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Liberal Education

The Mission Statement

The mission of Bemidji State University's Liberal Education curriculum is to create an environment where students of diverse backgrounds and abilities can acquire the knowledge, the skills, the values, and the confidence necessary for effective and responsible participation in our changing global society.


1. Communication Skills

Written Communication: You will engage in effective written communication that emphasizes awareness of audience, clear thinking, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation. You will learn how to read critically so as to understand the main arguments and underlying assumptions made in a text.

Oral Communication: You will have the opportunity to develop your skill in interpersonal communication, public speaking, and discussion. Listening skills you should expect to acquire include critical and reflective thinking and responding; speaking skills include the ability to present ideas and information orally in a coherent, logical, articulate way, tailoring the communication to a specific audience.

Collaborative/Cooperative Learning: You will be given the opportunity to work with a group on specific problems or tasks that will involve teamwork and cooperative problem solving.

Use of Technology: You will become more aware of the tools of communication used in a technologically dependent society, be capable of choosing the appropriate technologies, and possess the skills needed to apply those technologies in communicative situations.

2. Higher Order Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking: You will learn the skills necessary for the careful, reflective, and deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim or an assertion.

Problem Solving: You will be involved in the generation, implementation, and evaluation of solutions needed to achieve identified goals.

3. Values

All courses in the Liberal Education curriculum will give you the opportunity to focus on values in the following ways:
  1. Identify and examine your own values and those of other cultures and apply these values in decision making;
  2. Understand assumptions and meanings associated with values expressed in discourse and in disciplines;
  3. Recognize ethical dilemmas and make informed judgments in situations demanding ethical decisions;
  4. Understand and apply the principles of ethical reasoning.


The mechanism for fulfilling the Liberal Education mission of Bemidji State University is a multidisciplinary curriculum centered on two specific skill areas (Areas I and II) and five focus areas (Areas III through VII).

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree must take a minimum of 42 credits in the Liberal Education curriculum from the following areas:

Area I: Written and Oral Communication (2 courses, 8 credits)
Area II: Mathematical Reasoning (minimum 1 course, 3 credits)
Area III: Focus on the Individual (minimum 3 courses, 6 credits)
Area IV: Focus on the United States (minimum 3 courses, 6 credits)
Area V: Focus on the World (minimum 3 courses, 6 credits)
Area VI: Focus on the Physical and Biological World (minimum 2 courses, 7 credits)
Area VII: Focus on the Environment (minimum 1 course, 3 credits)
See the Liberal Education Worksheet following the Area VII listing.


A Liberal Education course may be used to meet requirements in Liberal Education and in a major. However, each course is counted once in the total semester credits applied to graduation requirements.

No Liberal Education courses may be taken Pass/No Credit.

A student who has received an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Education from a regionally accredited college will have completed Liberal Education requirements at Bemidji State University. Completion of the Minnesota transfer curriculum (MnTC) at another Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institution or the University of Minnesota will also satisfy the BSU Liberal Education requirement.

The Liberal Education curriculum consists of seven areas that must be completed as stated in a program of study toward a degree.


Bemidji State University offers a curriculum (64 credits minimum) that leads to a two-year Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in Liberal Education. The 64 credits include all Liberal Education requirements plus electives. With proper advising, this program may be used as the basis for continuing on in a four-year bachelor's degree program.

For transfer students, 22 credits and a minimum of one semester must be completed at Bemidji State University.

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