Frequently Asked Questions
Choose a category or question
(click to reveal answer)
In recognition of scholastic achievement, the University makes public at the close of each semester an honor roll of undergraduate students who attempt 12 or more credits which are not of a Pass-No Pass nature and who earn a grade point average of 3.50 or better.
Full-Time Students (12 or more credits attempted)
Students are placed on academic probation the first time their cumulative institutional GPA falls below the required 2.00. If they later meet the required 2.00 cumulative institutional GPA, they are removed from academic probation. Students who are on academic probation and fail to earn at least a 2.00 GPA during the next semester or have a 2.00 cumulative institutional GPA are suspended for one semester, excluding the Summer Session. However, students on academic probation or continued probation who do not meet the required 2.00 cumulative institutional GPA are allowed to continue in college as long as they have a 2.00 GPA for each succeeding semester. Students on probation should not carry more than 16 credits in the probationary period. All students on academic probation should meet with their academic advisors to review their respective course schedules.
Part-Time Students (Less than 12 credits attempted)
Part-time students are placed on academic probation whenever they have attempted a total of 10 overall (transfer and institutional) cumulative semester credits and do not have a 2.00 cumulative institutional GPA or a 2.0 institutional term GPA. Part-time students are suspended whenever they have attempted a total of 30 overall (transfer and institutional) cumulative semester credits and do not have a 2.00 cumulative institutional GPA or a 2.00 institutional term GPA. Part-time students on academic probation are allowed to continue in college as long as they earn a 2.00 GPA in each succeeding semester.
Veterans Receiving Educational Benefits
Veterans or other individuals who receive educational benefits from the Veterans' Administration remain eligible for those benefits as long as they remain in good academic standing at Montana State University Billings and are permitted to continue in college. All veterans eligible to receive benefits should report to the coordinator of Veterans' Affairs upon arrival on campus.
Appeal by a Student on Academic Matters
The student should confer with the faculty member against whom the alleged problem exists. The student must confer with the department chairperson or, in the event the problem involves a department chairperson, with the appropriate dean before resorting to the formal grievance process. The student should consult the Student Resolution Officer for proper procedures.
Petition for Exception to University Regulations
Certain problems encountered by a student may result in a request to have an exception considered to an academic standard or to an academic regulation of the University. A student may request an exception to a MSU Billings regulation by filing a special petition with the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee. The petition form may be obtained from the Registrar's Office and it is to be returned there after the student has completed the form. The Registrar's Office will present the petition to the committee. The student is encouraged to appear before the committee to respond to questions about the student's petition. The student will be notified in writing of the decision as soon as it is determined.
Any full-time student who has been on academic probation one semester and who did not make a 2.00 GPA during the last semester is suspended for one semester, excluding the Summer Session. A student who is suspended may, however, attend Montana State University Billings during the Summer Session by meeting the requirements stated below.
Students suspended from Montana State University Billings may register for no more than a total of 16 semester credits during the Summer Session without re-instatement. Students must register for a minimum of nine semester credits after consultation with their advisors, for either one or both Summer Sessions. Students who at the end of Summer Session have earned at least a 2.00 GPA in nine or more semester credits are re-admitted Fall Semester on continued probation. However, students who attend the Summer Session and fail to earn the 2.00 GPA will be suspended for an additional two semesters.
Students who are reinstated after a period of suspension must submit an application for re-admission to the Admissions office. Upon re-admission, students are placed on continued probation and must maintain a 2.00 GPA for each successive semester of work and meet any other pertinent conditions imposed by the Committee. Students who do not meet the stipulations set by the Committee incur automatic suspension. Upon action by the Administration, a student may also be suspended for nonacademic reasons. Such a notation will be placed in the student's file.
A student who has been suspended from Montana State University Billings may apply for re-admission after one semester has elapsed. A student who has two or more suspensions is suspended for two semesters. The student may, however, petition the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee for reinstatement after one semester.
Exceptions to this regulation may be made for students who provide evidence to the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee that their reinstatement can be justified. Only extreme cases of extenuating circumstances may be considered by the Committee for re-admitting a student who has been suspended, or if there is evidence that the student has taken some reasonable action to correct the cause(s) for suspension. The student must have approval from his/her major department chairperson before the Academic Standards and Scholastic Committee will consider the student for reinstatement.
Your grade point average is the grade average you earn for each semester. It is calculated by multiplying the number of credits given for a course, times the value of the grade received for the course, adding the value calculated for each class, and dividing by the total number of credits.
Grading System and Values
|A||4 grade points|
|A-||3.7 grade points|
|B+||3.3 grade points|
|B||3 grade points|
|B-||2.7 grade points|
|C+||2.3 grade points|
|C||2 grade points|
|C-||1.7 grade points|
|D+||1.3 grade points|
|D||1 grade point|
|D-||.7 grade points|
|F||0 grade points|
|P||Passing—credit is earned but is not calculated in GPA|
|I*||Incomplete—credit is not earned and is not calculated in GPA|
|W||Withdrawal—credit is not earned and is not calculated in GPA|
|N||No credit/audit—credit is not earned and is not calculated in GPA|
|X||No pass—credit is not earned and is not calculated in GPA|
*An “I” incomplete is given only when a student has been in attendance for at least three-fourths of the semester but has been prevented by circumstances beyond his/her control from completing all of the requirements of the course. An incomplete must be made up within one calendar year or it automatically becomes an “F” grade.
Sample GPA Calculation
|M 143 Finite Math||4 credits||A|
|COMX 115 Interpersonal Communication||3 credits||B+|
|WRIT 101 College Writing I||3 credits||B|
|BGEN 105 Introduction to Business||3 credits||B|
|A&SC 111 First Year Seminar||2 credits||A|
NOTE: Courses numbered below 100-level do not count for credit and rae not calculated in GPA.
|A = 4 grade points||x 4 credits||= 16 grade points|
|B+ = 3.3 grade points||x 3 credits||= 9.9 grade points|
|B = 3 grade points||x 3 credits||= 9 grade points|
|B = 3 grade points||x 3 credits||= 9 grade points|
|A = 4 grade points||x 2 credits||= 8 grade points|
|TOTALS||15 credits||51.9 grade points|
Total of 51.9 grade points divided by 15 total credits = 3.46 GAP
Students who change their major must go to the Advising Center to have it changed and are encouraged to visit with an advisor. 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.
At some point you may want to add or drop a course. This can be easily accomplished by accessing your web account through www.msubillings.edu as long as the course is not restricted. Timelines are established and published each semester for dropping and adding courses. For further information, feel free to visit the Advising Center in McMullen 100 or call 657-2240.
Federal Regulations require that students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to receive financial aid. A student who has been denied financial assistance or who has been placed on financial aid suspension because of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.
It may be possible for the Committee to make a professional judgment to certify that a student is not making satisfactory progress because of unusual circumstances beyond his/her control, such as personal medical problems or the death of an immediate family member. All circumstances must be documented.
Please see the Financial Aid web site for various financial aid forms. The appeal form is called Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form.
The appeal requires your advisor to fill out a plan of study and sign it. Please allow enough time for your advisor to complete this for you several days in advance of the appeal deadline. For more information on how to request a plan of study, call the Advising Center at 406-657-2240.
Please see the Scholarships web site forms and select MSU Billings General Scholarship Application.
Those students who have had previous training in a foreign language or who are native speakers of a language other than English may receive credit for their level of proficiency through a credit examination.
The Department of English, Philosophy & Modern Languages administers national standardized credit examinations in French, German and Spanish. Depending on proficiency, students may receive from one semester to two years credit in a language. High school study of a foreign language thus may provide immediate college credit to students who have applied themselves in high school.
Students who challenge out of the second year of a foreign language, and who plan to major or minor in one of these foreign languages, must take at least one semester of advanced grammar in the language.
Upon request, the department will grant credit in a language other than those taught at MSU Billings, including Native American languages. Students must provide a qualified interpreter. They must show oral proficiency for first year credit, and generally both oral and reading proficiency for second year credit. This credit is awarded under the LANG prefix.
Prior to graduation, students must enroll in the course for which the credits will be awarded. Students may elect to enroll in the course in the semester after the challenge exam is taken, or they may enroll for the course in any semester after the successful completion of the challenge exam. Students will avoid any additional tuition and fee charges for the successfully challenged course if they elect to enroll for the course during a semester when they are planning to enroll in 12 or more credits.
Students can make an appointment to take a credit examination by visiting the Department of English, Philosophy & Modern Languages located on the 4th floor of the Liberal Arts building or by calling 657-2348.
The Fresh Start option is available to undergraduate students. It is a one-time opportunity for MSU Billings students and those who transfer to MSU Billings. Students may bankrupt up to two consecutive semesters of previous course work in which they received poor grades. Students must not have been enrolled in any institution for a minimum of three calendar years. To be eligible for the Fresh Start option students must have completed, in residence since returning to or entering MSU Billings, 30 semester credits with at least a 2.65 grade point average (GPA). The bankrupted course work will remain on the student's academic record. The student has the option to save "A" and "B" grades or bankrupt all courses. Bankrupted credits and grades will not be carried forward into the student's cumulative GPA.
A change of grade may be made for error only. A change of grade may not be made to allow additional time or for additional work once the semester is completed. A change of grade is not meant to substitute for an Incomplete grade when an Incomplete cannot be justified. No grade may be changed after one full year unless approved by the instructor's Academic Dean and the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee. Once a grade has been submitted to the Registrar's Office, it may not be changed to a lower grade without the written approval of the Dean of the respective College.
Freshman: 0-29 credits
Sophomores: 30-59 credits
Juniors: 60-89 credits
Seniors: 90 or more credits
Please note that students must complete an average of 15 credits each semester/30 credits each academic year in order to complete the required 120 credits to graduate in eight semesters. (Note: Different majors may have a requirement greater than 120 credits).
An Incomplete is given only when a student has been in attendance for at least three-fourths of the semester but has been prevented by circumstances beyond his/her control from completing all of the requirements of the course. A student must provide adequate evidence to the instructor as to the reason why he/she was unable to complete the requirements for the course. If a grade of "I" Incomplete has been given, the instructor shall advise the Registrar's Office in writing what the student must do to remove the deficiency.
An Incomplete must be made up within one calendar year. An "I" grade is not included in the computation of the GPA. An Incomplete grade not made up in the prescribed length of time automatically becomes an "F" grade. Once the grade of Incomplete has been converted to an "F" grade, the course must be repeated in order for the grade to be changed.
Pass/No Pass is offered as an opportunity for undergraduate students to explore courses outside their major, minor, or option curricula and outside the Professional Core Requirements for Teacher Education or Pre-Admission Requirements for Business.
Under the grading mode, the grade of "P" is given if the students' work is judged to be the equivalent of "A,", "B", or "C." The grade of "No Pass" (symbolized by X") is awarded if the work is equivalent to "D" or "F." The students' Pass/No Pass grades do not affect overall GPA. However, "P" grades may be counted as credits earned toward a degree. Other policies concerning Pass/No Pass are as follows:
- Courses designated by the departments are available Pass/No Pass. Certain courses are taught only with this grading mode; other courses may be excluded from Pass/No Pass grading. Therefore, students should check with their advisor for details.
- Students may enroll in courses as Pass/No Pass up to a limit of 20 semester credit hours to be counted towards graduation. Credits earned by challenge, experiential learning assessment such as military credits, student teaching, cooperative education, or internships do not count toward this 20-credit limit.
- Students declare this grading mode at the time of registration. Students may change their grading mode to Pass/No Pass up through the last day to add at the beginning of each semester or term. After the last day to add, any request to change grading mode (Pass/No Pass to letter grade or vice versa) must be petitioned by the student to the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee.
- Courses taken under Pass/No Pass may be repeated for a letter grade. A course taken
for a letter grade may not be repeated as Pass/No Pass.
Students interested in Dental Hygiene should see a City College advisor for information. Forms outlining the curricula for Dental Hygiene programs at Great Falls College Montana State University and Sheridan College in Wyoming are available. Students planning to transfer to any other school should obtain a catalog from the school of their choice and, in consultation with their advisor, develop a plan of study to meet the specific requirements to transfer successfully.
To learn more about the program and to visit with a City College advisor you can visit their website page for Pre-Dental Hygiene for more information.
Most accredited law schools require that a Bachelor's degree be completed prior to registration. Additionally, admission is based upon the applicant's score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), ethical character, professional promise, academic achievements, and letters of recommendation. Because admission to law school is highly competitive, a student should attempt to achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 and a LSAT score of at least 150 within a range of 120 to 180.
Law schools do not prescribe a specific undergraduate course of study. Students should seek out specific requirements of the law schools to which they are applying. Individuals with baccalaureate degrees in every subject area have been admitted to law schools and have become successful lawyers. The best background, however, is a program that provides a broad liberal arts education. Useful majors include English, Communication Arts, Foreign Languages, History, Psychology, and Sociology. As the practice of law becomes increasingly technical, a specialized background in business or science may prove valuable. A major should be chosen on the basis of the interest and challenge it offers, not because it might guarantee admission to a law school.
Montana State University Billings offers a minor in Political Science with a pre-law emphasis. The Political Science minor includes courses in United States Government, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, and Juvenile Delinquency--areas directly related to the law.
Certain academic skills are essential: the ability to read effectively with speed and comprehension; the ability to write clearly, including a good command of grammar; and the ability to think logically. These basic skills can be acquired by carefully selecting courses and instructors, regardless of the specific subject. Communication skills can also be developed through drama, creative writing, and the like. The ability to type and computer skills are invaluable.
Law schools require applicants to take the LSAT, a half-day standardized test. It consists of three sections which evaluate a student's reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and other skills. A 30-minute writing session is also included. The writing sample is not scored; rather, copies of the essay are sent to all schools to which candidates request their LSAT score sent. Most law schools also require candidates to register for the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), a biographical and academic information clearinghouse. The LSAT should be taken in June following the junior year or in October of the senior year.
Most law schools operate on a semester basis; they begin the year of study in September and only allow admission at that time. Pre-law students should begin to consider possible law schools during the spring of their junior year and complete their applications by the end of the fall semester of their senior year. The Pre-Law Handbook provides information about all accredited law schools; it may be consulted in the pre-law advisor's office.
Montana State University Billings provides the basis for an excellent pre-law education. While admission to law school ultimately depends upon the student's abilities, MSU Billings offers challenging courses and instructors who help individuals develop the skills needed for admission into law school and a successful legal career.
The Pre-Nursing curriculum at Montana State University Billings is designed in conjunction with the College of Nursing at Montana State University Bozeman. This two year pre-nursing program fulfills the basic undergraduate general education requirements and the College of Nursing requirements WITH THE EXCEPTION OF FOUR (4) LOWER DIVISION NURSING COURSES. The four (4) lower division nursing courses are taught at the Bozeman Campus and/or MAY be offered at the Billings campus.
Pre-Nursing students should apply for upper division (junior and senior years) placement during their second year at MSU Billings. Upper Division placement is competitive and based strictly on a "selected" Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation. Due to occasional changes in the curriculum, it is essential to contact the pre-nursing advisor in the MSU Billings Advising Center before course selection. Students interested in details of the complete MSU Bozeman program and application process may write directly to MSU Bozeman College of Nursing or call them at 406-994-3783.
Students are reminded that a Licensed Practical Nursing Program and an AS Registered Nursing Program are available at the City College at Montana State University Billings. For more information contact Jacket Student Central at 247-3019.
Other Montana schools that offer both AAS Practical Nursing and AS Registered Nursing degrees include Helena College, Flathead Valley Community College, and Missoula College. Great Falls College offers just an AAS Practical Nursing degree. Montana Tech offers an AS Registered Nursing degree in addition to the BS Nursing degree. Salish Kootenai College offers an AS degree in addition to the BS Nursing degree. Montana State University Northern offers an AS Nursing program in addition to the BS Nursing degree. Carroll College also offers a BS Nursing degree.
Some Wyoming schools that offer nursing programs include: Northwest College offering a Practical Nursing certificate and an AAS Registered Nursing degree and Sheridan College offering an Associate of Science degree.
Students interested in Pharmacy should see an advisor for information. Forms outlining the curricula for transfer to the University of Montana in either program are available from the Arts and Sciences Academic Advisor in McMullen, room 100. Students planning to transfer to any other school will need to obtain a catalog from the college and, in consultation with their advisor, develop a plan of study to meet the specific requirements of the college of their choice. Because competition for acceptance into the professional schools is intense, the student should maintain a strong grade point average, have experience in the field, be knowledgeable of the application deadlines for the schools of choice, and apply to several schools.
Most courses beyond the introductory level require a degree of knowledge or preparation. Thus, many courses not restricted may still require prior coursework to succeed. Additionally, some courses need to be taken together in the same semester: for example, a lab to accompany a science course. Prerequisite courses are those that prepare students for further learning in a given subject. Co-requisite courses need to be taken the same semester. To discover prerequisite courses or whether the course you intend to take has a co-requisite, please visit the course descriptions in the back of the General Bulletin.
At Montana State University Billings, students may earn credit through a variety of methods including work experience and challenge tests. Our University will work with the student to determine which type of experience can be translated into credit. Several options are as follows:
Challenge tests, such as CLEP and DANTES, allow the student to study for and test out of equivalent college-level courses. Students interested in these methods of earning credit for specific college courses can contact the City College Library and Testing Center at 406-247-3025.
Students may have already earned credit through work-site training or government-sponsored workshops or military experience. If students have certificates or documentation, which state that the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI) assesses that training, credit may be available for coursework for which there are equivalencies in MSU Billings' curriculum. Military credit is assessed from the DD214, DD295, or military transcript. Questions about military credit may be directed to the Advising Center at 406-657-2240.
In addition to the methods listed above, our University also offers students the opportunity to earn credit through Prior Learning Assessment. This assessment will take into account work experience or other learning experiences, which do not fall into the categories described above, but which can be assessed through the development of a portfolio. Up to 15 credits can be earned through Prior Learning Assessment (credit guidelines can be found on pages 33-34 of the catalog). Questions regarding Prior Learning Assessment can be directed to the Registrar's Office at 406-657-2158.
In order to inform the Registrar's Office of a repeated course, the student must file a Repeat Card with the Registrar's office. Repeat cards are located in the Registrar's Office and the Advising Center.
When a course which a student has previously attempted is repeated, only the most recent course credit and grade is calculated into the student's grade point average, even if the most recent grade is lower. (Note: the original course and the grade remain on the official transcript in addition to the more recent course and grade).
No pre-requisite course may be repeated if the more advanced course has been completed with a grade of "C" or better. Exception may be considered upon appeal to the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered.
Courses labeled restricted require an identifiable level of competence to succeed and are usually determined by prior learning. For example students are placed in WRIT 101 College Writing I , either by successfully completing WRIT 095 Developmental Writing, or by scoring 87 or above on the Compass Test or 20 or above on the ACT. As all learning is developmental, many restricted courses require prerequisite courses (usually from the same department). To discover whether the course you intend to take is restricted, please visit the course descriptions in the back of the General Bulletin or in our on-line catalog.
The key to taking courses at one institution to transfer to another institution lies in what the institution that will be accepting the courses determines. Thus, it is important that you work with an advisor at the institution which you will be transferring to, to determine the transferability of the course. Advisors in the Advising Center at MSU Billings would be happy to assist you in how credits from other institutions will apply to our degree programs, but will recommend if you are planning to transfer that you work with the transfer institution to see how credits taken at MSU Billings would apply to their degree requirements.
Credit represents how many hours you spend in class a week.
For example, WRIT 101 College Composition is a 3 credit class. You may:
meet MWF (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for 1 hour each day
or TR (Tuesday, Thursday) for 1 ½ hours each day
or R (Thursday) evening for 3 hours
On average, for every credit spent in class students can expect to spend 2 hours outside of class studying a week
With the above WRIT 101 example, since it is 3 credits you can expect to
spend a total of 6 hours a week outside of class studying
(3 credits x 2 hours) = 6 study hours
Students who withdraw from the University during a semester are required to fill out a withdrawal form and complete an exit interview with an advisor in the Advising Center located on the first floor of McMullen Hall.
Students who officially withdraw during the first three weeks of a current term will not have the coursework reflected on the transcript. Students who withdraw after the third week will receive a grade of "W" (Withdrew Passing) in all classes.
Students who do not officially withdraw from classes will receive letter grades (other than a "W" grade) to be determined by the instructor of each class.