University Highlights

Marks of Distinction







Quality of Life

Conferences and Events

Academic Marks of Distinction

UM is the 26th top degree producer for Native American students in the nation, according to the Diverse: Issues in Higher Education list, “2014 Top 100 Degree Producers.”

UM's science studies ranked internationally and best in the state in the National Taiwan University Ranking’s 2014 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities.

UM has been ranked among the top 350 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2014-15, 2013-14 and 2012-13.

The 2015 Best College rankings from U.S. News and World Report listed UM as tied for 194th place.

UM law students took first place in the 2014 American Bar Association-sponsored Law School Regional Negotiation Competition. 

In 2013 and 2014, UM was named one of the nation's top 100 Universities based on research, service and social mobility, according to Washington Monthly magazine, a nonprofit publication.

In 2014, a team of UM students won the 18th International Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl after competing against undergraduate students from 32 different universities. 

In September 2014, UM's Department of Psychology recently received a five-year, $1.2 million federal grant to continue its highly successful Indians Into Psychology (InPsych) Program.

UM has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other university in Rocky Mountain West.

In 2014, the Center for World University Rankings ranked UM No. 604 out of universities worldwide, placing UM in the top 2.8 percent of more than 22,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education.

The Penetralia Chapter of Mortar Board National Honor Society at UM received a prestigious Gold Torch Award at the 2014 Mortar Board National Conference for demonstrating significant accomplishments in chapter management and contributed meaningful service to UM. 

UM leads the nation in producing Udall Scholars, which are selected on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy, as well as their leadership potential and academic achievement.

Since 2002, UM’s creative writing graduates have published more than 225 books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

100% of Missoula College Culinary Arts students are placed in jobs upon graduation.

95% of students in the College of Forestry and Conservation work or intern in a position related to their degree while in school; 80% of those are paid positions.

The School of Law’s moot court team won the 2000 national championship.

Students in UM’s premed advising program have an 80% acceptance rate to the medical schools of their choice.

UM’s School of Business Administration Class of 2013 scored in the 94th percentile overall on the nationally administered Business Major Field Test.

The Princeton Review has named UM named one the top four-year colleges and universities in North America in 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

Ten UM students and recent graduates earned Fulbright Scholarships in 2013.

UM Athletic Training students have a 100% pass rate on the State Board Exams.

School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science: Graduation rate: 96.9% Licensure examination pass rate: 100% Employment rate: 100%

Wildlife Biology is one of the top-ranked wildlife programs nationally.

UM’s School of Law was recognized by the national publication prelaw, a National Jurist publication, for its innovative law firm program for first-year students. The School of Law also was named a “Best Value Law School” by National Jurist Magazine in both 2012 and 2013.

In 2013, UM's School of Journalism was ranked the ninth best college journalism program in the country in a poll by NewsPro magazine and the Radio Television Digital News Association. 

During fall semester 2014, 832 international students from 81 different countries attended UM. That's up from more than 550 students from 72 countries were enrolled at UM during fall semester 2013.

UM recently was ranked in the top 300 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Furthermore, UM is in the top 25 percent of universities for the scholarly accomplishments of its faculty, according to the same rankings.

During the past five years, students and faculty members in UM's School of Journalism have won 13 Emmy Awards from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. That's more than any other college or university in the Northwest.

The Online College Database recently ranked UM 43rd on its “50 Colleges Advancing Women in STEM” list released in September 2013. UM offers 66 science, technology and math programs, and the 450 women enrolled in them make up 56 percent of STEM students. 

In September 2013, UM was named one of America’s 100 Best College Buys by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc., an independent research and consulting organization.

In the spring of 2013, the Society of Professional Journalists awarded UM journalism students 14 first-place awards and 13 second- and third-place awards at the regional SPJ competition.

 According to the NCAA, UM scholarship athletes who enrolled in the 2005-06 academic year held the highest federal graduation rate in the Big Sky Conference. Seventy-seven percent of those scholarship athletes graduated within six years. 

Civic Marks of Distinction

During the 2013-14 academic year, 2,991 students engaged in volunteer service through student-group activities, AmeriCorps service and service-learning courses. In total, UM students spent 221,832 hours volunteering during the academic year. 

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored UM with a place on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded UM a 2015 Community Engagement Classification. 

UM ranked No. 12 on the Peace Corps’ 2013 Top Colleges list for medium-sized schools. Nearly 800 UM alums have served as Peace Corps volunteers. Additionally, UM ranks No. 7 on the Peace Corps’ 2013 list of top Master’s International programs. 

More than 400 UM employees recently participated in the 2014-15 Charitable Giving Campaign by donating $94,928 to local charitable organizations.

UM was named to President Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. The designation is the highest national honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.

College of Forestry and Conservation students work for more than 150 nonprofits, federal and state agencies, and private companies in the natural resource field while in school.

The Montana Board of Crime Control awarded the UM Criminology Research Group a Certificate of Outstanding Program award in 2014 to recognize its contributions to public safety, crime prevention and victim assistance to the state. 

Nearly half of all UM students commute to campus by foot, bike or bus.

UM student-athletes spent more than 700 hours engaged in community service during the 2012-13 academic year.

UM Dining received a gold medal in the 2013 Sustainability Awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services.

UM earned a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of their sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in 2014. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.  

The Princeton Review named UM one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges” in 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

In 2011, 2,068 UM students volunteered 169,190 hours of service to the local community.

In 2011, The Payne Family Native American became the first building at UM to receive LEED Platinum status, the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for achieving sustainable building standards.

G.I. Jobs, a magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has designatedUM as a “Military Friendly School” in 2011.

Faculty Marks of Distinction

Benedicte Boisseron, an associate professor of French and Francophone language and literature at UM, received the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award for “Creole Renegades: Rhetoric of Betrayal and Guilt in the Caribbean Diaspora.”

In fall 2014, UM biology Professor Ragan "Ray" Callaway was appointed UM's 10th Regents Professor. Regents Professor is the top rank awarded to faculty members in the Montana University System. See a full list of Regents Professors here.

Annie Belcourt, a UM College of Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences assistant professor, has accepted an invitation from Harvard University to be a JPB Environmental Health Fellow from October 2014 through December 2017. 

Brian Steele, an associate professor in UM's Department of Mathematical Sciences, recently received a 2014 IBM Big Data Faculty Award.

UM College of Forestry and Conservation fire science Professor Ron Wakimoto received the 2014 Biswell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology. 

In 2014, religious studies professor Nathaniel Levtow was the recipient of a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. 

Shali Zhang, dean of UM's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, was the 2014 recipient of the American Library Association International Relations Committee’s John Ames/Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award.

The Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants named University of Montana Associate Professor Joshua Herbold recipient of the 2013 Jack Kempner Outstanding Educator Award.

The American Society of Mammalogists recently awarded UM Wildlife Biology Professor and Craighead Chair Joel Berger the 2013 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. 

College of Forestry and Conservation Professor Carl Seielstad earned the 2013 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award from a national interagency wildfire committee.

Regents Professor of Ecology Steve Running was ranked one of the top 20 most productive authors worldwide in remote sensing research. The ranking was published in the Scientometrics journal, and determined by analyzed citations of remote sensing research between 1991 and 2010.

Radio-Television Department Associate Professor Ray Fanning’s radio series, “Preventing Wrongful Convictions- False Eyewitness Identification,” has been named Montana’s best non-commercial radio program for 2012.

“Winter in the Blood,” a film co-directed by UM Associate Professor Andrew Smith and his twin brother, Alex, was selected to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2013. 

University of Montana Regents Professor of Ecology Steve Running has been appointed to the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee and chair of the Earth Science subcommittee within that council.

UM environmental studies instructor Rosalyn LaPier from the Blackfeet Reservation appointed to a three-year term on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which advises the Environmental Protection Agency. 

UM Professor Beth Lo was one of four American artists commissioned to create a ceramic piece of art for the Seventh Geonggi International Ceramic Biennale 2013. 

UM photojournalism and multimedia Associate Professor Jeremy Lurgio's project “Lost & Found Montana”  was named one of 20 “Best of 2013” projects by American Society of Media Photographers.

Associate Professor Cara Nelson, who teaches restoration ecology at UM and directs the Wildland Restoration Program, was elected chair of the Society for Ecological Restoration for a two-year term in 2013.

Three faculty members have received the coveted Guggenheim Fellowship Awards worth more than $30,000. Wildlife biology Professor L. Scott Mills was named a fellow in 2009. In the Department of English, Judy Blunt received the award in 2006 and Debra Magpie Earling earned the distinction in 2007.

Research Marks of Distinction

In October 2014, a team led by UM researcher Frank Rosenzweig was awarded a five-year, $8.2 million NASA grant to study how life evolved and became more complex on Earth. 

UM received a $45 million cooperative agreement award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency announced in May 2014. The five-year research award is the largest in the history of UM. Under the agreement, UM will help the Corps study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems across the nation. 

In 2014, UM purchased a single-crystal X-ray diffractometer. The device is the only small-molecule diffractometer in Montana and this part of the Rocky Mountain West.

UM joined the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership, a new national network that in 2014 received a three-year, $2.4 million grant to increase the number of indigenous Americans obtaining advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

In July 2013, NASA awarded UM researchers a grant to support a $1.125 million project to help build a dedicated observatory to detect Earth-like exoplanets. 

In 2013, U.S. Army awarded UM researcher Dave Poulsen a $1 million grant to further develop a drug that limits damage caused by traumatic brain injuries. 

For the first time ever, a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) at a Montana university was granted a Phase 3 award from the National Institutes of Health. The $5 million, five-year, Institutional Development Award went to the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at UM. It was awarded in 2013.

In 2014, UM Research Assistant Professors Sarj Patel and Tom Rau received a $300,000 grant awarded by General Electric Co. and the National Football League to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury. Their research aims to determine blood-based biomarkers that indicate how the brain reacts following a traumatic brain injury.

UM's College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences is ranked fourth nationally out of 92 schools and colleges of pharmacy in biomedical research funding. (2006)

Athletic Marks of Distinction

Montana student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.02 during spring semester 2013. Nine of Montana's 12 programs had semester GPAs of 3.15 or better.

The Lady Griz basketball team has made 20 NCAA Tournament appearances. The team has also won 22 regular-season Big Sky Conference championships.

The Griz basketball team has made 10 appearances at the NCAA men’s basketball tourney.

The Grizzly football team won the Division I-AA National Championship in 1995 and 2001 and was national championship runner-up in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

The women's tennis team was undefeated in Big Sky Conference play in 2014 and the men's tennis team won its first-ever Big Sky Conference Championship in 2014.

Griz hurlers won the 2014 national collegiate hurling championship held during May in New York. The 2015 national tournament will be played at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

On May 21, 2003, UM student Jess Roskelley became the youngest American to summit Mount Everest.

In 2013, the Sports Network named Washington-Grizzly Stadium the top facility in the Football Championship Subdivision, praising its atmosphere and Montana’s 174-24 record in the stadium.

UM’s grizzly mascot, Monte, was named Capital One National Mascot of the Year in 2002-03 and 2004-05.

During home Grizzly football games, Washington-Grizzly Stadium becomes the seventh largest city in Montana with 25,217 “residents.”

Alumni Marks of Distinction

In December 2014, School of Law Alumnus Sidney Thomas was named chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Thomas will lead the court that shapes federal law for California and eight other Western states for a term of seven years.

Department of Curriculum and Instruction graduate Anna Baldwin was named Montana’s Teacher of the Year for 2014. Anna teaches English and history at Arlee High School north of Missoula.

Nine Pulitzer Prize winning journalists are among UM School of Journalism alumni.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UM in 2013. Justice O’Connor has long-standing ties to the UM School of Law.

UM senior Hilary Martens was named one of Glamour magazine's "Top 10 College Women" in 2007.

Accounting alum Eric Sprunk was named COO of Nike in 2013. Sprunk has worked at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., for several years. He’s one of several UM alums employed there.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, a 1976 graduate of the UM School of Law, received an honorary doctorate from the University College Cork, Ireland, in 2013.

As director of the Office of Indian Education in Washington, D.C., UM alumnus Joyce Silverthorne helps craft successful education policy that meets the needs of Native students across the country. 

Jim Messina, the architect of President Barack Obama’s successful campaign for re-election, graduated from UM in 1993, where he studied political science and journalism. 

Several professional athletes got their start at UM. Professional triathletes Linsey Corbin and Ben Hoffman both got their start with UM’s triathlete club, Team Stampede. Other professional athletes who came from UM include: Megan Fisher, who competed and medaled in the 2012 Paralympics, and UM alumna Georgia Gould who represented Team USA at seven World Mountain Biking Championships and rode on the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic mountain bike teams.

President George W. Bush’s first two nominees for U.S. District Court judgeships were UM law alumni Richard Cebull of Great Falls and Sam Haddon of Missoula, sworn in in 2001.

Actor JK Simmons graduated from UM in 1978 with a degree in music. His father, Don Simmons, was a music professor and department chair at UM.

Lead singer Colin Meloy of the band the Decemberists graduated from UM in 1998 with a degree in creative writing.

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament attended UM in the 1980s before moving to Seattle.

Author and television star Steve Rinella of MeatEater earned his master’s degree in creative writing at UM in 2000.

Quality of Life Marks of Distinction ranked Missoula as No. 8 on its 2015 list of best small to mid-sized cities in the U.S. named UM one of "8 Best Colleges for Winter Sports" in 2014. 

Fodor's Travel ranked Missoula No. 2 among the nation's best river towns in August 2014.

Missoula was ranked one of the Top 10 Best Places to Retire in 2014 by

Local residents explain what makes this community so special in this video produced by favorite local coffee shop Liquid Planet. 

UM was ranked one of "The 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses" in 2014 by 

Outside magazine named Missoula No. 9 in their August 2014 article titled "The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America."

In June 2014, named Missoula one of "America's Best Small Cities on the Rise" noting that "this hip University of Montana city is known for its outdoor adventures, but over the past few years, downtown's revitalization has stolen the spotlight," and saying Missoula "has the coolest combination of eclectic residents: academics, forestry folks, authors, musicians, and fly-fishing junkies."

A video by Hi-Line Films titled "One Day in Missoula" captures some of the many things that makes Missoula a great town. 

In 2013, named Missoula No. 7 on the list of Best Colleges Towns and one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.

The Huffington Post named Missoula one of "20 U.S. Cities You Must Visit in Your 20s" in 2013.

Outside magazine named Missoula one of the nation’s Best River Towns in 2013.

Outside Magazine also named Missoula as one of the top five towns to raise children who are hooked on the outdoor life.

Missoula was named the #2 Healthiest and Greenest Cities in America in April 2012.

Montana is ranked 7th happiest state by the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

UM was named among “Best Colleges for Winter Enthusiasts” by U.S. News and World Report in 2011.

The American Institute for Economic Research College Destinations Index  ranked Missoula among the top College Towns in the U.S. in 2012.

Conferences and Events

UM hosted the Assocation for Fire Ecology's Large Wildland Fires conference in 2014.

The UM Wildlife Biology Program and the Montana Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology co-hosted the second North America Congress for Conservation Biology in 2014. More than 900 leading conservation scientists and practitioners attended.

In 2014, UM hosted the 37th Annual Western Apicultural Society Conference and the second International Conference on Hive and Honeybee Monitoring.

Sir Paul McCartney played UM's Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Aug. 5, 2014.

UM's College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences hosted the seventh National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit in 2013.

UM and Salish Kootenai College co-hosted the College Board’s Native American Student Advocacy Institute’s national conference in 2013. 

The School of Law at UM hosted the 41st National Spring Conference on the Environment in April 2013. 

In 2010, UM hosted 2,500 undergraduate students and their mentors from around the country during the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. UM also hosted the national conference in 2000.

The Society of Environmental Journalists held its 20th annual conference at UM in October 2010.

UM Facts

Location: Missoula, Montana

Founded: 1893

Affiliation: Public unit of the Montana University System

Classification: Coeducational, doctoral university

Academic calendar: Fall and spring semesters with a three-week winter session in January and two five-week summer sessions.

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Professional schools and departments are approved by specialized accrediting organizations.

Degrees offered: Associate, bachelor’s, master’s, first-professional and doctoral degrees, and technical certificates.

Admissions: Rolling, apply at any time.

Home page:

Campus: 156 acres at the base of Mount Sentinel and next to the Clark Fork River; includes 64 buildings and a 25,217-seat football stadium. UM's 180-acre South Campus offers housing, a golf course and soccer, softball and track fields. Missoula College UM currently occupies two sites in central and west Missoula. A new Missoula College building is under construction on UM land located across the river from the main campus. The new Missoula College building is slated for completion by fall 2016. 

Housing: Nine residence halls; three apartment complexes for students with dependents; and one apartment complex for single junior, senior and graduate students.

Campus organizations: More than 150 clubs dedicated to academics, volunteer service, diversity, recreation, Greek life, politics, religion and many other interests.

Varsity sports: Men — football, basketball, indoor and outdoor track, cross-country and tennis. Women — volleyball, basketball, indoor and outdoor track, cross-country, tennis, golf, soccer and softball. 

Club and intramural sports: 36, including lacrosse, baseball, hurling, indoor/outdoor soccer, rugby, rowing, cycling, inner tube water polo, volleyball, XBox One, dodgeball and more.

Athletic conference: Big Sky Conference, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

Enrollment (fall 2014):
13,952 total

Student body:
Montana residents: 74 percent
Out-of-state and international students: 26 percent                     

Full-time students: 75 percent
Part-time students: 25 percent 

Female: 54 percent 
Male: 46 percent

Average high school GPA of entering freshmen: 3.3
Average ACT score (out of 36): 23
Average SAT score (out of 2400): 1600

Estimated academic year costs for freshmen (2014-15):
Montana resident
Tuition and fees: $6.099
Room and board: $7,564
Books and supplies: $950
Total costs: $14,613

Tuition and fees, $22,372
Room and board, $7,567
Books and supplies, $950
Total costs, $30,889

Missoula Facts

Location: A western Montana valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountains.

Population (2012 U.S. Census):
Missoula city — 68,394
Missoula County — 110,977
Montana state — 1,005,141

Distance above sea level: 3,210 feet

Peak of Mount Sentinel: 5,158 feet

Average high temperature in September: 71.5 F

Average annual snowfall: 45.3 inches

Sunny/partly cloudy days per year: 158

Nearby attractions: Rattlesnake Wilderness, five minutes; Snowbowl Ski Area, seven miles; Glacier National Park, 139 miles; Yellowstone National Park, 269 miles. There are 3.1 million acres of wilderness within a 100-mile radius of campus.