1.1 General Guidelines
1.2 Degree Types and Application Requirements

Degree Seeking
Certificate
Non-Degree
Continuing Education/ Extended University
Dual Degree

1.3 Admission Decision Notification
      Full Admission
      Full Admission with Provision
      Full Admission with Condition
      Full Admission with Provision and Condition
      Denied Admission

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1.1 General Guidelines

Prior to applying to Montana State University (MSU), it is recommended that the applicant contact the department of the intended area of study, as department information, requirements, and deadlines may vary. See Graduate Areas of Study for all the graduate programs offered at MSU.

Any applicant who has received a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply for admission to The Graduate School. This can be done by applying online. The non-refundable application fee can be paid by credit card or online check. A full application fee ($60) is required for the first application and a partial application fee ($30) is assessed for subsequent applications to different programs within the same first year (each application is reviewed by the appropriate graduate committee). Applications are valid for one year; after one year, the $60/$30 application fees are assessed. If the student already has graduated from a graduate program and is seeking a degree/certificate in another program, a new application must be completed. The application fee will not be waived, deferred, or refunded for any reason. The application fee must be paid before the application will be processed (See Board of Regents Policy 940.2). Exceptions are made for individuals who have earned a graduate degree and wish to return as a non-degree graduate student; only an “intent to register” form should be completed (see “Intent”). Students who have earned an undergraduate degree at Montana State University (Bozeman) and now want to come as a non-degree graduate student will need to apply to the Graduate School.

During the application process, applicants will be asked to provide voluntarily a Social Security number to distinguish between individuals with the same or similar names. Applicants will not be penalized if they decline to provide this number. Federal law requires that when applicants apply for financial aid, graduate assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, or tuition waiver, they must provide their Social Security number for purposes of identification.

Once an applicant applies, an MSU identification (ID) number is assigned (if admitted, this number becomes the student’s ID). This ID number will be a permanent part of the MSU system.

The initial application fee is valid for no more than one (1) year from the term of the initial application. An applicant who has not been offered admittance will have the opportunity to reapply to the same program within this time frame without incurring an additional application fee by contacting The Graduate School (gradschool@montana.edu) with the request. If an applicant waits longer than one (1) year, it will be necessary to apply and pay the application fee again.

Note: Every applicant who applies for admission to MSU and completes an application will receive a formal decision by The Graduate School, whether they have, or have not, been admitted.

Note: The falsification, omission, or willful suppression by an applicant of any information requested, whether on the application forms or in the application documents, is grounds for either denial of admission or dismissal from MSU.

1.2 Degree Types and Application Requirements 

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DEGREE-SEEKING — Applicants are encouraged to contact the department of their intended area of study prior to applying, as department requirements and deadlines may vary, with some departments requiring an applicant to secure a major research professor prior to applying.

For a graduate degree application to be reviewed for admission, all required application documents must be submitted prior to the department’s posted deadline. The Graduate School recommends that the applicant check the application portal to determine if all requested documents have been received.  If the applicant is uncertain as to whether or not the documents have been received, they should contact the intended admitting department. Departments typically do not begin a review of applicants until after their posted deadline. Once the department reviews the application and documents, a recommendation is communicated to The Graduate School. The Graduate School will review the department’s recommendations and issue a formal decision.

Application Requirements — All applicants applying to MSU must provide the following during the online application process:

    • A completed Application for Graduate Admission.
    • Payment of a non-refundable application fee. The fee must be paid before the application will be processed.
    • Official transcripts (one of which must have a conferred degree posted) reflecting all undergraduate and/or post-baccalaureate study. Applicants who are alumni of MSU do not need to submit their transcripts.
    • An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale). Applicants with post-baccalaureate experience must have a graduate GPA of at least 3.00. See Provisional Admission.
    • Three (3) letters of reference.
    • A personal statement.
    • Official entrance examination scores (if required by the admitting department), e.g., Graduate Records Exam (GRE), if required by the admitting department (use code: 4488).
    • A resume, if required by the admitting department.  See Departments/Areas of Study.

International Applicants — International applicants must submit additional documents to complete their application.  See International Applicants.

If admitted and if any of the required application documents are not provided (e.g., official transcripts, official English proficiency scores), registration will be prevented until the missing documents are received. See Fees & Holds.

Immunization — All students admitted to MSU are required to submit immunization records. See Immunizations. See Fees & Holds.

Deadlines — Each admitting department sets its own application deadlines. See Departments/Areas of study. International applications must be submitted approximately seventy-five (75) days prior to the start of the intended term to allow for the issuance of an I-20. See International Applicants.

Contact the intended admitting department. See Departments/Areas of Study.

See Master’s Degree Requirements.
See Doctoral Degree Requirements.

NON-DEGREENon-degree graduate applicants are those who have earned a bachelor’s degree. And

In some cases, taking and passing coursework as a non-degree graduate student may help to provide evidence of a student's ability to perform well in a graduate program.  Some departments also may recommend the completion of undergraduate coursework prior to admission into a specific graduate program.

Application Requirements — All applicants applying to MSU must provide the following during the online application process:

    • A completed Application for Graduate Admission
    • Payment of a non-refundable application fee. The fee must be paid before the application will be processed.
    • Official transcripts (one of which must have a conferred degree posted from a regionally accredited university) reflecting all undergraduate and/or post-baccalaureate study. Applicants who are alumni of MSU do not need to submit their transcripts.

Note: Every applicant who applies for admission to MSU and completes an application will receive a formal decision by The Graduate School, whether they have, or have not, been admitted.

Note: Non-degree graduate students are not eligible for graduate assistantships or financial aid.

International Applicants — International applicants can have a status of non-degree graduate student only for one (1) year. It is recommended that the applicant select a degree type and an admitting department when applying. They must meet minimum standards for evidence of English language proficiency. See International Applicants.

Immunization — See Immunizations. See Fees & Holds.

Deadlines — Domestic applications must be received by The Graduate School by the first (1st) day of classes. See Dates & Deadlines. International applications must be submitted approximately seventy-five (75) days prior to the start of the intended term to allow for the issuance of an I-20. For non-degree international applicants, deadlines are as follows:

    • Fall Term:                  May 15
    • Spring Term:             October 1
    • Summer Term:         February 1

Registration — Non-degree students will be eligible to register for classes as soon as the completed application is processed. Students will receive an email with information with directions on their next steps, such as addressing holds and registration. If there are documents missing from the application, it will be noted in the acceptance letter. Applicants may be admitted conditionally with a hold limiting their ability to register.

 

CERTIFICATE — A certificate is typically less than thirty (30) credits of graduate coursework in a specific program. To apply, see the department offering the certificate.

International Applicants — International applicants must submit additional documents to complete their application.  See International

Immunization — See Immunizations. See Fees & Holds.

Deadlines — Each admitting department sets its own application deadlines. See department website.

See Certificate Requirements.

Note: Only some certificate programs are eligible for financial aid.  See Financial Aid.

CONTINUING EDUCATION/EXTENDED UNIVERSITY — Some individuals choose to take online coursework through Extended University (also known as continuing education). Enrollment in continuing education coursework does not immediately admit a student into Montana State Univeristy as a non-degree student. These courses are typically numbered as “588” (see Extended University). 

NOTE: As a Continuing Education student, you are not eligible to take courses which can be counted towards a degree (See Office of CE).

DUAL DEGREE — Dual degree is when an applicant is seeking two (2) graduate degrees simultaneously. The Graduate School recommends communicating your intent with both departments prior to applying to both programs. If both departments agree that the applicant can apply, then the applicant completes two (2) applications, one for each program. To avoid sending two sets of identical transcripts, please notify The Graduate School (gradschool@montana.edu).

Note: The applicant will need to complete all the application requirements (See degree-seeking) for each degree program. For example, if one degree program does not require the GRE and the other does, the applicant would need to satisfy the GRE requirements. Confer with the departments regarding documents that can be used for both degree programs. Application documents will be reviewed separately by each department and all requirements must be met.  An applicant may be admitted or denied from one or both programs.

1.3  Admission Decision Notification

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Admission decisions are made on an individual basis. Applications are typically reviewed by the department after their posted deadlines. After the initial review, an application recommendation is submitted to The Graduate School for review of the applicant's academic history and preparation. All applicants will receive a formal decision.  If an international applicant is admitted to MSU, a letter of acceptance, an I-20 form (necessary for an F-1 student visa) and other registrations information will be mailed to the student from the Office of International Programs. Enrollment in a graduate degree program may be limited by the availability of faculty, staff, facilities, area of interest, and so forth. In such cases, it is not possible to admit all applicants who are otherwise qualified.

Students may be admitted to MSU with a status of either: Full Admission,Full Admission with Provision, Full Admission with Condition, or Full Admission with Provision & Condition; this will be specified in the letter of acceptance.  Applicants should consider themselves admitted only when an official acceptance notification has been received from The Graduate School.  Admission is typically for only one (1) graduate degree program at a time unless seeking dual graduate degrees.

Applicants are typically admitted into the requested term. Occasionally, the admitting department may select a different starting term than originally requested by an applicant.  This change can be due to a variety of reasons, for example, qualified research advisors are unavailable, capacity of the graduate program is exceeded, and so forth.  Applicants should apply for the term they wish to be admitted. However, if an admitted student would like to request a change in the term admitted (i.e., a deferral), this request must be made in writing to both The Graduate School and the admitting department (email is acceptable). If approved, a deferral can be for up to one (1) year or two (2) terms, not including summer term.

Note: Some departments will not allow a newly admitted student to defer their starting term.

FULL ADMISSION — A status of full admission is assigned when an applicant demonstrates the potential for success in graduate studies and they meet the requirements of the admitting department and The Graduate School. See Application Requirements.

FULL ADMISSION WITH PROVISION — A status of provisional admission is assigned when the applicant has not met the requirements for full admission. For example:

  • a cumulative undergraduate GPA greater than 2.75, but less than 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale);
  • insufficient rigor in the last two (2) years of study;
    • a major change in the area of specialization (e.g., B.A. in English, applying for an M.S. in Psychology);
    • low entrance examination scores as determined by the admitting department or
    • other academic weaknesses.

The Graduate School assigns a provisional admission status with up to fifteen (15) credits of leveling coursework. The admitting department will communicate in writing to the applicant the leveling coursework on or before the first (1st) day of the term the student begins their graduate study. This coursework also will be listed in writing on the official acceptance letter from The Graduate School.

Applicants admitted provisionally may be suspended without a probationary period if the provisions placed on their admission have not been met. See Suspensions.

FULL ADMISSION WITH CONDITION — A status of full admission with condition(s) results in a hold and occurs when the application is missing an official document, such as official transcripts or examination scores. See Fees & Holds.

FULL ADMISSION WITH PROVISION & CONDITION — A status of provisional admission with condition occurs when the applicant has been admitted with both provisions and conditions. See Provisional Admission and Conditional Admission above.

DENIED ADMISSION — Applicants may not be offered admission based on academic qualifications, low-examination scores, lack of available faculty/facilities, and so forth. The admitting department may recommend that the applicant enroll as a non-degree graduate student.