Montana State University

College of Letters and Science

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172360
Bozeman, MT 59717-2360

Tel: (406) 994-4288
Fax: (406) 994-7580
Location: 2-205 Wilson Hall


Nicol C. Rae

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About the College of Letters and Science at MSU

College Office
  • The College of Letters & Science (L&S) teaches 43 percent of all student credit hours at MSU.

  • In 2013, L&S awarded 31 percent of all bachelor's degrees at MSU and 31 percent of all graduate degrees.

  • L&S is home to approximately 3,060 undergraduate students and 480 graduate students, or 24 percent of MSU students.

  • L&S is home to 190, or approximately 40 percent, of MSU’s tenure-track faculty.

  • Of the 58 MSU students who have received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships over the past 17 years, 41 have been L&S students. The scholarship is the nation's premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences and engineering since the Goldwater Foundation was established in 1986. The scholarship gives each recipient up to $7,500 a year for tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

  • Of the seven colleges at the university, the L&S was the leader in research expenditures in FY12 at approximately $26.5 million (24 percent of the campus total). Further, two departments in the college were in the top three among academic departments for research expenditures—Chemistry and Biochemistry at $10.5 million was first and Physics at $7 million was third.

  • 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. Most student who go on to health professions schools graduated from L&S, primarily the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and the Department of Microbiology.
  • The new 73,000 square foot Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Building (completed in 2008) provides cutting-edge laboratory space for research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

  • The newly renovated Gaines Hall (completed in 2010) provides state-of-the art teaching laboratories for modern languages, chemistry, earth sciences, physics and biology.
  • In September 2012, a $17 million renovation of MSU’s Cooley Lab was completed. This project, which transformed the 52-year-old building into a state-of-the-art research facility, will help advance one of the university’s major strengths: biomedical research. Of the $100 million MSU wins annually in competitive grants for research, roughly $40 million of that goes to studying everything from influenza, to heart disease, to using parts of viruses for pinpoint delivery of drugs, to preventing infectious diseases, to developing safeguards against bioterrorist attacks. Researchers from the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and the Department of Microbiology are working in Cooley Lab.

  • The Department of Native American Studies offers an interdisciplinary M.A. degree, one of only a handful in the U.S. and the only one in the Rocky Mountain region. It also offers an online graduate certificate program that is believed to be the only of its kind in the country.

  • The undergraduate programs in snow science and paleontology, offered by the Department of Earth Sciences, are the only of their kind in the U.S.

  • Montana State University leads the country in the number of research projects in Yellowstone National Park. In recent years, MSU received nearly five times the number of National Science Foundation grants for Yellowstone studies than its nearest competition.
  • CLS 101, a small, seminar-style course for first-year students, provides the opportunity to read, analyze, and discuss texts from diverse disciplines. Through engaged class participation, students learn to take an active role in their education.