Graduate Admission

Information for New Applicants, Returning Students and Summer-Only Applicants

Please note: Continuing graduate students can automatically enroll into Summer Session.  Any graduate student who has sat out one term or more must file an Intent to Register through their MyInfo to be admitted back into their original program or as a non-degree graduate student.


Two graduate school options, Non-Degree or Program Specific (Degree-Seeking) 

Non-Degree Applicants

If you are considering this option do so typically for the following reasons:

  • Are not  pursuing a graduate degree at this time, but wish to take graduate coursework
  • Have been requested to start graduate education as a non-degree by a potential admitting department.


In some cases, taking and passing coursework as a non-degree graduate student may help to provide evidence of a student’s ability to perform well in a graduate program. Non-degree graduate students may take any courses offered by the university (undergraduate or graduate level) other than restricted departmental courses. They are not eligible for financial aid. Note: only nine (9) graduate-level credits taken as a non-degree graduate student are allowed to be used toward (if accepted) a degree program; only three (3) can be used toward (if accepted) a certificate program. 

New Program Specific (Degree-Seeking) Graduate Applicants

  1. Before you apply, it is important that you review the program specific application requirements and deadlines; these requirements differ program to program and may include other documents necessary for the application process, such as taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), providing a resume, etc. When applying to a graduate program, in most cases, you must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution first (or are in the final year of earning your bachelor’s degree). International applicants must submit an English Proficiency exam score, using: TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS. To learn more on what is required, please see the International Application page for additional information. 
  2. The application for Graduate School is completely an online process, with a non-refundable application fee ($60 first app/$30 second app if paid w/in the first year). Once you apply for your specific degree option you can track your application from receipt of test scores or reference letters through the committee review and decision process by logging back into your application porta.
  3. After you apply, order official transcripts (and test scores if required) of all previously attended universities sent directly to the address indicated on the program page. MSU alum do not need to provide MSU transcripts (however, uploading an unofficial transcript during the application process is always helpful). 
  4. International application have additional materials to provide, please review the International Process.


For further assistance, contact The Graduate School at (406) 994-4125 or [email protected], or visit the School’s web site at 

Graduate School Decision Process

  1. Have you demonstrated potential for graduate study, as indicated by the admitting department? Academic record is one such indicator of potential.  The standard is cumulative B average (3.00-4.00) or better of undergraduate or graduate work.  Some departments may require a master’s degree prior to admission to a doctoral program.
  2. Have you supplied all the required materials for review by the department? Check your application portal and remind reference writers if they have not supplied a letter.  Applications are reviewed on a holistic method, meaning they will look at all aspects of the application.
  3. Every applicant will receive a formal decisionby the Graduate School. Decisions are delivered typically a month or two after a department posted deadline.  Non-degree applications can receive a decision within 48 hours. Admission decisions are made on an individual basis.
  4. You can be admitted as either a full, conditional, or provisional standing.  If admitted with a condition, a hold will prevent an admitted student from registering until the document is received. 
    1. Conditional admittance: your application is typically missing an official document.
    2. Provisional admittance: a stipulations is typically placed on your acceptance letter, developed by the department and/or the Graduate School.
  5. You should consider yourself admitted only when you have received an official acceptance letter from the Graduate School. Being accepted into a graduate degree program may be limited by the availability of faculty, staff, facilities, area of interest, and so forth. In such cases, it is not possible to admit all applicants who are otherwise qualified.
  6. Once admitted, you will be required to submit records of immunizations and tuberculosis, supply missing documents and more. Review the New Graduate Student Information page for details on your next steps.