Montana State University
MSU Catalog > Freshmen (First-time Undergraduates)

Freshmen (First-time Undergraduates)


Freshmen students are those who have completed high school or its equivalent, and have never attended a college or university. Students that have attempted less than 12 quarter or semester college-level credits at another regionally accredited college or university after high school graduation are considered an incoming freshman. Students who have earned college-level course credit, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits while still attending high school are also considered incoming freshmen.

Academic Eligibility

Students who do not meet all freshman admission requirements listed below are still encouraged to apply for admissions and submit the necessary credentials. Montana State is allowed a number of exemptions to the stated requirements and will examine each studentís credentials on a case-by-case basis for admissibility. Some students who do not meet the requirements below may be admitted regularly and can enroll full time. Others may be admitted as a Pre-University Studies student. In Pre-University Studies, students may take up to 7 credits at Montana State University in Bozeman and up to an additional 7 credits through a partnership with the Gallatin College Programs' Developmental Education Program. Students who take a combination of at least 12 credits will qualify for federal financial aid as a full-time student. Once the student has earned 7 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, he/she will be admitted as a full-time MSU student.

Admission requirements (Resident and Non-Resident):

  1. Graduation from a regionally accredited high school or one accredited by the State Department of Education or passed a General Educational Development (GED) exam or obtained qualifying scores on the ACT Compass Exam.

  2. MSU Academic Requirements:
    One of the following:
    • A 2.5 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale), OR
    • ACT Enhanced Composite score of 22, OR
    • SAT combined critical reading/mathematics/writing score of 1540, OR
    • Rank in the upper half of the graduating class.
      AND
    • Minimum Math score of 22 on ACT or 520 SAT, OR
    • Minimum Math score between 18-21 ACT or 440-510 SAT (students must enroll in and pass a math course within the first 3 semesters at MSU), OR
    • Score of 3 or above on Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB or BC exam, OR
    • Score of 4 or above on International Baccalaureate (IB) Calculus exam, OR
    • Four years of high school Math courses (which include Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and courses beyond Algebra II) and three years of science courses with grades of C or better in all courses.
      AND
    • Minimum Writing score of an 18 on the Combined English/Writing section or 7 on the Writing Subscore of the ACT Optional Writing Test, OR
    • Minimum Writing score of a 440 SAT or a 7 on the Essay, OR
    • Score of 3 or above on the AP English Language or English Literature Exam, ,OR
    • Score of 4 or above on the IB English A1 Higher Level Exam, OR
    • Score of a 3.5 or above on the Montana University System Writing Assessment.

  3. Successful completion of a College Preparatory Curriculum. Non-resident applicants who have not completed the college preparatory requirements stated below may satisfy the requirements by providing evidence that they have: (a) completed a similar college preparatory program required in their home state and certified by the high school; or (b) met two of the three academic admission requirements stated above:
    • Four years of English: Courses should emphasize the development of written and oral communication skills and literature.
    • Three years of Mathematics: Courses should include algebra I, geometry, and algebra II (or the sequential content equivalent of these courses). Students are encouraged to take a math course in their senior year.
    • Three years of Social Studies: Courses should include global studies (such as world history or world geography); American history, government, economics, Indian history, psychology, sociology, or other third-year courses.
    • Two years of Laboratory Science: One year should be earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics, and the other year can be one of the above sciences or another approved college preparatory science.
    • Two years of Elective courses: foreign language (preferably two years); computer science; visual and performing arts; or approved vocational education units.

  4. The following categories of students are exempt form the admissions requirements above:
    • Non-Traditional age students (out of high school more than 3 years)
    • Non-Degree undergraduate students

Application Procedure

  1. Receipt of the following credentials in the Office of Admissions constitutes a complete application for admission. Requests to have final credentials sent to MSU must be initiated by the applicant. Requests should be made by contacting the high school, the registrarís office at the college/university, or agency. Credentials must be sent directly from the school to the Office of Admissions. Credentials received from the student are considered unofficial working copies and will not be accepted as official documents.

Application materials and fees will be retained for one year from the original application term. To apply for a semester other than the one originally intended, notify the Office of Admissions as soon as possible.

Be sure to submit the following items if applicable:

  1. Admission Application: An application may be submitted on-line or printed out at http://www.montana.edu/wwwcat/cat2012cat2012/appopts.html. The application may also be obtained from a high school counselor or from the Office of Admissions.

  2. Application fee (nonrefundable): $36 online application fee or $30 paper application. Checks should be made payable to Montana State University. The application fee will not be waived, deferred, or refunded. The fee must be paid before the application for admission will be processed.

  3. Student Self-Report form (included in the Admissions Application): This form, required of all first-time applicants who have been out of high school less than three years, will be used to determine admission status prior to the receipt of the final high school transcript sent after graduation.

  4. High school transcript: A complete and official transcript must be sent directly from the high school to the Office of Admissions after graduation. Courses completed, GPA (on a 4.0 scale), rank in class, and date of graduation must be posted.
  5. GED transcript: A complete official General Educational Development (GED) score report/transcript must be sent directly from the Department of Education from the state in which the exam was given to the Office of Admissions.

  6. ACT/SAT scores:: All first-time incoming freshmen are required to take either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). MSU does not accept the SAT Subject Tests (formally SAT II Subject Test) for admissions purposes. The test results are used in determining admission status, awarding certain scholarships and in assisting with academic planning. Applicants who graduated three or more years prior to the semester in which they intend to enroll are not required to submit ACT/SAT test results. Arrangements to take the ACT test on campus maybe made by contacting the MSU Testing Service, 406-994-6984.

  7. College/university transcripts: Applicants who have attended another college or university, whether credit was earned or not, must have an official transcript sent directly from each institution to the Office of Admissions after all final grades have been posted. For more information on how college/university courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the Evaluation of Transfer Credit section.

  8. Advanced Placement (AP): Applicants who have completed an Advanced Placement Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam will be granted college credit with a Pass grade for the equivalent courses. For more information on how AP courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the AP Course Equivalencies website.

  9. International Baccalaureate (IB): Applicants who have completed an International Baccalaureate Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. IB Exams with scores of 4 or higher (Higher Level only) will be granted college credit with a Pass grade for equivalent courses. For more information on how IB courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the IB Course Equivalencies website.

Freshman Students Denied Admission

Students interested in appealing the admission decision should refer to the section titled Appeal of Admission Decisions.


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