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Online Colleges in Montana

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This is your one-stop resource for information on online education in Montana. We begin with a general overview of higher education in the state and then document Montana’s state-specific initiatives and any progress they’ve made in supporting online education.

We also reviewed the entirety of Montana’s online offerings and then ranked the top online colleges based on affordability. After browsing these profiles, be sure to take note of the scholarships and higher education resources for Montana, located at the bottom of the page. Remember that the best option for your desired online degree may lie outside your home state, so feel free to browse our nationwide database of online colleges as well.

Postsecondary Education in Montana

The Center on Budget and Policies Priorities reported that from 2013 to 2014 there was an 13.3% increase ($62) in state spending per student in Montana.

CollegeBoard reports that, for in-state students, 2014-15 tuition in Montana’s public four-year schools came to $6,279 ― a rise of only 3% over the last 5 years.

The first-year retention rate for full-time/first-time undergraduates attending Montana schools is 70.1%.

Online Education in Montana

NCES Report

According to a recent NCES report, in fall 2012, 6.3% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Montana (3,410 students) were in exclusively online programs.

  • 75% of those students were undergraduates
  • 65.4% were in public 4-year institutions
  • 9.5% were in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 84.1% were living in Montana
  • 14.8% were living elsewhere in the United States

Montana distance programs like UMOnline and MUS Distance Learning are responsible for a wealth of fully online options, totaling to over 90 online degrees.

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Montana

Below you’ll find the very best online colleges in Montana, sorted by affordability. These rankings identify the fully online programs in a school’s catalogue, explain how the school’s online interface works and spotlight the recognition a school has received for its online initiatives.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.


We use data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every ranked school offers a range of programs that can be completed fully online. Schools with narrow program offerings were not included. Tuition rates reflect the annual cost of enrolling full-time in state. Rates are pulled directly from the schools' websites or from IPEDS. Unless otherwise stated, these figures do not include program-specific fees. If schools do not share a general tuition rate, we provide the institution's quoted rate for a bachelor's degree in liberal arts or estimate a full-time annual course load of 24 credits. When tuition rates were equal, schools that reported higher rates of aid ranked higher.

Montana State University – Billings

Montana State University – Billings

An Online Education at Montana State University – Billings

MSU Billings provides students with a significant array of certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's programs available entirely online through the Desire2Learn virtual classroom. Distance learners can use this platform for a variety of academic tasks, such as viewing course content, posting on classroom discussion boards, submitting assignments and taking exams. Instructors may choose to host synchronous class meetings; schedule details are outlined in the syllabus.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration (AS)
  • Human Resource Management - General Applied Emphasis (AS)
  • Business Administration (BSBA) - General Business Option
  • Communication - Mass (BA)
  • Health Administration (BSHA)
  • Applied Science (BAS)
  • Liberal Studies (BSLS)

Graduate applicants may need to submit scores for the GRE, GMAT or MAT. Prospective students should check with relevant departments for information on minimum score requirements.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Special Education Advanced
  • Public Relations (MSPR)
  • Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling
  • Special Education Generalist
  • Educational Technology (MEd)
  • Health Administration (MHA)

Numerous student services are available to online learners, including academic advising, career counseling, a digital bookstore and disability support. Students can reach a tech support help desk Monday through Friday by calling 406-247-5755.

Contact Information

1500 University Drive
Billings, MT 59101-0298
(406) 657-2011

Montana State University – Northern

Montana State University – Northern

An Online Education at Montana State University – Northern

The MSU Northern Extended University offers a modest selection of associate, bachelor's and master's degrees 100% online. Courses are delivered through the Desire2Learn system, a popular virtual classroom platform that features discussion boards, shared academic materials and a digital dropbox for assignments. Online learners can customize their degree experience by choosing a major, such as Small Business Management, Business Technology or Marketing.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Masters of Education Instruction & Learning

Graduate applicants are expected to have a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0. Admitted students must still go through a separate application process for graduate candidacy.

Contact Information

300 W 11th St
Havre, MT 59501
(406) 265-3700

Montana State University

Montana State University

An Online Education at Montana State University

The Extended University at MSU's main campus offers a greater selection of fully online graduate degree programs than its satellite campus in Havre. Students may also attend licensure, professional development and certificate courses totally online. Distance learners use the Desire2Learn system, a virtual classroom distinguished by its interactive message boards, surveys, course materials and assignment drop boxes.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Degree Completion in Liberal Studies B.A.

Graduate applicants should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Some departments require students to submit standardized exam scores, such as the MAT, GRE or GMAT.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Agricultural Education M.S.
  • Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed.
  • Science and Engineering Management M.S.E.M.
  • Educational Leadership M.Ed.
  • Family Financial Planning M.S.
  • Land Resources and Environmental Sciences M.S.
  • Mathematics - Mathematics Education Option M.S.

Online courses at MSU last for a full semester, with admissions occurring on a rolling basis. Distance learners are expected to spend about 9-12 hours each week on their studies per class. Students can access a tech support help desk Monday - Friday by calling 406-994-1777.

Contact Information

Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-0211

University of Great Falls

University of Great Falls
Great Falls

An Online Education at University of Great Falls

This private Catholic institution offers associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs entirely online. UGF embraces synchronous and asynchronous learning formats with special course designations: "D" section courses include real-time online conferences through Microsoft Lync, while courses marked "ASY" accommodate students who want the flexibility of choosing when to login. The Moodle LMS hosts UGF's asynchronous courses, featuring interactive tools like classroom wiki pages, surveys, instant messaging and discussion forums.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Graduate applicants are not required to submit admissions test scores unless their cumulative undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0. If so, prospective students must meet minimum GRE score requirements of 150 in Verbal Reasoning and 149 in Quantitative Reasoning.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master in Science of Organizational Management (MSM)

Online courses at UGF are capped at 15 students to preserve a certain quality of distance education. Course instructors serve as students' main point of contact for technical assistance, should the need arise.

Contact Information

1301 Twentieth St S
Great Falls, MT 59405-4996
(406) 761-8210

Scholarships and Financial Aid in Montana

Entering Montana Resident Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

This scholarship is available to all students entering the University of Montana. The award amount is based on applicants’ academic merit. To qualify for the maximum award of $2,000 per year, students must have a GPA of 3.9+ and an ACT score of 34+.

Haynes Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: open
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

Available to full-time undergraduate students at Montana State University. To be eligible, applicants must be graduates of a Montana high school with a GPA of 3.5+. A demonstration of financial need is required. The Haynes Foundation scholarships are awarded to 30 students each year.

Heisey Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: open
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The Heisey Foundation scholarships are available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Montana State University Billings. To be eligible, students must have graduated high school in Montana (this scholarship is not available to out-of-state students). Award amounts vary.

Hubert & Viola Abrams Scholarship

Deadline: open
Scholarship Amount $800 See Scholarship

The Hubert & Viola Abrams scholarship totals $800. It is available to juniors and seniors at Montana State University. To be eligible, applicants must have financial need, a GPA of 3.0+, and must be residents of eastern Montana.

Lesley Sherman Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $250 See Scholarship

The Lesley Sherman Memorial Scholarship is open to Montana State University students who have declared a program of study at the City College. Applicants must be full-time students with a GPA of 2.0+ and demonstrated financial need; must be from a small town.

Montana University System Honor Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount Full tuition See Scholarship

The Montana University System Honors Scholarship is available to students who graduated from a Montana high school within the last nine months. Interested students should contact their high school guidance counselors for eligibility and application requirements.

MSU-Billings Foundation Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $1,350 See Scholarship

Montana State University’s Edna Frost Bookstore Scholarships are awarded to one male student and one female student each year. To be eligible, students must have completed two semesters with a GPA of 3.0+, demonstrate financial need, and be Montana residents.

National Merit Gold/Silver Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

Available to National Merit finalists and semi-finalists who indicate the University of Montana as their first-choice school to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Selection is based on academic merit. The award amount is $2,000 per year for finalists or $1,000 per year for semi-finalists.

Sophia Kampfer Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $5,000 See Scholarship

Saint Catherine University offers the Sophia Kampfer Scholarship to incoming transfer students. To be eligible, applicants must be residents of Montana, and must demonstrate financial need. The award amount is $5,000 or more.

Higher Education Resources in Montana