Name and Gender Marker Changes at MSU

University Name Policy

If you have legally changed your name and want to update it throughout all of your university records, you should bring a legal document indicating the change, a driver’s license, voter registration card, social security card, passport, marriage license, or official proof of identity certified by a U.S. embassy abroad or by the appropriate foreign embassy in the United States to Room 150 of the Administration Building. You may also submit your request by mail or fax (517) 353-1935, including legible copies of your documentation.

You can use your preferred name in all areas of the university except for those where legal name is required (e.g., federal forms, financial aid, etc.). If you prefer to use a name other than your legal name, you can submit your preferred name, which will appear on your Student ID and in class rosters on D2L. Michigan State University allows you to change your name and update it throughout all your university records.

If you are a student employee at MSU, your preferred name must also be changed through Human Resources at (517) 353-4434

Below are some frequently asked questions around name change.

How do I change my name in the system?

You may establish or update your preferred name in the Student Information System (SIS) at Choose “Personal Details” under the “My Profile” category on the SIS menu. Students may update or remove their preferred name via SIS or in person at the Office of the Registrar, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150.

When I change my name in the system, where will it show up?

The legal name will continue to be used for certain university records, documents, and business processes such as reporting, financial aid, official transcripts, and other records where use of legal name is required by law or university policy.

The preferred name will be displayed in parenthesis behind the legal first name across university systems, where possible. The preferred name will be displayed in systems such as Desire2Learn, SIS, Office of the Registrar Instructor systems, and MSU People Search. Additionally, if the individual lives in the dorms, the preferred name is the only name that comes up when checking things out from the service center desks.

New students who submit a preferred name on their application for admission will receive an ID card at the Academic Orientation Program with their preferred name. Students who have already been issued an MSU ID Card may request a card through the ID Office for a fee of $20. Requests should be made no less than one business day after updating the preferred name in SIS. The preferred name will print in the place of the legal first name on the front of the card. The legal first and last name will be printed on the back of the card.

Do I have control over where it shows up?

There is unfortunately no control over where the preferred name shows up. Although a preferred name will show up on MSU People Search alongside your legal name, you can request to not have any information show up on MSU People Search. This means that in MSU People Search your legal name and preferred name will be hidden to those who search for it, while both will continue to appear on other access-restricted documents such as class rosters and financial aid documents. 

What name will be on my diploma?

Students indicate their diploma name on the Michigan State University Application for Graduation. The student name listed on a diploma or certificate must match the legal name as it is recorded on the student’s official university record, with the following exceptions: option of first name or initial; option of middle name or initial; inclusion of former or maiden name(s); and inclusion of proper capitalization and accentuation of name.

Can I change the name on my diploma without having my legal name changed?

The university reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it is used inappropriately, including but not limited to, avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation. To change the name on a diploma, the individual must have it legally changed.

Can I get another diploma after graduating if I have changed my name?

After graduating, if a legal name change happens, the individual can come back, change the name legally in the MSU System, and order a new diploma.

My parents have/expect access to my university records like SIS. What can they see about my name, gender marker, or services I receive (e.g., scholarships, health services)?

It will show up behind your legal name with parenthesis. Any official things sent to you or your parents will have the legal name but logging into SIS, the legal name with prefered name next to it will show up.

**If you are looking to legally change your name, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund‘s Name Change Project provides free legal name change services to low-income transgender people through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and corporate law departments. It is available in Ingham County on a case-by-case basis. The link for the intake form can be found here: Intake Form Link 


Google Suites

Your legal name automatically populates in G Suites. As of October 2019, students can change their names within G Suites.

Here is a helpful “How-To” infographic on how to navigate the process. If you have any issues, please contact us at


MSU Libraries

You have several options:

  1. If you have updated your name with MSU, please bring your old and new MSU ID card to Patron Services at the Main Library and we will change your name.
  2. If you have updated your driver's license or Michigan ID card, please bring your old and new license to Patron Services at the Main Library and we will change your name. 
  3. If you have not updated your name with MSU or changed your license yet, please come to Patron Services in the Main Library with your current MSU ID card or driver's license. We can add a second, preferred name to our system but must maintain your legal name in the record as well. 

Please feel free to call Patron Services with any questions at 517-884-1946.


Gender Marker

To change your gender marker with the university (only “male” or “female” are currently available), you can do so through the Registrar’s office (Room 150, Hannah Administration Building). No legal documentation is required.

Your gender marker varies by department where it shows up. Your gender marker does not appear on D2L or in class rosters. Gender is mostly used by Olin Health Center and Student Housing. Your gender marker also appears in “Student Details” on STUINFO as well as for MSU Jobs, as this is for tax purposes.

At this time, you cannot control where your gender marker does and does not show up. Changing your gender marker will have it show up as that particular marker throughout university systems. Legal names, however, still appear where legal names are required.