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When someone you know decides to study abroad, you may have a lot of questions as well. The MSU Study Abroad Team is here to support students through the entire process, and we encourage you to read more about the phases on the Your Study Abroad webpage. The Study Abroad Office purposefully communicates with students directly as this is the student's study abroad experience. We are happy to answer general questions about study abroad and the information below will give you a better understanding of how studying abroad works through Montana State University. 

Phases of the Study Abroad Experience

Phase General Information
Phase 1 - Learning More

This phase can start even before a student enrolls at MSU and continues until a student is ready to apply.

Phase 2 - Application Process

Students apply one semester before they intend to study abroad. Typical Deadlines:

  • Spring - September 15
  • Fall/Summer - March 15
Phase 3 - Funding Many students begin saving for study abroad early. Scholarship opportunities can be viewed here. Students receiving Federal Financial Aid must submit the Study Abroad Budget and Financial Aid Agreement forms to Financial Aid 60 days prior to departure.
Phase 4 - Credits & Courses After students are accepted to the host university, they may complete the Study Abroad Course Approval Form with their Academic Advisor. It can be submitted anytime prior to departure.
Phase 5 - Prior to departure All students studying abroad will be required to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation, typically held half-way through the semester. After students are accepted to the host university, they may need to apply for housing and a student visa.
Phase 6 - While Abroad Students are encouraged to keep in touch with MSU Study Abroad through social media while abroad, and we are available to assist should anything arise.
Phase 7 - Re-Entry Returning from a study abroad experience can be challenging and MSU Study Abroad offers guidance on re-entry.
Most students at MSU are over 18 years old, which means their privacy is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Unless a student gives the Study Abroad Office consent, we cannot speak with anyone about a student's study abroad program. Students give consent by completing the FERPA Consent Form on their online Study Abroad account. If you have questions regarding a student's program, please check with the student first and confirm you are listed as an approved individual on their FERPA form.

Montana State University is proud to offer 250 study abroad programs in over 60 countries. The diversity of programs gives students the opportunity to find the best fit for them academically, financially, and personally. Below is a chart comparing the types of programs available.

Program Type MSU Tuition & Fees? Room & Board Federal Financial Aid applies? Scholarships apply? Minimum GPA?
Direct Exchange (DEX) Yes Varies Yes Most apply 3.0
ISEP Exchange Yes MSU Room & Board, approximately $4,500 per semester Yes Most apply 2.75
ISEP Direct No; Program fee varies Varies Yes Depends; MSU tuition waivers (Presidential, WUE, etc.) do not apply 2.75
Faculty-Led No; Program fee varies Typically included in program fee Yes, if earning 6+ credits Depends; MSU tuition waivers (Presidential, WUE, etc.) do not apply 2.5
CCIS No; Program fee varies Varies Yes Depends; MSU tuition waivers (Presidential, WUE, etc.) do not apply 2.5-3.0
Direct Enroll No; Program fee varies Varies Yes, if accredited program Depends; MSU tuition waivers (Presidential, WUE, etc.) do not apply 2.5

Students have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the courses they take abroad. MSU does not require that students take courses within their major while abroad, but they are encouraged to do so to stay on track with graduation timelines. The following are general considerations for students coursework abroad.

Topic Information
Course Selection Abroad Students work with their academic advsiors to complete the Study Abroad Course Approval form prior to departure. Students must be enrolled in the equivalent of 12 U.S. credits during a semester. Short term programs will vary in credit amount.
Grades All grades transfer to MSU as Pass/Fail
Transcripts Transcript processing depends on the host university and can take up to a year after a student returns to MSU. Approved courses are listed as upper or lower electives on MSU transcript. Exceptions Managers of academic department approving course equivalencies must enter exceptions on Degree Works.

How a student is billed for their study abroad experience will depend on the type of program they are doing. Below is a brief chart that explains the billing process and associated fees.

Program Type Tuition and Fees Room and Board Application Fee MSU Study Abroad Fee Payment Deadline/Cycle
Direct Exchange (DEX) Paid to MSU through MSU Student Accounts Paid to host university $50 paid to MSU online through application $150 Standard MSU billing time - Visit Student Accounts for more information
 ISEP Exchange Paid to MSU through MSU Student Accounts   Approximately $4,500 per semester; Paid to MSU through Student Accounts  $50 paid to MSU online; $395 paid online to ISEP $150 Standard MSU billing time - Visit Student Accounts for more information 
 ISEP Direct  Paid to MSU through MSU Student Accounts  Paid to MSU through Student Accounts  $50 paid to MSU online; $395 paid online to ISEP  $150 Standard MSU billing time - Visit Student Accounts for more information  
 CCIS  Paid to MSU through MSU Student Accounts Depends on program; may be paid directly to host university  $50 paid to MSU online through application $150  Standard MSU billing time - Visit Student Accounts for more information
Faculty-Led Paid to MSU through MSU student Accounts  Paid to MSU through Student Accounts   Included in program fee Payment deadline will vary by program term
Direct Enroll Paid to host university or program provider Paid to host university or program provider $50 paid to MSU online through application $300 $300 due on standard MSU billing; other amount deadlines vary by program