Montana State University

The Graduate School

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172580
Bozeman, MT 59717-2580

Tel: (406) 994-4145
Toll Free: 1-800-255-7962
Fax: (406) 994-4733
Location: 108 Montana Hall


Dr. Karlene A. Hoo, Dean

The Graduate School - Policies and Procedures

Continuous Enrollment

To maintain graduate status, a student must be enrolled in three (3) or more credits (including thesis or dissertation) each semester, excluding summer semester.

Continuous enrollment policy is applicable for:
Master’s students
  • after completion of required content course work on the approved graduate Program of Study (content coursework excludes thesis or dissertation credits)
  • after the student passes any portion of the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral students
  • after passing any portion of the comprehensive examination.

Students to whom continuous enrollment applies may be absent from the university for a maximum of three semesters, excluding summer term, without penalty. This leave of absence may be taken as consecutive or individual semesters. No form or approval from The Graduate School is required to be absent. As a courtesy, we ask that you discuss the absence with your department.

Leave of Absence
Students taking a semester off who require access to MSU library resources may register for less than three (3) credits. Students taking a semester off are not entitled to use university facilities.  A comprehensive exam or defense of thesis/dissertation may not be conducted during a leave of absence. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment constitutes evidence that the student has resigned from the degree program and Montana State University.
Additional absences may be approved for documented medical reasons or military duty.

Registration following a "Leave of Absence"
Students wishing to register for coursework following one or more semesters off must file the Intent to Register form with the Office of the Registrar 30 days prior to registration for an intended semester.

Readmission to Graduate Standing
Students absent for more than three semesters while in continuous enrollment must:

  • Reapply to the degree program and to The Graduate School by completing the Application for Graduate Admission including the $60 application fee and official transcripts of any academic work completed during the absence. The application must be reviewed and approved by the student's department and The Graduate School prior to the beginning of the intended semester;
  • Submit a revised Program of Study to The Graduate School. Outdated course work (any course work older than six years for master's students or older than ten years for doctoral students) cannot be included in the revised Program of Study;
  • Retake the comprehensive examination and be registered for a minimum of three (3) credits during the semester the examination is taken;
  • Maintain continuous enrollment through completion of the degree.

Back to Graduate Catalog of Policies and Procedures