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The catalog serves as a guide for students and advisors in planning academic programs and degrees offered at the University. Students are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with procedures and standards, but should seek guidance from their advisors or the Registrar when questions arise. The following procedures and policies have been adopted to help students, faculty, and administrators successfully carry out the academic program of the University. These policies reflect University policy when the catalog was published. Changes enacted after this date will be published by appropriate means. Exceptions and deviations from normal academic policy may be requested through petition procedures available from the Registrar’s Office.
Montana State University-Northern is committed to the fundamental principle that the University exists to serve the students. All efforts of the University are aimed toward enabling students to realize their full potential in whatever field of endeavor they attempt. As a result of this commitment, Montana State University-Northern’s academic advising process is an integral component of the academic program and is considered to be a faculty responsibility. The academic advising program will enable students to:
Students may select or change their major or minor program at any time.
New students at Montana State University-Northern will work with the Advising Center during their first term of residency at MSU-Northern. The Center will help students select appropriate classes and complete the registration process during that first term.
After their first term of attendance at MSU-Northern, a faculty member in the student’s major program area will normally assume the advising responsibility. The faculty advisor will explain University academic requirements and assist individuals in selecting courses and fulfilling the steps necessary to satisfy graduation requirements. Students with questions about their majors are encouraged to contact their faculty advisor.
In order to be enrolled in a class, the student must register for the class by means of the procedures set out for registration. The student’s name must appear on the official class roster. Students who fail to register for classes prior to the deadline for doing so will not receive credit for the classes, even if they attend the classes and meet course requirements.
Applicants for Advanced Placement credit should ask the College Entrance Examination Board to submit official examination scores to the Office of Admissions. Credit will be granted for scores of 3, 4, or 5. This credit will be awarded to degree students for corresponding courses at the University. Grades will not be awarded. A notation of the award will be placed on the student’s transcript.
An auditor is a student who wishes to enroll in a course but does not wish to pursue the course for credit. Auditors will not be required to take examinations or meet course requirements. Audited courses are noted on the transcript as such. Enrollment as an auditor requires permission of the instructor after students pursuing course credit have had an opportunity to enroll. Auditors pay the same fees as credit students. Auditors may not change to credit enrollment after the last day to add classes.
A number of students who pre-register for classes do not return for the following term as anticipated. In order to establish orderly administration of the financial affairs of the University and to open the positions of these non-returning students in classes for which they pre-registered, a deadline for making fee arrangements is set for each term and announced by the Business Services office. Registrants who do not complete fee arrangements prior to the deadline are unregistered, and their positions in classes are made available to other students. Students whose registrations are canceled but who wish to attend the University for the canceled term must repeat the registration process. In addition, a late registration fee may be charged to offset the additional administrative expense of late registration.
Montana State University-Northern seeks to serve students who have achieved academic competency through nontraditional forms of study or work experience. The University awards credit based on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, DANTES transcripts, military training, Trade Competency Examinations, and other faculty approved competency measures. The Registrar maintains a list of courses and the procedures a student must follow in order to be awarded credit.
Each student is responsible for attending all classes regularly. Individual professors establish attendance policies for their courses. While a professor may not withdraw a student from a course, excessive absences may result in a grade of “F.”
Students are classified as follows:
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a national credit by examination program. This program provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement by taking an exam. Each institution determines which CLEP test and passing score it will accept for a specific course. All CLEP testing at MSU-Northern is online and costs a total of $75.00. Each exam is approximately 90 minutes long, and except for English Composition with Essay, is made up primarily of multiple-choice questions; however, some exams do have fill-ins. Credit earned through CLEP is assigned a grade of “Pass” and does not effect the grade point average. All CLEP credits awarded appear on the transcript and may apply towards graduation. CLEP credits may not be used for financial aid purposes or athletic eligibility.
For a complete list of exams that have equivalent courses at Northern or to schedule an exam please contact the Advising Center at (406) 265- 3760 or in Vande Bogart Library room 103.
Continuing education courses may be offered for credit. However, no more than 30 such credits may be applied toward a Bachelor’s degree. At the graduate level, no more than 12 credits may be applied toward a Master’s degree.
Cooperative Education is a program that allows students to earn academic credit and gain on-the-job experience in positions related to their field of study. Most disciplines include cooperative education courses, numbered 298 or 498. Cooperative Education is initiated with learning objectives defined through an agreement between the student, faculty, Cooperative Education Coordinator and the work supervisor. To be eligible for Cooperative Education, students must have completed one semester at the University and maintain a cumulative 2.00 grade point average. Students pursuing an associate degree may apply a total of 12 credits of Cooperative Education toward their degree requirements with the exception of Engineering Technology programs. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree may apply a total of 18 credits of Cooperative Education toward their degree requirements with the exception of Engineering Technology programs. These courses are taken Pass/Fail only.
Students repeating a course will forfeit the original grade and will receive the new grade.
Students must complete 15 - 16 credits each semester in order to complete a two-year or four-year degree within the minimum time. The following table explains the rules governing maximum credit loads:
First-time University students may not take more than 18 credits during their first semester.
Transfer students: In determining the maximum credit load that a transfer student can carry during his or her first semester at Montana State University-Northern, the University will use the cumulative grade point average earned by that student before he/she came to Northern. Once a student has earned credits at Northern, his/her Northern grade point average will be used to determine credit load.
The rules for credit load are different during summer semester, and students should consult the summer semester bulletin for an explanation.
The posting of credit earned outside of a traditional academic calendar term to Northern transcripts will be governed by the following rule: The credit will be posted to the Northern term during which the official transcript or report of the credit is received. If the official transcript or report is received when no Northern term is in progress, the credit will be posted to the Northern term following the receipt of the official transcript or report. In order to be considered an “official” transcript or report of credit, it must:
Students who are not able to physically attend classes on the Montana State University-Northern campus may still take courses leading to a degree by utilizing Northern’s distance learning options. Regional centers in Great Falls and Lewistown provide alternative sites for students to receive administrative and advising assistance, enroll in classes, pay fees, and register for financial aid. For more information about distance learning options please call (406) 265-3730.
A student may earn a second major and have it noted on his or her transcript by completing all course work for the second major. Students whose second majors fall within another degree type must follow procedures for a second undergraduate degree. Students should consult the policy on second undergraduate degrees, on page 200 of this catalog, to make sure they understand and satisfy the requirements of that policy if it applies to their additional program of study. Students who are applying for graduation with two majors will not be required to complete additional requirements for a minor required by either program.
Since Montana State University-Northern delivers coursework in a variety of formats, methods, and time frames, the drop and add deadlines for students are determined by the percentage of instructional time that has passed in each course. The specific deadlines are set out below:
The last week of each regular semester will be set aside for final examinations. The Registrar will publish an examination schedule every semester. The final examination week is the only time when final exams may be given for full semester classes. The University expects every class to meet at its scheduled time for final exams. There will be no scheduled extra-curricular activities or meetings during finals week. Each scheduled exam period will be two hours.
If students are scheduled for more than two (2) final examinations on the same day, they may ask for an adjustment. They should contact the instructors in their classes, and try to arrange alternative test times during the final exam week. If those negotiations are unsuccessful, students should ask their College Dean to mediate the conflict.
Independent study courses are offered at the discretion of individual faculty members and their Dean. Students who wish to enroll in independent study courses must first discuss the requested coursework with the instructor, then obtain the approval of the instructor’s dean.
Such approval is based on a preliminary plan of the intended nature, duration, and scope of the project. The work may be a regular catalog course or a course designed to meet the special needs of an individual student. Independent study courses will be numbered 292, 392, 492, 592, or 692 and will not appear on the regular schedule of classes. Students may not add independent study courses after the deadline for adding full semester classes. No more than 6 independent study credits may apply toward a Master’s degree, no more than 9 independent study credits may be applied toward a Bachelor’s degree and no more than 6 independent study credits may be applied toward an Associate or Associate of Applied Science degree. Independent study forms are available in the Registrar’s Office.
The Learning Experience Assessment Program is designed to provide opportunities to earn university credit for what has been learned through life and work experiences. Students who wish to pursue this means of earning credit will register for LEAP 289 and complete portfolios demonstrating how their competencies contribute toward degree requirements. Details concerning the LEAP program may be found in the university policy and procedures manual.
The only academic program that currently accepts LEAP credits is business. Students may also ask to have LEAP credits evaluated as distribution coursework under the general education program.
Degree-seeking students may change their academic majors and minors by following procedures available from the Registrar’s Office.
Non-degree-seeking students may apply for degree-seeking status at the Office of Admissions.
Degree-seeking students who have not selected majors are assigned a faculty advisor by the Advising Center and may request a change of advisor at that office. Those who have selected a major are assigned faculty advisors by the academic College which administers their chosen major and may request a change of advisor from the Dean of that academic College. Non-degree-seeking students are not assigned faculty advisors, but may seek assistance from the Registrar.
Exceptions and deviations from normal academic policy may be requested through petition forms and procedures available from the Registrar’s Office. Petitions and requested waivers are reviewed in a timely manner and students are notified of their approval or disapproval.
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the Registrar informs students that the University may disclose information from the education record of a student who is or has been in attendance at Montana State University-Northern. The following information is considered by the University to be public in nature:
Currently enrolled students have the right to refuse to permit the University to disclose the above information by submitting a “Privacy Rights” form. This form is the means by which the student notifies the Registrar of his/her intentions concerning the above information. The student is herewith notified that:
A student classified as a freshman may not enroll in an upper division course without the permission of the instructor.
To earn an additional degree, students must complete all coursework required in the degree program. A second degree will be awarded only when it differs from the student’s first degree. For example, if the second major is a Bachelor of Science degree and the first was a Bachelor of Arts degree, then a second degree would be awarded.
A second associate or associate of applied science degree requires a minimum of twelve additional credits; and a second baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of thirty additional credits. Normal residency requirements and all other academic regulations also apply. Students wishing to earn a second associate, associate of applied science, bachelor, or bachelor of applied science degree must complete the regular admission procedures. For double major, i.e., a second major within the same degree type, see the section entitled “Double Major” above.
Semester: Northern has three semesters in an academic year: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students normally attend two semesters in an academic year: Fall and Spring. When a policy refers to a number of semesters, or to “regular” semesters, it is referring to the Fall and Spring semesters only, to the exclusion of Summer semester, unless the policy expressly indicates to the contrary.
Experimental courses and courses for special topics may be offered from time to time. Such courses are numbered 291, 391, 491, 591, and 691 and will not be offered more than twice, excluding summer sessions or continuing education offerings, which may be offered more often.
Course substitutions are exceptions and deviations from normal academic policy and may be requested on forms available from the Registrar’s Office. A substitution requires the approval of the student’s faculty advisor, the academic College Dean of the student’s major, and the Dean of the academic College that offers the course.
Students who have had five or more years of work experience in an apprenticeable trade or licensed occupation may have their experience evaluated through a written and performance test administered by the National Occupational Competency Test Institute (NOCTI). This testing process, coupled with a committee evaluation of job success, may generate up to 39 credits toward earning a degree. Contact the Registrar or Dean of Education and Graduate Studies for more information.
Transfer students should read these policies carefully, so they are comfortable with the process of transcript evaluation and understand its steps.
Transfer credit will be given for courses in which satisfactory grades were received. A satisfactory grade for transfer purposes is defined as A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- or S.
Course waivers are exceptions and deviations from normal academic policy and may be requested on forms available from the Registrarís Office. A waiver requires the approval of the studentís advisor, the academic Director of the studentís major. A waiver does not constitute a reduction of required credits. Students who receive a waiver for a course do not receive the credit hours for that course.
Students may withdraw from the University by completing the procedures and forms available in the Registrar’s Office. Course grades will be determined as set out in the Drop and Add Policy.