Frequently Asked Questions


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-ride 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-ride) assures easy access nationally and internationally. NMSU Location on Google Maps
NMSU is a public, land-grant university, which was founded in 1888 as an agricultural college and preparatory school. Today it is a major, all-purpose research-intensive public university offering over 80 undergraduate degrees and over 70 graduate degrees in 8 academic colleges. It is funded by the state of New Mexico and has students from all over the U.S. and 80 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, to the rural areas of the state and the state of New Mexico as a whole. Learn more about New Mexico State University in the following videos and links:

Promotional video in  English / español / 中国的 / العربية 

Welcome Tour of Campus (video)

A German exchange student’s video about Las Cruces, NM


NMSU is a comprehensive university.  Popular undergraduate majors are in the basic sciences, technology, engineering, math, health, business, and education. Graduate students often enroll in degree programs in the educational areas of education (Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration), Business Administration, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Biology and Molecular Biology, and Social Work.

For  a full list of degrees offered at NMSU click one of the links below:

Undergraduate degree programs

Graduate degree programs

The academic calendar at NMSU, like most U.S. universities, consists of three semesters:

  • Fall semester which runs from mid-August to mid-December
  • Spring semester, from early January to early May, and
  • A limited summer session, which runs from late May to late July/early August, with limited courses offered.

NMSU does not solicit applications from international students with a start date of summer, except in rare circumstances. Most international students, as well as domestic students, begin their programs of study in the fall semester.

View the NMSU Academic Calendar.

Costs: New Mexico State University is proud to offer the highest quality in educational programs at extremely reasonable costs. NMSU has long been rated one of the top 100 college best ‘buys’ for offering value and quality. See Financial Requirements for International Students for more information.

International students are automatically considered ‘out-of-state (although some scholarship and assistantship recipients receive a ‘waiver’ of the out-of-state costs),’ and unlike domestic students can never qualify for residency. Tuition & fees during the summer sessions are 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, the 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.

New Mexico State University has partnered with Flywire in order to streamline the process of international payments. Flywire allows you to pay securely from any country and any bank, generally in your home currency.

Flywire’s mission is to save international students and their families money that would otherwise be lost on bank fees and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. With Flywire, you are offered excellent foreign exchange rates, allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money, as compared to traditional banks.

By making your payment with Flywire you can:

  • Track your payments from start to finish
  • Save on bank fees and exchange rates
  • Contact their multilingual customer support team with any questions, day or night

If you have questions about making an international payment, visit

To get started, begin by entering your payment information below or access

Still have questions?  Visit our International Payments FAQ page.

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. NMSU Housing & Residential Life 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 ‘My.NMSU’ 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 state of New Mexico sets the number of tuition waivers at NMSU each year at 6% of the total enrollment of students (both domestic and international). Of that total number, the university allocates 10% of those total waivers to foreign students.

The waivers are cumulative, meaning we only have a certain number to assign at any given moment. If some are freed up by graduations or withdrawals, then we assign them to new students on a competitive basis.

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.

See Costs, Payments and Financial Assistance

All F-1 students and J-1 scholars are required to have the NMSU student health insurance, administered through the Aggie Health and Wellness Center. New students purchase this plan as part of the orientation activities in the week before classes begin. Scholars should purchase their plan as soon as they arrive to NMSU.

The policy costs for 2019-20 are as follows:

Fall 2019 : $660

Spring 2020: $660

**For students beginning their program at NMSU for the first time in Spring 2020, the cost will be $770.

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.

All students and scholars must ensure that they have health insurance coverage at all times. F-1 and J-1 student visa holders will not be able to register for classes until this requirement is met every semester.

Information about the international student health insurance plan can be found at the Relation website here.

See also this page regarding health insurance for international students.

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 & Scholar Services office, located in the Garcia Annex building, has the mission of supporting the needs of international students on campus. ISSS also sponsors and administers educational and social events on campus and in the greater community. Please contact us with questions at 575-646-2834, or

NMSU does not organize or sponsor a host family program involving homestays, however, we do coordinate with community groups. The coordinator of a given 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 ISSS office in the Garcia Annex Building, Room 246.

Currently NMSU enrolls more than 1200 international students from over 80 countries. The largest international student populations are from India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and China.**

**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. Applications should be done using the online application. International undergraduate applications are processed by International Student and Scholar Services and international graduate applications are processed by the Graduate School.  Full admission information is available in the university catalog (the NMSU catalog is available here).

Students who have attended colleges or universities outside the United States are required to submit to the university:

  • All official college transcripts and diploma (if applicable) in their original language; and
  • A certified word-for-word English translation by an NMSU-preferred accredited evaluation agency.
  • To have coursework considered for transfer credit, provide course descriptions or syllabi taken at the time the coursework was completed. A certified English translation is required.

Graduate applicants apply to the specific department which reviews the application materials and upon meeting university requirements are given an admission decision by the Graduate School. The final admission decision is made only after the Graduate School receives all the necessary documentation. Application information for graduate students can be found here. Graduate applicants may have additional application requirements depending on their academic department. Please view Graduate Degrees for more information.

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 the application.

Visa documents are not issued until an applicant is admitted and provides proof of financial ability to pay for one year’s cost 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.

Age Restrictions
The following restrictions apply only to international students sponsored by NMSU in F-1 or J-1 status:
1)     Students studying in the Center for English Language Programs must be 18 years of age at the time they begin their program at NMSU in order to be admitted.
2)     Degree-seeking students who are 17 years of age at the time they begin their program at NMSU can be admitted, provided they live on campus.

If you are currently in an academic program and expect to graduate, you can apply for admission to NMSU with your partial transcripts. You may be granted tentative admission, but you will have to provide your final official documents to International Student and Scholar Services as soon as they are available following your graduation or last semester.

The online application system used at NMSU occasionally experiences technical problems. In such cases, we recommend attempting to submit the application again 24 hours later and use a different web browser. If problems persist, please click on the Technical Support link at the bottom of the application login page.

International applicants to the branch campuses must use the online 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 International Students and Scholar Service, at International graduate applicants can check their admission status by contacting the Graduate School at

If you have applied and been admitted to NMSU, but did not attend and wish to re-apply for a later semester, Undergraduate applicants should contact  International Student and Scholar Services, and graduate applicants need to communicate with their specific department. In most cases, deferral and re-application is a simple and fast process, although some documents may need to be re-submitted. No additional application fee is required. If you need guidance as to whom to contact to defer or re-apply, please email us at

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 US.

Beginning Spring 2019, applications for admission must include a professional foreign credit evaluation report from a member institution of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) for every transcript from a foreign secondary school and/or university attended.

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 requirements so that you can 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. As such requests for “expedited” or “priority” processing are not able to be met, we advise applying early and being aware of all admission requirements. International Student and Scholar Services cannot and does not make exceptions to the NMSU application requirements.

NMSU does not have a university-wide application deadline, but at the graduate level some departments have deadlines, please view the department deadlines here.
The deadlines for undergraduate admissions at NMSU are:

For applications for Fall semester enrollment:

  • Deadline for filling out online application: July 1
  • Deadline for all application related supporting documents like transcripts, etc. to reach our office: July 15

For applications for Spring semester enrollment:

  • Deadline for filling out online application: November 15
  • Deadline for all application related supporting documents like transcripts, etc. to reach our office: December 1

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. Once these documents have been submitted, they become property of NMSU and therefore cannot be returned to the student for any reason. 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) to be 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, for both undergraduate and graduate applicants, 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 undergraduate application materials to the Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation offices, located at:

Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation**
New Mexico State University
1780 East University Avenue
Educational Services Building, Suite 850
Las Cruces, NM 88003

**Overseas courier services usually request this address.

Regular mailing address is:

Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

Please send graduate application materials to our offices, located at:

The Graduate School**
New Mexico State University
Educational Services Building, Suite 301
1780 E. University
Las Cruces, NM 88003

**Overseas courier services usually request this address.

Regular mailing address is:

The Graduate School
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001 MSC 3GS
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

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 next question).

All graduate applicants submit all application materials directly to the academic department, as graduate students first have to gain acceptance into their program of interest before gaining admission to NMSU. Please visit your appropriate department web pages, and inquire which additional documents are to be submitted aside from the application. After you have been accepted by the academic department, students will need to submit the required documents (transcripts, official TOEFL/IELTS scores, etc.) to the Graduate School to gain admission to NMSU. 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 University 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), applicants will receive email and postal notice of the decision from the university.

Applicants may also receive formal or informal communications from their department, especially in the case of graduate applicants.

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 University Admissions appreciates your patience. Applicants are welcome to inquire directly with University Admissions or with the Graduate School 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 prospective international and domestic applicants alike and is 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 from either University Admissions or the graduate department of interest and the Graduate School (for graduate applicants).

Our advice is to become familiar with the requirements of our ‘admissions requirements,’ 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 regarding their application. Admission is competitive, which means that not all eligible applicants are always admitted.

Conditional 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 conditional admissions are the requirement to complete one semester at an acceptable grade point average before being considered fully admitted, the requirement to provide final transcripts from their previous institution, language testing upon arrival at NMSU due to low TOEFL scores, and no TOEFL or IELTS score available but admission granted on the condition that the student will complete the Center for English Language Programs full sequence of courses.  See the CELP website’s information about conditional admission and the NMSU Catalog for more information.

Privacy laws in the US 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.


If a student expects full admission to the university, a current (less than two years old) TOEFL or IELTS score is required for most international students.  The official report of those results should come directly from the testing company (Refer to the graduate or undergraduate admissions requirements for more information).  There are a few exceptions:

  • Being an applicant from an English-speaking country (this list is found on our page on Language Requirements);
  • Transferring from another U.S. university with 30 or more satisfactory credit hours;
  • Coming to NMSU with a degree from a university in an English speaking country, a U.S. university or a U.S. high school diploma;
  • Applicants with a degree that has been completed in one of the following countries may have no TOEFL or IELTS score report required: Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Canada (except Quebec), Dominica, England, Eritrea, Fiji, Ghana, Grand Cayman Islands, Grenada, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Scotland, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Virgin Islands, Wales
  • 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.

Note: Until further notice, NMSU will no longer accept TOEFL scores from testing centers located in the United Arab Emirates or Lebanon.

Please visit 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. Please be advised we only accept the International Version of the TOEFL Exam.

In some locations the IELTS may be a more accessible option, visit to see testing options for this test.

Many new regularly admitted international students must take the NMSU English Language Placement Test (NMSU’’s own testing, consisting of a written essay-style exam) 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 an English-speaking country.

New graduate students take the test if they have a TOEFL below 550 or 79 (iBT) equivalent, or if they been awarded a teaching assistantship.

Some new international students take the separate EPT Placement Test through the Center for English Language Programs, 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).

Yes.  Undergraduate students can be admitted to the university “conditionally”.  Such students are required to enroll in the Center for English Language Programs and required to complete the highest (fifth) level of that program.  Upon successfully doing this the conditionally admitted student will be fully admitted to the university.  All other admissions requirements apply.  See the CELP website’s information about conditional admission and the NMSU Catalog for more information.

During your application process you will need to submit your transcripts showing English courses you have taken at other institutions.

  • If you took the course at a U.S. accredited institution in a face-to-face format (not online) and the course is determined to be equivalent to ENG111G (the first, basic English course required of all undergraduate students) by NMSU’s Department of English, then yes, the course will transfer to NMSU.  Please check with your advisor regarding any additional English courses that may be required for your specific major.
  • If you took the English course online, NMSU’s Department of English will NOT accept the course as equivalent to either ENG111G nor SPCD110 (NMSU’s bridge course that leads to ENG111G).

If your transcript does not clearly show that the English course you’re trying to transfer to NMSU was taken face-to-face at another U.S. accredited institution (i.e. was NOT an online course) you may be asked to provide additional evidence clarifying the mode (online or face-to-face).  If you cannot provide that evidence you will be required to complete the English Language Placement Test prior to registering for your first semester’s courses at NMSU.  A hold will be placed on your student account until these questions are resolved.

If you are worried that your English course will not transfer, and that is an important factor in your decision to study at NMSU, we suggest you resolve these questions before arriving in Las Cruces – or definitely before renting an apartment, etc.

The purpose of English Language Placement Test (ELPT) for placement into the correct English course(s) upon your arrival at NMSU.

  • The ELPT is an important verification test, and should be taken seriously.
  • Non-completion of the test, and/or not showing up for the test, will impact your enrollment at NMSU for the Fall semester

International students that are required to complete the ELPT will receive an informative email, with information about the test date and location, prior to their arrival at NMSU.

Results from the ELPT will be provided to students’ College Dean and the Director of ISSS from placement purposes. The student will receive an email, sent to their NMSU account, with information in regard to the required English course(s) and holds placed onto their account.

New international students may be placed into several different course selections based on their results on the ELPT (the English Language Placement Test, find more information here). 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 English Language Placement Test may include:

  • Courses for undergraduate international students:
    1. SPCD 110, to improve composition and grammar skills necessary for all university-level writing.
    2. ENGL 111M (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:
    1. SPCD 110, as above.
    2. SPCD 470, to introduce graduate students to the special characteristics unique to scholarly and research writing.

In the event that a student’s English language ability presented in the ELPT does not match the skills presented in the TOEFL/IELTS scores submitted, NMSU reserves the right to require additional testing on a case-by-case basis. 

It is important to understand that ELPT 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. CELP courses also do not count toward a degree plan.

Yes, currently NMSU’s intensive language program (CELP, the Center for English Language Programs) is also intended for non-NMSU regular applicants. CELP students must be complete a separate application and provide the requested documentation in order to enroll in our English Language program.

Area Information

Las Cruces is a quiet community of around 100,000. 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.

See also:

Center for English Language Programs webpage with information key local attractions.
Promotional “Hoops” Video: English Español 中国的 / العربية 
Campus Tour (Video)

  • NMSU International & Border Programs: ISSS
  • (575) 646-2834
  • Garcia Annex, Room 246
  • MSC 3567 / P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001


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