Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
p. 406-994-0211
w. www.montana.edu/

Montana State University

Montana State University Rating: 4.0/5 (60 votes)

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Montana State University, also known as MSU, is located in Bozeman, Montana. It is the main campus of the Montana State University System and one of 15 campuses belonging to the Montana University System (MUS).

MSU is a public university that awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, serving over 15,000 students each year. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Founded in 1893 as a land-grant institution known as the Agricultural College of the State of Montana, the school was later renamed the Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Over time, programs in the sciences and humanities were added and the school received university status, as well as its current name, in 1965.

Montana State’s mission is “to provide a challenging and richly diverse learning environment in which the entire university community is fully engaged in supporting student success.”


Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certificates and continuing education credit. Montana State offers majors in a plethora of subjects, but many students choose to participate in their many agriculture and science-related courses.

The university is comprised of the following Colleges:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Business
  • Education, Health, and Human Development
  • Engineering
  • Letters and Science
  • Nursing
  • University College
  • Graduate Studies

The Gallatin College is also located on the MSU campus. It is a two-year college that offers associate’s degrees and certificates as well as a dual enrollment program for local high school students.

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in numerous disciplines, including agriculture, fine arts, music, business, education and engineering. There are different concentrations available within many majors so students can specialize in areas of interest. Unique areas of study include equine studies, farm and ranch management, and biotechnology. An interdisciplinary Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree is also offered so that students may create a degree specific to their areas of interest. Eligible undergraduate students can enroll in an honors program, work within a university studies program, and participate in an undergraduate scholars program.

Master’s degrees are awarded in agriculture, fine arts, accountancy, education, engineering, English, various sciences, nursing, and several other disciplines. Many of Montana State’s graduate programs are extremely hands-on and involve working with professionals in the field to problem solve and research so that when students graduate, they have both a theoretical education and practical experience.

The school awards numerous doctorates in fields including agriculture, education, and the sciences. There are several Ph.D. options in math, environmental ecology, history and american studies. A post-master’s certificate is available for students training to become nurse practitioners and the educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree can also be earned.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

Honors Program

The Honors Program establishes an academic environment in which students can explore, debate, and learn with one another in the spirit of academic inquiry. Special seminars and some of the most qualified faculty are made available to students who enter the program. Honors students are also encouraged to undertake independent research and study projects.

Study Abroad

MSU also offers an extensive study abroad program so that students can experience academia in a global environment. Eligible students have traveled to Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, Central America and Africa and may study for a term, a semester, or a year. Financial aid often covers many of the expenses associated with studying abroad, which helps make the program affordable to many students.


Undergraduate applications are accepted for entrance into the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students are encouraged to apply early in order to allow plenty of time for transition. In addition to the actual application, which can be completed online, students must submit official copies of high school transcripts, official ACT or SAT scores, proof of high class rank, and a student self-report form. Regardless of class rank, students are still required to submit the writing sections of their standardized tests. Students who do not meet the minimum scores on the writing section are required to pass a writing course within their first three semesters at Montana State. Students accepted to the honors program must have a minimum cumulative grade point average, and must also maintain a minimum university grade point average in order to graduate with an honors degree.

The university has minimum ACT / SAT score requirements in order to be considered for acceptance, as well as minimum coursework during high school. This includes completion of four years of English, three years of mathematics, three years of social studies, two years of laboratory science, and two years of either a foreign language, computer science, visual and performing arts, or vocational education. Students must also meet particular combinations of requirements of test scores or coursework in mathematics. The standardized test score requirement may be deferred if the student ranks highly among the graduating class.

Many graduate programs require a preliminary application, which should be completed prior to submitting the main University application. All of the graduate programs generally have unique prerequisites and requirements, so students should contact their program of choice to determine exactly what is necessary to apply.

Financial Aid

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available online each year starting in January. The FAFSA requires financial and tax information for both the student and his or her family, so applicants should have this information readily available prior to completing the form. Students are advised to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible in order to be eligible for all programs, as some types of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

The university offers financial aid to qualifying students in the form of need-based and merit-based scholarships, waivers, grants, work-study programs and federally subsidized loans. The financial aid office can help assist students who have questions or concerns.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3691st for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Montana.


Montana State is home to more than 12,000 students, with the percentages of males and females almost equal, 50/50. The average undergraduate is 22 years-old, and the majority are residents on the MSU campus.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Montana State Bobcats is a charter member of the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference. The football team competes in Division I-FCS. Men’s sports include football, basketball, indoor and outdoor track and field, alpine and nordic skiing, cross country, and tennis. Women’s sports include basketball, volleyball, indoor and outdoor track, cross country, tennis, alpine and nordic skiing, and golf. The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association is active within the Big Sky Conference and provides the competition for MSU’s men’s and women’s rodeo programs.

School colors are blue and gold and one of the school’s biggest competitors is the University Montana, a rivalry that is nicknamed Brawl of the Wild. Sports facilities include a field house, a gym, a stadium, a tennis center and a track and field complex. Games can be seen through the Internet and a network of radio stations throughout the state broadcasts Bobcat games.

Local Community

The campus consists of 1170 acres in the Gallatin Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Bozeman, a city that has been deemed “The Most Livable Place,” is snuggled between beautiful mountains and offers some of the most scenic views in the country. The city is close to several ski resorts and also has a symphony and a cultural arts center. Residents are quiet and friendly and the downtown area is well-kept and inviting. The nightlife is as simple as sitting on a porch enjoying a cup of coffee or as exciting as catching a rodeo or having a few cocktails with friends at local clubs.

Additional School Information

In addition to the numerous classroom, dormitory, and administration buildings, MSU is home to the Museum of the Rockies, a planetarium., KUSM television, and KGLT radio.

The university library offers electronic catalogs and online databases in additional to physical volumes stored on site. There is a special creative arts library, and there is also a special collection on trout and salmonids.

Information Summary

Ranks 2nd in Montana and 674th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in Montana and 310th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 3 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 10 0.07
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson 2 0.01
Burglary 14 0.10
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 2 0.01
Arrest 67 0.49

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Research Universities (very high research activity)
UndergraduateProfessions plus arts & sciences, high graduate coexistence
GraduateSTEM dominant
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, selective, higher transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingLarge four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringDoctoral degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District3000

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1077th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $5,330 $5,330 $19,157
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $1,422 $1,422 $1,559
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $328 $328 $910
FT Graduate Tuition $4,797 $4,797 $15,167
FT Graduate Required Fees $1,279 $1,279 $1,382
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $372 $372 $954
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $19,452 $19,452 $33,417
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $19,452 $19,452 $33,417
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,232 $11,232 $25,197

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $6,428 $6,705 $6,428 $6,705 $19,152 $20,062
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,150 $1,190
On-Campus – Room & Board $7,840 $8,070
On-Campus – Other Expenses $3,130 $3,220
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $7,840 $8,070
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $3,130 $3,220
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,130 $3,220

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$30
Graduate Application Fee$60
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 12,581 (6,346 male / 6,235 female)
Admitted 10,630 (5,740 male / 4,890 female)
Admission rate 84%
First-time Enrollment 2,914 (1,657 male / 1,257 female)
FT Enrollment 2,345 (1,352 male / 993 female)
PT Enrollment 569 (305 male / 264 female)
Total Enrollment14,852

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. CompletionN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Big Sky Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Big Sky Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Big Sky Conference

ACT Test Admission

441st for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 71%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 20 / 27
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 21 / 27
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 21 / 27

SAT Test Admission

296th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 38%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 500 / 630
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 510 / 630
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 1010 / 1260

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity3,800
Meals per WeekN/A
Room FeeN/A
Board FeeN/A

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 101 16 56 28 33 2,216 11 2,513
Accounting 1 29 31
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping 3 3
Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology, General 6 6
Agricultural Business and Management, General 15 15
Agricultural Teacher Education 9 9
Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture 1 1
American Indian/Native American Studies 1 3 3 11
American/United States Studies/Civilization
Animal Sciences, General 1 29 31
Anthropology 9 9
Applied Economics 1 3 4
Architecture 1 1 48 50
Art/Art Studies, General 1 1 1 1 71 1 76
Biochemistry 1 1
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 1 49 54
Biotechnology 2 4 6
Building Construction Technology 2 2
Business/Commerce, General 22 5 1 1 167 1 200
CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician 3 3
Cell/Cellular Biology and Histology 2 1 4 65 75
Chemical Engineering 19 1 2 1 28 53
Chemistry, General 2 26 29
Cinematography and Film/Video Production 1 1 1 1 70 76
Civil Engineering, General 1 1 1 73 77
Community Health Services/Liaison/Counseling 2 1 1 17 21
Computer Engineering, General 2 7 9
Computer Science 3 1 3 26 1 34
Construction Engineering Technology/Technician 32 33
Economics, General 3 1 20 24
Education, General 2 3 3 79 3 90
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 5 1 2 21 29
Elementary Education and Teaching 66 67
Engineering, General 1 1
Engineering/Industrial Management 1 1
English Language and Literature, General 1 1 62 68
Entomology 1 1 2
Environmental Design/Architecture 4 43 47
Environmental Science 1 9 11
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering 1 1
Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences, General 1 3 4 148 1 161
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General 4 22 26
General Studies 1 4 5
Geology/Earth Science, General 2 1 54 58
History, General 2 2 1 60 68
Industrial Engineering 4 1 15 20
Interior Design 1 1 12 14
Land Use Planning and Management/Development 11 1 12
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 1 3 1 51 58
Mathematics, General 1 1 40 1 43
Mechanical Engineering 7 1 2 77 88
Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Technology/Technician 3 25 28
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology 1 1 18 20
Medical/Clinical Assistant 14 14
Molecular Biology 1 1
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 1 1
Music Teacher Education 1 10 11
Music, General 2 11 14
Natural Resources/Conservation, General 2 1 8 11
Philosophy 6 6
Philosophy and Religious Studies, General
Physics, General 1 1 9 12
Plant Sciences, General 20 20
Political Science and Government, General 1 1 19 21
Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies 2 10 12
Psychology, General 1 2 52 56
Public Administration 9 9
Range Science and Management 9 9
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 1 1 5 4 10 197 1 228
Religion/Religious Studies 1 2 3
Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education 9 2 108 1 120
Social Science Teacher Education 1 11 12
Sociology 2 2 1 28 33
Sport and Fitness Administration/Management 2 2
Statistics, General 1 1 1 9 12
Technical Teacher Education 7 7
Welding Technology/Welder 1 13 14
Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management 24 24

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 999th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $74,901 ($80,194 male / $57,171 female)
Number of FT Faculty 550 (333 male / 217 female)
Number of PT Faculty 925
FT Faculty Ratio 0.6 : 1
Total Benefits $19,420,581

Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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