Essential Elements of a Montana State University Education

MSU students engage in learning through the MSU Core and their major areas of study. The Core integrates
education in communication, thinking and problem solving, and local and global citizenship with knowledge and
experiences in the natural sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences. Through the MSU Core students develop
an enhanced understanding of themselves, effectiveness as communicators, thinkers and problem solvers, and an
understanding of their responsibilities as members of a larger community. These CORE qualities deepen the
experience of the undergraduate education, enrich disciplinary pursuits, and establish MSU’s graduates as lifelong

MSU CORE Qualities

MSU Graduates are Effective Communicators

Graduates use written, spoken, and visual communication to create meaning, build relationships, foster understanding, and persuade. They express their ideas in manners appropriate for their intended audience and for their intended context. Graduates collaborate with others by openly and constructively giving and receiving feedback, and use that feedback to revise and improve their own communication. They demonstrate facility in analyzing, interpreting, and understanding sources of information and in constructing persuasive arguments in ways that empower and challenge their own and other’s thinking.

MSU Graduates are Thinkers and Problem Solvers

Graduates reason using relevant evidence gathered through scholarly, disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods. They analyze, construct, or critique arguments taking into consideration premises, assumptions, contexts, and conclusions. Graduates will apply information literacy; the ability to skillfully consume (i.e. find, evaluate, and use) and meaningfully create information. They successfully anticipate counterarguments, but can respectfully consider, accommodate or incorporate opposing views as appropriate. Graduates independently, or collaboratively, demonstrate ethical, creative and innovative approaches to asking and answering questions, defining problems and identifying solutions, and creating knowledge or art.

MSU Graduates are Local and Global Citizens

Graduates demonstrate effective strategies to listen and respond to others. They act with integrity in establishing respectful relationships and productively manage conflict to reach ethical outcomes. Graduates understand sources of identities, their own and others, and how identities influence civic values, assumptions, responsibilities and community engagement. They apply knowledge of diverse cultures, histories, values, or conflicts that have shaped the US and other world societies to better understand current events, US democratic and other global political institutions, or social life. Graduates value the important role informed, engaged citizens play in democratic societies and can determine for themselves what political and social issues, problems or policies they wish to engage with as citizens.