Montana University System Information

Admission Policies:

Four-year Campuses

In order to be admitted to any of the four-year campuses of the Montana University System, students must meet a combination of admissions standards.

Traditional Students

A traditional student is defined as one who enters college within three years of high school graduation or within three years from the date when they would have graduated college.

Admissions Checklist for current High School Students

In order to be fully admitted to a 4-year university in the MUS, entering high school graduates are required to meet the following standards:

Achieve one of the following:

  • Earn at least a 2.5 high school GPA; or
  • Rank in the top half of the school's graduating class; or
  • Earn an ACT composite score of 22 or higher, or SAT total score of 1120 or higher (exception: MSU‚ÄźNorthern: ACT score of 20, SAT score of 1050).

Complete either the Regents' College Preparatory Program or the Rigorous Core College Preparatory Program

Complete the Regents' College Preparatory program: mathematics (3 years), English (4 years), science (2 years), social studies (3 years), and electives (2 years) – includes languages, computer science, visual/performing arts, speech, or vocational education.

Complete the Rigorous Core College Preparatory Program: mathematics (4 years), English (4 years), lab science (3 years), social studies (3 years), college prep electives (3 years), which include world language, computer science, visual and performing arts, and career/technical education units that meet the office of public instruction guidelines. The Rigorous Core is an advanced alternative to the Minimum Core for math proficiency standards.

High school students who successfully complete the Rigorous Core are eligible for the MUS Honor Scholarship.

For more information on the MUS college preparatory program and rigorous core, click here.

Demonstrate Mathematics Proficiency via one of the following methods:
Earn an ACT math score of 22, SAT math test score of 27.5, or complete the Rigorous Core.

Demonstrate Writing Proficiency via one of the following methods
Earn an ACT ELA score of 18 (average of the English, reading, and writing scores) or score 7 on the ACT essay; or earn an SAT writing and language test score of 25 or higher.

Provisional Admission

Students who do not demonstrate the ability to meet the mathematics and/or writing proficiency standards may be admitted provisionally to a four-year degree program on any campus of the MUS and without condition to a two-year degree program.

Students who are provisionally admitted can gain full admittance by:

  • earning a “C” or better in developmental coursework (must be done within the first three semesters); or
  • earning the required score on one or more of the math or writing assessment tests, including the ACT or SAT, required for admissions; or
  • completing an associate of arts or associate of science degree; or
  • submitting a letter to the admissions office documenting a disability that prevented the student from adequately demonstrating proficiency in a test setting if no accommodation was provided at the time of the test.

Two-year Campuses and Two-year Programs

All Students

Two-year campuses in the MUS abide by a non-competitive open enrollment policy that does not require applicants meet the Regents' four-year admissions criteria. The only requirement is that applicants must have obtained a high school degree or successfully completed an official high school equivalency completion assessment designated by the Board of Public Education (formerly the GED and currently the HiSET*).

Students who have not yet demonstrated the ability to meet the mathematics or writing proficiency standards may be admitted without condition to a two-year college; however, certain programs within the college, such as Nursing, may have higher admission standards.

Two-year Degree Programs
Students whose mathematics scores are below 18 on the ACT or 440 on the SAT may be fully admitted to a two-year degree program of the MUS, but may not be admitted to a four-year degree program of the MUS.

Montana University System: College Preparatory Program

In order to improve students' preparation for college-level work, the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education requires the following Minimum Core College Preparatory Program for students who wish to enter into a 4-year campus of the Montana University System. The Rigorous Core was created as an alternative to the mathematics proficiency expectations of the Montana University System. That Rigorous Core is also the criteria for the MUS Honors Scholarship.


College Prep - 4 Years: In each year the content of the course should have an emphasis upon the development of written and oral communication skills and literature.

Rigorous Core - 4 years: In addition to the Minimum Core, a designated college-prep or research-writing course is recommended.


College Prep - 3 Years: The courses shall include Global Studies (such as World History or World Geography); American History; and Government, Economics, Indian History or other third year courses.

Note: Students must complete a full year of global studies such as World History or World Geography, a full year of American History, and an additional year in another social studies field such as economics, problems of democracy, psychology, sociology, tribal government, Indian History.

Rigorous Core - 3 years: As above, with the recommendation of an additional one half year or more of other courses such as psychology, humanities.


College Prep - 3 Years: Courses shall include Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II (or the sequential content equivalent of theses courses). Students are encouraged to take a math course in their senior year.

NOTE: In school systems where a student may take Algebra I in the 8th grade, the student must still complete 3 years of college preparatory math in high school.

Rigorous Core - 4 years: In addition to the Minimum Core, a course beyond Algebra II, or Integrated Math IV (such as Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Computer Math, or Integrated Math VI.) All must have grades of "C" or better.


College Prep - 2 Years: One year must be earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics; the other year can be one of those sciences or another approved college preparatory laboratory science.

Rigorous Core - 3 years: Full year of each: General or earth science; biology; chemistry or physics.

Alternate Rigorous Core Math/Science Combination

Based on course availability, three years of mathematics, including a course beyond Algebra II, and four years of laboratory science may be substituted for the four years of math and three years of science requirement.


College Prep - 2 Years:

  • world language (preferable two years)
  • computer science
  • visual and performing arts, or
  • vocational education units which meet the Office of Public Instruction guidelines.

Rigorous Core - 3 years chosen from the following:
2 years of a World Language
Computer Science
Visual and Performing Arts (including Speech/Debate)
Vocational Education units which meet OPI guidelines (such as Information Technology, Computer Science.)

High schools may select courses offered by the Montana Digital Academy to complete their rigorous core or Regents' College Preparatory Programs.

To find your high school's approved college preparatory curriculum listing, please visit the Office of Public Instruction website at

  1. Select school from the drop-down list under "School Profile"
  2. Click on the Programs & Course Offerings tab
  3. Scroll down and click on"Montana College Preparatory Curriculum Program"
  4. Click on the link“View Curriculum Program Detail Report”

This will take you to your approved classes.

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