Detailed Information

What to Expect

Getting Started

Evaluation & Grades

Continue Towards an Online Master's Degree


Certificate requirements

Students are welcome to take only one course or as many as desired. You must satisfactorily complete twelve credits from the appropriate combination of IFLR online courses to earn either a "Certificate in International Food Law" or a "Certificate in United States Food Law." Students may earn both certificates if desired. Three credits (typically one course) may be applied toward both certificates. Courses may be taken in any order you choose. Click here to read more about certificate requirements. 


For-credit tuition with MSU Lifelong Learning for the 2023-2024 academic year: Tuition for non-Michigan residents, including international residents, is $3,333.00  USD per 3-credit course. Tuition for Michigan residents is $2,601.00 USD per 3-credit course. Learn more here.

Non-credit enrollment prices are listed on our e-commerce page at MSU CashNet.

Time commitment

Courses are not taught in real time so you do not need to log on at a specific time to listen to a lecture; you can participate at a time that fits your schedule. IFLR courses are graduate level, 3-credit hour courses. The university anticipates that students will typically spend 9-12 hours per week completing work for a three-credit hour course. Some students may need more or less time based on their skills and experience (and the level of mastery they wish to achieve). 

Course selection

We recommend that students take International Food Laws and Regulations (FSC 810) early in your certificate. However, it is perfectly acceptable to take courses in any order you wish, especially if you have an immediate need for a specific course's content. Those interested in topics involving the SPS and TBT agreements may want to consider Codex Alimentarius (FSC 816). Keep in mind that not every course is offered every semester. Consult the scheduling table to plan your selection.

Recommended course load

We recommend that students take one course per semester if they are working full time, but the choice is up to the student. Your choice may depend upon your employment, work load, travel schedule, and family responsibilities.

Schedule of course offerings

Courses are offered in the spring, summer and fall semesters. Some courses are offered only once per year.  Please consult the schedule of course offerings by semester.  If the minimum number of students per course is not met, the course may be cancelled for that semester.

Course pacing

A new module is posted each week and the assignment is due the following week. Certain modules may last more than a week or additional time may be given in the module for an assignment.  Once the module is open online it will remain online for the duration of the semester in case you need to refer back to the information.


Each instructor organizes his or her course differently. Most assignments are written assignments, which vary in length from one paragraph, one to two pages, or occasionally a longer written assignment such as a term paper, term project or final examination.  Quizzes may also be given.  You may also be asked to comment or respond to someone else’s comment in the written discussion forum contained in the weekly lesson.

Flexibility for late assignments

Since most of our students are working food industry professionals, we realize that with workloads, traveling for business, vacations, and commitments at home there will be occasions that students will not have assignments turned in on time.  You need only contact the instructor or course manager to request an extension. Please contact them before the assignment due date. All assignments must be turned in two weeks prior to the end of the grading period at the very latest.

Enrollment deadlines

Students may enroll in fall semester and spring semester courses starting in early May each year. Students may enroll in summer courses starting in late March each year. Future open enrollment dates will be posted on MSU's full academic calendar when they become available (scroll down to "other important dates"). 

Semester start and end dates

Semester Start End
Spring 2024 January 8, 2024 April 26, 2024
Summer 2024 (session 1) May 13, 2024 June 27, 2024
Summer 2024 (full) May 13, 2024 August 15, 2024
Fall 2024 August 26, 2024 December 13, 2024
Spring 2025 January 6, 2025 April 25, 2025
Summer 2025 May 12, 2025 August 14, 2025

MSU's full academic calendar, including specific semester start and end dates, is posted here


If you are new to MSU, you will receive an APID (Personal Identification Number, starting with the letter "A") and PAN (4-digit Personal Access Number) upon enrollment in your first course through MSU Lifelong Education. Please click here to activate your NetID and MSU email. Your NetID will form the first part of your new MSU email address, and both are necessary for accessing your course in D2L and your student account in STUINFO. 

MSU Community ID

Students who are enrolled as a non-credit participant will sign up for an MSU Community ID, using an email address of their choice. Non-credit participants use their community ID to log into the D2L online learning management system. A Community ID does not allow access to MSU library resources. You will receive instructions for creating your Community ID after you have signed up for your desired course.

MSU email

MSU will only send email to your MSU email account. They will not send to your work or other preferred email account. Check email regularly to read important messages and notifications. Certain communications may be time-sensitive. You may check your MSU email here. You may forward your email to your preferred account, but check to be sure that your messages are not being filtered as spam or junk.

Note that your MSU email is separate from the messages you will receive through "Course Email" within the D2L course portal. Instructors communicate with students within the D2L course portal, so do not email questions to your instructor outside the course if you would like a timely response.

D2L online learning management system

Michigan State University uses the D2L learning management system for online education. This platform allows professors to post readings, pre-recorded lectures, hold online discussions, administer online tests and quizzes, and provide real-time feedback to students. Many additional resources such as links to food law websites, blogs, and journals will also be available through your D2L course. Enrolled students may access the online D2L Help resource, or call toll-free at 884-678-6200 (North America and Hawaii), 24 hours/day, seven days/week.

MSU online library access (for-credit enrolled students only)

As a student of Michigan State University, you will have online access to MSU's libraries.  A tremendous number of electronic resources (books, journals, magazines, etc.) are available online. 

Note:  Students enrolling in a course as a "non-credit" student will have full access to course materials along with public resources available through the D2L system, however, they will not have access to any restricted resources through the MSU Libraries.  

Submitting assignments

You will upload your assignments directly to an assignment folder located within the course (similar to an email attachment).  Assignments may also be typed in the body of a course message.  Most students prefer to type the assignment in a Word or Excel document and then upload the file to the course assignment drop box.

Incomplete course work

Students may request a grade of "I-Incomplete" if unforeseen circumstances arise towards the end of the semester. The student should submit an "Agreement for Completion of (I) Incomplete" form prior to the end of the course.  To qualify for an incomplete, a student must: 1) have completed 8-12 weeks of the semester but cannot complete the semester and/or take the final exam for a compelling reason; 2) be passing the course; and 3) in the instructor's opinion, be able to complete the course without repeating the course.  The required work must be completed, and a grade must be reported to the Office of the Registrar, no later than the middle of the student's next semester in attendance (summer session excluded) if that semester is within one calendar year following receipt of the I-Incomplete. The student will provide an anticipated completion date and plan of action, to be approved at the discretion of the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations. Please contact the course instructor and/or for more information.

Computer requirements

Most people with a computer and internet access should be equipped to take this online program. Prospective students can read more about the common set of tools listed at the D2L Technical Requirements page at

It is recommended that students also have Word or Google Docs, and virus detection and repair software. As with all computing situations involving the Internet or other file sharing, MSU recommends that you practice safe computing -- install and use virus detection and repair software and back up your work regularly.

Please familiarize yourself with the Acceptable Use Policy for MSU Information Technology Resources.

Time limit for completing your certificate

There is no time limit for completing the 12 credits required to receive a certificate. Note, for students who may wish to request a credit transfer towards a master's degree:  MSU master’s degree programs have a required time limit for completion (usually five years). Please contact the master's degree program in which you are interested to learn more about their policies. 


A numerical system is used for the final grade - with 4.0 being the highest.  A written explanation of the grading system may be found under “the numerical system”.  The lead instructor for each course assigns a number of points or a percentage for each module’s assignment as it counts toward the final grade.  An explanation of the grading system is in the syllabus of each course.

GPA requirement

The Lifelong Education Rules of Enrollment apply to all students in this enrollment classification. The Coordinator of Lifelong Education Student Affairs will monitor students’ academic progress each semester to ensure that once nine or more credits have been attempted, a cumulative grade-point average 3.00 for Graduate Lifelong Education Students, has been achieved. Failure to maintain the appropriate GPA standard may result in removal from Lifelong Education status. Note: This applies to all students whether they are taking a few unrelated courses or are interested in a college-level certificate program.

Request to transfer course credits to a master's degree

In order to transfer course credits from the MSU Lifelong Education Program to a graduate degree program at MSU, you must receive a 3.0 or higher final grade in the course. Students may request for a maximum of nine credits to be transferred into an MSU graduate program, such as MSU's Online Global Food Law program or MSU's Online Food Safety program. Most graduate degree programs have a completion requirement of five years.