Mountains & Minds

Montana State University offers something beyond the conventional college experience for our Montana students. The people who live, work and play at MSU aren't afraid to venture from what they know to find a new place and learn new things. Our researchers are partnering with students to push boundaries in their fields and make cutting-edge discoveries. Our professors are empowering students to solve important real-world problems. And we are making millions of acres of nearby wilderness our classroom, lab, studio and playground. At MSU, you'll create a college experience that's as unique as you are.

Explore the basics of MSU, including facts, stats, admission requirements, scholarships and more below. 

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At a Glance

Explore enrollment, home states, demographics and more.

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One of a Kind

Learn what makes MSU such a unique place inside and outside of the clasroom.

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Admission Requirements

Learn how MSU's application process works.

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Scholarships & Financial Aid

Explore scholarship and financial aid programs available for incoming students.



Numbers icon MSU at a Glance

MSU is the largest and fastest growing university in Montana, with 16,249 students, including 7,742 students from across every town in Montana. Students are able to choose from more than 250 academic options ranging from arts and humanities to engineering and technology.



Total Enrollment


Undergraduate Students


Graduate Students



Average High School GPA


Average ACT Score


Average SAT Score


Top Ten Home States

  1. Montana 7,742
  2. Washington 1,402
  3. Colorado 1,263
  4. California 1,178
  5. Minnesota 589
  6. Oregon 417
  7. Idaho 382
  8. Alaska 329
  9. Wyoming 208
  10. Illinois 196

Top Ten Montana Counties

  1. Gallatin 2,028
  2. Yellowstone 1,031
  3. Flathead 571
  4. Lewis & Clark 555
  5. Missoula 549
  6. Cascade 519
  7. Park 220
  8. Ravalli 203
  9. Jefferson 121
  10. Silver Bow 103


Academic Colleges by Enrollment

Agriculture 1,813

Arts & Architecture 1,117

Business & Entrepreneurship 1,583

Education, Health & Human Development 1,691

Engineering 3,652

Letters & Science 3,646

Nursing 1,190

Undeclared 682

Gallatin College 620

Students enrolled in Honors courses 1,670



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One icon One of a Kind

Montana State University has a long and distinguished record of academic excellence — and a commitment to its Land Grant mission of providing access to higher education. MSU is the only university in the country with Carnegie classifications for very high research activity, a very high undergraduate enrollment profile and a commitment to community engagement. MSU is also among the top 3 percent of colleges and universities in the nation for research expenditures and offers unparalleled access to outdoor adventure and discovery.

Montana State University is among the top
colleges and universities

Forbs Number 1 University Montana
Number 3 University in the West
Number 1 University for Outdoor Sports & Recreation


No.1 public university in the state, according to the Forbes list of America's Top Colleges, based on value, post-graduation salary and student experience.


Top 3 in the West, after Stanford and Cal Tech, in recipients of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for students in math, science and engineering.


Best college for outdoor sports and recreation, with world-class skiing, hiking, biking, fly fishing and close proximity to Yellowstone National Park.


Montana State University offers something beyond the conventional college experience. MSU students have been the recipients of more than 176 national awards.

In addition to the prestigious and highly competitive Goldwater Scholarships for study in science, math and engineering, MSU students have been the recipients of more than 176 national awards, including:

Graphic describing Goldwater rankings for 2020.


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One icon Admission Requirements

Applying to Montana State University is easy! MSU functions on rolling admission, which means there's no hard-set application deadline. Explore our requirements and recommendations for freshman and transfer students below.

Want to learn more about MSU's admission requirements? Join one of our live information sessions!

Freshman Admission Requirements

To be admitted, a prospective freshman must meet the following requirements:

Must have one of the following:


ACT Composite Score


SAT composite score (M, W/L)


High School GPA

Top Half

Rank in the top half of graduating class


Recommended College Prep Courses:

4 Years


3 Years


3 Years

Social Studies


2 Years

Lab Science

2 Years

Choose from: Foreign Language, Computer Science, Visual & Performing Arts or Vocational Ed

In order to begin a University Academic Plan at Montana State University, students must demonstrate readiness in the areas of math and writing. Typically, students demonstrate their readiness through scores earned on standardized examinations as outlined below:

Math: ACT Math 22+ or SAT Math 27.5+

Writing: ACT English/Language Arts 18+ or SAT Writing/Language 25+*

*Students who do not meet the freshman admission requirements listed above are still encouraged to apply for admission and submit the necessary credentials. MSU is allowed a number of exemptions to the stated requirements and will examine each student’s credentials on a case-by-case basis for admissibility.


Freshman Applicant Requirements

  • Application for admission by July 1 for fall semester
  • $38 nonrefundable application fee (waived for fall 2021 Montana students)
  • Official final high school transcript sent directly from the high school
  • Official ACT or SAT scores
  • Three-to-four-week admission decision

Transfer Applicant Requirements

  • Application for admission by July 1 for fall semester
  • $38 nonrefundable application fee (online)
  • 2.0 cumulative college GPA average
  • 12 attempted college level credits (post High School)
  • Official college transcripts sent directly from each institution


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Money icon Scholarships & Financial Aid

Montana State University offers millions of dollars in merit scholarships and waivers to new students with excellent academic records and outstanding promise for student success. Our holistic review of scholarship candidates considers academic achievement, including GPA and class rank (if applicable). Leadership qualities, commitment to service and promise of engagement in the life of Montana State University may also be considered for some awards. Explore some of our opportunities below!

Want to learn more about MSU's scholarships? Join one of our live information sessions!

Montana Resident Freshman Scholarships

Nonresident Freshman Scholarships

Montana Resident Transfer Scholarships

Nonresident Transfer Scholarships

College & Departmental Scholarships

Additional Scholarship Opportunities

Merit Scholarship Calculator

Additional Financial Guidance



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get info Want more information about MSU? We're here to help.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! You can email our staff at [email protected], or call us Monday - Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm MT at 1-888-MSU-CATS.