Montana State University
Montana State University Benchmarks - Annual Compilation of Outcomes and Achievements Go to: Excel - Teaching and Learning Go to: Innovate - Research and Discovery Go to: Serve - Outreach and Engagement Go to: Connect - Access and Inclusion Go to: Conserve - Stewardship and Sustainability

MISSION STATEMENT: Montana State University, the state's land-grant institution, educates students, creates knowledge and art, and serves communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement.

Montana State University is as remarkable as its setting. Created as a land-grant institution, it is a welcoming, adventurous community of students, faculty and staff distinguished by its commitment to address the world's greatest challenges. The university energizes individuals to discover and pursue their aspirations. It inspires people to engage with the university to improve the human prospect through excellence in education, research, creativity and civic responsibility.

STATS | 2012

Degrees offered: associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees

Student/faculty ratio: 17:1

Established: 1893


Record Enrollment 14,660

Record Research Expenditures $112.3 million

Goldwater Scholars (math & science)
Ranked nationally among the top 20 universities

MSU set a research record of $112.3 million in 2012

MSU students participated in service-learning project in Morrocco.

Designing Our Community won an award for support of Native American students.

LEED Silver Certified Gaines Hall

EXCEL: Teaching & Learning

Professional Exam Pass Rates Professional exams are an objective measure of how MSU graduates stack up against their peers nationally.

  • Business Acumen College of Business seniors consistently score around the 90th percentile on the Major Field Test-Business, a standardized assessment of business knowledge and problem solving administered to business seniors across the country in more than 600 institutions.
  • Nursing Knowledge Over the past five years nursing students have maintained a cumulative pass rate of approximately 90 percent on the N-CLEX, the licensure exam for nursing.
  • Delivering Dietitians Health and human development students have a 88 percent first-time pass rate on the exam for registered dietitians.
  • Well-rounded Educators Education students outscored their contemporaries on 14 out of 15 Praxis II, the required test for teaching licensure.
  • Engineering Advantage MSU engineering students who take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam consistently exceed the national average by 10 percentage points.
  • Pre-med Success MSU students' acceptance rates to health professions schools far exceed national averages. The cumulative acceptance rate of MSU students into health professions school from 2009 to 2011 was 68 percent-a 60 percent acceptance rate to medical school, 75 percent acceptance rate to dental school, and 89 percent acceptance rate to physician assistant school-depending on the profession, national acceptance rates range from 36 percent to 46 percent.

Scholarship and Prestige MSU students and faculty are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their disciplines.

  • Scholarships and Awards The quality of education at MSU has enabled many students to compete successfully for prestigious scholarships, grants and placement in top-tier graduate programs. In the past year, MSU students earned National Science Foundation, Boren and Fulbright fellowships; and Marshall, Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.
  • Respected Expertise MSU faculty, staff and administrators have been tapped for a variety of regional, national, White House and international advisory boards and committees. From financial to ecological, MSU personnel are leaders in their disciplines and share their expertise with students.
  • Students' Choice In fall 2012, MSU welcomed a record 14,660 students. MSU saw increases in freshman, Native American, veteran, out-of-state and Gallatin College students. In addition, out of the 205 recipients of the 2012-13 Montana University System Honors Scholarship, 126 enrolled at MSU. The institution with the second most recipients had less than half that number.
  • Academic Reputation MSU is ranked in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report's list of the nation's best universities. Rankings are based on several key measures of quality, including academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, and student/faculty ratios.

Competitive Edge When MSU students compete and succeed regionally and nationally, it provides even further recognition that the university's academic programs are among the best in the country.

  • Top Designs Graphic design students regularly earn top honors in the Society of Publication Designers Student Design Contest. Over the past seven years, seven graphic design seniors have placed in the top 10 at the annual national design contest.
  • Construction Achievements For a fifth time in 10 years, a team of College of Engineering students won first place for their ability to estimate a multimillion dollar project and produce a real-world bid in the heavy civil engineering category of the Associated Schools of Construction.
  • Model Diplomacy An MSU team placed second at the Rocky Mountain Regional Model Arab League, a diplomatic simulation of the real-world Arab League based on the format of the Model United Nations. The MSU team advanced to the national competition, where members won two of 10 outstanding delegate awards, five of 10 honorable mentions, as well as outstanding chair.
  • Academic and Athletic Success The MSU Bobcat athletes captured the Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup for the 2011-2012 academic year. The award is based on overall athletics success, team grade point averages, graduation rates and All-Conference performers with at least a 3.0 GPA.

INNOVATE: Research & Discovery

Carnegie Class Based on the classification system of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, MSU is one of just three institutions out of 4,600 in the nation that maintains "very high research activity"-the highest level in the classification of research activity-yet is also predominantly undergraduate in terms of its student population. This combination means that undergraduates at MSU have access to high-level research projects that are reserved for graduate students at many other institutions.

Research Record MSU recently set a research expenditure record-$112.3 million-surpassing its old record by nearly $3 million. Top research departments included immunology, chemistry and biochemistry, transportation, physics, and land resources and environmental sciences; and much of the funding came from the National Institutes of Health, Departments of Energy, Defense and Agriculture, and private sources.

Licensed and Patented MSU research has led to significant discoveries that are changing the world. MSU holds more than 200 active technology licenses. In addition, 87 patents and 14 plant variety certificates have been issued for MSU discoveries with many more pending.

SERVE: Outreach & Engagement

Community Engagement Classification MSU earned The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's engagement classification. The designation recognizes commitment to teaching that encourages volunteer service in communities and spreading of knowledge that benefits the public.

National Award for Engagement MSU recently won the annual C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The annual award recognizes a four-year public university that embraces outreach and community engagement and comes with a $20,000 prize. The award was won largely thanks to the efforts of MSU's Engineers Without Borders chapter to bring clean water to Kenya.

Record Generosity MSU and the Bozeman community continued their winning streak and set a new record for donations in the 2012 "Can the Griz" food drive. The food drive is coordinated by the MSU office of Activities and Engagement and the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and netted 68,515 pounds of food and approximately $29,000 for the food bank.

Service Learning Projects Through courses, clubs and organized events, students participate in many local, national and international service learning projects that enable them to apply their education while strengthening communities.

  • Nursing students provide education and basic care in underserved communities in Montana and South America.
  • Architecture students build straw-bale houses to create sustainable housing and improve living conditions in Kenya.
  • Towne's Harvest Garden, a student-operated vegetable garden, donates thousands of pounds of fresh food to the local food bank.
  • Accounting students assist low-income individuals with tax filings.

CONNECT: Access & Inclusion

Access in the Big Sky MSU and the Montana University System were featured in a profile on MSNBC entitled "In Montana, small changes spur nation's biggest jump in college graduates." The profile highlighted efforts being made at MSU and across the state to help students stay in school and graduate, which has effectively increased "the proportion of its population with college degrees faster than any other state," according to the article.

Native American Success Designing Our Community, an MSU engineering program that aims to recruit and retain Native American students, was honored by the College Board as a regional winner for the CollegeKeys Compact Innovation Awards. MSU's percentage of Native American graduates is one of the highest among engineering programs in the United States.

Veterans Resources A new Veterans Support Center, located in the Strand Union Building, provides space for speakers, seminars, resources and support services to assist approximately 500 student veterans in their transition to higher education. MSU is consistently designated a "Military Friendly Schools" by G.I. Jobs magazine.

Advocacy for Access MSU's president testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on higher-education tax incentives and the need for tax reform. Citing increases in key financial measures and larger debt loads, President Cruzado encouraged the committee to reduce complexity so students and their families can better utilize the programs.

College Completion Option Montana State Online has launched a new online degree completion program in liberal studies. The program helps students who have some college credit and would like to finish their degree online.

Support to Advance MSU's McNair Scholars Program received a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help support undergraduates who are minorities or first-generation/lower-income college students in their preparation for going on to graduate school.

CONSERVE: Stewardship & Sustainibility

Freshman 15 MSU's "Freshman 15" initiative encourages students to be fiscally and academically responsible by taking 15 credits each semester so they can graduate in four years. At MSU, there is no cost for additional credits after a student pays for the first 12 hours. This equates to an $816 per semester savings for a Montana student.

Fiscally Savvy MSU launched a new Office of Financial Education that focuses on financial literacy and is integrated into advising and career services counseling. The program aims to reduce debt and educate students so they can make smart choices and develop solid financial habits.

Montana Made Nearly a quarter of the food MSU's University Food Services buys each year comes from farmers and producers in the state.

Improving Education and Efficiency MSU's efficiency efforts to date have resulted in a 3 percent reduction in electricity and natural gas use since 2007, despite the growth of campus by nearly 234,000 square feet. Testing of geothermal-based heating and cooling on campus is also allowing mechanical and industrial engineering students to work with a technology that will play an increasingly important role in how homes and workplaces are heated.

Environmental Excellence MSU was named one of the "Sustainable 16," a group of 16 colleges and universities exemplifying excellence in environmental academics in the first-ever March Madness Tournament for Environmental Studies.

Based on the Carnegie Classification, MSU is one of only 108 colleges and universities in the nation (out of more than 4,600) that maintain "very high research activity." Of those 108, only 51 are also classified by Carnegie as having significant commitment to community engagement. And of those, MSU is the only institution whose Carnegie enrollment profile is "very high undergraduate." This means that MSU students have unique access to cutting-edge research and creative opportunities—and to an engaging educational experience that fully integrates learning, discovery and service.

Student-Built Satellite
An MSU satellite built by students has been in orbit for more than a year, exceeding expectations. The satellite launched on a NASA rocket and was named HRBE (Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer) to honor the late William A. Hiscock for his influential role in physics at MSU. HRBE was built in the Space Science Engineering Laboratory (pictured below) and has circled the Earth more than 7,200 times, transmitting scientific data with each pass. HRBE's success has led to the production of new satellites slated to launch between 2014 and 2016.

Located just 90 miles from Yellowstone National Park, MSU leads the nation in research related to the park and is widely known as University of the Yellowstone™. A recent project, focused on Yellowstone and other national parks, was the first of its kind and examined population density and land use changes in the ecosystems around U.S. national parks. Ecology professor Andrew Hansen and lead author Cory Davis published their findings in "Ecological Applications," a journal published by the Ecological Society of America.

Everest Expedition
The Everest Education Expedition represented a seamless integration of learning, research and outreach. MSU geology professor Dave Lageson, graduate student Travis Corthouts (pictured below), and a team of The North Face global athletes, led by Conrad Anker, a Bozeman resident, traveled to Mount Everest to study glacial ecology and other research areas. During their trip, the team collected data and shared their adventure and scientific research with more than 1,000 students in classrooms across Montana.

Bozeman has long been a fishing mecca and is famous for its blue ribbon trout streams. Aside from location, MSU houses scholars in ecology, biology and literature. MSU's reputation as Trout U is bolstered by MSU library's preeminent collection of Trout and Salmonid materials which is composed of a growing collection of over 7,200 volumes including sixty years of MSU's research on fish and fisheries as well as a broad range of other resources, including 5,000+ pieces of correspondence in the Nick Lyons Ephemera collection and the recently acquired papers of Dr. Robert Behnke. In addition to the academic expertise featured in the magazine, MSU has been ranked No. 1 in the country for an education near trout streams by Fly Rod & Reel magazine.