MSU Billings Catalog

Academic Affairs

Accreditation Statement

MSU Billings is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. As such, all college-level coursework from institutions accredited by the following list of agencies will be received and applied toward associate or baccalaureate degrees as applicable to general education, major, minor, and elective requirements.

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Students who transfer credit from institutions not accredited by the agencies in the above list (excluding foreign institutions) will not be accepted for transfer. Policy and procedure information may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.

Students transferring from institutions in pre-approval status must earn at least 20 credits at MSU Billings with a minimum 2.0 institutional GPA before their credits from the former institution will be considered for acceptance.

International coursework (except from institutions where English is the language of instruction) may require evaluation by a foreign credential evaluation company.

Regular and Substantive Interaction

New U.S. Department of Education regulations for distance (online) education require regular and substantive interaction between students and their instructors. The phrase “regular and substantive interaction” comes from the federal definition of distance education. While regular and substantive interaction is specifically mentioned in the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of distance education, it is applicable to any class regardless of instructional modality (synchronous or asynchronous).  

While this is a federal requirement, MSU Billings, as a leader in distance education in Montana, has long realized that the interaction between faculty and students is the hallmark of quality education. We have both a legal and ethical responsibility to provide quality interaction with our students.

Regular and Substantive Interaction has three elements: 1) It must be initiated by the instructor; 2) it must be frequent and consistent; 3) it must be focused on the course subject. 

Faculty teaching online courses are responsible for complying with this policy and its associated federal regulations. Faculty teaching online courses are responsible for ensuring their courses are designed to facilitate regular and substantive interaction between instructors and students. Faculty may consult with the Center for Teaching and Learning to ensure that their online courses meet the above regular and substantive interaction requirements. 

Each department or academic unit is responsible for ensuring instructors who teach online courses in their department comply with this policy.

Definitions of Regular and Substantive Interaction 

Substantive interaction is defined as engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following:

  1. Providing direct instruction;  
  2. Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework; 
  3. Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or 
  4. competency;   
  5. Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency; or 
  6. Other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency.

Regular interaction requires the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable and regular basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content in the course or competency. The instructor is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with the student.  

Examples of Regular and Substantive Interaction

  1. Participation in regularly scheduled learning sessions where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the student and the qualified instructor.  (Note: merely logging into class is insufficient without further participation.)
  2. Provide personalized comments (in any medium) for an individual student’s assignment or exam. 
  3. Actively facilitate an online discussion. 
  4. Post-assessment debriefings based upon class performance. 
  5. Provide an overview video to accompany recorded lectures. 
  6. Use of small working/study groups that are moderated by the instructor. 

Examples of What is Not Considered Regular and Substantive Interaction

  1. Assignment of recorded webinars, videos, and reading materials without instructor-initiated interaction.  
  2. Contact with instructors not related to the course subject matter. 
  3. Adding numeric grades to the course gradebook 
  4. A student submits a quiz that is automatically graded. 
  5. Reminding students of the course attendance policy. 
  6. Posting an announcement about an upcoming assignment deadline. 
  7. Providing an open-ended online forum that is not moderated by the instructor.  

Scholastic Requirements

Grading System

Letter Grade Description
A Excellent
B Good
C Average
D Minimally Passing
I Incomplete Work (not included in GPA).
F Failure, grade below passing (included in GPA).
W Withdrawal from class without penalty (not included in GPA).
N No credit/Audit
P Passing (not included in GPA but credits count toward graduation).
X No Pass

Incomplete “I” Grade

Upon request, a grade of incomplete (“I”) may be given in a course for which the course requirements are normally expected to be completed in the semester of enrollment. To qualify, a student (undergraduate/graduate) must have completed at least three-fourths (3/4) of the course requirements but has been prevented by circumstances beyond their control from completing all the requirements of the course at its conclusion. The student must have a passing grade at the time in which the incomplete is administered. Prior to the time the instructor submits final grades, the student must provide adequate evidence, in writing, to the instructor as to the reason(s) why they are unable to complete the course requirements. All remaining work to complete the course must be specified in writing and be completed by the end of the subsequent semester (excluding summer). If a grade of “I” incomplete has been given, the instructor shall advise the student, the chair of the department offering the course, and the Registrar’s office in writing what the student must do to remove the deficiency. Access to learning management system to finish incomplete work is arranged through the Registrar’s Office.

Extensions to this time allotment may be requested by a student appeal, recommended by the instructor and unit chairperson, and approved by the MSU Billings Academic Standards & Scholastic Standing Committee (undergraduate students) or the MSU Billings Graduate Committee (graduate students).

An incomplete grade not made up within the prescribed length of time will automatically be converted to an “F” grade. Once the grade of incomplete has been converted to an “F” grade, the course must be repeated to have the grade changed. An “I” grade will not be included in the calculation of the GPA.

In instances involving extended leave or resignation of the instructor of the incomplete course, the unit chairperson may act to establish an appropriate grade and verify completion of the coursework within the approved time frame.

Change of Grade

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. 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.

Pass/No Pass Grading Mode

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Credit Hour Policy

At Montana State University Billings the credit hour is used as a unit of instruction to quantify student learning. The credit hour is typically related to seat time, as a minimum of three class work hours (60 minutes of classroom instruction and an additional two hours of out-of-class student work) each week during a 15- week (minimum) semester. Using a seat-time approach, one credit of instruction should be approximated by 45 hours of combined direct instruction (counting a 60-minute class as 1 hour of instruction) and student work.

If the learning experience is offered in a different time frame (e.g., eight-week summer session), the student time required to complete the course should reasonably approximate 45 hours of combined direct instruction and student work per credit.

If direct instruction is not the principal mode of learning for an academic experience (e.g., laboratory courses, internships, studio work, some on-line courses), the student time required to complete the course should reasonably approximate 45 hours of student work per credit.

Grade Points (Grade Point Average)

All classes required for Certificates of Applied Science and AAS degrees must be completed with a grade of “C” or better for the class to satisfy the requirement for the awarding of a degree or certificate.  All required courses in which a student received a “C-”, “D” or “F” must be retaken.  (Please review program summaries and plans of study for any additional grade requirements.)

A grade of “C” or better in core program courses for defined plans of study in Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degrees is required.  To review grade requirements for AA or AS degrees please refer to page 52.

Repeated classes earn the second or subsequent grade and credit replacing the former course grade and credit in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average; however, all courses taken and grades received remain listed on the transcript, which is a complete and unabridged permanent school record. 

Grade Reports

Students’ grades are available on the web at  Students who wish to have their grades mailed may request a transcript.

How to Calculate the Grade Point Average

Each grade is worth a predetermined number of grade points as indicated below.  Total grade points are established by multiplying the number of credits of a course times the number of grade points of the grade received.

The grade point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of course credits attempted.  In computing the number of grade points earned, each letter grade is assigned a certain grade point value per credit hour as follows:

Letter Grade GPA
Each credit hour of A 4 points
Each credit hour of B 3 points
Each credit hour of C 2 points
Each credit hour of D 1 point
Each credit hour of F 0 points

Effective Fall 2005 for all transfer, re-admitted, and continuing students, in accordance with Board of Regents policy, all campuses of the Montana University System will use the following values when determining grade point averages. Faculty may choose to use plain letter grades (no plus/minus).

Letter Grade GPA
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0

Grade point averages calculated before Fall Semester 2005, using the values noted above, will not be recalculated, using the new weights or values.

The new values should not be applied retroactively to grade point averages already calculated for students in the Montana University System.  Decisions about those students’ academic performance, including satisfactory progress, admission to limited enrollment programs, graduation and financial aid eligibility, have been made, using the grading scale in place at the time of those decisions.  The decisions should not be invalidated because of a subsequent change in grade point average calculations.


WRIT 122 is a 3 credit course.  If a grade of “B” was received, multiply 3 credits times 3 grade points for a total of 9 grade points (3 credits x 3 grade points = 9 grade points).

COMX 106 is a 3 credit course.  If a grade of “C” was received, it would produce an additional 6 grade points (3 credits x 2 grade points = 6 grade points).

Add the 9 grade points from WRIT 122 and the 6 grade points from COMX 106 for a total of 15 grade points. Then, divide the total grade points (15) by the total number of credits (6) to determine the grade point average for the two courses. In this case, the grade point average is 2.50 (15/6 = 2.50). Remember, the total grade points divided by the total credits attempted equals the grade point average (GPA).

Academic Honors

In recognition of scholastic achievement, the University makes public at the close of each semester an honor roll of undergraduate students who earn 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.

Minimal Academic Progress

Students are in good standing at City College at Montana State University Billings as long as they have a 2.00 grade point average (GPA) although additional requirements may have to be met in specific fields.

Academic Warning

Full-Time Students (12 or more credits attempted)

Students are placed on academic warning 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 warning.  Students who are on academic warning 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 warning or continued academic warning 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 academic warning should not carry more than 16 credits in the warning period.  All students on academic warning 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 warning 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 warning are allowed to continue in college as long as they earn a 2.00 GPA in each succeeding semester.

Academic Suspension

Students should meet with the designated staff person (Registrar or designee) to discuss their options for attending summer semester. Any full-time student who has been on academic warning 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 reinstatement.  Students must register for a minimum of nine semester credits after consultation with their advisors, for either one or all three 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. Upon re-admission, students are placed on continued academic warning (suspension fulfilled) and must maintain a 2.00 GPA for each successive semester of work and meet any other pertinent conditions imposed by the Academic and Scholastic Standing Committee.  Students who do not meet the stipulations set by the Committee incur automatic suspension.  

A student who has been academically suspended from Montana State University Billings may apply for re-admission after one semester has elapsed.  A student who has two or more academic suspensions is suspended for two semesters excluding summer term.  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.

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.

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 City College 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 prior to each term of enrollment to re-certify.

Academic Dishonesty

Students at City College at Montana State University Billings are expected to do their own work in their own words and with their own ideas.  If they quote or paraphrase the words of others, they are expected to indicate whom it is they are quoting or paraphrasing.  An instructor who believes that a student has claimed the work of someone else as his or her own may take what steps he or she wishes up to failing the student and referring the student to others on campus for further discipline. Please refer to Academic Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students:

Fresh Start Option
(Academic Bankruptcy)

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 coursework 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 15 semester credits (30 semester credits for students seeking a bachelor’s degree) in residence since entering or returning to MSU Billings earning a 2.65 grade point average (GPA) or higher.  The bankrupted coursework 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.

Eligibility for Intercollegiate Athletics and Other Activities

To be eligible for intercollegiate athletics, students must meet the specific requirements of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. Prospective student-athletes should consult with the appropriate Athletic Department Administrator regarding these requirements.  Students are eligible during a semester to represent MSU Billings in an University sponsored activity off-campus or to participate in co-curricular activities as long as the students are officially enrolled (this applies only to the activities that are not sanctioned by the NCAA Division II).  Intercollegiate athletics and certain activities may have additional eligibility requirements that students must meet.

Student Records

Academic Records

Official academic records of each student’s scholastic achievement are kept on file in the Registrar's Office, and include the following:

  1. A signed “Official Class Roll and Final Grade Report” from the instructor of each class in which the student is enrolled each semester.
  2. An “Official Academic Record” for each student officially enrolled.
  3. Directory information of a student currently enrolled.  (See the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Revised.)


A transcript is a copy of the complete, unabridged educational record of a student who has been or is currently enrolled.  It is issued only to the student upon the student’s written request.  An official transcript is distinguished from an unofficial copy of the student’s record in that the official transcript carries the signature of the Registrar and bears the seal of Montana State University Billings.

As often as possible, transcripts are issued within five days following receipt of the transcript request and payment of the fee.  During periods of registration, changes in registration, grading periods, and Commencement, the Registrar's staff has to devote full time to such activities.  The records are necessarily incomplete, and the status of students is pending; consequently, a longer time than usual is required for the issuance of transcripts.

All current and former City College at MSU Billings students are entitled to one free official transcript; thereafter, each official transcript request is processed only upon the receipt of the transcript fee.  The student’s signature and/or personal request is required for the release of any transcript except when the transcript is released to those individuals who are considered to have a legitimate educational reason to have access to the student’s transcript.

Misuse of Electronic Devices

Cellular phones, pagers, and other electronic devices shall not be used in a manner that causes disruption in the classroom, library, or within any college-owned or college-operated facility.  Abuse of cellular devices with photographic capabilities, use of devices for purposes of photographing test questions or other notes and materials is prohibited.  Photographing individuals in secured areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, or other areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, and/or taking photographs of any person without expressed permission is strictly prohibited.

Appeals and Petitions for Exceptions to University Regulations

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 an City College at 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.

Academic Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures

Please refer to Academic Conduct Guidelines and Grievance Procedures for Students:

City College Graduation Requirements

Catalog Time Limit

Students have four years to fulfill the curricular requirements stated in the catalog in effect when they enter.  If students do not complete the requirements in four years, they must select a subsequent catalog.  If students have a break in enrollment of a semester or more, they must switch to the catalog in effect at the time of re-admission.

Students can request an exception to this policy under extenuating circumstances.  Requests for extensions of time must be approved in writing by the appropriate Director, Department Chair, and Dean.  If not approved, students may appeal to the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee.

Conferring of Degrees

The degree a student is to receive will be posted on the student’s Official Academic Record at the end of the semester in which the student meets all requirements.  Degrees and certificates are conferred three times per year, at the end of the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.  The academic transcript is the official record of degree conferral.

Degree Offerings

Certificate of Technical Study

  • Requires 16 to 29 credits
  • Certifies the holder in a specific knowledge or talent
  • Requires no general education credits

Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

  • Requires 30 to 45 credits
  • Requires 60 to 72 credits
  • Can be completed in two years as a full-time student
  • Requires 12 credits of general education (see Related Instruction Requirements)

Associate of Science or Associate of Arts (AS or AA)

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts (BS or BA)

Associate of Applied Science and Certificate of Applied Science Requirements

Students who have earned a “C” (2.0) or better in all required courses and electives for an AAS degree or Certificate of Applied Science program of study in which they are enrolled are eligible for graduation.  Fifty-one percent of core program requirements must be completed at City College at MSU Billings in order to graduate from MSU Billings.  Associate of Science in Nursing students are required to complete at least 21 credits of core program requirements at City College to graduate from MSU Billings and must also earn a “C” or better in all courses.

Please note that a single course may not be used to meet more than one certificate or degree requirement.  Petitions for exceptions to this policy should be addressed to the Registrar to be reviewed by an academic review board.

Related Instruction Requirements for Associate of Applied Science Degrees and Certificates of Applied Science

Related instruction credits are required to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree or Certificate of Applied Science (CAS).  According to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), related instruction is a body of knowledge which supports programs of study for which applied or specialized associate degrees are granted or programs for which certificates are granted.  This body of knowledge must contain instruction in program-related areas of communication, computation, and human relations.

The objectives of related instruction include the following:

  • Apply writing strategies to produce original work.
  • Analyze workplace situations and select appropriate communication strategies.
  • Demonstrate professional verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  • Solve problems quantitatively in specific disciplines.

Please note that the Certificate of Applied Science in Practical Nursing follows an approved statewide plan that differs from the traditional related instruction menu.  Please also note that some related instruction courses are also part of the General Education coursework.

The following list outlines the courses that fulfill related instruction requirements for CAS and AAS degrees:

Human Relations3
Comm in a Dynamic Workplace
Intro to Public Speaking
Workplace Communications *
Intro to Technical Writing
Intro to Business Writing
Contemporary Mathematics
Business Mathematics *
Technical Mathematics *
Extended Technical Mathematics
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Introduction to Computers

CAS and AAS students must see an advisor to determine which related instruction courses are required for graduation in their program.  Students planning to earn a bachelor’s degree should immediately consult their academic advisor to develop a plan of study.

Some related instruction courses also fulfill general education requirements.  Some, but not all, related instruction courses for the AAS degrees and CAS programs will transfer to other colleges or universities.


Courses marked with an asterisk are math and writing courses that fulfill requirements for CAS programs and may be prerequisites for AAS or AS coursework.

Second Associate of Applied Science Degree

Students may earn a second AAS degree at City College by taking a minimum of 15 additional credits beyond the total required for the first AAS degree.  Once the first AAS degree is awarded, students must earn 15 additional credits regardless of the number of credits earned for the first degree.  Students must meet all other requirements for the second degree.  For AAS degrees that require electives, degree requirements from one degree may not be used to satisfy electives for the other degree.  Electives from one degree may not be used to satisfy electives for the second degree.

Certificate of Applied Science and Associate of Applied Science Degree in the Same Subject

Students may earn a certificate and an AAS degree in the same subject.  However, a certificate and an AAS degree in the same subject cannot be earned concurrently.  Students may complete a certificate and an AAS degree in the same subject provided the application for graduation for the CAS is a minimum of one semester prior to the completion of the AAS degree.  A certificate can be an exit point and is not required to earn an AAS degree.

Associate of Arts or Associate of Science Degree Requirements

In addition to AAS degrees, City College also awards Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees.

AA and AS degrees can have a special focus or no particular disciplinary affiliation.  These degrees require that students meet general education requirements as specified below.  Students earning an associate degree with no disciplinary affiliation should work with their advisor on a plan of study but are not subject to any additional requirements other than those listed next.

  1. Students must earn a minimum of 60 semester credits must be earned with a minimum grade point average of 2.00 for all coursework.
  2. Students must earn a minimum of 20 semester credits with 40 grade points (2.0 grade point average) must be earned at Montana State University Billings.
  3. Students must earn a minimum grade point average of 2.00 in (a) all college work to be applied toward the degree for which credits and grades have been received, and in (b) all courses completed with credits and grades at Montana State University Billings and applied toward the degree.
  4. Students may elect a maximum of 16 semester credits on the Pass/No Pass option in lieu of regular course grades.
  5. Students seeking an associate degree must satisfy the following general education requirements:

General Education Category

I. Global Academic Skills
A. Mathematics3
B. English3
C. Communication & Information Literacy3
II. Natural Sciences (7 credits total)
A. Life Sciences3
B. Physical Sciences3
Laboratory experience in Life Sciences or Physical Sciences1
III. Social Sciences and History
A. Social Sciences3
B. History3
IV. Cultural Diversity3
V. Arts & Humanities
A. Fine Arts3
B. Humanities3
Selected in consultation with advisor29
Total Minimum Credits60

Early College (Dual Enrollment) Student Graduation

In accordance with Board of Regents Admission Policy 301, students must have graduated from a high school accredited by the state accrediting agency, or have a high school equivalency completion assessment designated by the Montana Board of Public Education, to be admitted to any campus of the Montana University System.  Early college/dual enrollment students to MSU Billings and City College at MSU Billings are not fully admitted in accordance with this policy until these credentials are presented.

Students who are earning credits while still in high school are encouraged to submit a graduation application and participate in ceremonies if they have earned enough college level credits to do so.  However, conferral of a certificate of technical studies, certificate of applied science, associate of applied science, associate, or bachelor’s degree(s) will only be posted to a student’s transcript after receipt of these official credentials required for full admission.

Posthumous Degree

MSU Billings considers requests for awarding of a posthumous degree based on the following:  the student was enrolled at the time of death, was in good academic standing, and had completed two-thirds of the requirements for the degree to be awarded.  In the case of graduate students, the major professor, department head, and college dean should recommend to the Graduate Committee and the University administration potential recipients of posthumous graduate degrees.

Graduating with Honors

The designation of honors and high honors is awarded to associate degree or certificate recipients.  Honors recognizes students with a total academic grade point average of 3.50 to 3.74; high honors recognizes students with a total academic grade point average of 3.75 to 4.00.  Again, this designation is for associate degree or certificate recipients and based on their total cumulative grade point average which includes transfer work as well as academic work done at MSU Billings.

Graduation with honors will apply to students who earn their first and/or second bachelor's degree at MSU Billings.  Students who earn a second bachelor's degree at MSU Billings will have all of the grades earned in their first degree included in the determination of the recognition of academic honors.  In all cases and for all degrees or certificates, transfer credits earned elsewhere to this University must be calculated with the credits earned at MSU Billings in order to qualify for academic honors.


Commencement is held once each year at the end of the Spring term. The date of graduation and the degree a student is to receive will be posted on the student’s Official Academic Record at the end of the semester in which the student meets all requirements. The academic transcript is the official record of degree conferral. Diplomas are ordered after all degrees are awarded. Printing and preparation of the diplomas takes several months. Students will be notified when they are available for pick up. Diplomas not picked up will be mailed. Students should acquaint themselves with their specific majors’ academic requirements.  An advisor is assigned to every student; however, it is the student’s responsibility to know and meet the requirements for graduation.

A student who intends to graduate with a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, associate degree or certificate will be permitted to participate in the Spring semester commencement ceremony only if the student complies with the following procedure:

Students are to file their Application for Graduation the semester before the semester of graduation.  Application forms are available from Jacket Student Central, City College Tech Building, first floor, or online at All applications for graduation must be on file with the Registrar the semester prior to the semester of completion. Refer to the academic calendar for due dates. The fee should be paid at the Cashier’s Window or online after calling the Cashier at 406-247-3002 to have charge put on account. Then the application needs to be filed with Jacket Student Central, City College Tech Building, first floor.  This application is good for one year from the date of information supplied by the student on the Application for Graduation in the blank labeled “Semester/Year Graduating.”  After one calendar year from that date, the Application will be destroyed and the student will need to re-apply and the fee again.

  • The Application for Graduation is required in order to prepare and forward the final evaluation for graduation to the necessary offices for approval.  A student who submits an Application for Graduation after the designated due date will be assessed a late graduation application fee and may have the final evaluation for graduation processed the following semester and will graduate at the end of that particular semester.
  • The final evaluation will be circulated during the student’s final semester.  The final evaluation must be completed, must have all the required signatures, and must be returned to the Office of the Registrar before notification of the student’s graduation is posted on the student’s official academic record.
  • Student must meet, by the end of the Summer Session, all of the graded requirements for graduation or be enrolled in Pass/No Pass coursework the following Fall semester and meet all the requirements for graduation by the end of that Fall semester.

Diplomas are generally mailed near the end of the next academic term (i.e., Fall graduates will receive diplomas in early June, Spring graduates in January).

Please note:  Certain departments may have additional academic requirements that must be met before students will be permitted to graduate and/or participate in the commencement ceremony.  Students should check with their major department for any additional departmental requirements.

The determination for honors for students who will graduate at the end of the Spring semester or Summer Session will be calculated on the most recent semester completed.  Should a student’s cumulative grade point average (including any transfer work) at the end of the Spring semester or Summer Session entitle the student to an honors designation, this recognition will be recorded on the student’s Montana State University Billings academic record.

Release of Information

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Office of Admissions and Records at City College at Montana State University Billings may disclose directory information from the educational records of a student who is in attendance at the University.  If the student wishes to have all directory information excluded as public information, the student must notify Jacket Student Central, City College Tech Building first floor, within the first two weeks of the current academic year.  This notice is good until revoked in writing.

A complete copy of the MSU Billings’ FERPA policy is available upon request at the Registrar's Office or online at