Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
PLEASE NOTE: This website, Montana State Online, provides information and resources for online degree programs. If you are interested in taking an online course from Montana State University and are not pursuing an online degree program, please visit MSU’s online Class Schedule and select “Online” for the Course Type.
What to Expect
Online courses use a personal computer to connect participants from across the country and around the world via the internet.
Generally speaking, in an online course, you can expect to:
- access your course(s) online by logging into Brightspace
- participate by completing assignments, readings, and other activities
- proceed through course requirements together with your class, while accessing the course at any time of day that is convenient to you
- make a time commitment of at least 9-12 hours per week or more for a condensed course (less than 15 weeks)
Online courses at MSU have specific start and end dates, just like face-to-face courses. This type of schedule allows students to learn together as a group and benefit from intellectual exchange with their peers, much like students in a face-to-face environment.
Courses run on a semester basis in the fall, spring, and summer. To view specific dates, visit the Academic Calendar.
Expect to spend as much time on an online course as you would in a similar face-to-face course. You should budget approximately 3-4 hours per credit hour each week, or even more time if you are not comfortable working with computers.
Course and Degree Offerings
To see all online courses offered through Montana State University, please visit the Online Degrees and Certificates page.
If you wish to take online courses, but do not plan on earning a degree, apply to become a non-degree student. If you have not received your Bachelor's degree, apply as an undergraduate student. If you have received your Bachelor's degree, apply as an online graduate student.
See the Apply to MSU page. Some courses are open only to students accepted into a particular program.
That depends on the program. Contact the program you are interested in for more information. See the Online Degrees and Certificates page.
Cost and Financial Aid
The cost to take online courses at Montana State University varies. For more information, visit the Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid for online courses page.
Health insurance is mandatory for each semester you are enrolled for 6 or more academic credits. If you have your own insurance, you may waive participation in the student policy.
Apply, Register, and Student Records
Prospective undergraduate students can check the Transfer Equivalencies page to see which credits from other universities may transfer to MSU. The Office of Enrollment Services will officially evaluate your credits once you have been admitted, your transcripts are received, and you are enrolled at MSU. Visit the Undergraduate Admissions page to learn more.
Prospective graduate students can learn more by going to the College of Graduate Studies' Transferring Credits page.
Log into MyInfo, MSU’s secure student information portal. Within the MyInfo system, you can:
- update your personal information, such as mailing address, email address, and phone number
- view your progress towards a degree through DegreeWorks
- view grades and request official or unofficial transcripts
- review Financial Aid related information
If you are able to visit the Bozeman MSU campus, you can obtain a CatCard by visiting their office. CatCards processed in person will include the student's photo and may be loaded with funds to use around campus.
However, if you'd like to have a CatCard mailed to you, email [email protected] with the following information:
- full name
- last 4 digits of your GID
- mailing address
It's important to note that mailed CatCards will not feature a student photo and cannot be loaded with funds.
If you notice a $15 CatCard fee has been charged to your account, but have no intention of obtaining your CatCard, please email [email protected] with the following information:
- full name
- last 4 digits of your GID
- (example: -12345678)
- semester in which fee was charged
The CatCard Office will verify that a card was not printed with the associated fee and will email Student Accounts authorizing the refund.
Before Courses Begin
- Determine which textbooks are required by visiting the MSU Bookstore's textbook list.
- Learn how to log into Brightspace. Remember, you won’t be able to access your course(s) in Brightspace until the first day of class.
- Learn how to access your Student Records and Information in MyInfo.
- Review the MSU Student Health Insurance plan.
- If you are taking only online courses and not physically coming to campus, you may request an immunization waiver.
Add, Drop, and Withdraw
Grades and Transcripts
Grades are displayed in your MyInfo account under Student Services > Student Records.
Transcripts may be requested from the Office of the Registrar’s Transcripts page.
All of MSU’s online courses are offered via Brightspace. You can login with your NetID at http://ecat.montana.edu/.
To find your username or reset your password, visit the Brightspace Password Information page.
To ensure your computer meets the minimum compatibility requirements, please visit the automated System Check page. For more detailed information, visit the Platform Requirements for Brightspace page.
Some courses may have additional system requirements. Please read program and course descriptions carefully.
Accreditation and State Authorization
MSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Yes, Montana is authorized to offer distance courses and programs to students who reside in all states except for American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.