FAQs for Future Students

NMSU Information

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. See NMSU Location on Google Maps and take a virtual tour of the main campus.

NMSU serves a multi-cultural population of students and community members across the state at five campuses (Las Cruces Main Campus, Doña Ana, Grants, Alamogordo, and Carlsbad), a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, cooperative extension offices located in each of New Mexico's 33 counties, and 12 agriculture research and science centers.

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:

Yes! Visit this page for NMSU rankings and explore why NMSU is consistently ranked among the nation’s top university.

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:

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.

Currently NMSU enrolls more than 700 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.

Costs & Financial Information

New Mexico State University is proud to offer the highest quality in educational programs at extremely reasonable costs. NMSU was recognized on the seventh annual U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities 2021 rankings. See Costs and Financial Information 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, cannot 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.

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 flywire.com/help.

To get started, begin by entering your payment information below or access nmsu.flywire.com.

Still have questions? Visit UAR International Payments FAQ page.

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 and Financial Information and Scholarships.

All F-1 students and J-1 students/scholars are required to 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.

Generally, international students and scholars must enroll in the NMSU student health insurance, administered through the Aggie Health and Wellness Center. Charges will be posted to the student’s account. Scholars should purchase their plan as soon as they arrive to NMSU.

F-2 and J-2 dependents are also required to have health insurance but may choose a non-NMSU plan.

See this page regarding health insurance for international students, policy costs, and waived categories’ list.

All students and scholars must ensure that they read the information about the international student health insurance plan can be found at the Relation website .

If you would like to have a non-NMSU health insurance plan, please note that you must obtain an insurance waiver from Relation Insurance before the deadline every semester. ISSS does not process the insurance waiver, assist with Relation login credentials, nor make the insurance waiver decision. To apply for the insurance waiver, visit https://4studenthealth.relationinsurance.com/plan/international-student-insurance-plan-2020-2021-7220/?sch=7220 > Helpful Links > Waive Coverage. When applying for the waiver, please upload complete coverage by your insurance company so Relation Insurance can evaluate if the coverage offer is equivalent or better than NMSU insurance policy.

See this page regarding health insurance for international students, policy costs, and waived categories’ list.

All students and scholars must ensure that they read the information about the international student health insurance plan can be found at the Relation website.

F-2 and J-2 dependents are also required to have health insurance. However, they may purchase a non-NMSU plan. ISSS highly recommends Visit International Health Insurance for dependents (please select $100,000 medical coverage or higher ONLY). Dependents must purchase health insurance for the entire semester and submit proof of insurance to ISSS (isss@nmsu.edu).

Yes, if interested, applicants should contact their academic department directly to inquire about graduate assistantships. Graduate assistantships are working positions usually in one’s field of study in the form of a teaching or research position.

F-1 and J-1 students’ ability to work and train in the United States is limited by federal regulations and policies. International students can only apply for part-time on-campus employment and are not eligible for work-study positions. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week on campus during the fall and spring semesters.

Students cannot start Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) until they have been authorized by ISSS.

Application Information

The undergraduate application process and list of required documents can be found here and the graduate application information 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, SpanTran.
  • 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.

IMPORTANT: Documents submitted by applicants are not considered official. To be considered "official", the required documents must be submitted directly to NMSU by your previous institutions, NACES approved foreign credit evaluation agency, and/or translation company.

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.

Please note that all previous college and university coursework must be disclosed on the application.

For more information on the application process, see our Future Students page.

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 (6 months in advance or more) 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
  • eadline 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
  • eadline for all application related supporting documents like transcripts, etc. to reach our office: December 1

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 Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School as soon as they are available following your graduation or last semester.

All graduate applicants submit all application materials directly to the academic department, as graduate students first must 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.

The application fee is US $50, for undergraduate applicants, and this fee cannot be waived or deferred.

For graduate students there is no application fee for the first application in a year. The fee for graduate applicants is $50 for any application after the first application submitted in a year.

IMPORTANT: Documents submitted by applicants are not considered official. To be considered "official", the required documents must be submitted directly to NMSU by your previous institutions, NACES approved foreign credit evaluation agency, and/or translation company.

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.

TOEFL, IELTS, 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.

Contact the Registrar’s office of your current/previous university to send the transcript. Both electronic and physical copies are accepted.

Please send undergraduate application materials to the Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation via email at admissions@nmsu.edu. Although email is the preferred method of delivery, the application materials can be delivered to the Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation, located at:

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

**Overseas courier services usually request this address.

Regular mailing address is:

Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation MSC 3A New Mexico State University P.O. Box 30001 Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

Please send graduate application materials to gradinfo@nmsu.edu or to the office, 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

The online application system used at NMSU (including branch campuses) 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 contact the appropriate Underdergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School.

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 isss@nmsu.edu. International graduate applicants can check their admission status by contacting the Graduate School at gradinfo@nmsu.edu.

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 appreciates your patience. Applicants are welcome to inquire directly with Undergraduate 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.

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.

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 an admissions decision (reached only if an application has already been evaluated as complete), applicants will receive email 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.

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 Undergraduate 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 other 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.

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 institution and/or foreign credential evaluation by a NACES-approved agency.

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 isss@nmsu.edu.

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.

English Requirements Information

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 graduate or undergraduate admissions requirements page);
  • 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.

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. 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 www.ielts.org to see testing options for this test.

Unless you meet the exception for the language requirement criteria, you will need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score in order to be admitted.

  • 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 or 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 regarding 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 independent, 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:
    • SPCD 110, to improve composition and grammar skills necessary for all university-level writing.
    • 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:
    • SPCD 110, as above.
    • 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.

Area Information

NMSU Main Campus is located in the sunny city of Las Cruces, where modern innovation meets rich Old West history. A quiet community of around 100,000, Las Cruces has a strong link to its roots as a Mexican, Spanish-speaking village. The historic 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 big-city problems. Residents enjoy 340 days of sunshine, recreational and outdoor adventures, unique culinary experiences, and many other cultural and educational attractions. 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. Although Santa Fe is the state capital, the largest city is Albuquerque, with a population of half a million. The city of El Paso, Texas is much nearer (60 km) and adds urban attractions to the area.

The state of New Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful, unspoiled natural scenery in the U.S., with desert landscapes complemented by soaring peaks. It is one of the Mountain States in the Four Corners region, bordering Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Outdoor recreational opportunities like biking, hiking, skiing, and camping 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.

Housing Information

First-year undergraduate students and students under 18 years old are required to live on campus. See more information on https://housing.nmsu.edu/applications/.

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. Some on-campus housing options require the purchase of meal plans. Utilities (electricity, water, etc.), telephone, and internet access are included in all housing facilities.

First-year undergraduate students and students under 18 years old must obtain permission from NMSU Housing & Residential Life to live off-campus.

Off-campus, there are many rental complexes in the immediate campus area, with rents ranging from $300 per month per person and up. Many students rent off-campus apartments, and rent-sharing to save costs is common. If renting an apartment or house, be aware that you may need to arrange your own utilities, telephone service and so on. Usually, apartments require additional payments for utilities – electricity, gas, telephone etc. (while these costs would be included in on-campus housing rates).

There are many off-campus housings 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.

To apply for on-campus housing, a student must be admitted, 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. Please note that the availability of on-campus housing before the official “move-in” date before the start of a semester is limited and provided on a case-by-case basis by the housing department. See more details here.

NMSU does not organize or sponsor a host family program involving homestays.

Student Support Information

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, childcare services for students with young children, and many services are more are offered. For information on student resources, 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 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 isss@nmsu.edu.