Montana State University
MSU Catalog > Core 2.0

CORE 2.0


As a land grant university, MSU-Bozeman is charged, through the Morrill Act of 1862, with providing "liberal and practical the several pursuits and professions of life." In addition, as a member of the Montana University System, MSU is charged with providing programs that "stimulate critical analysis, clear and effective communication, and the creative process." Students should also "broaden their cultural horizons by contact with the creative arts, sciences and the humanities, and achieve an understanding of the political, social, economic and ethical problems of the contemporary world and the relation of their studies to these problems."

To this end, the faculty of MSU have developed a common core curriculum, called CORE 2.0, for all bachelor's degree seeking students in the belief that it will enable students to reach their intellectual potential, to become contributing members of society, and to compete more successfully in our rapidly changing and increasingly complex world.

The purpose of the CORE 2.0 curriculum is to ensure a wide-ranging general education of consistent and high quality to all Montana State University students regardless of their major or area of study. Core courses allow students to reaffirm their common experiences, redefine their common goals, and confront their common problems. Core courses emphasize communication and techniques of creative inquiry in a variety of disciplines.

One of the goals of the Core is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their creative and intellectual potential. Therefore, Core courses will require students to do the following:

  1. Think, speak, and write effectively, and evaluate the oral and written expression of others.

  2. Develop learning objectives and the means to reach them, thus developing lifelong patterns of behavior which increase the potential to adapt to and create change.

  3. Exercise and expand intellectual curiosity.

  4. Think across areas of specialization and integrate ideas from a variety of academic disciplines and applied fields.

  5. Use complex knowledge in making decisions and judgments.

  6. Make discriminating moral and ethical choices with an awareness of the immediate and long-term effects on our world.

  7. Develop a critical appreciation of the ways in which we gain and apply knowledge and understanding of the universe, of society, and of ourselves.

  8. Understand the experimental methods of the sciences as well as the creative approaches of the arts.

  9. Develop an appreciation of other cultures as well as an understanding of global issues.

Credit Policies

  1. University Core requirements cannot be satisfied by the CLEP procedure.

  2. Advanced Placement credits (AP), if equivalent to MSU Core courses, can be used to fulfill Core requirements.

  3. Credit earned in repeatable Core courses may be applied only once to University Core requirements.

  4. Some study abroad programs, upon approval, may satisfy the Diversity requirement.

  5. Students in good standing in the University Honors Program may fulfill part of their University Core curriculum requirements with designated honors courses. Specific information is available in the Honors Program Office, Quad D.

Grading Standards

  1. College-level competence in all areas of the Core curriculum is necessary for adequate performance in the Core and beyond. A grade of C- or better is required in all University core courses.

  2. No University Core course may be taken on a pass/fail basis.


Unusual circumstances that warrant an appeal of the established policies and procedures must be initiated by the student and sent through his/her adviser to the Core Equivalency Review Board via the Registrar's Office.

Accommodation for Students with M Learning Disabilities

Accommodation to the Quantitative Reasoning (Q) Core Curriculum Requirement may be made for students with M learning problems caused by disabilities. Accommodations, when permitted, apply only to the Core Curriculum Requirement; they do not change requirements in majors, minors, or certificates.

MSU recognizes that some students with specific learning disabilities may experience difficulty completing the Core Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Students with learning disabilities who believe that they need an accommodation to meet the Quantitative Reasoning requirement should contact the office of Disabled Student Services (DSS) to begin the process to certify the disability. Learning Disability documentation must meet established MSU requirements as developed by DSS. This documentation is available from:

Disabled Student Service
P.O. Box 173960
Strand Union, Room 155
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-3960

Core Curriculum Requirements

Beginning Fall 2004, MSU replaced its core requirements (the "old core") with CORE 2.0. The mission of CORE 2.0 is to enhance students' use of multiple perspectives in making informed critical and ethical judgments in their personal, public, and professional lives.  Continuing and returning students (those entering MSU prior to Fall 2004) may convert to CORE 2.0 or graduate by satisfying the old core requirements. Continuing and returning students should visit for more information about these options.

NOTE: Changing faculty staffing, departmental course offerings, and other factors will affect the list of courses available to satisfy Core requirements. Students should consult the latest updates of Core offerings, which will be widely available on campus, including departmental and deans' offices.

Foundation Courses

The University Seminar provides an introduction to college studies aimed at expanding students' intellectual interests, improving critical thinking and communication skills, and creating a community of learners. It emphasizes discussion, critical interpretation of important texts, multi-disciplinary perspectives, exploration of diverse perspectives and interpretations, and examination of arguments and evidence.

Students choose from the following:

AGED 251US - Leadership Development for Agribusiness & Industry Employees
BUS 101US - First Year Seminar
CLS 101US - University Seminar
CLS 201US - University Seminar
COLS 101US - First Year Seminar
COM 110US - Introduction to Public Communication
LS 101US - Ways of Knowing
UH 201US - Texts and Critics: Knowledge
US 101US - First Year Seminar
US 121US - Education,Social Issues, and the Digital Age
Any other course with the "US" suffix

College Writing focuses on expository (vs. creative or personal) writing with sections organized around topics/themes of the instructor's choosing. With some variation, typical sections incorporate a wide range of learning components in support of major paper assignments: reading of essays, study of writing instruction texts, short compositions in response to reading, in-class writing, small group workshops, peer review of writing, draft conferences, and class discussion.

Students choose from the following:

WRIT 101W - College Writing I
Any other course with the "W" suffix

Students whose scores meet or exceed any one of the following are exempt from the College Writing requirement: ACT English score of 28; SAT Critical Reading score of 650; Montana University System Writing Assessment of 5.5; or ACT/SAT essay/writing subscore of 11. The credits will have to be made up in other coursework in order to meet the minimum graduation requirements.

Every person is inundated daily with numerical information, often in the form of graphical representations, statistical summaries, or projections from Mathematical models. Comprehension of the elementary quantitative concepts, development of quantitative reasoning skills, and the ability to reasonably ascertain the implications of quantitative information are goals of Quantitative Reasoning courses.

All courses in this category focus on identified classical mathematical concepts and modern techniques of mathematical thought and critical reasoning. These courses require prerequisite competencies at the level of M 096/097 or higher. One way to demonstrate prerequisite competency is by passing the Mathematics Placement Exam (MPLEX) at the appropriate level.

Students choose from the following:

M 121Q - College Algebra
M 136Q - Math for K-8 Teachers II
M 145Q - Math for the Liberal Arts
M 147Q - Language of Mathematics
M 149Q - Secrets of the Infinite
M 151Q - Precalculus
M 161Q - Survey of Calculus
M 165Q - Calculus for Technology I
M 166Q - Calculus for Technology II
M 171Q - Calculus I
M 172Q - Calculus II
M 181Q - Honors Calculus I
M 182Q - Honors Calculus II
M 273Q - Multivariable Calculus
M 283Q - Honors Multivariable Calculus
PHL 236Q - Logic
STAT 216Q - Introduction to Statistics
STAT 217Q - Intermediate Statistical Concepts
STAT 226Q - Honors Introduction to Statistics
Any other course with the "Q" suffix

Graduates of Montana State University face an ever changing and increasingly complex world. An understanding of and sensitivity to other cultural perspectives prepares them to function in the global community and creates a campus climate that is conducive to academic growth for all students. Diversity courses address the study of identities (e.g. race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc.), societies, nations, or national languages and cultures.

Students choose from the following:

AMST 201D - Introduction to American Studies
ANTY 101D - Anthropology & the Human Experience
ANTY 242D -
ANTY 242D - Contemporary Japan
ARAB 102D - Intermediate Arabic
CHIN 102D - Elementary Chinese II
CHIN 130D - Historical and Literary Journey Into Modern China
DANC 206D - Dance as Cultural Expression
EDU 211D - Multicultural Education
FRCH 102D - Elementary French II
FRCH 201D - Intermediate French I
FRCH 220D - French Language & Culture
GPHY 121D - Human Geography
- Geography of World Regions
GRMN 102D - Elementary German II
GRMN 201D - Intermediate German
GRMN 220D - German Language & Culture
HSTR 130D - Latin American History
HSTR 140D - Modern Asia
HSTR 145D - History of Japan
HSTA 160D - Introduction to the American West
HSTR 160D - Modern World History
HSTR 232D - Religion in Latin America
JPNS 102D - Elementary Japanese II
JPNS 201D - Intermediate Japanese I
JPNS 202D - Intermediate Japanese II
LIT 214D - Regional Lit
LIT 285D - Mythologies
MGMT 245D - Cultural Dimensions of International Business
MKTG 242D - Introduction to Global Markets
MTA 218D - International Film and Television
NASX 105D - Introduction to Native American Studies
NASX 201D - American Indians in Montana
NASX 205D - Native American Indians in Contemporary Society
PHL 255D - Philosophy & Culture
PSCI 230D - Introduction to International Relations
PSYX 235D - Contemp Issues in Human Sexual
RLST 100D - Introduction to Study of Religion
RLST 110D - Religion, Conflicts & Politics
RELS 201D - Religion in Latin America
RLST 202D - Asian Religions: Hinduism and Buddhism
RLST 203D - Daoism to Zen
SOCI 150D - Social Difference
SOCI 201D - Social Problems
SPNS 102D - Elementary Spanish II
SPNS 201D - Intermediate Spanish I
SPNS 220D - Spanish Language & Culture
Any other course with the "D" suffix

Contemporary Issues in Science courses focus on natural science or technology. These courses examine the ways in which science contributes to the study of significant problems in the contemporary world to help individuals and society make informed decisions about these issues.

Students choose from the following:

ANTY 212CS - Bones, Apes, & Ancestors
BIOE 103CS - Environmental Science and Society
BIOB 105CS -Introduction to Biotechnology
BIOB 110CS - Introduction to Plant Biology
BIOM 107CS - Molecules of Life
BIOO 162CS - Insects and Human Society
ECIV 220CS - Civil Engineering and Construction-from the Ancient to the Modern
ECHM 205CS - Energy and Sustainability
CHMY 102CS - Applying Chemistry to Society
CS 140CS - Spinning Webs
CSCI 215CS - Social & Ethical Issues in Computing
EGEN 125CS - Technology, Innovation, and Society
ENSC 272CS - Water Resources
GEO 103CS - Introduction to Environmental Geology
GPHY 111CS - Intro to Physical Geography
NUTR 221CS - Basic Human Nutrition
HSTR 205CS - Science, Technology, and Risk
HSTR 207CS - Science & Technology in World History
HSTR 282CS - The Darwinian Revolution
PHL 242CS - Science, Pseudo-Science and Subjectivity
PHL 205CS - Other Animals
PSYX 263CS - Psychology of Film
TE 250CS - Technology & Society
UNIV 125CS - Microbes in the Environment
Any other course with the "CS" suffix

Students in science majors may be able to substitute courses for this requirement. See the Permitted Substitutions at the end of this section.

Ways of Knowing Courses

All Ways of Knowing Courses emphasize the methods used to discover and create the factual and theoretical knowledge of the discipline. Inquiry courses (indicated with an I) do this primarily through classroom instruction but do require at least one major learning activity based on methods of inquiry appropriate to the discipline. Research courses (indicated with an R) require students to have autonomous experience in the research and creative process and to generate a scholarly product. Lower-division R courses are intended to introduce students to the discipline and thus also satisfy a Ways of Knowing area (RA, RI, RN, or RS). Upper-division R course are often intended for majors and do not have a Ways of Knowing designation. These courses are listed separately with an R following the number.

All students must take at least one (1) Inquiry or one (1) Research & Creative Experience course in each of the following areas:

Courses in the Arts explore the production and consumption of meaning and value through forms of expression that communicate, in both logical and emotional terms, the arts.

Students choose from the following:

ARCH 121IA - Introduction to Design
ARCH 322IA - Architectural History, World Architecture I
ARCH 323IA - Architectural History, World Architecture II
ARTH 200IA - Art of World Civilization I
ARTH 201IA - Art of World Civilization II
CAA 310IA - History of Film Music
DANC 230IA - Dance Appreciation
MTA 101IA - Film in America
MTA 112IA - Exploring Digital Photography
MUSI 101IA - Enjoyment of Music
MUSI 211IA - Masterworks in Music
MUSI 203IA - American Popular Music
MUSI 130IA - History of Jazz
MUSI 219IA - Honors Music & Society
MUSI 307IA - World Music
THTR 122IA - Acting for Non-majors
UH 400IA - Honors Seminar:Exploring Real and Imagined Spaces
AMST 202RA - The Arts in America
ARCH 151RA - Design Fundamentals I
ARTZ 105RA - Visual Language -Drawing Fundamentals
ARTZ 106RA - Visual Language - 2-D Art Fundamentals
ARTZ 108RA - Visual Language - 3-D Art Fundamentals
ART 145RA - Web Design
ARTZ 231RA - Ceramics I
ARTZ 211RA - Drawing I
CS 145RA - Web Design
MTA 103RA - Introduction to Photography
MUSI 103RA - Fundamentals of Musical Creation
Any other course with the "IA or RA" suffix

Courses in the Humanities explore ethical and moral, aesthetic and creative, historical and descriptive dimensions of human cultural traditions, emphasizing methods of reaching a conclusion, formulating an interpretation, or making a judgment in the discipline.

Students choose from the following:

ARTH 240IH - Exploring Artists on Film
ENGL 236IH - Theory & Methods in Linguistics
FRCH 306IH - French: From Reflection to Revolution
GRMN 303IH - Issues of German Cinema
GRMN 360IH - German Myths: The Lorelei, Faust, and Vampires
HSTR 101IH - Western Civilization I
HSTR 102IH - Western Civilization II
HSTA 101IH - American History I
HSTA 102IH - American History II
LIT 110IH - Intro to Lit
ML 100IH - Introduction to Issues in International Studies
PHL 110IH - Introduction to Ethics: Problems of Good and Evil
PHL 101IH - Introduction to Philosophy: Reason & Reality
RLST 204IH - Intro to the Hebrew Bible
RLST 205IH - Introduction to the New Testament
RLST 206IH - Origins of God
RLST 207IH - Myth and Metaphor
RLST 217IH - Religion & Science
RLST 220IH - Interpretations of American Religion
RLST 223IH - Nature and Culture
SPNS 335IH - Travel in Latin American Lit & Film
THTR 104IH - Theatre and Mass Media
UH 202 - Texts and Critics: Imagination  (see the Permitted Substitutions at the end of this section.)
UH 400IH - Origins
WS 201IH - Introduction to Feminist Theories & Methodologies
HSTR 208RH - Science, Environment, Technology, Society: Common Experience
LIT 431RH - Studies in Major Author/s
LIT 473RH - Studies in Shakespeare
LIT 494RH - Seminar:Research Issues
PHL 212RH - Morality and Society
PHL 361RH - History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval
PHL 350RH - State, Community, and Individual
UH 400RH - Language and the Brain (Neurolinguistics)
WS 301RH - Integrative Seminar in Women's Studies
Any other course with the "IH or RH" suffix

Courses in Natural Sciences emphasize a coherent body of scientific principles and the methods scientists use to create knowledge of the natural world.

Students choose from the following:

ASTR 110IN - Introduction to Astronomy
BIOB 100IN - Organism Function
BIOB 170IN - Organismal Biology
BIOM 103IN - Unseen Universe: Microbes
BIOO 262IN - Introduction to Entomology
CHMY 121IN - Intro to General Chemistry
ENSC 245IN - Soils
GEO 101IN - Intro to Physical Geology
GEO 111IN - Dinosaurs
PHSX 103IN - Our Physical World
PHSX 201IN - Physics by Inquiry
UH 400IN - Origins
BCH 104RN - The Biochemistry of Health for Non-Science Majors
BIOL 316RN - Introduction to Research in Molecular Biology
ERTH 212RN - Yellowstone Scientific Laboratory
BIOM 210RN - Principles of Environmental Health Science
PHSX 305RN - The Art and Science of Holography
Any other course with the "IN or RN" suffix

Students in science majors may be able to substitute courses for this requirement. See the Permitted Substitutions at the end of this section.

Courses in the Social Sciences emphasize methods and principles used by social scientists to systematically study human behavior.

Students choose from the following:

AGEC 210IS - Agribusiness and Farm Management
AGEC 451RS - Economics of Agricultural Policy
ANTY 215IS - Human Prehistory
ANTY 225IS - Culture, Language & Society
ANTY 252IS - Mysteries of the Past
ANTH 288RS - Undergraduate Research Experience in Anthropology
ECNS 101IS - The Economic Way of Thinking
ECNS 2041IS - Introduction to Microeconomics Theory
ECNS 251IS - Honors Economics
HDCF 150IS - Lifespan Human Development
MGMT 231IS - Business Inquiry
NASX 280IS - Native American Studies Research Theories and Methods
PSCI 210IS - Introduction to American Government
PSCI 214IS - Principles of Political Science
PSYX 100IS - Intro to Psychology
PSYX 263CS - Psychology of Film
SOCI 101IS - Introduction to Sociology
SOCI 110IS - Honors Sociological Inquiry
SOCI 221IS - Criminal Justice System
UH 150IS - The Economics of Life
UH 400IS - Ethics, Etiquette and the Digital Age
UH 400RS - Language and the Brain (Neurolinguistics)
UH 403RS - The Art and Science of Medicine
Any other course with the "IS or RS" suffix

Important: All students must take at least one (1) approved Research & Creative Experience course or a total of three credits of independent undergraduate research ( 290R or 490R). Students may take an approved Research & Creative Experience course in one of the four Ways of Knowing areas or they may take a separate Research & Creative Experience course in any discipline, including the Undergraduate Scholars Program (USP 490R). Any course with the "R" suffix satisfies this requirement.

ACTG 321R - Accounting Information Systems I
AGED 312R - Communicating Agriculture to the Public
AGSC 465R - Health, Agriculture, and Poverty
ANSC 416R - Meat Processing
ANSC 434R - Beef Cattle Management
ANTY 425R - Social Organization
BCH 444R - Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Methods
BFIN 457R - Financial Markets and Institutions
BIOB 291R - Honors Molecular Biology and Gene Regulation
BIOB 453R - Biomimetic Intelligent Systems
BIOB 476R - Gene Construction
ECIV 489R - Civil Engineering Design I
ECIV 499R - Capstone: Civil Engineering Design I
ETCC 499R - Capstone: Construction Engineering Technology
ECHM 411R - Chemical Engineering Design I
ECHM 412R - Chemical Engineering Design II
ECNS305R - Peer Leadership in Economics
ECNS403R - Introduction to Econometrics
ECNS432R - Benefit-Cost Analysis
EDU 397R - Methods: K-8 Social Studies
EDU 497R - Methods: 5-8 Mathematics
EELE 488R - Electrical Engineering Design I
EELE 489R - Electrical Engineering Design II
EELE 499R - Capstone: Electrical Engineering Design
EGEN 310R - Multidisc Engineering Design
EIND 499R - Industrial Engineering Design Capstone
EMEC 489R - Mechanical Engineering Design Capstone I
EMEC 499R - Mechanical Engineering Design Capstone II
ETME 499R - Mechanical Engineering Design Capstone II
ERTH 432R - Surface Water Resources
ERTH 450R - Snow Dynamics and Accumulation
GPHY 441R - Mountain Geography
GPHY 484R - Applied GIS and Spatial Analysis
GRMN 450R - Seminar: German Lit and Culture
HDCF 425R - Family Law and Public Policy
HDCF 455R - Administration of Human Service Programs
HDPE 323R - Biomechanics
HDPE 445R - Applied Sport Psychology
HORT 486R - Horticulture Capstone II
HSTR 499R/HSTA 499R - Sen Capstone: Hist Methodology
JPNS 450R - Seminar: Japanese Literature & Culture
LIT 461R - Seminar: Integrative Teaching Methods
LRES 442R - Capstone 1-Field Applications in LRES
M 386R - Software Applications in Mathematics
MGMT 475R - Management Practicum
MKTG 342R - Marketing Research
MUSI 499R - Senior Recital/Capstone Project
NRSG 387R - Research in Health Care
PSCI 499R - Senior Project/Thesis
PSYX 499R - Senior Thesis Capstone
SFBS 445R - Culinary Marketing: Farm to Table
SFBS 451R - Sustainable Food Systems
SOCI 318R - Sociological Research Methods
SPNS 470R - Seminar: Modern Hispanic Literature
VTMB 476R - Biotechnology Internship
Any other course with the "R" suffix

Permitted Substitutions

  1. Completion of at least two of the following courses, normally taken by students in science majors, with a grade of C- or better satisfies the Contemporary Issues in Science (CS) and the Inquiry Natural Science (IN) requirements. Individual substitutions for one requirement or the other are not permissible.
    BIOB 105 , BIOB 110, BIOB 170,160,207,208,256,260,258,251
    BIOM 210, BIOM 250
    CHMY 121,123,141,143,151,153,211
    ENSC 245
    GEO 101, 103,205,211
    GPHY 111
    NRSM 240
    PHSX 205,207,220,222,240,242
  2. The University Honors course UH 202, with a grade of C- or better, may substitute for the Inquiry Humanities (IH) requirement.

> Back to Table of Contents