Ranching Systems Degree Student Application

Application Period: October 3 - October 24, 2022

The Ranching Systems Degree at Montana State University is a limited enrollment program with the goal of providing high-quality, individually tailored educational opportunities to prepare students with the diverse array of skills in livestock production, rangeland ecology, business management and human resources needed by today’s ranch managers.

This application is open to sophomore students who have a minimum of 36 credits (including currently enrolled classes) of courses related to the Ranching Systems Degree plan and have a current GPA of 3.0 or better.

Application materials:

  • Cover Letter, introducing yourself and describing your background (both on and off-ranch experience), and explaining why are you interested in the Dan Scott Ranch Management Program. Describe how a bachelor’s degree in Ranching Systems fits your career plans for the future.
  • Current transcripts
  • 2 letters of recommendation from non-relatives
  • Résumé
  • Answers to the essay questions below

Essay Questions

Answer the questions below to the best of your ability, and in a manner that represents your personal beliefs, not the answer you think we want to receive. Please limit your answers for each question to a single page, double spaced in a 12 point font.

  1. ESSAY QUESTION: The DSRMP has identified a set of characteristics ideal for students in the program to possess; “ethics, integrity, and passion”. What do each of these characteristics mean to you (in the context of ranch management) and how would you model those characteristics as a future manager?
  2. ESSAY QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the most important professional skills that a ranch manager should possess? What are your strengths and weaknesses relative to these skills and how will this degree program grow your strengths and help you address and overcome your weaknesses?
  3. ESSAY QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the two most important short-term (e.g. 2 years) and the two most important long-term (e.g. 10-20 years) issues / challenges facing the ranching industry in Montana and the West?
  4. ESSAY QUESTION: Acceptance into the DSRMP includes 2 summer sessions as an intern on a working ranch. What do you hope to gain from the internship? What about the internship are you most looking forward to? Is there anything about the internship that makes you nervous or apprehensive?

Timelines from application to notifications

  • October 3rd , 2022 - Applications open for admittance to Ranching Systems Program (2025 Cohort)
  • October 24th, 2022 –Applications due for Ranching Systems Program by 11:59 PM.
  • November 2022 - Applicants screened as qualified or not-qualified based on their application portfolio, and current GPA.
  • November 8th, 2022 - qualified applicants have interview with Program Leader and Steering Committee members
  • December 2022 - applicants receive notification of acceptance
  • January - April 2023 – Students interview with host ranch. Students receive preliminary training in basic agriculture safety practices, leadership, and personal communication. Mentor orientation conducted virtually.
  • April 2023 – Students and ranches agree to site specific learning objectives and sign internship MOU.
  • May 2023 – Students begin internship.

How are students placed at host ranches?

  • Host ranches have the option to interview students for selection as an intern.
  • As much as possible, we will accommodate the needs of individual students and host ranches when pairing interns with locations.
  • We aspire to place students in locations where they will be stretched in their knowledge and experiences. When possible, students will be placed on host ranches that have different goals, purposes, and priorities than operations on which they have previous experience. We presume students would prefer to be placed on a working ranch that offers maximum potential for expanding their experience and knowledge, rather than limit their learning opportunity in favor of a specific geographic preference.

Dismissal from the Program

Students may be dismissed from the DSRMP prior to graduation for the following reasons:

  • Failure to maintain a GPA of 3.0 for more than 1 semester (With the exception of personal or family tragedy or extreme stress)
  • Academic misconduct as defined by MSU Student Conduct Code
  • Engaging in any illegal activities while a DSRMP student


Send application materials to: Rachel Frost, Program Lead | Dan Scott Ranch Management Program |
Department of Animal & Range Sciences | Montana State University | P.O. Box 172900 | Bozeman, MT 59717 or
email to frost@montana.edu.


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