Students may apply for academic credit in conjunction with a USP project – either through USP or their home/research department. Since each department has specific policies with regard to how independent research credits count toward degree requirements, we encourage students applying for academic credit to consult with their academic advisors to determine which option will best suit their departmental curricular requirements. 

Applying for Credit through USP

Requests for USP 490 credits should be made on your initial USP application.  Once your application has been approved, our office will contact you to confirm your enrollment and begin generating the forms to add the credits to your schedule.  The forms will require signatures from both you and your mentor.  Once all signatures are collected, USP will submit the forms to the Registrar’s Office for processing. 

Once forms are submitted for processing, students should monitor their course schedules to make sure all credits post correctly.  Students should notify the USP office of any discrepancies as soon as possible. 

Applying for Credit through your Home or Research Department

Students planning to apply for credit through their home or research department (for example, BIO , CHMY, , etc.), must work with their mentor and the department administrator to process requests for academic credits.  Please consult with your mentor and the department administrator to discuss what forms and approvals are required for registration.    

Since each department is responsible for administering their own research and independent study courses, USP cannot register students for credits through another department.  Please consult directly with your mentor and department administrator for details – USP will not contact your department for you.           

USP Late Registration Policies

Late requests for USP 490 credits (i.e. credits that were not requested on your initial application) must be submitted to the program coordinator via email, along with a justification for the late request.  Please Cc your mentor on the email, as your mentor’s approval will be required for processing.  Late requests, including requests to switch from departmental to USP credits, will not be accommodated after November 1st, March 1st, & June 1st for fall, spring, and summer semesters respectively.  Please be aware that, pending the timing and nature of a late request, you may be required to provide additional documentation through the Registrar Office’s appeals process.     

Requests for retro-active credits (i.e. credits granted for work done in previous semesters) will not be granted for USP 490.  If you would like to appeal for retro-active credits, you must consult with your mentor and appeal through your home/research department.  



Do I have to register for credit in order to be eligible for funding?

No – you are not required to register for research credits in order to be eligible for funding.

If I request academic credit, am I still eligible for funding?

Yes – you can request both funding and academic credit for your project. 

Is it better to request credits through my home department or USP?

This is entirely up to you – USP does not give preference to either option.  We encourage you to discuss this with your mentor and/or academic advisor to determine how each option might count toward your academic curriculum. 

How many credits can I register for?

A good rule of thumb is approximately 45 hours of research per credit (based on the MSU catalog’s definition of a credit hour).  Please consult with your mentor to determine the appropriate number of credits to request. Since your faculty mentor will have the most direct oversight of the project and familiarity with the workload it will require, USP will honor your mentor’s recommendation. 

Can I apply for credits both through USP and my department?

Students cannot request “double” credits for a single workload.  If you choose to split time among dual credits, you may at your mentor’s recommendation/approval, but you cannot double-count a single set of research hours for two sets of credits.  Please contact the USP office for further clarification.     

When can I expect my USP 490 credits to post?

Credits should post to your schedule within 3-4 weeks after you have accepted your award and filled out your USP paperwork.  If you are concerned about a delay in posting, please contact the USP office to check the status of your registration. 

How will USP 490 grades be administered?

USP will collect grades from faculty mentors at the end of each semester.  Your faculty mentor will be the grading authority for your research credits, so please be sure to discuss grading expectations with your mentor in advance.   

What if I notice a discrepancy in my registration?

USP asks that students monitor their schedules to ensure that credits post correctly.  If you notice any discrepancies, please contact the USP office right away so we can work with the Registrar’s Office to resolve the issue.  Timely reporting of discrepancies is an important student responsibility, as the earlier a discrepancy is caught, the more easily and quickly it can be resolved. 

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