StudentsIn order to improve students' preparation for college-level work, the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education requires the following Minimum Core College Preparatory Program for students who wish to enter into a 4-year campus of the Montana University System.  The Rigorous Core was created as an alternative to the mathematics proficiency expectations of the Montana University System. That Rigorous Core is also the criteria for the MUS Honors Scholarship.


College Prep - 4 Years: In each year the content of the course should have an emphasis upon the development of written and oral communication skills and literature.

Rigorous Core- 4 years: In addition to the Minimum Core, a designated college-prep or research-writing course is recommended.


College Prep - 3 Years: The courses shall include Global Studies (such as World History or World Geography); American History; and Government, Economics, Indian History or other third year courses.

Note: Students must complete a full year of global studies such as World History or World Geography, a full year of American History, and an additional year in another social studies field such as economics, problems of democracy, psychology, sociology, tribal government, Indian History.

Rigorous Core- 3 years: As above, with the recommendation of an additional one half year or more of other courses such as psychology, humanities.


College Prep - 3 Years: Courses shall include Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II (or the sequential content equivalent of theses courses). Students are encouraged to take a math course in their senior year.

NOTE: In school systems where a student may take Algebra I in the 8th grade, the student must still complete 3 years of college preparatory math in high school.

Rigorous Core-4 years: In addition to the Minimum Core, a course beyond Algebra II, or Integrated Math IV (such as Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Computer Math, or Integrated Math VI.) All must have grades of "C" or better.


College Prep - 2 Years: One year must be earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics; the other year can be one of those sciences or another approved college preparatory laboratory science.

Rigorous Core- 3 years: Typical Lab Sciences: Physical, earth science, biology, chemistry or physics.

NOTE: Your school may have additional courses listed as Lab Sciences.

Alternate Rigorous Core Math/Science Combination

Based on course availability, three years of mathematics, including a course beyond Algebra II, and four years of laboratory science may be substituted for the four years of math and three years of science requirement.


College Prep - 2 Years:

  • world language (preferable two years)
  • computer science
  • visual and performing arts, or
  • vocational education units which meet the Office of Public Instruction guidelines.

Rigorous Core- 3 years chosen from the following:
2 years of a World Language
Computer Science
Visual and Performing Arts (including Speech/Debate)
Vocational Education units which meet OPI guidelines (such as Information Technology, Computer Science.)

High schools may select courses offered by the Montana Digital Academy to complete their rigorous core or Regents' College Preparatory Programs.

To find your high school's approved College Preparatory and Rigorous Core curriculum, please visit the Office of Public Instruction website at 

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