewable Natural Resources
  • 5101 – Interdisciplinary Programs

Requirements and Procedures for GRE Scores

  • GRE scores must be no more than 5 years old at the time of application.
  • Contact the Graduate Secretary via email if the name on your GRE report is different than the name on your MSU online application. The Graduate Secretary must notify the MSU Office of Admissions of the name discrepancy to prevent a delay in the processing of your scores.
  • Copies of scores sent by the applicant to MSU or CSUS via email and/or postal mail are deemed unofficial by the University and will not be considered.
  • Scores must be accessible to CSUS by the application deadline. Thus, the applicant must order a GRE report from ETS long before the application deadline (and take the exam long before that, to allow time for ETS scoring and reporting). GRE reports can take 1-3 weeks to arrive at MSU and an additional 2-4 weeks to be processed after they are received by the MSU Office of Admissions. Thus, it could take as long as 7 weeks for your report to become available to the Department. The scores are not accessible by the Department until processed by the Office of Admissions. Plan accordingly.

Item 7 - Official Transcripts

Request Item 7 from former institutions.

Official transcripts are required of all applicants for each previous academic institution attended. Applicants must arrange for one OFFICIAL transcript to be sent directly to the Department of Community Sustainability from EACH university or college listed on the online graduate application. ALL colleges and universities attended (even if no degree was granted) must be listed on the online application.

Requirements and Procedures for Transcripts

  • Transcripts are deemed official if they are sent directly to CSUS from the respective institutions via official e-transcript (if electronic service is available at those institutions) or in a sealed envelope via postal mail.
  • Photocopies or scanned copies of transcripts are considered unofficial and will not be accepted or reviewed.
  • Any transcript received by the Department from an applicant or from an entity other than the institution is considered unofficial and will not be accepted or reviewed.
  • If any previously attended institution has transcripts/diplomas not written in English: Official English translations of non-English transcripts/diplomas confirming degree completion must be submitted with the original official transcript. A translation is deemed official if it is sent with the official transcript/diploma in a sealed envelope via postal mail directly to the Department from the institution or Ministry. (All must arrive by the application deadline.)
  • Official transcripts of coursework completed at MSU need not be submitted because the Graduate Program Office is able to access transcripts of MSU coursework and granting of MSU degrees.
  • Applicant must order each official transcript (and translation, if applicable) long before the application deadline and ensure that each institution sends the transcript directly to the Department of Community Sustainability. Transcripts can take 2-8 weeks to arrive at the Department. Plan accordingly.

Transcript Mailing Instructions

Do not send official transcripts and diplomas to the MSU Office of Admissions because it is difficult for Department staff to know when documents arrive, and to access official documents if they are sent there.

The applicant must contact each institution, pay the required transcript, diploma, and translation fee(s), if applicable, and request official transcripts and diplomas be sent to:

Official Electronic Transcripts (if university has the service):
edington@msu.edu

Official Hard Copy Transcripts:
CSUS Graduate Admissions
Michigan State University
Department of Community Sustainability
Natural Resources Building
480 Wilson Road, Room 131
East Lansing, MI 48824

Note: Previous Degree Completion

If you have not completed a required previous degree at the time of application (bachelor’s degree for MS applicants, or master’s degree for PhD applicants), a departmental acceptance will be “conditional” until you officially complete your previous degree – prior to beginning your CSUS/ STPAM degree. Be sure to submit official confirmation of your degree completion, with transcript, as soon as it is available.


Application Review

Completed applications are reviewed by the CSUS Graduate Admissions Committee, a committee of CSUS Department faculty.

Applications that pass Admissions Committee review are made available to all faculty in the Department for review (2-week time window). Faculty indicate their interest and ability to accept an applicant, and if they are able to provide any funding.


Department Decision

Typically, applicants can expect a Department admissions decision by email 8-10 weeks after their application is complete (all items received by the Department), depending on when in the review cycle it is completed.

If you are accepted, initial advisor assignment and funding information are provided in your Department offer letter. Assistantship details, if applicable, will follow in a separate letter.

If you are accepted, the CSUS Department’s decision is preliminary to MSU’s review.


University Decision

The MSU Office of Admissions reviews application items of applicants who are admitted by the Department.

If an applicant is accepted by MSU, an official letter of acceptance will appear in the student’s portal.

Notify the Department Graduate Secretary and Graduate Program Coordinator if and when you receive correspondence from the MSU Office of Admissions.


Applicant Decision

If you are admitted by the Department and the University, send an email notification to the CSUS Department Graduate Secretary and Graduate Program Coordinator that you accept or decline the offer. Please CC your assigned advisor.

Send this decision by email as soon as possible, or by April 1 or (if applied near the March 1 deadline) no later than two weeks after you receive the official University acceptance letter.

 

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