Enrollment (Registration) & Residency

4.1 Enrollment

Minimum Enrollment Requirements
Continuous Enrollment Status
Leave of Absence Status                   
University Withdrawal

4.2 Residency

4.1 Enrollment

MINIMUM ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS — It is the student’s responsibility to enroll in the appropriate number of credits to satisfy all department, college, graduate school, and university criteria.

Students must be enrolled:

  • On or before the tenth (10th) class day of instruction as set forth by the Office of the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes. The Graduate School reserves the right to deny class registration to any student after tenth (10th) day of classes.

  • Each term they wish to use faculty time or university facilities (e.g., meeting with graduate committee chair, using the library, laboratory, and so forth).

  • For a minimum of three (3) credits during the term they sit for comprehensive examinations or defense.

  • For a minimum of three (3) credits during the term of graduation.

    • Certificate-seeking students are required to register for a minimum of one (1) credit during the term of graduation/conferral (updated November 2022). 

Note: Graduate Teaching or Research Assistants (GTAs/GRAs) see Graduate Assistantships.

Note: International Students see Office of International Programs.

CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT STATUS — To maintain graduate status, a student must be enrolled in three (3) or more credits (including thesis or dissertation) each term, excluding summer term.

Continuous enrollment status policy is applicable for:

Master’s students

  • Either after completion of the required content coursework on an approved Graduate Program of Study form (content coursework excludes thesis credits), OR
  • After passing any portion of the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral students

  • After passing any portion of the comprehensive examination.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE STATUS — A leave of absence applies to students who are in continuous enrollment status.

Students on a leave of absence:

  • Must notify their committee chair of their expected leave of absence.

  • May be absent from the university for a maximum of three (3) terms, excluding summer term, while in continuous enrollment status.

  • May take a leave of absence in consecutive or individual terms.

  • Cannot take any part of their written/oral comprehensive examination. See Comprehensive examination (masters and doctoral).

  • Cannot defend their thesis or dissertation.

  • Are not entitled to use university facilities.

  • Are not required to obtain formal approval from The Graduate School.

  • Must fill out an Intent to Register form to re-enroll in courses. See Re-enrollment/Registration.

Failure to maintain continuous enrollment status is evidence that the student is no longer pursuing a degree at MSU.

Additional absences may be approved for documented medical reasons or military duty.

RE-ENROLLMENT/REGISTRATION — Students wishing to register for coursework following one (1) or more terms of absence (excluding summer) cannot register (enroll) in coursework until they first complete an Intent to Register Form (See Returning Student) through the Office of the Registrar. An audit fee will be charged for degree seeking students who have been absent for more than three terms. 

RE-ADMISSION — Re-admission applies to students who would like to return to complete their degree-requirements, when they have exceeded the number of terms (3) allowed on a leave of absence while in continuous enrollment status. Re-admission also applies if a student has been suspended from a degree program and would like to return to complete their degree requirements.

To be re-admitted a student must:

  • Re-apply to the degree program by completing the Application for Graduate Admission. A new application and fee will be required. See General Guidelines.
  • Submit official transcripts of any academic work completed during the absence.
  • Submit a revised Graduate Program of Study form to The Graduate School. If the age of the coursework is older than six (6) years for a certificate or master's degree or older than ten (10) years for a doctoral degree the coursework cannot be included in the revised Graduate Program of Study. See Age of Courses.
  • Retake the written/oral comprehensive examination if the examination is no longer valid. See Comprehensive examination (masters and doctoral).
  • Maintain continuous enrollment to completion of the degree. See Continuous enrollment status.

UNIVERSITY WITHDRAWAL — If a graduate student wishes to leave the university or drop all credits during any term, the student must initiate a university withdrawal. Contact Office of Student Services at The Graduate School for a university withdrawal.

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4.2 Residency

Montana residency, for tuition purposes, is determined by the policies of the Board of Regents. The Graduate School reviews the residency status of each newly accepted graduate student.  

A non-resident domestic graduate student who would like to be considered a resident in the state of Montana, for tuition purposes, can find more information by reviewing the information provided on The Office of the Registrar website.

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