Montana State University


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.

Information Summary

Ranks 5th in Montana and 702nd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 84.1
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $22,453
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 28 / 1320
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 22 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 77% / 60%
Enrollment Total (all students) 16,814


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.”


University Building :: Montana State University Montana State University
Campus :: Montana State University


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 3446th 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.

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