Michigan State University College of Natural Science

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The College of Natural Science (NatSci) at Michigan State University is home to 29 academic units serving 5,000 undergraduate majors and nearly 1,000 graduate students in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.[1]

NatSci offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to enhance their education through research projects in labs on campus and field locations throughout the world. Advanced degree programs in the college provide graduate students a forum for interacting with more than 350 faculty members and the opportunity to collaborate across traditional boundaries in a wide array of research initiatives ranging from nanotechnology to the origins of the universe and from gene expression to the bioeconomy.

Departments and Programs[edit]


Additional Units

Graduate Studies[edit]

Advanced study is available through the following degree programs and specializations:

  • Astrophysics and Astronomy
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Cell, Molecular, and Structural Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Cognitive Science
  • Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Human Nutrition
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Quantitative Biology and Modeling
  • Science and Mathematics Education
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Certification in Teaching College Science and Mathematics
  • Zoology

More information on degrees and advanced studies can be found on the college website.[2]

Professional Science Masters (PSM) Programs[edit]

The College of Natural Science offers several PSM Degrees to prepare and train students in technical areas for positions in industry. The PSM is a professional M.S. degree in science or mathematics for students interested in a wider variety of career options than provided by current graduate programs in the sciences and mathematics.

The three areas of program development include:

  • In-depth technical training in a science discipline,
  • College certification of training in basic business practice including communication and presentation skills,
  • Industrial internship or industrial case studies, developed in cooperation with industrial affiliates.

Industrial advisors offered consultation and guidance in the design of these two-year degrees. This design partnership assures graduates are qualified for positions in business and industry. Students who desire advanced training in a disciplinary area and are interested in a more applied approach will find these degrees attractive.

PSM Programs:[3]

  • Biomedical Laboratory Operations
  • Food Safety
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Integrative Pharmacology
  • Zoo & Aquarium Science

Science and Mathematics Teachers[edit]

NatSci offers master's degrees and certificates for science and mathematics teachers. These programs are coordinated with MSU's College of Education. For Mathematics Education, the program is administered by Program for Mathematics Education, or PRIME. For Science Education, the program is administered by the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science, or CISGS, under the "Integrated Science Education" area.

Undergraduate Majors[edit]

The College offers both Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees.

  • The BS requires more science and mathematics credits and less non-science, humanities and social science coursework in the 120 credit program. The BS is intended for individuals preparing for professional work in the sciences or for graduate/professional school.
  • The BA is designed for individuals pursuing K-12 teaching careers or scientific application areas such as public policy, technical sales, law, and communications. The BA requires more humanities and social science credits, thus providing greater balance between science and non-science credits in the 120 credit program.

Majors in the college include:[4]

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biological Science (Interdepartmental; For teaching majors only)
  • Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics (formerly titled Medical Technology Program)
  • Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Diagnostic Molecular Science
  • Medical Technology
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Biology/Plant Biology
  • Environmental Biology/Microbiology
  • Environmental Biology/Zoology
  • Specialization in Environmental Studies
  • Geological Sciences
  • Environmental Geosciences
  • Geological Sciences
  • Geophysics
  • Human Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Actuarial Science Specialization
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Genomics and Molecular Genetics
  • Nutritional Science
  • Physical Science (Interdepartmental; For teaching majors only)
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Physics
  • Physics and Geophysics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Environmental Biology/Plant Biology
  • Preprofessional Coursework (Pre-med, etc.)
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

RISE and Drew Scholars[edit]

Two special undergraduate programs are in place for students: RISE or Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment is for MSU students interested in stewardship of the environment. RISE provides students a community and curriculum focused on the environment as students get their feet wet and hands dirty applying their knowledge to real problems and projects.

Charles Drew Science Scholars is a program providing academic and social support for high achieving students pursuing science and math degrees, including individuals interested in professional health and science careers, such as, medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, research, pharmacology, optometry, physical therapy, and public health.

Student Blog and Advisors[edit]

The NatSci Student Blog provides updates for students from students. The blog post helps keep students informed of upcoming events and other information.

Advising in the college is done for students based upon their degree major. Student are assigned advisors who are faculty in each department: List of Advisors. However, all pre-med and pre-professional health students have their advising done by the NatSci Office of Student Affairs' Pre-Professional Advisors.

Study Abroad, Study Away[edit]

NatSci also offers a Study Abroad and Study Away off-campus programs in:

  • Africa – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda,
  • Americas – Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Virgin Islands
  • Antarctica
  • Asia – India, Borneo
  • Europe – Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland
  • Oceania – Australia, New Zealand
  • Florida – Orlando, Gainesville
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Michigan – Upper Peninsula, Isle Royale, Battle Creek

Research Centers, Institutes and Facilities[edit]

As a major research institution, the College has a variety of resources available to researchers.


James Kirkpatrick is dean for the College of Natural Science. He has more than 20 years experience in college administration and served as Executive Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne before joining MSU in 2007. He received his PhD in Geology from UIUC in 1972 and has authored of more than 200 research publications. His research focuses is on the application of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling in geochemistry, mineralogy and materials chemistry.[5]

View the entire NatSci Staff Directory for the Dean's Office.

See also[edit]