Students are responsible for meeting all University graduation requirements and the requirements for their particular academic degree programs. Candidates for graduation may obtain their graduation forms from the Registrar�s Office approximately two semesters prior to their graduation date. All graduation applications, with page one and two filled out and completed program sheets attached, are due in the Registrar�s Office no earlier than the semester in which they intend to graduate and no later than 60 days prior to the end of the semester in which the student intends to graduate or participate in Commencement. The University Catalog provides the authoritative source of information for program and degree requirements.

As part of its on-going efforts to serve students more effectively, the University may require all students who enter and graduate from the institution to participate in a testing program designed to measure the effectiveness of its programs. Students who fail to participate in mandatory testing may be denied certain records until they have complied with testing requirements.


Comprehensive course placement procedures ensure that students are placed into general education core courses that optimize their probability of completing general education core requirements as quickly as possible. A series of developmental courses that prepare students for higher education level courses is in place for those who will benefit from them. Credit for these courses is not applicable to degree requirements, but, in some cases, is an essential component in the progress toward a degree.

There are three means of determining general education core course placement: 1) ACT Mathematics and English sub scores; 2) Evaluation of previous higher education courses completed, and 3) Placement examinations administered by MSU-Northern. The following policies govern the use of these placement procedures:

1.        When ACT sub scores less than three years old are available, they will be used to place new-to-college students into the highest course appropriate to their declared major field of study.

2.        Transfer students with mathematics courses to transfer will be placed by the Registrar, based on an evaluation of the transfer courses as pre-requisites.

3.        Any student may elect to take the placement exam and be placed based on it. Students who elect to be placed on the basis of the placement exam waive their right to be placed on the basis of their ACT sub scores or transfer work.

4.        Students who do not meet any of the above criteria prior to registration will be placed in the least difficult general education core course appropriate to their declared major field of study. Students placed by this means may attempt to improve their placement at any time prior to the beginning of classes.

Details about placement testing are available from the Student Support Services Office in Room 213, Cowan Hall.


Students may determine their curriculum and credit requirements for graduation by referring to any single catalog that was in effect from their matriculation to their graduation, so long as this period does not exceed seven years.


Credit earned in courses in which the content is deemed obsolete by the program faculty, which administers a student�s major, may be excluded from meeting that student's graduation requirement.


Several academic Colleges award certification to students who complete specialized approved programs of study. These certifications are not academic degrees. Grades earned in specific courses will be entered on the student's permanent transcript and may be applied toward academic degrees.

Students completing certificate programs will receive a Certificate of Completion from the academic College but will not receive a diploma or participate in commencement ceremonies.


All associate and associate of applied science degrees require the following, plus course requirements under specific programs:

1.        The General Education requirements must be completed;

2.        At least 15 of the total credits must be taken at Montana State University-Northern for an associate or associate of applied science degree.

3.        Some programs may include additional requirements for graduation.  If so, they will be noted in the recommended sequence for any individual programs.

4.        An Associate of Science/Arts degree has a maximum of 60 credits.

5.        An Associate of Applied Science degree has a minimum of 60 credits and a maximum of 72 credits.

6.        No more than 6 credits total of independent study courses (designated x99) may be applied towards an associate or associate of applied science degree.


The Bachelor of Applied Science program is designed for students who already hold an AAS degree from a regionally accredited institution and would like to use those credits to earn a baccalaureate degree. The program of study at MSU-Northern focuses on general education coursework, upper division (300/400 level) credits, and an area of application to support previous technical credits in the AAS program. MSU-Northern offers the BAS degree with areas of application in business, numerous technology, and some traditional arts and sciences programs. The requirements for a BAS degree include:

1.     60 credits earned in a regionally accredited AAS program (at least 15 credits must be transferable general education credits);

2.     18 additional general education credits in three broad distribution areas. The fourth area should be satisfied by the area of application. At least 9 of these distribution credits must be upper division.;

1.        30 additional upper division credits in the student�s chosen program area as arranged with an advisor;

2.        6 upper division elective credits;

3.        A minimum of 120 total credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.00;

1.        No more than 9 credits total of independent study courses (designated x99);

2.        At least 30 of the total credits must be taken at Montana State University-Northern.

PLEASE NOTE:  A total of 36 upper division level credits is required for this degree.


All bachelor degrees require the following, plus course requirements under specific programs:

1.        The General Education requirements must be completed;

2.        At least 30 of the total credits must be taken at Montana State University-Northern.

3.        Some programs may include additional requirements for graduation. If so, they will be noted in the recommended sequence for any individual program.

4.        A Bachelor of Arts/Science degree has a minimum of 120 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 and a GPA in both the major and the minor of at least 2.25. Some programs may include additional credit requirements.  If so they will be noted in the recommended sequences for individual programs, and the total minimum credits required for the degree.  Some programs may also have minimum grade requirements for graduation.  PLEASE NOTE: Students graduating under the 1997-1999 catalogue and subsequent catalogues need a minimum of 120 credits to earn a bachelor's degree, unless their degree specifies more credits. Students graduating under a catalogue prior to 1997-1999 will need a minimum of 128 credits to earn a bachelor's degree, unless the degree specifies more credits

5.        At least 31% of the total credits required for graduation must be from 300 or 400 level courses;

6.        No more than 9 credits total of independent study courses (x99) may apply toward a bachelor's degree.


University policy allows students who have 6 or fewer credits remaining toward requirements for graduation at the end of the Spring Semester, or who can demonstrate that they will complete graduation requirement by the end of the Summer semester, to participate in the commencement ceremony provided that they submit graduation clearance papers by the deadline.


MSU-Northern will accept courses that were articulated from the Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology and treat them as if they had been taken from Montana State University-Northern. 


General education forms a significant part of every degree program. The general education core develops areas of appreciation not necessarily provided for in the specialized areas of the major, and provides a sense of the interrelationship between the various disciplines. Above all, the general education program makes available to students the tools and awareness necessary for lifelong learning and for active, literate participation in today's technological society. The specific course requirements included in the general education program at Montana State University-Northern begin on page 26.  Students must meet the program requirements as specified for either a baccalaureate, associate, or associate of applied science degree.

Except for those degree programs that still require it, GEN 301 will not be part of the general education program for any student graduating at the end of Fall Semester 1997 or any semester thereafter.

General Education Waivers

Only the Admissions and Standards Committee can waive a general education requirement.  Therefore, any request to waive a general education requirement must be submitted on a petition form to the Admissions and Standards Committee for approval or disapproval. The only exceptions to this waiver policy are set out below.

The general education core and distribution requirements set out in sections I and II below are waived for students who already have an associate or bachelor's degree from Montana State University-Northern or another institution and they have come to Montana State University-Northern to work on another degree.  If a student�s previous degree was earned more than seven (7) years ago, he/she may be required to take additional general education core courses to prepare him/her for the new degree.  To qualify for the waiver, students must meet the following conditions:

       Their previous degree must be from an accredited institution.

       Their previous degree must be an associate of art, an associate of science, a bachelor of art, a bachelor of science, or a bachelor of applied science degree.

       Their previous degree was an associate degree, and they are working on another associate degree at Montana State University-Northern; or their previous degree was a bachelor's degree and they are working on another bachelor's degree at Montana State University-Northern.

       Their previous degree was a bachelor's degree and they have come to Montana State University-Northern to work on an associate degree.

Students seeking another bachelor's degree at Montana State University-Northern will still be expected to complete the capstone component described in section III.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who transfer between units of the Montana University System may be governed by the general education transfer policy adopted by the Montana Board of Regents.  That policy is set out on page 28 of this catalog.  In reviewing that policy, students should pay particular attention to the IMPORTANT LIMITATION language.  That limitation means that, even though a transfer student may already have satisfied the general education requirements for an earlier degree, his/her new program of study may require additional and specialized courses that would ordinarily have served as general education coursework at Montana State University-Northern.  To earn the degree, transfer students will have to complete those specialized courses.

This waiver does not constitute a waiver of any other graduation requirements.


Students may meet basic competencies required for graduation by passing approved standard examinations such as Advanced Placement, CLEP, by Montana State University-Northern placement examination, or by completing the following coursework.

General Education Core requirements cannot be used to satisfy the Distribution Requirements:


ASSOCIATE DEGREE (12-13 credits)

A. Writing: ENGL 111 and 112

A. Writing: ENGL 111

B. Speech: SPCH 141 or SPCH 142**

B. Speech: SPCH 141 or SPCH 142**

C. Mathematics: MATH 110 or 112* (or 120*** and 121***)

C. Mathematics: MATH 110 or 112 (or 120* and 121*)

D. Computing: CIS 110 or higher level CIS course

D. Computing: CIS 110 or higher level CIS course

*or higher level Math course.

**Except for those degree programs that specify a particular speech class. 

***Only Elementary Education majors can use MATH 120 and 121 to satisfy general education core requirements.


(May not include courses used to meet General Education Core, listed above)



Students in Baccalaureate degree programs must

complete a minimum of 6 credits in each of the four

 distribution areas. Courses required in the student's

 major and minor programs may also be counted to

meet distribution requirements.

Students in Associate or Associate of Applied Science degree programs must complete a minimum of 3 credits in at least two of the four distribution areas for a total of 6 distribution credits. Courses required in the student's major program may also be counted to meet distribution requirements.

Distribution Groups for Baccalaureate Degree Programs:

Distribution Groups for Associate Degree Programs:

A. Humanities - 6 credits

A. Humanities - 3 credits

B. Social Sciences - 6 credits

B. Social Sciences - 3 credits

C. Mathematics/Sciences - 6 credits

C. Mathematics/Science - 3 credits

D. Technology/Applied Arts - 6 credits

D. Technology/Applied Arts - 3 credits


A.      HUMANITIES - Art (ART), Drama (DRMA), English (ENGL), French (FREN), German (GER), Graphic Design (GDSN), Humanities (HUM), Music (MUS), Native American Studies (NAS), Philosophy (PHIL), Spanish (SPAN), Speech (SPCH)

B.       SOCIAL SCIENCES - Community Service (CMSV), Economics (ECON), Geography (GEOG), History (HIST), Political Science (POL), Psychology (PSYC), Sociology (SOC), Social Science (SOSC)

C.       MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE - Biology (BIOL), Chemistry (CHEM), Computer Information Systems (CIS), Earth Science (ESCI), General Science (GSCI), Mathematics (MATH), Natural Science (NSCI), Physical Sciences (PHYS), Technical Science (TSCI)

For bachelor degrees, at least one course offered to fill this group must be a laboratory science.

D.      TECHNOLOGY AND APPLIED ARTS - Accounting (ACCT), Agriculture (AG), Agricultural Mechanics (AGMT), Ag Operations Technology (AOT), Automotive (AUTO), Automotive Body (BODY), Automotive/Diesel (ATDI), Business Education (BUED), Business (BUS), Civil Engineering Technology (CET), Computer Engineering Technology (CPET), Diesel (DIES), Drafting (DRFT), Electronics Engineering Technology (EET), Health and Physical Education (HPE), Health and Physical Education Activities (HPEA), Industrial and Engineering Technology (IET), Industrial Technology (IT), Manufacturing Technology (MFGT), Metals Technology (METL), Montana Administration of Schools (MAS), Nursing (NURS), Railroad Maintenance & Operation (RRT), Small Business Management (SBM), Technical Sales and Service (TSS)

The following courses may NOT be used to fulfill distribution requirements:

1.        Courses required to fulfill General Education Core requirements;

2.        Cooperative Education courses (courses numbered 279 or 479)

3.     Courses with EDUC, EDPY, GUID, or VOED prefixes.

The following courses meet the General Education Requirements for Teacher Education.



Area A:
ART 100 Introduction to Art
ART 150 Two-Dimensional Design I
ART 361 Art History of Western Civilization I
ART 362 Art History of Western Civilization II
DRMA 109 Drama Participation
DRMA 123 Introduction to Theatre
DRMA 220 Acting
ENGL 114 Introduction to Literature

ENGL 214 Introduction to World Literature*
ENGL 349 Montana Literature
FREN 105 Elementary French
MUS 101 Introduction to Music History
NAS 220 Introduction to Ethnic Indian Studies*
NAS 310 Native Cultures of North America*
PHIL 200 Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 210 Ethics


Area B:
ECON 242 Macroeconomic Principles
ECON 346 Business & Economic History of the United States
GEOG 119 World Regional Geography
HIST 131 American History I*
HIST 132 American History II*
HIST 141 History of Civilization I*
HIST 142 History of Civilization II*
HIST 216 Montana History
HIST 354 History of Technology and Transportation
HIST 364 History of American Indians*
POL 344 International Relations*
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
PSYC 205 Human Growth and Development
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
SOC 102 Social Problems

SOC 210 Social Psychology
SOC 255 Sociology of the Family
SOC 315 Race, Gender and Ethnic Relations*

Area D:
HPE 234 First Aid and CPR
HPE 235 Principles of Health Education & Substance Abuse
HPE 386 Drug and Alcohol Education

*PLEASE NOTE:  Teacher Education majors must select 3 credits from the list that are highlighted with an asterisk and check with their advisor for specific details.  Those courses contain a cultural diversity component.




Advanced Program Project as identified in each program area.

(Capstone component not required)



General Education Transfer Policy

The Montana University System is committed to facilitating the ease of undergraduate student transfer to its campuses. Therefore, all campuses in the Montana University System will recognize the integrity of general education programs offered by units of the Montana University System and the three publicly supported community colleges in Montana.

Undergraduate students who have completed an approved general education program of between 30 and 45 lower division credit hours at one of the institutions noted above and who transfer to another of those institutions will be deemed to have met the lower division general education requirements of the campus to which the students have transferred.

Students who have not completed such an approved general education program will have their transcript evaluated for transfer purposes using the Statewide Core Curriculum and Community College Transfer Guide. 

The Montana Transferable Core Curriculum represents an agreement among community, tribal, and publicly funded colleges and universities in the State of Montana.  It assures the transfer of up to 30 semester credits for those students enrolled in courses prescribed within each of eight discipline areas at a participating host institution.  The eight discipline areas are:

                Natural Sciences (with labs)                                                      6 semester credits maximum

                Social Sciences                                                                         6 semester credits maximum

                Mathematics                                                                            3 semester credits maximum

                English Composition                                                                3 semester credits maximum

                Humanities                                                                               3 semester credits maximum

                Fine Arts                                                                                  3 semester credits maximum

                History                                                                                    3 semester credits maximum

                Cultural Diversity                                                                     3 semester credits maximum

                Total Semester credits maximum                                             30

Satisfactory completion of the courses listed in the Transferable Core Curriculum will permit the student to receive credit equivalent to the lower-division degree requirements of the receiving college or university.  When transferred as a core of 30 semester credits, nearly half of the receiving institution�s general education core requirements may be satisfied. 


Depending upon the major program into which the student transfers, additional lower division requirements may still be necessary for the transfer student to complete as part of the published programmatic prerequisites.  This limitation means that, even though a transfer student may satisfy the basic requirements of the Montana University System general education transfer policy, his/her specific program of study may require additional and specialized courses in one or some of the eight (8) disciplines listed above.  To earn the degree, transfer students will have to complete those specialized courses.

The following Montana State University-Northern courses will satisfy the Montana University System Statewide Core Curriculum. Consequently, in selecting general education coursework, a student may wish to use the following guide:

Natural Sciences (maximum of 6 semester credits)
BIOL 140, Cell Biology (4)

BIOL 141, Cell Biology Lab (1)

BIOL 151, Essentials of Biology (4)

BIOL 204, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology (4)

BIOL 314, General Ecology (4*)

CHEM 111, General Chemistry (3)
CHEM 121, General Inorganic Chemistry I (3)
CHEM 123, General Inorganic Chemistry I Lab (1)
CHEM 122, General Inorganic Chemistry II (3*)

CHEM 124, General Inorganic Chemistry II Lab (1*)
ESCI 115, Foundations of Earth Science (4*)

ESCI 204, Physical Geology (4*)

ESCI 206, Historical Geology (4*)

ESCI 307, Astronomy (4*)

ESCI 310, Introduction to Paleontology (3)

GSCI 412, Environmental Problems (3)

NSCI 110, Survey of Sciences (3)

NSCI 201, Essence of Science (3)

PHYS 114, Foundations of Physical Science (4)
PHYS 231, Fundamentals of Physics I (3)

PHYS 232, Fundamentals of Physics II (3*)


Social Sciences (maximum of 6 semester credits)
ECON 241, Microeconomics (3)

ECON 242, Macroeconomics (3*)

ECON 346, Business and Economic History of the United States (3)

POL 134, American Government (3)

POL 235, Political Ideologies (3)

POL 303, American Constitution (3)

PSYC 101, Introduction to Psychology (3)

PSYC 205, Human Growth and Development (3)
SOC 101, Introduction to Sociology (3)

SOC 102, Social Problems (3*)

SOC 240, Social Psychology (3)

SOSC 201, Introduction to the Social Sciences (3)


Mathematics (maximum of 3 semester credits)
MATH 110, Mathematics for Liberal Arts (4)

MATH 112, College Algebra (3)
MATH 116, Applied Statistics (3)

MATH 125, Trigonometry (2)
MATH 120, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I (3)
MATH 121, Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II (3)
MATH 137, Calculus for Technology I (3*)
MATH 220, Calculus and Analytic Geometry (5*)
MATH 221, Calculus and Analytic Geometry (5*)

English Composition (maximum of 3 semester credits)
ENGL 111, Written Communication I (3)

ENGL 112, Written Communication II (3)

Humanities (maximum of 3 semester credits)
ENGL 114, Introduction to Literature (3)

ENGL 201, American Literature I (3)

ENGL 202, American Literature II (3)
ENGL 214, Introduction to World Literature (3)

ENGL 221, English Literature I (3)

ENGL 222, English Literature II (3)

ENGL 309, Popular Genres (3)

ENGL 310/510, Literature for Children and Adolescents(3)

ENGL 330, Modern Literature (3)

ENGL 331/NAS 331, Literature by and About Native Americans (3)

ENGL 349/549, Montana Literature (3)

ENGL 360, Survey of Dramatic Literature (3)

ENGL 385, Shakespeare (3)

ENGL 401, Contemporary Literature (3)

ENGL 402, Literary Criticism (3)

ENGL 409, Majors Writers (3)

ENGL 435, Development of the Novel (3)
FREN 105, Elementary French (4)

FREN 205, Intermediate French (4*)

FREN 305, Advanced Composition and Conversation (4*)

GER 105, Elementary German (4)

PHIL 200, Introduction to Philosophy (3)
PHIL 210, Ethics (3)

SPAN 105, Elementary Spanish (4)


Fine Arts (maximum of 3 semester credits)
ART 100, Introduction to Art (3)
ART 101, Studio Foundation (3)

ART 115, Ceramics (3)

ART 120, Drawing I (3)
ART 150, Two-Dimensional Design I (3)

ART 151, Two-Dimensional Design II (3)

ART 204, Printmaking (3)

ART 220, Drawing II (3*)

ART 254, Painting I (3*)

ART 256, Watercolor Painting I (3*)

ART/METL 353, Metal Sculpture (3)

ART 361, Art History of Western Civilization I (3)

ART 362, Art History of Western Civilization II (3)
DRMA 123, Introduction to Theater (3)
GDSN 270, Introduction to Photography (3)

MUS 101, Introduction to Music History (3)

MUS 110, Introduction to Music Theory (3)

MUS 210, Voice Ensemble (1*)

MUS 225, Applied Music (1*)

MUS 301, Music of the Twentieth Century (3*)

History (maximum of 3 semester credits)
HIST 131, American History I (3)
HIST 132, American History II (3)
HIST 141, History of Civilization I (3)
HIST 142, History of Civilization II (3)

HIST 216, Montana History (3)

HIST 315, Intellectual History of Western Civilization (3)

Cultural Diversity (maximum of 3 semester credits)
NAS 105, Introduction to Native American Language (3)

NAS 220, Introduction to Ethnic Indian Studies (3)

NAS 310, Native Cultures of North America (3)

NAS 330, American Indian Oral Tradition (3)

NAS 331/ENGL 331 Literature By and About Native Americans (3)

NAS 350, Indian Law (3)

NAS 364/HIST 364, History of American Indians (3)

SOC 315, Race, Gender and Ethnic Relations (3)


*Course carries a college-level pre-requisite, and/or requires permission of the instructor.



The course requirements for each degree program offered by Montana State University-Northern are set out in this catalog in recommended chronological sequence. Students who register for and successfully complete the specified courses as recommended will meet the course requirement for associate or associate of applied science degrees within two years, and baccalaureate degrees within four years.

Both the student and the University must meet certain obligations in order to assure completion of degree programs within the specified time frame. The student must meet the prerequisites for all required courses and register for these courses within the prescribed time frame. If the student is unable to register for a prescribed course within the prescribed time frame due to failure of the University to schedule the course at the specified time, or due to a scheduling conflict between required courses at the specified time, it is the student's responsibility to bring this problem to the attention of the Registrar or Chair/Dean of the academic College which administers the student's major. It is the University's responsibility in these cases to create an accommodation that enables the student to meet the specified requirement at the specified time.

Any deviation of the student from the course requirements or sequences specified for his/her initially declared course of study will nullify the University's responsibility to ensure the student's graduation within the two- or four-year time frame. Failure of the student to notify the University of a course-scheduling problem prior to the beginning of the course deprives the University of the opportunity to accommodate the student, and nullifies the University's responsibility under this assurance.

The University makes reasonable efforts to accommodate the reasonable scheduling needs of its students. However, it is unlikely that the University will be able to schedule classes for the personal convenience of students, and it is under no obligation to do so. Students who wish to graduate within the two- and four-year time frames contemplated by this assurance are expected to make arrangements to take the required classes when scheduled by the University according to this catalog.

Montana State University-Northern extends this time-to-degree assurance to transfer students within the Montana University System as follows: Students who are admitted to another unit of the system with the ultimate objective of transferring to Montana State University-Northern and receiving a degree from this unit may be jointly admitted to Northern when starting at the other unit. When the jointly admitted student receives an associate degree from the originating unit and transfers into a baccalaureate degree program at Northern, this institution will consider the general education core and distribution area (general education) requirements complete, in view of the associate degree.

In addition, certain two-year associate degree programs within the Montana University System are fully articulated with corresponding four-year baccalaureate degree programs at Northern. Jointly admitted students who are in such programs at two-year degree-granting institutions will receive information and faculty advising from Northern concurrent with their enrollment at the originating institutions. Jointly admitted students who follow the program specified by the articulation agreement for their Northern program will receive a full two years of credit toward their graduation program at Northern. When they begin their study at Northern, they can take advantage of the time-to-degree assurances set out above for students who begin their study at Northern, and they have the same responsibilities. Further information about joint admissions agreements is available from the Office of Admissions.

Students who discontinue study for one or more semesters and return to pursue a degree at a later time can re-enter a degree program under the same catalog providing the catalog is seven or less years old; however, the University is under no obligation to offer courses, programs or degrees which have been discontinued while students are absent from the institution. Absence during a summer semester does not constitute discontinuance of study under the terms of this policy.