Montana State University

Department of History and Philosophy

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172320
Bozeman, MT 59717-3440

Tel: (406) 994-4395
Fax: (406) 994-7420
Location: Wilson Hall 2-155

Department Chair

Dr. David Cherry

Advising Information for Students


Q: The course I want is full. I'd like to try to get into it. What do I do?

First, keep checking the course schedule on the web.  Courses open and close daily.  Also, contact the professor of the course and ask to be put on a waiting list or added to the course. If the professor gives permission for you to enroll in a closed course, you need to bring written proof that you have permission to the History and Philosophy Department office (Wilson 2-155). Our staff will be able to enroll you in the course.

If you haven’t been able to add the course before the first day of class, ATTEND the first day with an ADD/DROP form (available at the Registrars Office or in the History and Philosophy Department office in Wilson 2-155). Complete the necessary portion and meet with the instructor asking for permission to be admitted. After the instructor signs the form, come to the History and Philosophy office to have the form signed. Finally, take the form to the Registrar's Office for processing.  You will not be added until the form is processed at the Registrar's Office.

Q: What does 'consent of the instructor' mean and how do I enroll in these restricted classes?

‘Consent of the instructor’ designation means the course(s) require departmental permission for enrollment.  If the course is not in the History and Philosophy Department, contact the specific department.  If the course is a History and Philosophy course, you will need to contact the professor directly for permission to enroll in the course.

NOTE:   Make sure you have no "holds" on your account.  Only students without holds will be eligible to register for courses.

Q: When is the last day to add a class?

Always check the times and procedures link at the top of the on-line class schedule.  This link provides all the deadlines for the specific term. Fall and Spring semesters allow students to add with approval of the instructor and advisor up to the end of the 10th day of University instruction of the semester.  After the 10th class day, add forms must have the approval (signature) of Dr. Paula Lutz, Dean of the College of Letters and Science.

Q: I won't be on campus until a later date. Can my friend do the add for me?

No. Only the students themselves can officially process an "Add/Drop". You can complete add/drops online up until the 10th day of class.

Q: How do I drop a class?

You can drop classes from your schedule on-line up to the 10th day of class, or you can complete an "Add/Drop" form. After the 10th class day, you must pick up an "Add/Drop" form. Complete the necessary portion, meet with the instructor of the class you are dropping for a signature, and have your advisor sign it. Finally, take the form to the Registrar's Office for processing. You will not be dropped from the course(s) until the form is processed at the Registrar's Office.

You may drop a class during the last two weeks of the semester only for extraordinary reasons (e.g. death, illness). If this is the case, you will need to speak with the History and Philosophy Department Chair.

Q: I want to drop all my classes, what do I do?

In order to drop all your courses you must process a university withdrawal. A student who withdraws before the end of the 15th day of the semester will not receive grades for any of the courses taken. Thereafter, through the last day of instruction, a grade of "W" shall be assigned in all courses for which the student is registered, unless the Dean of Students indicates otherwise.

For more information, and to apply for a withdrawal, contact the Dean of Students Office.

Q: If I drop, how will it affect my GPA?

You will receive a "W" as a grade.  A “W” grade does not affect a student’s grade point average; however, it does affect financial aid requirements for satisfactory progress. Be sure to contact the financial aid office on the 1st floor of the SUB if you have questions. 
Q: What do I do to return to school?

Students returning to school after not being enrolled for one or more semesters must submit an “Intent to Register” form to the Registrar's Office.  Once the form is processed, you will receive your registration (advisor) codes in the mail. Forms may be downloaded from the following site:

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Alternate Pin/Personal Data Forms (PDFs)

Q: What is an Alternate Pin? When do I get this?

A new Alternate Pin/Registration Pin number is generated each term and is printed on your Personal Data Form (PDF).  Continuing students must pick up this form in the History and Philosophy Department office (Wilson 2-155) during the registration period each term.  This number is not associated with your advisor. Student ID is required when you pick up your PDF.  The number will not be released over the telephone. Do not lose this number. You will be required to use this number during registration and when dropping courses on-line.  At the beginning of the advising and registration period each term (mid October and late March), the History and Philosophy Deparatment will send an email to your MSU student email account with information about advising and registration procedures and deadlines.

Q: I was not on campus for a semester (or more). How do I get my PDF?

Submit an "Intent to Register" form to the Registrar’s Office. You will then need to stop by the Registrar's office directly in order to pick-up you pin. "Intent to Register" Forms are available at

Q: Last semester I was in a different department and changed to the Department of History and Science. Where do I get my PDF?

Check with your old department first. If your PDF is not there, then check with the History and Philosophy Department office.  If we are unable to give you your pin, you will need to stop by the Registrar's Office.

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Changing Options/Majors

Q: How do I change my major?

You must complete a Change of Curriculum card. Cards are available from the Registrar's Office, the College (Department) from which you are leaving, and/or the College (Department) to which you are transferring. You will need to be signed out of your former department and signed into your new department. You will need to submit the card to the Registrar's Office for final, official processing

Q: I want to stay in the History and Philosophy Department but want to change my option (for example History-Teaching to History-Religious Studies). How do I do that?

Stop by the Department of History and Philosophy in Wilson 2-155. Our staff will assist you with this change and assign you an advisor in your new option.

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Q: Can I make personal copies in the Department of History and Philosophy or in Wilson Hall?

There are no copiers in the Department of History and Philosophy available to students unless specifically requested by an instructor. Copies can be made in the library and in the SUB for a reasonable fee.

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Faculty Advisors

Q: Why do I need an advisor?

Academic planning and degree completion is the student's responsibility. Your faculty advisor can assist you with your academic and career planning and can serve as a valuable mentor. While you are not required to meet with your advisor, you are encouraged to keep your advisor apprised of your academic/career plans. Your advisor must sign your Graduation Application.

Q: How do I find out who my advisor is?

You need to come to the History and Philosophy Department Office in Wison 2-155 in order to be assigned an advisor.

Q: When do I meet with my advisor and how can I find my advisor?

You may meet with your advisor during his/her posted office hours. Scheduling appointments and brief questions may also be directed to his/her office telephone or email address.

Q. May I change my advisor?

Yes, stop by the History and Philosophy Office in Wilson 2-155. A staff member will assist you in making this change.

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Q. How can I find out what my final grades are for the semester?

Access your transcript on MyInfo.  Please note that while grades are posted throughout finals week, your final GPA is not calculated until typically the middle of the week following finals week. Academic standing is not posted until this final GPA calculation is complete. It is the student's responsibility to check your grades each term and to be informed about your academic standing, e.g. good standing, probation, suspend warning and/or suspended.

Q. What should I do if I am unable to complete a course due to a medical problem or other extenuating circumstances?

An "I" (Incomplete) grade may be given in these situations. If you have satisfactorily completed at least three-quarters of the course requirements, you may be elibible for an incomplete 'I' grade. Discuss this with your instructor. Your instructor may request the Dean of Letters and Science contact you to certify that you are unable to fulfill your commitments due to illness, death, family emergencies, or military orders. It is your responsibility to complete all the remaining course requrements by the date agreed upon with the instructor. Incomplete grades which are not made-up may lapse to an 'F' grade.

Q. I received an "I" grade in a class with a completion deadline that I am unable to meet. Do I automatically receive an "F" for the course?

See your instructor to discuss why you cannot meet the deadline. Your instructor might be able to issue an "I" grade extension allowing you more time to complete the work.

Q. How do I receive my grade once I make up an "I" grade?

When all work has been completed and graded, your instructor will process a grade change form. The Registrar will post your grade within a few days after receiving the form.

Q. I do not think the grade I received in a course is correct. How should I handle this?

Visit with your instructor to discuss how you were graded. If the instructor finds that a clerical error was made in grading your work, a grade change form can be processed. Grade appeal procedures are described at

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Q: When do I apply for graduation?

You must apply one year before the semester you intend to graduate. Thus, if you want to Graduate in the Spring of 2012, you must apply to graduate in the Spring of 2011.

Q: What do I need to do apply for graduation?

You must submit an Application for Bacclaureate Degree. You need to meet with your advisor to fill out the application with you. You will need to bring a copy of your transcript, as well as a copy of the requirements worksheet for your major option.

 Q: I want to change a class on Application for Graduation. Can I do that?

Contact the Department of History and Philosophy. You will need to fill out an Add/Delete Memorandum showing the change in your Appliation for Graduation.

Q: What happens after I file the graduation application?

The Department Chair will sign your graduation paperwork. After the paperwork is signed, it will be forwarded to the Dean's office for Certification. If there is a problem with your credits, either the Department or the Dean's office will contact you via your university email or via the telephone number you have listed in MyInfo. If your application is correct, the Dean's Office will forward your application to the Registrar. You may want to check-in with the Registrar's office a few weeks after filing your paperwork to verify your Graduation status.

Q: What about university requirements such as the university core?

Once the Application of Baccalaureate Degree is filed, the Registrar's Office will certify all university requirements including the university core.

Q. How do I know if all my requirements are in order?

No news is good news. The Registrar's Office sends emails (MSU student email address) and/or postcards to all students who have some kind of graduation deficiency, e.g., not registered for required courses, university core requirements unmet, and/or total credits lacking. These emails require your full and immediate attention. If you receive a 'deficiency' email, you will need to come to the History and Philosophy Department office to discuss your credits.

Q: When do I find out about the graduation ceremony?

If you have submitted an Application for Baccalaureate Degree, the Registrar's Office will send you information regarding general commencement in March/April of the graduation year. General commencement information includes: time, location, cap and gown availability, and invitations. 

Q: Do I get my diploma at the ceremony?

No. Your diploma will be mailed to the permanent mailing address that you provided in MyInfo. You are responsible for providing the Registrar's Office (through MyInfo) with a correct postal address.

Q: I am not going to graduate the semester that I had stated on my form. Whom do I tell?

Inform the History and Philosophy Department as soon as possible if you intend to change your graduation term. You will need to complete paperwork showing the change in your degree application.

*Note: Graduation requirements are subject to change. Please check the Registrar's office for updates.

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Independent Study/Individual Problems

Q: What is an Independent Study/Individual Problems course?

An independent study is a course designed to allow a student to pursue directed study and/or research on an individual basis, under supervision of an instructor.

Q: When is an Independent Study/Individual Problems course appropriate?

An independent study is most appropriate when a student wishes to pursue directed study and/or research on an individual basis not otherwise available in a regularly scheduled course, under supervision of an instructor.  It is not intended to substitute for another course.

Q: How many credits of Independent Study/Individual Problems can count towards graduation?

MSU policy states that no more than six credits of independent study in each rubric (e.g. HSTR, RLST) will count toward graduation.

A credit is the unit used in computing the amount of work required for graduation.  One credit is equivalent to three hours of work each week for one semester.  One lecture hour assumes two hours of work outside of class. Therefore, you should expect to devote nine hours a week to earn three credits.

Q:  Can an Independent Study/Individual Problems course fulfill my History or Philosophy degree requirements?

You may apply an independent study towards the advisor approved electives requirement. 

An independent study may not substitute for any required course, unless approved by the Department Chair.

Q: How do I register for an Independent Study/Individual Problems?

First, submit a written proposal to the sponsoring instructor describing the exact activities to be engaged in for the credits.  If approved, the proposal, along with a statement from the instructor explaining the assessment and grading methods, must be attached to a ‘Request for Individual Problems’ form available in the History and Philosophy Department Office, Wilson 2-155.

The form must be signed by the sponsoring instructor. You must then turn the form into the Department of History and Philosophy. The Department Chair will sign then form. We will then turn a copy into the Registrar's office.

Q:  Can an Independent Study/Individual Problems course apply towards my minor degree requirements?

You may apply an independent study towards the advisor approved electives requirement. 

An independent study may not substitute for any required course, unless approved by the Department Chair.

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Make Up Exams

Q: How do I schedule a make up exam?

You must speak to your professor to make arrangements to take the exam.

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MyInfo & MSU Student Email Addresses

Q: What information is available on MyInfo?

MyInfo is your key resource for managing your academic career. In the general area, you can access the MSU catalog to check course pre-requisites and degree requirements, access the electronic schedule of classes, and check transfer equivalencies if you are considering taking a course at another institution. In the secure area, you can drop and add classes, access your transcript, check to see what holds may be on your records, update your mailing addresses and access your bill. It is our expectation that you will make use of these resources in your academic planning and progress.

Q: What is my MSU email address?

Your official MSU student email address is issued to you and consists of your If you have a common name, a number may also be included: Analogous to the common business practice where you have a personal email and a professional work email, MSU/CoB sends all correspondence to you at your professional (MSU) email. Examples of correspondence include, but are not limited to, the following: all course assignments sent to listservs, all notifications about registration, notification of the CoB on-line scholarship application, notification of formal admission status, and notification of graduation status and/or deficiencies. It is the student's responsibility to check this email regularly.

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Probation and Suspension

Q: What is the difference between probation and suspension?

University academic performance standards are located on the web:

Q: What does suspension mean?

When a student does not meet the academic performance standards set by the faculty at MSU, he or she may be suspended from the university. Students who are suspended for the first time, may not enroll at MSU for one academic term (fall/spring). Students suspended for the second time may not enroll at MSU for one academic year. Students suspended more than twice may only re-enroll at MSU if they submit a written appeal to the University Scholastic Appeals Board.

Q: When and how was I notified?

It is your responsibility to review your on-line transcript at the end of each term to determine his/her academic standing. Students will not receive written notification of probation or suspend warning. You will receive written notification of suspension; the letter is sent to the permanent address you have provided in MyInfo. It is your responsibility to keep your addresses updated on MyInfo.

Q: Can I appeal the suspension decision?

You may appeal the suspension decision if you believe there were extraordinary circumstances beyond your control of which the University Scholastic Appeals Board was unaware. You must complete the Scholastic Appeal Form and submit all the required documentation listed on the back of the appeal form. The written appeal is reviewed by the University Scholastic Appeal Board. Once the Board has made a decision, the finding will be sent to you and a copy will be put in your academic file. The decision of the USAB is final.

Q: When do I get reinstated?

Students suspended for the first time are automatically reinstated after one semester (excluding summer term) has elapsed. After a second suspension, one academic year must elapse before the student will be reinstated. Students returning to school after one or more semesters must submit an "Intent to Register" form to the Registrar's Office and meet with the Assistant Director of Student Services if a 'must' see form is issued by the Registrar's Office.

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Scholarships and Awards

Q: Does the History and Philosophy Department offer scholarships?

The Department awards a few scholarships each year to recognize outstanding majors. The Department sends out an announcement to the MSU History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies list-serv in Apri of each year with details about the scholarships. Be sure to check your email to keep updated on these opportunities, or visit the main department office (Wilson 2-155) in the beginning of April to inquire.

Q: What other scholarships are available for MSU students?

Entering Freshmen and transfer students are automatically given consideration for MSU scholarships as described at:

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