The first two years of classes are open enrollment, which means any student may apply to Montana State University and pursue the first two years of the Dan Scott Ranch Management Program, Ranching Systems Degree curriculum. During the fall of the second year of the Ranching Systems Degree curriculum, students are required to apply for formal admission to the Ranching Systems Degree Program, which will start with the summer internship following the sophomore year. The Ranching Systems Degree Program has a limited enrollment of 10 students per year to ensure that each student has the highest quality educational and internship experience possible. Admission to the program will be awarded to those applicants with the greatest potential, including demonstrated experience and high scholastic achievement.

Click here to apply for the program.


The application process opens in September and closes in October for Program admittance and internships the following year. Applications are now open for 2021 Program and Internship.

Admission and continued enrollment in the Ranching Systems Degree Program is based on: 1) maintaining a GPA of 3.0, 2) submitting a letter of application and interviewing with the Ranching Systems Degree Program Admissions Group and 3) successfully completing the first two years of course work. Transfer students will be evaluated on an individual basis, but must complete one full academic year at MSU and completed or have in-process all the requirements listed below before applying to the Ranching Systems Degree Program.


  • 3.0 overall GPA with no less than a C- in any required course
  • Letter of application and interview with the Ranching Systems Degree Admissions Group
  • Required Course Work - To apply for admittance, a student must have completed or have in process a minimum of 40 hours of the required courses listed below with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Students admitted to the program must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better to remain in the program.

Other proposed elements for standards of admission

  • References – higher points for ranch related (non-family) references
  • Communication Skills (written and oral)
  • Commitment
  • Diversity (i.e. course work and activities outside of the program)
  • Community Service
  • Experience in Ag
  • Engagement (Department, COA, University seminars, organizations, etc.)

Required or in-progress courses prior to admission:

Required or in-progress courses prior to admission 
ACTG 201

Principles of Financial Accounting

CHMY 123

Intro to 0rganic and Biochemistry
ACTG 202 Principles of Managerial Accounting
US Public Communication
ANSC 100                   Introduction to Animal Science ECNS 101IS Economic Way of Thinking
ANSC 234 Livestock Management – Beef ECNS 204IS Microeconomics
ANSC 265 Anatomy & Physiology of Domestic Animals ENSC 245 Soils
BIOB 160 Principles of Living Systems NRSM 101 Natural Resource Conservation
BIOB 170IN      Principles of Biological Diversity NRSM 102 Montana Range Plants
BIOO 230 Identification of Seed Plants STAT 216Q Statistics
BMIS 211 Introduction to Business Decision Support WRIT 101W College Writing
CHMY 121IN Intro to General Chemistry