Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is NMSU? What kind of university is NMSU?
- What are the most popular fields at NMSU?
- What is the academic calendar at NMSU?
- How expensive is NMSU? How do NMSU students pay the tuition, fees and other costs?
- What housing options are there? How do I reserve on-campus housing?
- Is financial aid available to international students?
- What is the health insurance requirement? How much does the health insurance cost?
- What support services are there for students?
- Does NMSU have a host family program?
- How many international students are there at NMSU, and where are they from?
- How do I apply for admission?
- I haven’t graduated from high school/university yet, can I apply now for studies at the next level?
- I’m trying to apply but the online system doesn’t work.
- I’ve applied online but now I can’t access my application.
- How can I re-apply or defer my application to a later semester?
- I want to re-apply, do I need to pay the application fee again?
- How can I have my documents ‘attested’ and translated?
- Do I need to have my documents evaluated?
- How long does the application process take?
- What are the application deadlines?
- Do I need official documents for my application?
- How much is the application fee, and how can I pay it?
- Where should I send my application documents?
- I’m a graduate applicant, should I send my materials to International Student Services or to my graduate department?
- When will I be contacted after I apply?
- How can I track the status of my application?
- My test scores are ____, my grades are ____, my TOEFL is ____, am I admissible to NMSU?
- What is ‘tentative admission’?
- Can my friend or family member check my admission status?
- Do I need the TOEFL® test?
- How do I register for and take the TOEFL® test?
- I have an acceptable TOEFL test; do I need any English test when I arrive at NMSU?
- Can I get ‘conditional’ admission to NMSU without a TOEFL score?
English placement information
- What English courses might I be required to take?
- Do my SPCD course placements count in my degree plan?
- Can I study only ESL (English as a Second Language) at New Mexico State?
New Mexico State University is located in the south-central area of the state of New Mexico in the U.S.A., in the regional city of Las Cruces. It is approximately one hour by car north of the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, and on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. The El Paso International Airport (less than 1 hour away by car) assures easy access nationally and internationally.
NMSU is a public, land-grant university, which began in 1888 as an agricultural college and preparatory school. Today it is a major, all-purpose research-intensive public university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in 8 colleges. It is funded by the state of New Mexico, and has students from all over the U.S. and 75 countries around the world. It is dedicated to three areas of emphasis, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels: teaching, research and service.
Because of its location and history, a strong part of the university's mission is service to the borderlands, and to the rural areas of the state (and the state as a whole). Learn more about New Mexico State University here.
For undergraduate students, popular majors (by numbers of students) are in Business, Education, Criminal Justice, and Biology. For graduate students, the popular degree programs are in educational areas (Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration), Business Administration, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Biology and Molecular Biology, and Social Work.
To see degrees offered at NMSU, see:
The academic calendar at NMSU, like most U.S. universities, consists of three semesters:
- a fall semester which runs from mid-August to mid-December
- a spring semester, from early January to early May, and
- a limited summer session, which runs from late May to late July or early August, with limited courses offered.
NMSU does not solicit applications from international students with a start date of summer, with rare exceptions. Most international students begin their programs of study in the fall semester (this is true for most American applicants as well).
View the NMSU Academic Calendar.
Costs: New Mexico State University is proud to offer the highest quality educational programs at extremely reasonable costs. NMSU has long been rated one of the top 100 college ‘buys’ for offering value and quality. See Financial Requirements for International Students for more information.
International students are automatically considered ‘out-of-state,’ and unlike American students can never qualify for residency (although some scholarship and assistantship recipients receive a ‘waiver’ of the out-of-state costs). Tuition & fees during the summer sessions is always offered at in-state rates to all students. See current tuition figures on the university Accounts Receivable web page.
Additionally, the cost of living in Las Cruces is inexpensive, especially compared with other major universities located in urban areas throughout the U.S.
Payments: Payment for tuition (course costs) and fees are due after you register. If payment is not made promptly, student may be disenrolled. See more information at the University Accounts Receivable web page. Students may pay by credit card, money order, wire transfer, personal check (from a U.S. bank) or traveler's checks. Demand Drafts (DDs) are NOT accepted. After the first semester, registration and payment in most cases may be made online. Payment plans are available, and all campus costs can be consolidated into one account. Students with unpaid accounts or other campus "holds" will not be able to register for classes the following semester.
On-campus options consist of dormitories and apartments with various options and scales of amenities. There are also many student family housing homes located on the southwest edge of campus, which are a convenient choice for students with family members joining them here. Student Housing is responsible for on-campus housing arrangements.
To apply for on-campus housing, a student must be admitted and have their NMSU ID number, and have created their 'MyNMSU' account. Through that system, the student will apply for their preferred housing option and pay a deposit. On-campus housing is very popular, so early reservations are highly advised.
Off-campus, there are many rental complexes in the immediate campus area, with rents ranging from $200 per month per person and up (usually these apartments require additional payments for utilities - electricity, gas, telephone etc., while these costs would be included in on-campus housing rates). Most of these are located just on the northern edge of campus on University Avenue or very near it (University Avenue runs east-west at the northern edge of campus), and make walking or cycling to campus very convenient. Apartments and apartment-sharing arrangements are usually easy to locate. Apartments can be located through local news sources and online.
There are limited numbers of scholarships and tuition waivers (reducing out-of-state tuition to in-state rates) available to new international students (both graduate and undergraduate). The criteria for these awards are GPA and TOEFL (or IELTS) based. Competition for these awards is strong, and almost all are awarded well in advance of each semester. Not all eligible applicants (according to the criteria) are able to receive an award.
Many international graduate students have teaching or research assistantship awards, which waive out-of-state tuition in addition to paying a monthly stipend.
On-campus employment up to 20 hours per week of various types is available to international students under certain conditions.
All F-1 (and J-1) status students are required to have the regular NMSU student health insurance, administered through the Student Health Center. New students purchase this plan as part of the orientation activities in the week before classes begin.
The policy costs for 2009-10 are significantly less than for the prior year. The costs are as follows:
Fall 2009 only: $329
Spring/Summer 2010: $485
Many students ask if they can purchase a health plan in their country for use here. In almost all cases this is not acceptable, and thus we strongly discourage students from purchasing such policies.
Graduate assistants are able to purchase the health plan online, and receive financial assistance from the university in covering the costs.
All students must ensure that they have health insurance coverage at all times and are not able to register for classes until this requirement is met every semester.
NMSU is committed to helping our students succeed, academically, professionally, and personally. To that purpose a full range of services and programs, including orientation, advising, counseling, employment, tutoring, career advising, health services, child care services for students with young children, and many services are more are offered. For information on student services, check here.
Additionally, student organizations are an important source of support, especially for international students. International student organizations include the Indian Students Association, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the Muslim Students Association, the Korean Students Association, and several others. See a list of chartered student organizations here.
The International Student Services office, located in the Educational Services building, has the mission of supporting the needs of international students on campus. ISS also sponsors and administers educational and social events on campus and in the greater community. Please contact us with questions at 575-646-2736, or email@example.com.
NMSU does not organize or sponsor a host family program involving homestays, however we do coordinate with community groups a Friendship Family Program (FFP). The coordinator of this group matches community families with interested international students based on common interests and other factors. After being introduced, the student(s) and family socialize regularly and the family may act as a helpful community resource. Students interested in this program should contact the ISS office in Educational Services Building, Suite G (Graduate/International Student Services), and speak to Mary Jaspers, Assistant Director, Admissions; Director, ISS.
Currently NMSU enrolls more
than 900 international students from over 75 countries. The largest international student populations are from India, Mexico, and China.**
|Country||Undergraduate Students||Graduate or other students|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||2|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1||1|
**Source: Open Doors, 2007/08 report.
**Does not include students who have obtained U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.
The undergraduate application process and list of needed documentation can be found here. Application should be done using the online application. The paper international application should be used only by branch campus (not main campus) applicants. International undergraduate applications are managed by the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
Graduate applicants apply to International Admissions and upon meeting university requirements, the application materials are reviewed by the specific department. The final admission decision is made in that department. Application information for graduate students is here. Graduate applicants have additional application requirements in their academic department. Please view Graduate Degrees for more information. In some cases a graduate applicant will submit some or all application materials directly to the department.
All needed documentation must be received and evaluated before an official admission decision can be made.
Please note that all previous college and university coursework must be disclosed on an application.
Applications to the NMSU branch campuses (Dona Ana, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, and Grants) must be done using the international paper application (see link above).
Visa documents are not issued until an applicant is admitted and provides proof of financial ability to pay for one year's costs of study and living (see figures here.) We recommend beginning your application process well in advance (6 months or more) of your expected start date, especially for graduate applicants.
For more information on the application process, see our application page.
If you are currently in study program and expect to graduate, you can apply for admission to NMSU with your partial transcripts. You may be granted ‘tentative’ admission, and then have to provide your final official documents to International Admissions when they are available following your graduation.
The online application system used at NMSU occasionally experiences technical problems. In such cases, we recommend attempting the application again 24 hours later. If problems persist, please download and use the paper application.
International applicants to the branch campuses must use the paper application.
Online applications are not accessible to the applicant after being submitted as ‘complete.’ For updates on the status of a submitted application, applicants are welcome to communicate directly with the International Admissions office, at firstname.lastname@example.org. International graduate applicants can check their admission status using their 'Grad Connection' page, accessible from the Graduate Student Services page. Update information obtained via Grad Connection will not include departmental requirements or the admission decision.
If you have applied and been admitted to NMSU but did not attend, and wish to re-apply for a later semester, you need to contact admissions staff. Undergraduate applicants should contact the Admissions Office, and graduate applicants need to communicate with International Admissions. In most cases deferral and re-application are simple and fast processes, although some documents will need to be re-submitted. No additional application fee is required. If you need guidance on who exactly you need to contact to defer or re-apply, please email us at email@example.com.
If you are applying to the same degree program or deferring your application to a later semester no new fee payment is necessary. In most cases an applicant will only ever need to pay the application fee once. Please note that this fee is a requirement, and an application is not processed until the fee is received.
Submitted academic documents
must be official original documents (or officially attested copies),
and English translations must be provided. Official documents (preferably
unopened) coming from your original educational institutions are required
if obtainable. If not, you may have copies of official documents
attested as official at an educational governmental office in your home
country, or an EducationUSA Advising Center.
Many colleges, universities and high schools around the world now can provide English-language documents for their students and graduates. If not, applicants need to obtain official translations from a company or individual recognized as an approved translator in their country or in the U.S.A.
NMSU requires professional credential evaluation only in certain circumstances. You will be contacted directly if your transcripts require evaluation.
The application and admission process from start (initial application) to finish (admission to the university and program) can take up to 3 months, and occasionally longer. It is important to apply early, and to understand the needed requirements and meet them as soon as possible.
At the graduate level, applicants need to fulfill departmental requirements precisely and so must communicate with their department of interest, while understanding that they must fulfill both the overall university requirements and their department’s requirements.
Many applicants file their applications at the last moment, submit incomplete applications, submit unofficial documents, etc., and then expect special processing to meet their deadline. Such requests for "expedited" or "priority" processing are not able to be met, therefore we advise applying early and being aware of all admission requirements. International Admissions cannot and does not make exceptions to the NMSU application requirements.
NMSU doesn’t have a university-wide application deadline, but at the graduate level some departments have deadlines, please view the department deadlines here.
We advise at the graduate level if no deadline exists having the application complete (with all supporting academic materials) by:
- March 1 (for fall admission, to begin studies in August of the same year)
- October 1 (for spring admission, to begin studies in January of the following year)
Yes, all applications require original or officially attested copies of academic documents (see the question above, 'How can I have my documents attested and translated?'), and required exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.) must be issued by the testing service and sent directly to NMSU. NMSU does not accept the ‘institutional TOEFL’ testing conducted at other universities.
If your current/previous university is an eScrip-Safe® Network member, you may order your transcript document(s) sent electronically using the eScrip-Safe format. Contact the Registrar's office in your current/previous university to do so.
The application fee is US$50,
and this fee cannot be waived or deferred.
To pay the application fee, the easiest way is via the Graduate Application Fees webpage. It is also possible to pay via check or money order, payable to ‘New Mexico State University,’ and submitted to the same mailing address given below.
Please send application materials to our offices, located at:
Educational Services Building, Suite G
New Mexico State University
1780 E. University Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
courier services usually request this address
Our regular mailing address
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
If your current/previous university is an eScrip-Safe® Network member, you may order your document(s) sent electronically using the eScrip-Safe format. Contact the Registrar's office in your current/previous university to do so.
TOEFL, GRE and other exam results
should be sent directly from the testing company or service to NMSU
using our institution code, 4531. No departmental code is necessary
unless your department requires exam scores directly (please see the
I’m a graduate applicant, do I apply to International Admissions or directly to my academic department?
In most cases, graduate applicants
should submit all application materials to International Admissions,
located at the above address. A few graduate departments instruct
applicants to apply directly to their offices. Please visit your
appropriate department web pages, and inquire if necessary to determine
the correct procedure in your case. It is the responsibility of
the applicant to be familiar with the steps and requirements of admission
for the graduate program they apply for.
Applicants should receive communications from International Admissions at the following times:
- Upon submission of a completed application online, applicants will receive a confirmation message in the form of a ‘thank you for your application to NMSU.’
- Upon submission of the application fee online, applicants will receive a confirmation message of their payment.
- After initial receipt and review of the materials, applicants will receive a brief email regarding the results of that review (incomplete or complete).
- Upon an admissions decision (reached only if an application has already been evaluated as ‘complete), applicant will receive email and postal notice of the decision from the university.
Applicants may also receive
formal or informal communications from their department, in the case
of graduate applicants.
Graduate international applicants can track their 'Admissions Checklist' online, through their Grad Connection page. This page does not track departmental requirements, however, and cannot provide the admissions decision.
NMSU does not currently have
the capability of allowing applicants to track their application status online. Please be aware that initial reviews and departmental
reviews, as well as the admissions decisions, can take an extended period
of time (especially at the graduate level). The time needed can also vary considerably due to factors
such as the academic and holiday schedules, the department involved
(for graduate applicants), the current volume of applications, and other
factors beyond our control. NMSU International Admissions appreciates
your patience. Applicants are welcome to inquire directly with
International Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding the progress
of their application. We cannot share your application status or other admission information with a third party (such as a friend or family member), due to U.S. privacy laws.
This is a common question from
international applicants and prospective applicants, and impossible
to answer. Admissions decisions are dependent on many factors,
and it is not possible to advise an applicant if they are admissible
or not without a full review in both International Student Admissions
and the graduate department of interest (for graduate applicants).
Our advice is to become familiar
with the requirements of our ‘Admissions Checklist,’ and the requirements
that exist in your graduate department of interest, to determine if
you are eligible for admission or not. Graduate departments make
the final admissions decisions for their own applicants, and applicants
are advised to communicate directly with the graduate level faculty
or graduate admission committee regarding their application. Admission
is competitive, which means that not all eligible applicants are always
"Tentative admission" means the applicant has been admitted to the university, but has some conditions to fulfill before initial registration or during the first semester of enrollment. Some examples of tentative admissions are the requirement to provide final transcripts from their previous university, language testing upon arrival at NMSU due to low TOEFL scores, and the requirement to complete one semester at an acceptable grade point average.
Privacy laws in the U.S. do not allow our office to share information about a specific application with anyone other than the person in question. If you are applying to NMSU, please check your admission status yourself by email (preferably) or phone if necessary. If you are asked by a friend or family member to assist with their application, please have them contact our office directly for assistance.
Of course we can provide general information about the process or requirements of admission to anyone who is interested.
With few exceptions, international applicants need a current (less than 2 years old) TOEFL result, and an official report of that result coming directly from the testing company. The exceptions are:
- Being an applicant from an English-speaking country;
- Transferring from another U.S. university with 30 or more satisfactory credit hours;
- Coming to NMSU with a degree from another U.S. university or a U.S. high school diploma;
- Having a current and official IELTS result.
- Being currently enrolled in a full-time, approved intensive English program in the U.S.
Please note that the "institutional
TOEFL" given at other universities is not acceptable for NMSU admission.
Please visit www.toefl.org for information regarding the TOEFL test, which is offered around the world in two main formats (the internet-based test, and the paper-based test), both of which are acceptable for NMSU application.
In some locations the IELTS may be a more accessible option, visit www.ielts.org to see testing options for this test.
Many regular new international students must take the NMSU Academic English Placement Test (NMSU’s own testing, consisting of a written essay-style exam and an oral interview) upon arrival at NMSU, regardless of their TOEFL score.
All new undergraduates take the test, if they do not have a high school diploma from a U.S. high school or are transferring with 30+ acceptable credits from a U.S. or other English-speaking university in a English-speaking country.
New graduate students take the test if they have a TOEFL below 550 or equivalent, or if they been awarded a teaching assistantship.
Some other new international students take the separate CITE Placement Test, which is required of students entering NMSU with a TOEFL score lower than needed for regular admission, or some other special admission category.
We find at NMSU that many international students, regardless of their level of English-language abilities (as measured by the TOEFL or IELTS), lack experience with the requirements of academic English as needed in a university setting. To help these students adapt and improve their language skills to be successful university students in the U.S., NMSU requires coursework in many cases (please see the next FAQ section, English Placement Information).
NMSU does not have this system,
the only possibilities of being admitted to NMSU without a TOEFL score
are as outlined in the question "Do I need the TOEFL test?"
English Placement Information
New international students
may be placed into several different course selections based on their
results on either the AEPT (the Academic English Profiency Test, find more information here) or the CITE Placement Test. International
students need a high level of proficiency in English to succeed in their
studies and to become fully-functioning members of the university community.
While admission to NMSU is based on TOEFL or IELTS scores, these tests
are not designed to reveal a student’s productive use of English in
a classroom setting.
Course placements (these courses
are taken during the first semester/year at NMSU) following the Academic
English Proficiency Test may include:
- Courses for undergraduate international students:
- SPCD 108, to increase speaking fluency, expand active vocabulary, and improved pronunciation.
- SPCD 110, to improve composition and grammar skills necessary for all university-level writing.
- SPCD 111G (required
for all international undergraduate students), to teach the library,
reading and writing skills necessary to do university-level course papers.
- Courses for graduate international students:
- SPCD 458, to increase speaking fluency, expand active vocabulary, improve pronunciation, and provide individual tutorial work on an area of special concern.
- SPCD 110, as above.
- SPCD 470, to introduce graduate students to the special characteristics unique to scholarly and research writing.
- SPCD 490, to help
students become effective in presenting their research or project findings
in formal settings.
Course/level placements following
the CITE Proficiency Test (which evaluates students' abilities in speaking, writing, grammar listening, reading and vocabulary and then requires an individual meeting with the program director to discuss placement results):
- SPCD 101 (undergraduate) or 401 (graduate), Beginning Level: The Beginning Level course focuses on 'Life Skills' English and is intended for those with little or no fluency in English. This course focuses on basic listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar skills.
- SPCD 102 (undergraduate) or 402 (graduate), Intermediate Level: The Intermediate Level course is an integrated skills course in social and academic English. Designed for students who already speak, write and understand some English, the course emphasizes academic skills including listening and note-taking, reading, vocabulary development, grammar, and composition. In order to enroll in this course, students must submit a TOEFL score as listed on the “Required Minimal TOEFL Score” chart or have already passed the CITE Beginning course.
In some cases, CITE students can enroll in one other course at the university (for credit or for audit) in addition to the intermediate English course. Students may enroll in an additional university course only with the recommendation of the CITE director and the approval of the student's academic advisor.
- SPCD 103 (undergraduate) /403 (graduate), Advanced Level: the Advanced Level course prepares students to communicate effectively in their academic area of specialization. Public speaking, reading and discussion, seminar presentations, and research paper writing are included in this course. Students wishing to enter the CITE at this level are asked to submit a TOEFL score as part of their application
Depending on his or her language proficiency, a student may be allowed to take regular university courses and CITE courses simultaneously. Students may enroll in additional university courses only with the recommendation of the CITE director and the approval of the student's academic advisor, however.
It is important to understand that CITE placement may result in 1-3 semesters of study in addition to a student's degree plan.
Required SPCD courses count
toward the number of credit hours required for the full-time student
status but do not count directly toward a student’s graduate degree.
CITE courses also do not count toward a degree plan.
No, currently NMSU’s intensive
language program (CITE, the Center for Intensive Training in English)
is not intended for non-NMSU regular applicants. CITE students
must be admitted to a regular degree program to be admitted to CITE,
or be part of a group for which special arrangements have been made.
Las Cruces is a quiet community of around 90,000. It has a strong link to its roots as a Mexican, Spanish-speaking village. The interesting Mexican-heritage village of Mesilla adjoins the city.
Today Las Cruces is a fast-growing Sunbelt community especially popular with retirees coming from more expensive, urban, areas with more adverse weather conditions and social problems. See local information here.
New Mexico was the 47th state admitted to the U.S., almost 100 years ago. It is one of the largest states by area, but the population remains small and spread out. The largest city is Albuquerque, with a population of half a million. The city of El Paso, Texas is much nearer (60km), and adds urban attractions to the area.
The state of New Mexico enjoys some of the most beautiful, unspoiled natural scenery in the U.S., with desert landscapes complemented by soaring peaks. Outdoor recreational opportunities are numerous. The climate in the state is an attraction, with mostly mild winters and comfortable springs and autumns throughout the state. See New Mexico government information and tourism information.
- NMSU Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management: International Student Services
- (575) 646-2736
- Educational Services Building, Suite 8
- MSC 3G / P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001