Advising FAQs

Undergraduate Advising Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


This FAQ has been created for undergraduate students in the Departments of Plant Biology (PLB) and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) advised by Kendra Pyle Kanaboshi. Kendra encourages you to review the College of Natural Science Advising Syllabus and Objectives to prepare for your advising meeting. 


How do I check on my progress toward completing degree requirements?

Please use Degree Navigator to track your progress towards completing your graduation requirements. To review your outstanding requirements, click on the name of your program on the right-hand side of the page after you login in. In the pulldown menu next to Degree Description, the Audit– Full Report with Course Status will show you which requirements are fulfilled. Some requirements may need updates from advisors, such as major specific electives, which may need to have course choices added manually. The Audit– Outstanding Requirements Report will show you the requirements that you still need to complete. More on how to use Degree Navigator.


Where do I access major requirement checklists and four year plans for majors in PLB or BMB?

Biochemistry Program Lists

Plant Biology Program Lists


Where can I find resources if I am a Pre-Professional Student (Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Pharm, Pre-PA, etc.)?

Pre-Professional Resources.


Pre-Professional Advisors at MSU meet with any students that are pursuing health career professional programs. They can talk with you about specific requirements for professional school that aren't part of your major, extracurricular requirements to be a successful applicant, and the application process.


You can declare your pre-professional track by contacting Carolyn Sekedat in the College of Natural Resources (108 Natural Science Building) at (517) 355-8419 or


If a required course that I need is full, what do I do?

You will need to set an alert for the course. Look up the course on the Schedule of Courses. Click on the black X next to the section that you want to add. This section of the course will now show up on your Schedule Builder screen under Planned Courses for the semester. Click on the Alert button that shows up next to the course.


This will open up another page, the Open Seat Notifications, where you can choose if you want an email and/or text message alert. You can choose alerts for that specific section of the course or all sections. If a space opens up in the class, you will be sent a notification. If you chose “all sections” and the notification is for a different section than is already on your Planned Courses on Schedule Builder, you will need to add that section to your Planned Courses. If you are already enrolled for the course in a future semester, you will need to drop the course from the future semester before enrolling.


You need to make sure that you keep your Alert active. After you have received 5 alert notifications, your alert will be cancelled, so if you haven’t been able to add the class, you’ll need to reset your alert. You can check if your alert is active by going to the Open Seat Notifications page. It's on the Schedule of Courses, under the Schedule Tools tab. If the alert is not listed as Active, you'll need to reset it.


How do I change my major?

If you are a freshman or sophomore (you have completed less than 56 credits), please request your major change through the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative. You can visit any one of the Neighborhood Engagement Centers or change your major online.

If you are a junior or senior (56 credits or above), please request your major change through the College of Natural Sciences office (106 Natural Sciences) or call the office at (517) 355-4470. An academic advisor in the college can also request the major change for you.

NOTE:  To change your major to one outside of the College of Natural Science, you need to go to the Undergraduate Affairs Office for that college.


Can I repeat a course at MSU? Is there a limit on how many credits I can repeat?

You can only repeat a course if you receive a course grade less than a 2.0. If you repeat a course, the original grade will be removed your GPA calculation. You can repeat a maximum of 20 credits at MSU.


Where can I find what scholarships are available?

Office of Admissions Merit-based Scholarships

College of Natural Science (CNS) Scholarships

CNS Undergraduate Research Awards - You can apply for these awards until September 15th for Fall semester, January 15th for Spring semester, and April 1 for Summer semester. Applicants will be notified approximately 4 weeks after the deadline of the award status. For these awards, you typically need to have been involved in a research for at least one semester.

Lyman Briggs College Funding and Scholarships

Grants for Individuals (from MSU Library)

Department of Biochemistry Undergraduate Awards - These awards are announced early in the Fall semester. Watch your email for updates and/or visit this webpage.


Department of Plant Biology Norman Good scholarship

This award is announced during the spring semester. Watch your email for updates. These funds may be used for support for coursework at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), summer research, travel to scientific meetings, study abroad related to the major, or for internships. The scholarships usually range from $250 - $800.


What is the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) and where can I find more information?

The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station is Michigan State University’s largest off-campus education complex and one of North America’s premier inland field stations.


How do I request an override for a course?

Overrides are handled by the department or program that administers the course. If you look up the course on the Schedule of Courses, the department or program contact information (phone number and webpage) will be in the upper right corner of the page. Some departments have an online override request form, or more information about overrides, on their webpage (these are usually under an Undergraduate tab).


If the webpage doesn't have an override form, please call the number listed on Schedule of Courses. Some departments require that you contact the professor first. If the professor isn’t listed on the Schedule of Courses, you can ask who is teaching the course when you call. You can find a professor’s contact information on the Find People Search in the upper right hand corner MSU's homepage.


What tutoring resources are available at MSU?

Visit the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative Academic Support page for a list of topical, college-based, and other academic support programs at MSU.


Free tutoring resources on campus:

  • The Math Learning Center (MLC) has free tutoring, problem sessions, and exam reviews in C-125 Wells Hall and free tutoring in the Neighborhood Engagement Centers: 
  • The Chemistry Help Room offers tutoring in rooms 81 and 83 in the Chemistry Building. The hours will be posted outside the help room door. 
  • The BioSci Help Room, located N202 North Kedzie, offers free tutoring for BS 161, 162, 171, and 172.
  • The Statistics Help Room is located in A102 Wells Hall.
  • The Writing Center has free help with writing assignments. 
  • The Physics Help Room for PHY 183 is 1248 Biomedical Physical Sciences. The hours are posted outside the door. 
  • Social Science Help Room offers tutoring for ISS, IAH, EC, HST, PLS, and SOC courses.
  • The English Language Lab for non-native English speakers.


Paid tutors:



Can I take classes at another college or university and transfer them to MSU?

If you have completed less than 56 credits at MSU, then you can complete classes at a 2-yr college to transfer to MSU. Once you have completed 56 credits at MSU (this includes transfer credits), then you can only transfer credits from a 4-yr university to MSU. To receive transfer credit at MSU, you must receive at least a 2.0 in the course. After completing the course, send the transcript to MSU Office of Admissions.


To check to see if courses at another college are equivalent to courses at MSU, go to Choose the course code at MSU and the college where you want to take the course. Equivalent course numbers at the other university will be listed. It is also possible that another college may have a similar course to a course at MSU, but it hasn’t yet been evaluated for credit. 


If you check the other university’s website and you see a course with a similar name to the course you are interested in at MSU, you can request a copy of the syllabus from that university. You will then submit the syllabus to the department that would administer the MSU course to have it evaluated for credit.


To find the appropriate department, look up the MSU course that you are interested in taking for transfer credit on Schedule of Courses. The department or program contact information (phone number and webpage) will be in the upper right corner of the page.


To enroll at another Michigan institution, students fill out the Michigan Uniform Undergraduate Guest Application form.