Montana State University

University College

Gregory Young, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Jeff Adams, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate Degree and Certificate Programs Available

Special Programs for Academic Enrichment

University College offers several important academic programs to students, regardless of major. Undergraduate research and creative activity, interdisciplinary study, thematic research seminars, and major/career exploration are just a few more of the many opportunities available. Specific degree programs include the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies. Special programs for academic enrichment include the University Honors Program, the Undergraduate Scholars Program, and University Studies. University College also includes the MSU Advising Center and the National Student Exchange, which are housed in University Studies.

University Studies Program

University Studies ( is the initial academic program for approximately 30% of first-year students at MSU. Typically, freshmen choose University Studies to explore their options before declaring a major field of study. Through its programs of academic advising and first-year seminar, University Studies plays a key role in preparing MSU students for study in a chosen major.

Undergraduate students may take up to 60 semester credits (i.e., through the sophomore year) in University Studies before declaring a major, although they are encouraged to select a suitable degree plan well before the 60-credit limit.

The program also serves students who plan to pursue specialized degrees at other institutions but wish to take basic courses at MSU for one or two years before transferring.

Transfer students may enter University Studies to fulfill requirements and explore MSU degree programs before declaring a major.

Academic Advising

University Studies is the home of the MSU Academic Advising Center. Advising professionals, well-acquainted with the curricula in all of MSU's colleges, aid students in their exploration of courses, majors, and career objectives. Advisors work with students to match their individual interests and goals with college coursework to construct a personalized program of academic study and at the same time fulfill core requirements and electives that will apply to a wide range of curricula. Advising is available on an appointment or walk-in basis, 8:30-4:30, Monday through Friday.

US 101: First-Year Seminar

To complement the advising component of University Studies, students in the program enroll in US 101, the First-Year Seminar, a 3-credit course that fulfills the University Seminar requirement of CORE 2.0.

The seminar focuses on helping students reach their academic and intellectual potential through a concentration on critical thinking, verbal and written communication, and academic exploration.

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program (see full description in Special Academic Opportunities) at Montana State University provides opportunities for students to study, conduct research, and exchange ideas in a challenging and supportive academic environment.  In addition to learning from outstanding faculty members, Honors students can attend special Honors seminars, take interdisciplinary Honors courses, and engage in independent study and research opportunities.

For details about admission and graduation requirements, contact the University Honors Program Office in Quad D by calling 406-994-4110, sending e-mail to or checking

Undergraduate Scholars Program

The Undergraduate Scholars Program (USP) continues in its campus leadership role of facilitating and supporting undergraduate research in collaboration with MSU faculty. This program has grown substantially since its inception and now supports approximately 150-200 students annually by awarding grants and/or providing academic credit to students who undertake an investigative or creative project in collaboration with a faculty mentor. For details about the application process, current scholars, funding opportunities, and deadline requirements, contact the Undergraduate Scholars Program Office by calling 406-994-3561, sending e-mail to or checking

The mission of the Undergraduate Scholars Program (USP) is to encourage, facilitate and support undergraduate research in collaboration with faculty. "Research" in the USP context is interpreted as any scholarly or creative activity ranging from traditional scientific experimentation to the creation of new artistic works.


American Studies

The American Studies program is designed to meet the needs of students, including non-traditional major and lifelong learners, who want to pursue a flexible, multi-disciplinary curriculum in American Studies. Students explore the experience and values of the people of the United States as embodied in their history, literature, art, and other forms of cultural expression. All students are required to choose one of three program focus areas: American Arts, American History, or American Literature.


Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies curriculum provides a degree designed specifically to meet the needs of students wanting to pursue a flexible cross-disciplinary educational program, which is not as prescriptive as traditional curricula. Some of the most exciting and innovative advances in human knowledge are occurring at the intersections of traditional academic disciplines, and the Liberal Studies degree provides curricular structure that allows students to explore these emerging areas. The intellectual skills provided by rigorous, cross-disciplinary studies are increasingly being recognized as the appropriate foundation for success in a broad range of careers and post-baccalaureate programs ranging from business and management to medicine.

MSU Leadership Fellows Program

The MSU Leadership Fellows Program, administered by University College in cooperation with the MSU Leadership Institute, challenges students to discover their true potential by developing ethical and critical thinking skills as they relate to leadership. Students completing the requirements will receive certificates of completion and have "Leadership Fellow" noted on their academic transcripts.


Academic Advising Center

At MSU, advising is a dynamic process by which advisors serve not only as sources of information but also as mentors. Advising is an integral part of teaching; it provides the opportunity to encourage students to engage in a systematic, strategic planning process and to take responsibility for their personal and professional development.

The Academic Advising Center (AAC) is available to all undergraduate students. The AAC provides professional advising to help students 1) explore their academic strengths and interests, 2) choose a degree program suited to their personal and career goals, and 3) achieve success in their academic pursuits. The AAC also provides services to faculty and staff across campus to support and complement the advising specific to their departments and programs.

Services for Students

The AAC offers students advising that addresses their individual needs and interests. The AAC's advising services focuses on students who are in any of the following situations:

  • Exploring major options
  • Transitioning between majors
  • Completing CORE 2.0 requirements
  • Transferring from other institutions
  • Interested in majors not offered at MSU
  • Experiencing limited access to departmental advising
  • Provisionally admitted to MSU
  • Seeking (or have been denied) admission to competitive degree programs
  • interested in programs for academic enhancement (National Student Exchange, Undergraduate Scholars, etc.)
  • Enrolled in University Studies
  • Majoring in Liberal Studies or American Studies.

Services for Faculty and Staff

AAC services in support of advising across campus consist of the following:

  • Informational materials about the AAC for use in referring students
  • General academic advising for all freshmen and  sophomores, regardless of declared major
  • Information and updates on curricula, CORE 2.0, advising scheduling, and deadlines
  • Professional development and training for advisors

National Student Exchange

University Studies coordinates the National Student Exchange (NSE), a consortium of over 180 state-supported colleges and universities offering students the opportunity to study for up to one year at a university in another part of the United States.

By bringing together students from different areas of the country, NSE encourages participants to broaden their academic, social, and cultural awareness. Through a straightforward admissions process, students are able to enroll at a host institution with the same financial benefits enjoyed by in-state residents. Credits and grades are recorded at MSU-Bozeman as a part of the student's regular transcript.


> Back to Table of Contents