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Montana State University - 2016

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Institution Information

General Admissions

Entrance Requirements and Recommendations


Montana State University is a comprehensive, public university and the land grant institute for the State of Montana.

Admission as an Undergraduate Student

Undergraduate students are first-time college students, or those who have attempted college level credits during high school, or have attempted college level credits after graduating high school, and have not been awarded a bachelor’s degree.

Applications for admission to undergraduate programs are processed by the Office of Admissions. The requirements for admission are described in the following sections. There are several options for obtaining MSU application forms.

Applications are accepted from resident, non-resident, and international students. Eligible undergraduate students may attend full-time or part-time. Montana State University retains the right to establish requirements which will ensure successful scholastic performance.

General Admission Information

1. Applicants are responsible for submitting applications and all other required credentials necessary for admission, financial aid, and housing, must provide verification of immunizations, must complete a tuberculosis screening form, and must register for a New Student Orientation session. Applicants should be aware of the following:

2. Applicants are requested to voluntarily provide their social security number which allows the school to distinguish between individuals with the same or similar names.
Students intending to apply for financial aid may obtain appropriate forms from their high school guidance office, online at, or by contacting Financial Aid Services via email or by calling 406-994-2845. MSU’s FAFSA school code is 002532.

3. Students with fewer than 30 credits of college level coursework are required to live in the residence halls. Additional information about residence life and family housing policies may be obtained by calling the Residence Life Office, 406-994-2661, or by visiting the Residence Life website.

4. Students must submit required immunization records and tuberculosis screening form. This is done by logging onto the Student Health Services website and using the "On-line Student Health" link, or students may download and complete the immunization and tuberculosis screening forms and mail, fax or email them to Student Health Services. Students must submit proof of required immunizations and a tuberculosis screening form prior to class registration. Questions should be referred to MSU's Student Health Services, 406-994-2311.

5. Students with a health condition or a disability which should be brought to MSU’s attention may submit a confidential letter of need to Disability/ Re-Entry & Veterans Services. Contact the Office of Disability, Re-Entry & Veterans Services via email or by calling 406-994-2824; they will also answer any questions about services for disabled students.
6. All admitted students must attend a New Student Orientation session prior to the beginning of the semester. Information about Orientation dates will be sent from the Orientation Office after admission has been determined. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the Orientation website or by calling 406-994-2827.

When to Apply

Applicants are encouraged to apply at least six to eight months prior to the first semester of attendance. Early application will allow adequate time for the student to request any academic credentials needed to complete the application file, make housing arrangements, process financial aid materials, and participate in a New Student Orientation session.

Applications should be on file in the Office of Admissions according to the following recommended priority dates:

Fall semester - July 1
Spring semester - December 1
Summer session - May 1

Applicants will be notified as soon as possible after all credentials have been received by the Office of Admissions that are necessary to determine a student's application status.

- All applications are kept on file at MSU for one full academic year from the original application term (e.g. an application for Fall 2015 may be updated through Fall 2016).
- An applicant may defer their term or update their application file during this one year period without having to re-apply. After the one year time period has passed, a new application, application fee, and any/all required academic documents must be re-submitted by the student.
- It is the applicant's responsibility to inform the Office of Admissions of any changes to their original application.

* To defer or update an application within a year from the original application term, contact the Office of Admissions at 406-994-2452 or 1-888-MSU-CATS or email the Office of Admissions.Freshman (First-Time Undergraduates)

Freshman (First-Time Undergraduates)

Freshmen students are those who have completed high school or its equivalent and have never attended a college or university. Students who have attempted fewer than 12 quarter or semester college-level credits at another regionally accredited college or university after high school graduation are considered incoming freshmen. Students who have earned college-level course credit, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits before graduating from high school are also considered incoming freshmen.

Academic Eligibility

Students who do not meet the freshman admission requirements, listed below, are still encouraged to apply for admissions and submit the necessary credentials. MSU is allowed a number of exemptions to the stated requirements and will examine each student’s credentials on an individual basis for admissibility. Some students who do not meet the requirements may be admitted as Pre-University Studies students. In Pre-University Studies, students may take up to 7 credits at MSU and up to an additional 7 credits through a partnership with Gallatin College MSU. Students who take a combination of at least 12 credits will qualify for federal financial aid as a full-time student. Once a Pre-University Studies student has earned 7 MSU credits with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0, he/she will be admitted as a full-time MSU student.

Admission requirements (Resident and Non-Resident)

Graduation from a high school accredited by the state accrediting agency or a passing score on an approved high school equivalency exam such as HiSET or GED, for example. Students who complete their secondary education through home schooling or at unaccredited secondary schools may be admitted as long as they have satisfactorily performed on the ACT or the SAT tests.

MSU Academic Requirements:

- A 2.5 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale), OR
- ACT Enhanced Composite score of 22, OR
- SAT Combined Critical Reading/Mathematics/Writing score of 1540, OR
- Rank in the upper half of the graduating class


- Successful completion of a College Preparatory Curriculum. Non-resident applicants who have not completed the college preparatory requirements stated below may satisfy the requirements by providing evidence that they have completed a similar college preparatory program required by their home state:

- Four years of English: courses should emphasize the development of written and oral communication skills and literature.

- Three years of Mathematics: courses should include algebra I, geometry, and algebra II (or the sequential content equivalent of these courses). Students are encouraged to take a math course in their senior year.

- Three years of Social Studies: courses should include one year of global studies (such as world history or world geography), American history, government, economics, Indian history, psychology, sociology, or other third-year courses.

- Two years of Laboratory Science: one year should be earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics, and the other year can be one of the above sciences or another approved college preparatory science.

- Two years of elective courses: foreign language (preferably two years), computer science, visual and performing arts, or approved vocational education units.

- The following categories of students are exempt from the admissions requirements above:

- Non-Traditional age students (out of high school more than 3 years from graduation date or expected graduation date)

- Non-Degree undergraduate students

In order to begin a University Academic Plan at Montana State University, students must demonstrate readiness in areas of mathematics and writing. Typically, students demonstrate their readiness through scores earned on standardized examinations:

Math: ACT Math of 22+ or SAT Math of 520+

Writing: ACT English/Writing of 18+ or SAT Writing of 440+ or minimum score of 7 on either of the essay sub-sections.

If a student does not demonstrate full readiness prior to his/her New Student Orientation, academic advisers will help the student register during orientation for the appropriate courses needed to move forward in his/her degree path.

Application Procedure

Receipt of the following credentials in the Office of Admissions constitutes a complete application for admission. Requests to have final credentials sent to MSU must be initiated by the applicant. Requests should be made by contacting the high school, the registrar’s office at the college/university, or agency. Credentials must be sent directly from the school to the Office of Admissions. Credentials received from the student that have been opened or are in an unsealed envelope are considered unofficial copies and will not be accepted as official documents.

Application materials and fees will be retained for one year from the original application term. To apply for a semester other than the one originally intended, notify the Office of Admissions as soon as possible.

Be sure to submit the following items (if applicable):

1. Admission Application: An application for admission may be submitted online or downloaded and printed; if completing the paper application, please return the completed and signed application form to the Office of Admissions. The application may also be obtained from a high school counselor or directly from the Office of Admissions.

2. Application Fee (non-refundable): $38 online application or $30 paper application. Checks should be made payable to Montana State University. The application fee will not be waived or refunded. The fee must be paid before the application for admission will be processed.

3. Student Self-Report Form (included in the Admissions Application): This form, required of all first-time applicants who have been out of high school less than three years, will be used to determine admission status prior to the receipt of the final, post-graduation high school transcript.

4. High School Transcript: After graduation, a complete and official transcript must be sent directly from the high school to the Office of Admissions. Courses completed, GPA (on a 4.0 scale), rank in class, and official date of graduation must be posted.

5. Approved High School Equivalency Exam: If an approved high school equivalency exam was taken in lieu of high school graduation, an official score report/transcript must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the Department of Education from the state in which the exam was given.

6. ACT/SAT Scores: All first-time incoming freshmen are required to take either the American College Test "ACT" (MSU School code is 2420) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test "SAT" (MSU School code is 4488). MSU does not accept the SAT Subject Tests (formally SAT II Subject Test) for admissions purposes. Test scores are used in determining admission status, awarding certain scholarships, and in assisting with academic planning. Non-traditional applicants who graduated three or more years prior to the semester in which they intend to enroll are not required to submit ACT/SAT test results. Arrangements to take the ACT test on campus may be made by contacting the MSU Testing Service at 406-994-6984.

7. College/University Transcripts: Applicants who have attended another college or university, whether credit was earned or not, must have an official transcript sent directly from each institution to the Office of Admissions after all final grades have been posted. If the college or university participates in secure electronic transmission of official transcripts, the transcripts should be sent to: For more information on how college/university courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the "Evaluation of Transfer Credit" section.

8. Advanced Placement (AP): Applicants who have completed an Advanced Placement Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam will be granted college credit with a Pass grade for the equivalent courses. For more information on how AP courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the AP Course Equivalencies website.

9. International Baccalaureate (IB): Applicants who have completed an International Baccalaureate Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. IB Exams with scores of 4 or higher (Higher Level only) will be granted college credit with a Pass grade for equivalent courses. For more information on how IB courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the IB Course Equivalencies website.

Freshman Students Denied Admission

Students interested in appealing the admission decision should refer to the "Appeal of Admission Decisions" section.


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