Human methionine synthase reductase (MSR) is a key enzyme in folate and methionine metabolism as it reactivates the catalytically inert cob(II)alamin form of methionine synthase (MS). Electron transfer from MSR to the cob(II)alamin cofactor coupled with methyl transfer from S-adenosyl methionine returns MS to the active methylcob(III)alamin state. MSR contains stoichiometric amounts of FAD and FMN, which shuttle NADPH-derived electrons to the MS cob(II)alamin cofactor. Herein, we have investigated the pre-steady state kinetic behavior of the reductive half-reaction of MSR by anaerobic stopped-flow absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy. Photodiode array and single-wavelength spectroscopy performed on both full-length MSR and the isolated FAD domain enabled assignment of observed kinetic phases to mechanistic steps in reduction of the flavins. Under single turnover conditions, reduction of the isolated FAD domain by NADPH occurs in two kinetically resolved steps: a rapid (120 s-1) phase, characterized by the formation of a charge-transfer complex between oxidized FAD and NADPH, is followed by a slower (20 s-1) phase involving flavin reduction. These two kinetic phases are also observed for reduction of full-length MSR by NADPH, and are followed by two slower and additional kinetic phases (0.2 and 0.016 s-1) involving electron transfer between FAD and FMN (thus yielding the disemiquinoid form of MSR) and further reduction of MSR by a second molecule of NADPH. The observed rate constants associated with flavin reduction are dependent hyperbolically on NADPH and [4(R)-2H]-NADPH concentration, and the observed primary kinetic isotope effect on this step is 2.2 and 1.7 for the isolated FAD domain and full-length MSR, respectively. Both full-length MSR and the separated FAD domain that have been reduced with dithionite catalyze the reduction of NADP+. The observed rate constant of reverse hydride transfer increases hyperbolically with NADP + concentration with the FAD domain. The stopped-flow kinetic data, in conjunction with the reported redox potentials of the flavin cofactors for MSR [Wolthers, K. R., Basran, J., Munro, A. W., and Scrutton, N. S. (2003) Biochemistry, 42, 3911-3920], are used to define the mechanism of electron transfer for the reductive half-reaction of MSR. Comparisons are made with similar stopped-flow kinetic studies of the structurally related enzymes cytochrome P450 reductase and nitric oxide synthase.