Missouri State University, also known by the nicknames of MSU and Mo State, is a member of the Missouri State University System. MSU’s main campus is located in Springfield. Its West Plains campus, located in Howell County, is a two-year college offering associate’s degrees. A branch campus located in Dalian, China is home to the MSU College of International Business.
Mo State was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School with the primary purpose of educating teachers for the public school system. Programs in the arts and sciences were added in the 1940s. By 1972, the college was offering undergraduate and graduate degrees and changed its name to Southwest Missouri State University as a result. The school became Missouri State University in 1985 and is now the second largest university in the state. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
The university is comprised of the following colleges and departments:
- College of Arts & Letters
- College of Business Administration
- College of Education
- College of Health & Human Services
- College of Humanities & Public Affairs
- College of Natural & Applied Sciences
- School of Agriculture
- Graduate School
- Missouri State Outreach / Missouri State Online
Bachelor’s degrees are offered in over 150 fields within the various academic colleges. Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in areas including accounting, biology, dance, electronic arts, journalism, library science, music, nursing, recreation and leisure studies, education and Spanish. Unique fields, some of which are not available at other universities, include agronomy, antiquities, industrial management, radiography and equine studies. Many of these fields have areas of concentration as well so that students may specialize. Minors are offered in many of the major fields and also in more unique areas of study including African American studies, ancient Greek studies, equine studies, law and society, and retailing/merchandising.
Graduate students can pursue master’s level programs in biology, business, chemistry, communications, counseling, education, English, health Administration, material science, nursing, plant science, physical therapy, social work, theatre and writing. A doctoral degree is available in areas including physical therapy (DPT), audiology (AuD), and Educational Leadership (EdD). There is an accelerated master’s program in several fields as well, including business, public health, nursing, and various sciences. There are also numerous graduate certificate programs.
MSU recognizes the need for flexible adult education and provides numerous degrees that may be obtained either online or through a combination of online and video courses that may be completed in the evenings or on the weekends. The National Association for Academic Advising has recognized SMSU faculty for its outstanding achievements in student counseling and mentorship.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Department of Defense and Strategic Studies provides academic preparation for students who plan to enter international security, national security policy, defense, arms control, or educational fields. Policy studies are emphasized, and students undertake a critical examination of strategic, defense, and arms control policies of the United States government.
The Clothing, Textiles & Merchandising program encourages students with a love of fashion and clothes into a successful career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the field. Students produce fashion shows including their own work and are given the opportunity to fill internships with some of the industry’s leading corporations.
There are several different undergraduate Honors Programs. Incoming students who seek admission to the Honors Programs must meet minimum ACT or SAT score minimums and be ranked highly in their high school class. Once admitted, students will take special Honors classes and work on a senior project. Students will also be part of the Honors Council and take part in social events with other Council members.
Distance learning is offered in many undergraduate and graduate programs. Students enrolled in distance learning programs will take part in courses online, through interactive video, or through teleconferencing. The Jim D. Morris Center for Continuing Education offers computer training, American Sign Language and English as a second language instruction, culinary demonstrations, play therapy workshops and yoga among other activities.
MSU seeks students with a high potential for academic success. Because of this, students meeting a minimum criteria are automatically accepted. In order to achieve automatic acceptance, students must meet the high school curriculum criteria as well as one of the following: a minimum GPA, a minimum ACT score, or a minimum class rank. For students that do not meet the criteria for automatic admission, Missouri State offers four options:
- Students may choose to request an individual review. In order to do this, the student will need to complete the supplemental application form. The admissions committee will then review the form and make a decision. Should a student not meet the criteria at this point, it is possible that a second review can take place based on a recommendation from a university staff or faculty member.
- For Missouri residents that meet the curriculum requirements but not the selection index requirement, the university offers the opportunity to enroll in the summer session prior to desired year of admission with the understanding that there may be other requirements in order to be accepted into the fall term.
- For students that meet the index requirements but were unable to meet the core curriculum requirements, a request for exemption may be made to the university. This request must explain the circumstances that prevented the student from completing the curriculum requirements and must also be accompanied by a letter from the student’s high school counselor or other school official explaining the reasons.
- Finally, students that wish to attend Missouri State University that do not meet eligibility requirements may choose to begin their college careers at another institution and transfer to the university after completing twenty-four transferrable credit hours with a minimum GPA.
The undergraduate admissions deadline is July 20 for the fall semester but students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.
As part of their application, students should submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores along with the application and fee. Students should have completed high school courses as follows: 4 units of English (two of which must be composition or writing and one may be speech or debate), three units of higher mathematics, three units of American history and social studies, three units of science not including general science, one unit of fine arts and three units of electives. Students are admitted on a combination of class rank or GPA and test scores.
Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background. These students should refer to the website or the university admissions office to determine exactly what is required.
Students applying to graduate programs should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. Applications can be submitted online along with the application fee. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) and a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA. The graduate application deadline is July 20 for the fall semester, December 20 for the spring semester and May 20 for the summer semester. Individual departments may have earlier deadlines.
The university awards a number of institutional scholarships, the most prestigious of which is the Presidential Scholarship. Other merit- and need-based scholarships are available for multicultural students, student leaders, and applicants displaying similar qualities.
The MSU Financial Aid office also provides support and advice regarding a wide variety of state and federal scholarships, grants, loans, and work study programs.
To begin the process of applying for financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is available online beginning in January. Financial information for both the student and family will be required, so the applicant should have this information available prior to completing the form. Students must complete the FAFSA each year while they are in school.
Graduate students may be eligible to receive financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all of the tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of assistantships or fellowships are available and about the details of the application process. There are several scholarships and fee-waiver programs for graduate students.
Student Financial Aid Details
Missouri State is home to a plethora student organizations and is always welcoming more. Student life includes a diverse range of activities and organizations. There is an active Greek life on campus as well as numerous academic and professional groups in addition to the fraternities and sororities. Other student clubs include religious and cultural organizations, political groups, and a variety of special interest groups. Intramural sports include flag football, dodge ball, whiffleball, and inner tube water polo. Students can take yoga, aerobics, dance, and self-defense courses, go on rock climbing and kayaking trips, or play games at the Games Center. There is also a student newspaper.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
MSU is an NCAA Division I School. The Missouri State Bears’ colors are maroon and white and their mascot is Boomer the Bear. Teams compete in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, the Mid-American conference and the football team is in the Gateway Football Conference.
Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming, tennis, and track & field. Women’s sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The sports teams are supported by a spirit squad, which includes a marching band with a color guard section and a co-educational cheerleading squad.
Athletic facilities include a 16,300 seat stadium for football, field hockey, and track, an indoor center for basketball, swimming, and volleyball, a softball field, tennis courts, and a soccer field. The baseball team plays at a stadium in the town of Springfield and the golf team plays on area courses.
Among the championships and awards that the school’s teams have received are conference titles in baseball (including an appearance in the College World Series), a Final 4 appearance in women’s basketball, and a Sweet 16 appearance in men’s basketball.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.