At a Glance

As the largest center for learning, teaching and research at Montana State University, the college teaches students to think critically, solve problems, communicate clearly, understand various disciplines and learn about different cultures. The college seeks to develop students into life-long learners and leaders by cultivating their inquisitive and scholarly instincts. Many of our faculty members are well-known nationally and internationally for their contributions to their field. They have an impressive record for winning highly competitive grants to support research and scholarship, with over $19.5 million in research grants last year.


The 13 departments and 7 interdisciplinary programs in the college offer many undergraduate and graduate degrees.


Our research expenditures were $28.6 million in 2023, providing opportunities for students to participate in cutting-edge research.


Our outreach includes events, community-based participatory research, and collaboration with community and regional partners.

Mission, Vision and Goals

As the intellectual foundation of Montana State University, the College of Letters and Science (CLS) is the largest and most academically diverse of the University’s colleges. It is the critical teaching and research unit in Montana’s land-grant institution. Our mission is to prepare students to think analytically and creatively in a liberal arts tradition, to engage in research of the highest caliber, and to make meaningful contributions to our local community, the state of Montana, and national and global society.

We are the essential college. CLS faculty are internationally known scholars and teachers at the confluence of diverse intellectual traditions and cutting-edge research. Students benefit from a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education guided by distinguished scholars and teachers. The fifteen departments and three interdisciplinary programs in our College offer over 100 undergraduate majors, minors and options and our thirty-nine graduate programs generated 22 percent of master’s degrees and 54 percent of doctoral degrees granted by MSU during the 2014-2015 academic year.

CLS encompasses the Humanities, the Social Sciences and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), preparing our students to be independent thinkers and bold visionary leaders. At the forefront of MSU’s external research funding, CLS faculty and students address the most pressing and complex issues facing our society, from the nature of the universe to the workings of the brain, from the roots of social inequality to the challenges of global sustainability. In the College of Letters and Science, we believe in a transformational education inspiring students to live responsibly, seek original answers, and effectively communicate practical solutions back to our local, national and global communities.


  • Integration
  • Discovery
  • Expertise
  • Engagement
  • Access
  • Learning
  • Stewardship

Please view the College of Letters & Science's Strategic Plan for a complete description of our
goals and detailed objectives for meeting our goals.

Letters & Science Advisory Council

Established in 2005, the Letters & Science Advisory Council is the college's outside advisory group that serves as a "cabinet" for the dean and associate deans. Leaders from the business, civic and academic communities comprise the council and bring special qualities, expertise and interests applicable to the college's initiatives in undergraduate education, strategic planning, financial management and development priorities.