Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find some of the most-commonly asked questions we experience when students visit campus.
Who should I contact?
Our staff is more than happy to correspond with you via email or over the phone about any questions you may have. For specific questions about applications and transcript evaluations, please contact your Admissions Evaluator. You can connect with all of our staff members on our staff website.
If you would like more information from a specific college, department, or academic program, we encourage you to visit our department directory to connect with them individually and access their contact information.
Please visit our COVID-19 related questions section for more information on how our office has been affected.
For questions about Orientation and Class Registration, please visit ourOrientation FAQ.
Questions by Topic
This section was last updated on June 11, 2020. Please check back regularly for more information.
Montana State University looks forward to resuming normal operations as soon as fall semester. We are working diligently to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality.
Montana State University is committed to deliver world class educational experiences in the largest university in Montana and in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Classes will be offered in three variations including face-to-face in-person courses, blended courses offered partially online, partially face-to-face and lastly, fully online coursework. When courses are offered in-person, they will be taught in larger spaces allowing for social distancing. University IT services is working on spaces in which students have access to computers, can use their own laptops or can participate in online portions of their courses. More information can be found in our Fall 2020 Roadmap.
MSU is going to do their best to offer the highest quality education. Faculty are working hard on various delivery modes and everyone is diligently preparing for the Fall. We are adjusting policies and procedures appropriately to ensure students feel safe while still learning at the highest level. Students will have varying experiences depending on your major, your preferences, the coursework you take, etc.
All students will receive a sanitation kit including a face mask, hand sanitizer, sanitizing spray and microfiber clothes, and more. There will also be sanitizing stations located across campus to refill spray bottles and hand sanitizer. Classrooms will have entry and exit doors to avoid traffic jams and classroom seating will be reformatted to allow for social distancing. Face masks will also be required indoors and outside when social distancing is not possible.
MSU will not be testing all students upon campus arrival in August. If students develop symptoms, they are encouraged to utilize the Student Health Services appropriately and necessary action/testing can be conducted as required.
Any individual with symptoms should stay home and inform their faculty members appropriately. Students will work with faculty for accommodations for their courses (this consideration is being built into courses by faculty as it is anticipated). Students are encouraged to utilize the Student Health Services if they are concerned. Students residing on-campus and awaiting COVID-19 test results will have an isolation or quarantine space available to them on campus. MSU will follow CDC protocols and will work with the Gallatin City-County Health Department for contact tracing for positive cases.
MSU will follow the direction of the MT Office of Commissioner of Higher Education, the campus and public health officials. The refund policy will be determined by the MT Board of Regents. All students and family will be notified appropriately.
MSU is working through various plans for how to allow students to engage with one another and connect with campus, while still being mindful of how to ensure the health and safety of all. As a Division-1 athletic program, all athletic events will defer to the NCAA for direction on how to move forward.
MSU does not ask students to commit to enrolling by a certain date, and does not require an enrollment deposit. We generally encourage students to follow the steps on our new student checklist to successfully join the Bobcat family. Please keep in mind that while registering for housing or signing up for an Orientation session is non-binding, both do have non-refundable fees associated with them. We encourage students to apply for housing as soon as possible to ensure that they are placed into a living community that is the best fit for them. You can learn more about housing here, and Orientation here.
As long as you meet your state’s educational requirements and receive your diploma, your admission status will not be affected. We encourage students to send us their final official high school transcript as soon as it is available.
If you have received an acceptance packet we have all that we need for you to be admitted to Montana State University and for you to proceed with Orientation. While we will need your final HS transcript with a diploma date in order to complete your admission file, we understand that there may be a delay in receiving that final transcript until schools have reopened and returned to normal business. We have time for that to happen.
Please note that University Health Partners will need to receive your immunizations and TB screening form in order for you to register for classes during Orientation.
If you have additional questions about your transcript, please reach out to your Admissions Evaluator.
Please visit our Orientation FAQ for more information!
MSU will always work with students if they wish to defer their enrollment and the process is quite easy. All students need to do is contact their Admissions Evaluator and we can defer their application for up to one year from their intended start date. Typically, when a student defers for a year, they come in under the next year’s scholarship parameters/requirements which do change year-to-year, so scholarships may not carry over depending on the change in our scholarships. With that being said, we are also evaluating these plans as we recognize that many students are waiting to make a decision until next year and may need to stay closer to home. We will update all students and families if any changes are made on this front.
Unfortunately, the Office of Admissions made the challenging decision to cancel all spring 2020 recruitment events. If you’d like more information, we encourage you to participate in our virtual visit opportunities including live Admissions presentations, one-one-one Admissions Counselor meetings, recorded webinars and more.
To help limit COVID-19 risk to our staff and our prospective students, the Office of Admissions at Montana State University has suspended all spring 2020 recruitment events and on-campus visit opportunities through April 30.
If you’d like more information, we encourage you to participate in our virtual visit opportunities including live Admissions presentations, one-one-one Admissions Counselor meetings, recorded webinars and more.
We understand that many students are being impacted based on the canceled and postponed ACT and SAT exams. We still encourage students to apply early and will take into consideration that many students may not have test scores at the moment they submit their application. Once you are able to participate in a standardized test, we encourage you to have official test scores sent to us.
The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education have temporarily suspended the requirement that students provide ACT or SAT test scores for admission to its four-year campuses. This change is effective April 16 through Sept. 1, 2021. Please note that MSU will still require official test scores be sent directly from the testing agency for scholarship consideration. Essentially, we are currently not requiring test scores for admission purposes but encourage students to take a standardized exam if they would like to be considered for scholarships.
Students can apply online at www.montana.edu by clicking “Apply”.
Students will need to self-report their GPA, list their academic history, and send us their official ACT/SAT scores. We do not require personal essays or letters of recommendation to consider you for admission.
Students must have one of the following admission requirements:
-22 ACT/1120 SAT
-Ranked in the top half of their graduating class
If students satisfy ONE of these requirements, they are automatically admitted into MSU.
MSU has no official application deadline. We accept applications on a rolling admissions basis. That being said, we recommend students to apply before October of their senior year. This is so students can have time to request academic credentials needed to apply for scholarships or financial aid, apply for scholarships, have access to our campus housing application, and consider attending an Orientation program.
Typically, it takes two weeks to hear back with an admissions decision!
A $38 non-refundable fee is required for electronic submssions and a $30 non-refundable fee is required for a paper application. MSU needs payment of application fees in order to process your application and get back to you with an admissions decision.
We do not offer a fee waiver, however, you may request to defer your application fee to your first tuition statement. This means that you will only pay the app fee if you or your student decides to attend MSU. You can request an application fee deferral online at https://webapps.montana.edu/admissions/appfee/.
Yes. Final official transcripts are required for freshman, while transfer students must submit official transcripts ofall prior college work. Incoming freshman who have taken college-level classes while in high school must all submit all official college transcripts.
MSU is the only school in the nation that satisfies all three of the Carnegie classifications, which include having very high research activity, a high undergraduate profile, and a commitment to community engagement. MSU spends over $130 million in research each year, making it among the top 3% percentage of colleges and universities in the nation for our research expenditures.
30. Class size depends on the student’s major, year in college, etc. Generally, as students move toward their junior and senior year, classes tend to be smaller. Our largest lecture hall currently holds 300 students. When teachers do have courses this large, there will be labs (hands-on) and recitations (discussion/review) attached. This breaks groups of students into around 8-15 students per instructor.
Over 90% of courses at MSU are taught by a degreed faculty member – so experts in their field and active researchers. Some lower division or introductory classes are taught by graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). Students will most likely have GTAs in labs, studios, or recitations.
Our Core 2.0 curriculum (generals) is to ensure a wide-ranging general education to all MSU students regardless of their major or area of study. In addition, these courses emphasize communication and techniques of critical and creative inquiry in a variety of disciplines. Core 2.0 is comprised of 10 areas of study, many of which are built into a student’s curriculum. Many of these courses are also fulfilled if students come into college with any Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or dual-enrollment courses.
Yes, one Quantitative Reasoning (Q) class is required as part of the Core 2.0 curriculum. Depending on a student’s major, they may be required to take multiple math courses. You can refer to the Math Flowchart online with questions.
Students scoring a 3 or better on AP exams will be granted MSU credit. Some AP exam scores differ depending on the class, so be sure to check out our AP Placement Guide online at www.montana.edu. Students scoring a 4 or better on the High Level IB courses will be granted MSU credit. Some IB exam scores differ, so be sure to check out our IB Placement Guide online at www.montana.edu. Most AP and IB credits satisfy Core 2.0 courses.
Students can use the Transfer Equivalency Guide to determine how their dual-enrollment courses they’ve taken will fulfill credit at MSU. When students send in their transcript from another institution, our Admissions Evaluators will review it and provide students with a detailed break-down of what courses they have fulfilled when they attend Orientation.
All students, regardless of their major, will be assigned an advisor to assist them throughout their four years. Each student is required to meet with their advisor at least once a semester prior to registering for classes. All incoming students are required to attend an Orientation sessions before registering for classes, and this is where they will first receive advising for their classes.
Yes. SmartyCats Tutoring offers free-drop in group tutoring and $2/hour sessions available per an appointment. MSU also has various tutoring centers across campus, such as our Writing Center and Math Learning Center. These resources are free to students.
Our Pre-Professional programs include Pre-Law, Pre-Med, Pre-Vet, or any additional health profession requiring grad school. These programs are essentially separate advising tracks that assist students in meeting their long-term goals. These programs assist students with necessary test prep, filling out applications, preparing essays, etc.
Students cannot declare a major in these programs, but rather pair these options with a designated major. For example, a Cell Biology and Neuroscience student may be on a Pre-Med track.
Yes! The Honors College at MSU provides students with the opportunity to join a smaller community within the larger MSU community. Students are required to apply for the Honors College. The advantages of participating in the Honors College include exclusive Honors courses, study abroad opportunities, separate housing opportunities, certain professors only teach Honors courses, etc. The biggest benefit is that you can graduate with an Honors Baccalaureate degree if you complete over 16 credits.
Yes, many combinations of majors for college are possible. Students work with their advisors to fulfill all of the degree requirements for each major they wish to complete. You can double major or declare a minor, even if they are in completely separate or different colleges.
Yes, students may bring a car if they are willing to pay for the parking permit. Currently, parking permits cost $220 for the academic year. The Steamline Bus Service is a free service that students can take advantage of when getting around Bozeman. In addition, during the holidays there are shuttles that run out to the airport and there is always shuttles running to and from our ski hills. Bozeman also has Uber and Lyft for another mode of transportation.
Students can study in over 250 locations in 60 different countries. Abroad experiences can range from a year, a semester, and 6 weeks in the summer. Students who study abroad do not need to know a foreign language. There are independent study abroad programs and departmental trips. MSU offers Direct Exchange for our study abroad programs, meaning that what you pay at MSU, is what you pay at the school that you are studying abroad at. There are additional expenses for travel costs. MSU has an excellent study abroad advising program which help students pick their program and classes that will transfer back to MSU.
MSU represents diversity in a variety of different ways. 50% of our student body is made up of out-of-state students representing every state in the US and over 70 countries spanning from a variety of financial backgrounds, experiences, cultures, religion, and more. Our Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons allows students to plan events, promote lecture series, engage students through employment, and more. MSU’s Diversity Ambassadors are also a vital resource for diversity on campus, and work as a resource for underrepresented students throughout their admissions process and when they attend campus.
The MSU Bobcats participate in NCAA Division I in the Big Sky Conference. In total, MSU fields 14 varsity sports. Students interested in participating in Division I athletics need to fill out a Recruitment Questionnaire at www.msubobcats.com. If students would like to participate in athletics but not at the varsity level, MSU offers a variety of club sports that compete with other schools in the region. MSU also offers intramural sports which offer low-competition levels and unconventional sport opportunities.
The Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center is available for student use. The gym fees are included in the student bill so there are no additional membership fees. The facility has cardio and weight equipment, aerobics rooms, spinning rooms, handball/racquetball courts, climbing wall, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, indoor/outdoor tracks, and several gyms. Athletic fields behind the Hedges Complex are used for intramural sports.
Yes, freshman are required to live on campus. MSU offers 10 different living options for incoming freshman on campus. Residence halls host different events with their floors, or have competitions between other residence halls. Meal plans are also offered for students living off campus, where they can eat in our award-winning dining halls for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There is a housing application that include a list where you can rank our preferred residence halls, as well as roommate request form.
- Resident (annual) total: $18,900
- Tuition: $7,150
- Room/Board: $10,300
- Books/Supplies: $1,450
- Non-resident (annual) total: $37,600
- Tuition: $25,850
- Room/Board: $10,300
- Books/Supplies: $1,450
Financial Aid is in the form of grants, loans, and work-study are available at MSU to eligible students who need assistance to attend school. FAFSA opens on October 1 every year and the priority deadline is December 1. Students should be notified of their financial aid packages around February.
The Freshman Premier Scholarship ranges from a couple hundred dollars one time, up to a thousand dollars per year. There is an application associated with the Premier and the priority deadline is 2/1.
Montana residents can also apply for the Presidential Scholarship. This application recognizes distinguished and well-rounded individuals, and looks for high academic scores, personal achievements, community involvement, and leadership qualities. This award is a full tuition waiver, including a generous stipend and other unique incentives throughout a student’s four years at MSU. The application itself requires three personal essays, multiple letters of recommendation, and counselor verification of test scores and GPA. The application also acts as an application into the MSU Honors College. This application is the earliest deadline, closing this past year on December 6, 2019.
Students can apply for the Academic Achievement Award. Students are automatically considered for the Achievement Award when they apply to MSU with their self-reported GPA and official SAT or ACT scores. This scholarship is solely based off GPA and test scores. The Achievement Award ranges from $1,000 to $15,000 per year and is renewable up to 4 years. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and enroll in 15 credits or more each semester.
Students can also apply for the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Students are automatically considered for the WUE when they apply to MSU with their self-reported GPA and official SAT or ACT scores. WUE applies to states west of the Dakotas. WUE is a value of $16,600 per year, 4 years renewable. Students that are awarded the WUE during the 2019-2020 academic year must have a 3.3 GPA, and a 27 ACT or 1260 SAT. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and enroll in 15 credits or more each semester. Students are encouraged to apply early since WUE awards are limited.
Out-of-state students can also apply for the Presidential Scholarship (listed above).
Students can apply for departmental scholarships through different academic colleges at MSU. These scholarships vary in value. Requirements and deadlines vary for departmental scholarships, but we recommend for students to apply for these opportunities between November 1st – February 1st. Students can apply for these scholarships every year that they are on campus.
Students can also apply for local scholarships from a third-party organization. High school guidance counselors are typically a great resource for high school students interested in applying for local scholarship opportunities. Fastweb.com, scholarships.com, and the College Board Scholarship Tool are also great resources for finding scholarships to apply for online.
The main in-state and out-of-state scholarship opportunities cannot be stacked, such as the WUE, Achievement Award, and the Presidential Scholarship. We will always give you the scholarship of higher value. We can stack departmental and local scholarship opportunities.
Yes, students can submit ACT or SAT scores as many times as they would like. MSU always uses a student’s highest test scores to consider them for scholarship opportunities. If students want to send us a higher test score after they have already received a scholarship offer, they can automatically reconsidered for a higher scholarship award, if eligible.
Students can utilize our online Merit Calculator to see what you would be eligible for with the Premier Scholarship and Academic Achievement Award. It will have you punch in your GPA and test scores, and generate an estimated scholarship award. Again, this is an estimated award since scholarship parameters change every year.
No, MSU does not super-score the ACT or ACT.
Yes, students are able to see their Admissions Checklist by logging into MyInfo. Students can reference this checklist for step-by-step instructions about what they have already completed, and what’s to come.
We highly recommend students accept their scholarship offer. This is a nonbinding process and does not commit students to attending MSU. It simply holds your scholarship in place if you decide to attend MSU. You can accept your scholarship by mailing a Scholarship Acceptance Form to our Office of Financial Aid Services.
MSU requires that all first-time freshman live on-campus. The campus housing application allows students to submit their preferences for which residence hall they want to live in, and also includes a survey that matches you with a roommate. You may also request a roommate if you know of someone that you want to room with. Freshman hoping to appeal the living on-campus requirement must fill out an exemption form at www.montana.edu. There is a $300 nonrefundable deposit with the campus housing application. If students submit their campus housing application and attend MSU, this $300 is taken out of their first room and board bill. The campus housing application is nonbinding, but there is this cost to be aware of that will not be refunded if you decide to attend another school or university.
All incoming students are required to attend one of the new student Orientation programs. Parents and other family members are invited to attend as well. Orientation is a 3-day program that takes place the summer before students come to campus. These sessions are where students register for classes, meet with academic advisors, and attend information sessions that help students for when they officially come to campus. Orientation offers four different sessions throughout the summer with the following dates: June 8-10, June 22-24, July 6-8, and August 26-28, 2020. The June and July sessions cost $175 for food and lodging, while the August session is free. Registering for an Orientation is MSU’s committal process and signals that a student will be a Bobcat in the fall.
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