Freshmen (First-Time Undergraduates)

Freshmen students are those who have completed high school, or its equivalent, and have never attended a college or university. Students that have attempted less than 12 quarter or semester college-level credits at another regionally accredited college or university after high school graduation are considered an incoming freshman. Students who have earned college-level course credit, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate credits while still attending high school are also considered incoming freshmen.

Academic Eligibility

Students who do not meet all freshman admission requirements listed below are still encouraged to apply for admissions and submit the necessary credentials. MSU-Northern is allowed a number of exemptions to the stated requirements and will examine each student's credentials on a case-by-case basis for admissibility.

Admission Requirements (Resident and Non-Resident)

  1. Graduation from a regionally accredited high school or one accredited by the State Department of Education,  or a passing score on an approved high school equivalency exam such as HiSET or GED, or obtained qualifying scores on the ACT Compass Exam.
  2. MSU-Northern Academic Requirements:
    ONE of the following:
  • A High School Grade Point Average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), OR
  • ACT Enhanced Composite score of 20, OR
  • SAT combined critical reading/mathematics/writing score of 1050 OR
  • Rank in the upper half of the graduating class

AND

Students must meet one of the three following categories for admission as a full-time freshman.

A Minimum Core with Test Requirement

Course Years College Prep Exam Score
Mathematics 3 Algebra I, II and Geometry (or the sequential content equivalent of these courses). Mathematics course in senior year encouraged ACT Math 22
SAT Math 27.5
CLEP 50
English 4 Written and oral communication skills and literature. ACT/SAT Essay 7
ACT Eng/Writ 18
SAT Writing 25
CLEP 50
Science 2 2 lab sciences: one year must be earth science, biology, chemistry or physics.
Social Studies 3 Global studies (world history, world geography), American history, and government. Economics, American Indian history or other third-year courses.
Electives 2 Foreign language, computer science, visual and performing arts, or vocational education.

OR

B Minimum Core with AP Credit by Exam

Course Years Advanced Placement Exam Score
Mathematics Advanced Placement courses designed to prepare students for these exams. Calculus AB 3+
Calculus BC 3+
English Advanced Placement Courses designed to prepare students for these exams. English Language 3+
English Literature 3+
English 4 Written and oral communication skills and literature.
Science 2 2 lab sciences: one year must be earth science, biology, chemistry or physics.
Social Studies 3 Global studies (world history, world geography), American history, and government. Economics, American Indian history or other third-year courses.
Electives 2 Foreign language, computer science, visual and performing arts, or vocational education.

OR

C Rigorous Core without Test Requirement

Course Years
Mathematics 3 Algebra I, II, geometry (or the sequential content equivalent of these courses, i.e. three levels of Integrated Mathematics )
1 A course beyond Algebra II or beyond Integrated Math III (such as Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Computer Math, Integrated Math IV). All with grades of C or better.
English 4 Written and oral communication skills, literature, and a designated college-prep composition or research-writing course.
Science 3 Full year each: General, physical or earth science; biology; chemistry or physics.
Social Studies 3 Global studies (world history, world geography), American history; government, economics, American Indian history or other third-year courses. Recommendation: one half year or more of other courses such as psychology, humanities.
Electives 3 2 years of a second language, music, fine arts, speech/debate, career and technical education (such as information technology, computer science).

*Temporary Mathematics and Writing Standards: Effective April 16, 2020 through September 1, 2021, students may demonstrate proficiency in mathematics and writing as follows:

  1. Mathematics:
    1. A cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher; or
    2. A cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher AND an Algebra II course grade of C or better.
  2. Writing:
    1. A cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher; or
    2. A cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher AND a course grade of C or better in an 11th grade English course.

Students who do not demonstrate the ability to meet the mathematics and/or writing proficiency standards may be admitted provisionally to a four-year degree program and without condition to a two-year degree program.

The following categories of students are exempt from the admissions requirements above:

  1. Non-traditional students (students that graduated from high school at least three years prior to enrollment);
  2. Summer-only students;
  3. Part-time students taking seven or fewer college or university level credits. For the purpose of this section, "university- level credits" means those courses that are applicable toward an associate of applied science, associate of science, bachelor of applied science, or baccalaureate degree at Montana State University-Northern.