students talking on the MSUB university campus
Beginning in 2011, MSU Billings embarked on a new seven-year accreditation cycle, guided by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The MSU Billings Assessment and Accreditation Council leads the university’s accreditation effort through a series of self-study reports that respond to the following Standards for Accreditation:

Standard One: Mission and Core Themes

Standard Two: Resources and Capacity

Standard Three: Planning and Implementation

Standard Four: Effectiveness and Improvement

Standard Five: Mission Fulfillment, Adaptation, and Sustainability

The seven-year cycle includes three rounds of reporting to NWCCU:

Year One

In the first year of the cycle, the institution submits a Year One Self-Evaluation Report that analyzes the university’s mission and core themes (Standard 1).

  • The report includes the mission statement, the interpretation of mission fulfillment, core themes, objectives to be achieved via the core themes, and indicators of achievement of the objectives.
  • A panel of evaluators reviews the report and, following an on-campus visit, submits their findings, including commendations and recommendations, to the NWCCU Board.


In the third year of the cycle, the institution submits a Mid-Cycle Self-Study Evaluation Report in which the university assesses its progress on the recommendations offered in the Year One Peer-Evaluation Report and its readiness for the Year Seven Self-Study Report.

  • The report includes descriptions of what the institution has done to address any recommendations that may have been a result of the Year One Peer-Evaluation Report.  The institution also prepares a preliminary report on Standard Two.
  • A team of evaluators conducts an informal evaluation of the report and offers recommendations for the preparation of the Year Seven Report.
  • There is no site visit in the Mid-Cycle Evaluation.

Year Seven

In the seventh year of the cycle, the institution submits a Year Seven Self-Study Evaluation Report that addresses all five Standards for Accreditation and Eligibility Requirements.

  • The report includes an update of Standards One and Two, and the university’s response to any recommendations offered in the Mid-Cycle Report.
  • Particular focus in the Year Seven Self-Study Evaluation Report is on university-wide assessment and analysis of quality, effectiveness, accomplishment of core theme objectives, and resource allocation.
  • As with the Year One Report, a team of evaluators conducts an on-site visit prior to submitting their Year Seven Peer-Evaluation Report to the NWCCU Board.

This on-going cycle of self-analysis and responses by NWCCU is intended to assure that the institution and its external evaluators constantly focus on program quality and continual assessment for improvement.