Future Students


The goal of the Advising Center is to assist students in designing academic plans which enable them to complete their program requirements as efficiently as possible. All new, transfer, and returning students are encouraged to visit with an academic advisor. New students will receive information regarding General Education requirements and worksheets related to their major and minor programs. Students who have not yet selected a major will be advised to begin working on General Education requirements and to work with the Office of Career Services to explore career interests. Transfer and returning students will be able to have transcript evaluations completed and plans of studies developed. After initial academic planning has been completed with the Advising Center, students will work with faculty advisors for the planning of upper-division coursework.

Mandatory Advising

All first-time freshmen students entering MSU Billings are required to see an academic advisor before registering for classes. During the initial advising session, students will receive information regarding General Education requirements and worksheets for major and minor academic programs. Students who plan to develop a graduation guarantee may do so during their first advising session.

Advisors assist students with selection of courses and academically-related issues, but the ultimate responsibility for meeting graduation requirements belongs to the student.

General Studies Students

Students who have not selected a major are registered as General Studies majors. In an effort to assist students in completing degree requirements as efficiently as possible, General Studies students are encouraged to focus on general education requirements their first semester. Students are also encouraged to visit the Office of Career Services to explore career interests and to clarify how their academic program may support their career goals.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to MSU Billings are encouraged to visit with an advisor in the Advising Center to complete a transcript evaluation and begin developing a plan of study. In order to give an accurate transcript evaluation, transfer students should provide copies of transcripts of all previous college level work. Although we maintain course equivalency guides for all Montana colleges and universities, it is helpful if transfer students can provide catalogs with course descriptions for coursework completed at out-of-state institutions.

Declaring a Major

Students are encouraged to select and declare a major during their Freshman year. Upon declaring a major through the Advising Center, the student’s advising file will be updated with academic program worksheets for the major, and a long range plan of study will be developed. Students who have declared a major will be assigned a faculty advisor from their major department for the remainder of their academic career.

Changing a Major

Students who change their major are encouraged to visit with an advisor in the Advising Center. The academic advisor will clarify new program requirements, update the student’s advising file with new program worksheets, and forward the student’s advising file to the new faculty advisor. The changing of an academic major may have significant impact on a student’s long-range academic plan. All students are encouraged to keep in close contact with their advisor through the process of changing majors.

Pre-Nursing Students

MSU Billings has developed a very close relationship with the MSU-Bozeman Nursing Program which enables students to complete pre-nursing requirements as MSU Billings students and then transfer into the MSU-Bozeman program which is offered on the Billings campus. The Advising Center provides advising services through the first two years of the program and provides guidance for making application to upper-division courses.

Pre-Professional Majors

Students planning to transfer to another college or university to complete a program not available at MSU Billings may choose to enroll in a pre-professional program. There are several important steps to take in order to coordinate a pre-professional program with the school to which one is going to transfer:

  1. Acquire a catalog from the school to which one is going to transfer

  2. Take General Education courses which match requirements of the transfer school

  3. Select other equivalent courses which will meet transfer school requirements and/or prerequisites

Many of the pre-professional programs at MSU Billings have been designed to prepare students to transfer to professional programs offered at other Montana University System units. Programs may be developed to meet the prerequisites for other pre-professional programs.

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Graduate Student Advising

Academic advising for graduate students is provided by faculty advisors in the College of the student’s graduate program. Initial advising is provided through the Office of Graduate Studies, Research, and Research Compliance with subsequent assignment to a permanent faculty advisor. The faculty advisor assists the student with the development of a plan of study and guidance in completing the requirements for the chosen degree program. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Office of Graduate Studies, Research, and Research Compliance, McMullen 200, 406-657-2238.

Graduation Guarantee

MSU Billings has created a Graduation Guarantee for Undergraduates which students may utilize as they begin study. The Guarantee includes a set of conditions that the student needs to fulfill as well as the University; the Guarantee itself is signed by the student as well as the advisor. If the student fulfills his/her conditions and the University fails to do so, postponing graduating, the student may appeal to the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee prior to the beginning of classes for the last term of the signed Guarantee. If the Committee finds the University at fault, appropriate actions will include waiving course requirements, waiving tuition and fees, or a combination of the two.

Copies of this Guarantee are available from the Advising Center. Students are urged to examine this Guarantee to see if it will assist them in facilitating their completion of requirements and graduation. Advisors in the Center can explain the Guarantee and prepare appropriate plans of study for students.

Assessment Testing

All entering students and transfer students who have not completed their general education requirements in English or Mathematics must take the COMPASS Placement test. Results of the COMPASS Placement tests along with ACT scores are used to advise students into the most appropriate math and English courses. The Compass Placement tests are administered during Student Orientation. For further information, contact the Advising Center (657-2240 or 247-3020).

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