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Online exam proctoring

For students taking graduate courses online, the College of Engineering has outlined a process, responsibilities, and resources to take proctored exams. If you are taking a graduate course online through the College of Engineering, please click through the following links to fully understand the process and your responsibilities before completing an exam.

This page outlines the overall process of finding and selecting an appropriate proctor, submitting the proctor for approval, and the process for taking your exam. The exam process for online students is designed to match the experience of taking your exam in a Michigan State University classroom. There are some steps you'll need to take to get set up for taking proctored exams:

  1. Student finds suitable proctor.
  2. Student submits proctor application on the Proctor Approval Form page.
  3. The department will approve or deny the application.
  4. Student and proctor will be notified via email of approval status within 5 business days.
  5. Exam details and instructions for students will be provided from your instructor. Exam details and instructions for proctors will be provided to the proctor.

A few business days prior to the exam, your exam proctor should check that the exam is available in the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal. The exam will include notes listing the materials you're allowed to have with you during the exam and the time limit for your exam. The instructor will announce prior to the exam what these details will include.

On the day of the exam, you'll need to bring a photo ID and the allowed testing materials. Your proctor will confirm your identity, walk you through the exam process including reviewing any instructions and provide you with a suitable testing area. Your proctor will initiate the timer for your exam, be present for the duration of your exam, and inform you when your time to complete the exam has expired.

Once your exam is complete, your proctor will upload it to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal for grading.

Where Do I Take My Exams?

You may take your exam at the Michigan State University Testing Center, a testing site from The National College Testing Association, or the location of a proctor of your choosing. You may be able to find a suitable testing location at your place of employment. Usual sites include a local community college or public library. The National College Testing Association offers a list of public testing sites, and payment of any fees will be your responsibility.


For questions regarding the proctoring process, please contact:

DECS for technical support:
DECS Support
1325 Engineering Building
(517) 353-8891

Or contact your department:
Mechanical Engineering
428 S. Shaw Lane, Room 2555
Engineering Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1226
(517) 355-5131

Electrical and Computer
Engineering 428 S. Shaw Lane, Room 2120
Engineering Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1226
(517) 355-5066

As an online student, early in the semester, you will need to identify an exam proctor and testing site for proctored exams.

What Is an Exam Proctor?

An exam proctor will receive your exam materials, administer the exam to you, and return your exam materials to your instructor for grading. If someone from your organization has already taken online courses through MSU, there may be a certified exam proctor already on site for you to use.

Who Can Be a Proctor?

  • The Michigan State University Testing Center 
  • A testing center from the National College Testing Association (NCTA)  
  • A proctor of your choosing who is one of the following:
    • Local college or university faculty member
    • Test administrator at a professional testing center
    • Librarian at a public or school library Military officer (only for members of the military and their spouses)
    • Corporate education coordinator or human resources representative at your place of employment

Contact a qualified person to make sure they are willing to serve as your proctor. Your exam proctor must have access to a computer, printer, and scanner. Proctors must follow our Proctor Responsibilities and have flexibility to be present during the entire period of each examination. You may use more than one exam proctor as you take courses through Michigan State University.

Who cannot serve as a proctor?

There are certain individuals who cannot serve as your exam proctor, including:

  • Spouse
  • Relative
  • Friend
  • Student
  • Coworker or Supervisor
  • Tutor
  • Ecclesiastical Leader
  • Athletic Coach

Academic Integrity

To ensure that your Michigan State University degree remains well respected over time, it is essential that to maintain a high level of academic integrity for our exam process. That is why we require you to take exams in the presence of an approved proctor (unless it is a take-home exam as these are not proctored).

Exam Process Student Responsibilities

Call your exam site to identify any guidelines or instructions specific to your exam site, such as exam proctoring fees, walk-in appointments, exam arrangements, alternate contacts, office hours, and so on. The student is responsible for any fees accrued during the semester.

It is your responsibility to make arrangements with your proctor. Your instructor will notify you of the exam dates acceptable to take the exam(s).

If your proctor has trouble accessing your exam they should contact DECS at MSU (517) 353-8891 if there are any questions about receiving, administering, or returning your exams.

If you or your proctor are unable to take the exam on the scheduled date(s) you must contact your instructor prior to the scheduled date and request to make alternate arrangements. Please note that the instructors have the right to refuse to allow students to take exams on alternate dates.

Returning students will have prior proctor information saved in the MSU Engineering proctor portal, and do not need to re-identify. If you choose to use a new proctor, then you will need to submit a new Proctor Approval Form.

Distance Exam Process

The exams are not emailed to your proctor. They are made available to your proctor via the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal. Your proctor will return exams to the Proctor Portal following instructions provided in advance.

  1. The instructor will upload the exam original along with instructions such as time limits and what aids are or are not allowed. These are the instructions the proctor is to follow when administering the exam to you.
  2. An email notification will be sent to your proctor when the exam is available to download.
  3. The proctor administers the exam to the student according to the instructor's guidelines.
  4. Once the exam is administered, your proctor will scan the completed exam to a PDF file and upload into the secure MSU Engineering Proctor Portal.
  5. Your instructor will have access to the completed exam for grading. If there are any issues, your instructor will contact your proctor.

Exam dates are set by the Instructor.

Overview of the Proctoring Process:

  1. Create an account in the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal.
  2. Verify and print the exam and read the exam rules.
  3. Verify the student and verify that no communication devices are present cellphone, smartwatch, headphones.
  4. Supervise the student as they complete the exam and collect all exam materials from the student.
  5. Upload completed exam to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal.

These regulations and the conditions must be rigorously observed in administering examinations in connection with Michigan State University's off-campus graduate credit courses.  Any location that cannot administer examinations in accordance with these regulations and conditions will not be permitted to serve as an exam site.

  • Create an account in the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal. Please verify that you have access to the exam prior to the exam date. If you cannot access the exam, contact MSU DECS at (517) 353-8891.
  • Exam PDF file to be accessed and downloaded from MSU Engineering Proctor Portal using login and password.  Do not share your login credentials with another proctor or a student.
  • Print the exam prior to the exam appointment and keep in a secure location for safekeeping until the exam is administered.
  • Confirm the identity of distance learning students on exam day using their government-issued ID.
  • Walk the student through the proctoring process and provide student with a quiet and suitable testing area. (ex: students should not have access to a computer, should be in an enclosed space that can easily be monitored by you, the proctor). Monitor and supervise the student as they complete the exam. Do not allow students to use any materials not approved by the instructor (cell phone, notes, textbooks, etc.).
  • If exam cannot be administered on the scheduled date, student must contact their instructor and make further arrangements.
  • The approved exam proctor must be present to serve as proctor during the entire period of the examination.
  • Access to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal is restricted to approved site representatives and exam proctors.
  • No communication is permitted among the students taking the examination.
  • Immediately submit all completed exams to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal.  All pages of the completed exam will need to be scanned in high-resolution to a single PDF file and uploaded to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal (where you originally accessed the exam).  Any notes should be collected and returned with the exam unless otherwise noted.

The exam proctor must keep the original copy of the completed exam in the event that the uploaded copy is not legible. The instructor will contact the proctor if there is any issue with the uploaded electronic copy. The exam hard copies and any saved electronic copies are to be shredded and/or deleted at the conclusion of each semester.

Deterring and Detecting Academic Dishonesty

Michigan State University prohibits academic dishonesty. The following are a few examples of academic dishonesty:

  • substituting on an exam for another student
  • obtaining a copy of a test in advance of its scheduled administration
  • using unauthorized notes during an exam
  • obtaining a test from the exam site, completing, and submitting it later
  • altering answers on a scored test and submitting it for a regrade

Visit for the complete guidelines on deterrence and detection. 

Please contact a proctor BEFORE submitting the proctor approval form to be sure they can accommodate your course exam dates. Students are encouraged to complete this request early in the semester to allow time for proctor verification and approval. Please submit this form no later than week three of the semester. 

The options available for having an exam proctored are:

  • The Michigan State University Testing Center (
  • A testing center from the National College Testing Association (NCTA) (
  • A proctor of your choosing who is one of the following:
    • Local college or university faculty member
    • Test administrator at a professional testing center
    • Librarian at a public or school library
    • Military officer (only for members of the military and their spouses)
    • Corporate education coordinator or human resources representative at your place of employment

Depending on the option you choose, there may be a cost per exam. Students are responsible for this fee.


Please complete the proctor approval form to identify a proctor for your online course exam(s). Your department will verify and approve each proctor requested to determine if the requested proctor is acceptable. If approved, you and your proctor will receive an email notification confirming the proctor has been added to the MSU Engineering Proctor Portal. Please make arrangements with your proctor to schedule your exam(s).

*Please allow 5 business days for proctor approval. Business days do not include weekends.

*Your department is under no obligation to approve every proposed proctor. Proctors will only be approved if they meet the proctor guidelines. Please do not submit a proctor request for people who don't fall within the guidelines. If it is unclear whether the proposed proctor meets the proctor guidelines your department associate chair will decide whether the proctor is approved.