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Section II

General Requirements

Admission
Dual Degree/Program
Candidacy for a Master's Degree
Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (Form 3)
Application for Graduation and Curriculum Vita Sheet
Pre-Defense Signature Form
Academic Standards
Requirements for Graduation
Steps in Pursuing Degree


Admission

Admission into a graduate studies program permits students to pursue course work at the graduate level. Such admission does not, however, guarantee admission to candidacy within the master's degree program (see "Candidacy for a Master's Degree" in this section).

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants seeking admission to a master's degree program must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university and have achieved a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (A = 4.00). Students who have achieved a 3.00 ("B") GPA during the final two years of undergraduate education will also be considered for admission.

    An undergraduate major in a particular field of study is a prerequisite to graduate study in that field. In some instances, a field of emphasis, minor, or concentration in undergraduate study, if suitably related to the graduate program, may be acceptable. For students who have completed graduate course work, the cumulative graduate GPA will be computed independently of the cumulative undergraduate GPA.

  2. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required at the discretion of the academic department. Consult with the department regarding their use of the GRE General Test.
  3. Applicants with an undergraduate record containing "pass," "satisfactory," "credit," or similar designations for courses that have a substantial bearing on their program of study may be required to submit written evaluations from the instructors of record for each course. Students with more than half of their undergraduate course work under nontraditional grading patterns will be considered on the basis of their GRE scores.
  4. International students whose first language is other than English are required to submit the results from the TOEFL examination. A minimum score of 550 is required. (See "Tests Required for Admission" below.)

Admission Procedures

Students seeking admission for the purpose of pursuing a master's degree should contact the Graduate Studies Office for application information. Applicants should submit all application documents well in advance of the contemplated semester or summer of enrollment: by May 1 for summer school or the fall semester. A completed application consists of the following:

  1. A completed Application for Admission to Graduate Studies (Form 1). International students are required to complete the International Student Application for Admission form.
  2. A $20.00 non-refundable application fee made payable to Bemidji State University.
  3. One (1) official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate college or university attended. All transcripts must be submitted directly by each institution to the Graduate Studies Office. Transcripts submitted by the student are not acceptable. Applicants who apply before receiving the baccalaureate degree will be required to submit supplementary transcripts indicating that a degree has been conferred. (Graduates of Bemidji State University are not required to provide transcripts.)
  4. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Test, if required by the department.
  5. Two (2) letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to address the applicant's qualifications for the applicant's chosen program may be required.
  6. A copy of a current or previous valid teaching license or appropriate certificate(s) (for Master of Science in Education programs only).
  7. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score is required of all applicants whose first language is other than English.

All application materials should be sent directly to the Graduate Studies Office. Once the completed application and all records have been received, the appropriate department/program and the Dean of Graduate Studies will evaluate all admissions materials to ascertain the quality of prior academic work and the prospects for success as a degree candidate.

Types of Admission Status

Students are admitted to graduate study based on the nature and quality of their undergraduate preparation. An applicant may be admitted with an "approved" status or a "provisional" status.

  1. Approved: This status is granted to applicants who have fully satisfied the minimum admission requirements for the Graduate Studies Program. Admission to this status implies that graduate studies normally will lead to candidacy for and completion of a master's degree. Admission with an approved status does not guarantee approval of a student's admission to candidacy for a degree program.
  2. Provisional: This status is granted to applicants who do not satisfy the minimum GPA or the minimum Graduate Record Examination combined score, or who have deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation. Students admitted on a provisional basis are required to achieve at least a 3.00 ("B") GPA in their first eight (8) credits of 6000-level course work attempted at the graduate level. In addition, provisionally admitted students will be required to satisfy any course work deficiencies indicated by the departments/programs.

Denial of Admission

Applicants who do not satisfy the above stated admission requirements may be permitted to enroll in graduate-level course work as a Graduate Special Student (see "Graduate Special Student" under "Non-Degree Study" in this section).

Master's degree applicants who were denied admission on the basis of a low GPA, low Graduate Record Examination scores, or undergraduate course deficiencies may reapply for admission upon earning at least a 3.00 ("B") GPA for a minimum of eight (8) credits of graduate-student-only course work (i.e., 6000-level courses) completed at Bemidji State University. In addition, the student must satisfy all undergraduate deficiencies indicated by the department/program before a reapplication to that program will be considered. Reapplication does not guarantee admission to the Graduate Studies Program.

Students from Non-Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions

Graduates from post-secondary colleges or universities that are not regionally or professionally accredited will not be considered for admission to the Graduate Studies Program.

Tests Required for Admission

THE GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE)

The GRE General Test is required at the discretion of the academic department. Consult with the department regarding their use of the GRE General Test.

When required, it is recommended that the GRE be taken at least two (2) months prior to the intended semester or summer of enrollment. Pre-registration with the Educational Testing Service is required four (4) weeks in advance of the examination date. Information regarding the GRE may be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Affairs (218-755-2075), the Graduate Studies Office (218-755-2027), or the Educational Testing Service, CN 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000.

THE TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TOEFL)

All international students whose first language is other than English are required to submit TOEFL results. The results must be sent directly to the International Program Center. Further information may be obtained by writing to the Test of English As A Foreign Language, Educational Testing Service, CN 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08514-6151. The score from the TOEFL must be received before any consideration will be given to an applicant's admission status. The University test code number is 6676.

International students admitted to graduate studies are required to take the University's locally administered English Placement Assessment during the international student orientation program. Students who do not satisfy the University's English As A Second Language standards will be required to enroll in English as a Second Language courses at the University until the necessary proficiencies have been satisfied. International graduate students are required to satisfy the University's English language requirement within two (2) semesters.


Dual Degree/Program

Any student wishing to pursue a dual degree, which is two or more programs of study with different degree designations (M.A. and M.S.), whether concurrently (double degree) or separately (second degree), must meet any admission criteria required by each major, as well as the general requirements for admission to graduate study. Also, because a second degree carries a different degree designation from the initial degree, students must apply for admission into a second degree program.

Any student wishing to pursue a dual program, which is two or more programs of study with the same degree designation (M.A. or M.S.), whether concurrently (double program) or separately (second program), must meet any admission criteria required by each major, as well as the general requirements for admission to graduate study.

Course work used to satisfy degree requirements in one master's degree program cannot be used to fulfill, in whole or in part, any requirements in the second master's degree program. (See item 3 under "Admission to Candidacy" below.)

Completion of Dual Degree/Program

Students pursuing more than one degree or program must satisfactorily complete the following:

  1. All requirements identified for each degree or program.
  2. A written examination for each degree or program.
  3. An oral examination for each program or degree (at the discretion of the departments/programs).

These requirements are in addition to requirements that all candidates must satisfy for graduation.


Candidacy for a Master's Degree

Admission with an approved status to pursue graduate study implies only that a student has satisfied the entrance requirements that normally will lead to a degree. Advancement to candidacy, which formally admits the student into a graduate degree program, is determined only after the student has demonstrated, by study completed at Bemidji State University, the ability to do work of graduate character with originality and independence.

Admission to Candidacy

  1. Requirements for Admission to Candidacy: All candidates are required to satisfy any conditions attached to their admission and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.00 ("B") for course work attempted. In addition, a candidate may be required to pass a departmental/program qualifying examination.
  2. Application for Admission to Candidacy (Form 2): Students must submit an Application for Admission to Candidacy upon completion of thirteen to sixteen (13-16) graduate-level credits. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with the advisor for the purpose of applying for candidacy, designing a plan of study, and (where appropriate) forming an advisory committee.
  3. Admission to Candidacy for Dual Degree/Program: Students who are pursuing more than one degree or program and who satisfy the admission requirements outlined under "Dual Degree/Program" above must satisfy all admission to candidacy requirements for each program. These include filing separate Applications for Admission to Candidacy, designing separate programs of study, and satisfying the residence requirement.
  4. Program of Study: The Application for Admission to Candidacy requires that a student submit a program of study. This program should be developed in consultation with the student's advisor. The program must list all course work completed as well as all anticipated course work to be used to satisfy degree requirements. The program of study requires the approval of the advisor, the department/program chair, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  5. Changes to an Approved Program of Study: A petition approved by the advisor, the department/program chair, and the Dean of Graduate Studies is required if the student intends to substitute course work in other than an elective category. A revised second set of candidacy plans must be approved if the student requests more than three (3) non-elective courses, or six (6) credits, in substitutions to the approved program.
  6. Transfer Credit: All graduate credit earned at a regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university normally should be transferred or indicated on the Application for Admission to Candidacy (all course work must have been completed within seven [7] years before the anticipated date of graduation). A letter grade must be associated with each course to be transferred as a core requirement. Course work to be transferred into the guided electives category in which a non-letter grade was received will be considered in transfer. However, each department will recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies the courses within the established guidelines on a student-by-student basis. A maximum of ten (10) semester credits or equivalent will be considered in transfer. Requests to register at another institution for the purpose of transferring credit into the program of study should receive advanced petition approval. (See "Transfer Credits" in Section IV.)
  7. Institutes and Workshops: Five (5) credits of letter grade workshop/institute courses numbered 5950 (or equivalent when transferred) may be included in a program of study.
  8. Residence Requirement: The master’s degree requires a minimum of twenty (20) graduate credits completed through Bemidji State University. Individual programs may have on-campus residence requirements.
  9. Students must consult with their assigned advisor as to research or thesis option.

Master's Degree Program Options

When developing a plan of study for admission to candidacy, students must indicate which of the following options they will pursue. Students must consult with their assigned advisor as to which option is appropriate for their program.

THESIS OPTION

The degree programs that incorporate the Thesis Option are Biology (M.A.), Education (M.S.), English (M.A. and M.S.), Environmental Studies (M.S.), Industrial Technology (M.S.), Science (M.S.), Special Education (M.S.), and Sport Studies (M.S.).

  1. Course Requirements: A minimum of thirty (30) credits are required in the Thesis Option. This includes the credits granted for the thesis. A maximum of ten (10) semester credits or the equivalent may be considered in transfer from another regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university. (See "Transfer Credits" in Section IV.)
  2. Residence Requirement: Candidates for the master’s degree must earn a minimum of twenty (20) graduate credits completed through Bemidji State University. Individual programs may have on-campus residence requirements.
  3. Thesis: A student electing the Thesis Option is required to submit one (1) original and one (1) photocopy of the thesis to the Graduate Studies Office in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. The thesis, which is prepared with the guidance of the advisory committee, must be written in acceptable English, demonstrate an ability to work independently, and give evidence of independent thought, both in perceiving problems and making satisfactory progress toward their solution. All theses must be prepared in accordance with the "Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper," which is provided by the Graduate Studies Office. The number of thesis credits may vary from four to six (4-6) credits, with the actual number being determined by department/program guidelines. Students may divide their thesis credits among several semesters, not to exceed the maximum permitted in the degree.

RESEARCH PAPER OPTION

The degree programs that incorporate the Research Paper Option are Biology (M.A.), Education (M.S.), English (M.S.), Industrial Technology (M.S.), Mathematics (M.S.), Science (M.S.), Special Education (M.S.), and Technology/Career and Technical Education (M.S.).

  1. Course Requirements: A minimum of thirty (30) credits are required in the Research Paper Option. This includes the credits granted for the research paper. A maximum of ten (10) semester credits or the equivalent may be considered in transfer from another regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university. (See "Transfer Credits" in Section IV.)
  2. Residence Requirement: Candidates for the master’s degree must earn a minimum of twenty (20) graduate credits completed through Bemidji State University. Individual programs may have on-campus residence requirements.
  3. Research Paper: A student electing the Research Paper Option is required to submit one (1) original copy of the research paper to the Graduate Studies Office in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. The research paper, which is prepared with the guidance of the advisory committee, must be written in acceptable English. The research paper must be prepared in accordance with the "Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper," which is provided by the Graduate Studies Office. Two (2) credits may be granted for the research paper.

Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (Form 3)

A formal written proposal for a graduate research paper or thesis must be developed by each student seeking to complete a master’s degree at Bemidji State University. Each student is responsible for

  1. Initiating communication with the assigned advisor to ensure that the correct process for completing the proposal is followed.
  2. Acquiring the specific guidelines associated with the written proposal for a graduate research paper or thesis for the department or area of study. (Each department may have requirements that differ from the University at large.)
  3. Becoming familiar with the guidelines that apply to the area of study and discussing questions related to the guidelines with the advisor.
  4. Acquiring the correct style manual (e.g., APA, MLA) for the research paper or thesis as required by the department or field of study.
  5. Meeting with the advisor on a regular basis at mutually agreed upon times.
  6. Selecting on Oral Examination Committee (includes advisor).
  7. Presenting a draft of the paper/thesis on a regular basis to the advisor and committee members for comments and feedback.
  8. Obtain necessary form(s) from the Graduate Studies Office and provide copies of all required paperwork.

Application for Graduation and Curriculum Vita Sheet

The Application for Graduation (Form 4) is provided to a student upon the approval of the Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (Form 3). This form, along with the curriculum vita sheet, must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office no later than the first week of the semester in which the candidate anticipates graduating. A candidate who contemplates graduating during the summer must submit the application by May 1. A non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee must accompany the application.

All candidates are required to provide the oral examination committee and the Graduate Studies Office with a curriculum vita sheet, which must contain a precise listing of all courses to be used in fulfillment of the master's degree program.


Pre-Defense Signature Form

The Pre-Defense Signature Form (Form 5) is completed by the student and signed by the committee members once they have reviewed and provided feedback to the student concerning the research paper/thesis. After all signatures have been secured, the form must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office prior to the oral defense.


Academic Standards

A high level of scholarship is expected of all students enrolled for graduate credit, whether or not they are pursuing a degree. Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 ("B") in all course work attempted.

The academic progress of each student is reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies at the conclusion of each semester or summer school. Students who are not making satisfactory progress will be notified as follows:

  1. Students who are provisionally admitted to the Graduate Studies Program will be dismissed if they do not attain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 ("B") for the initial eight (8) 6000-level graduate credits attempted. Students may petition the Graduate Student Council, through the Dean of Graduate Studies, for readmission.
  2. A student in the Graduate Studies Program who has been admitted on an approved status and whose GPA falls below the scholarship standards, as previously defined, will be placed on probation and permitted two (2) additional registrations for a combined total of eight (8) graduate credits. If a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.00 ("B") is not achieved upon completion of these eight (8) credits, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate Studies Program. A graduate student who is dismissed may appeal by contacting the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  3. All Graduate Special Students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 ("B"). Students who do not satisfy this requirement will not be permitted to continue to enroll in graduate course work.
  4. Students who have been dismissed because of a low GPA may continue study only on an audit basis.


Requirements for Graduation

Application

The Application for Graduation is provided to the student upon approval of the Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (Form 3). The Application for Graduation must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office by no later than the first week of the semester in which the candidate anticipates satisfying all degree requirements (or by May 1 if a summer graduation is expected).

Competency Requirement

A student is required to demonstrate competency in one of the following options: an approved foreign language, computer application of statistics, or application of instructional technologies. The department/program determines the appropriate competency options and requirements (see Section VII for program descriptions). Students are encouraged to contact their advisors regarding this requirement upon admission into candidacy. This requirement must be satisfied prior to scheduling the oral examination.

Final Comprehensive Examinations

All major programs require satisfactory completion of a final written and oral examination. In order to complete the Application for Graduation, candidates must identify the dates on which they intend to take the written examination and the oral examination. Candidates will not be permitted to take the oral examination unless 1) advancement to candidacy, research/thesis proposal, and Pre-Defense Signature Form have been approved, 2) a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.00 has been achieved, and 3) the candidate is within two (2) semesters of graduation. Defense of the thesis/research paper requires the approval of all committee members.

The Written Examination

  1. The Nature of the Written Examination: The final written examination may include all course work, research, and special projects that the student has completed as a part of the program of study.
  2. Scheduling the Written Examination: All candidates should contact their advisor upon admission to candidacy regarding the written examination requirement. Examinations must be offered on a designated date basis.
  3. The Written Examination Committee: The written examination is developed, administered, and evaluated in accordance with the established departmental/program guidelines. The oral examination cannot be scheduled until the written examination has been passed.
  4. Grading the Written Examination: The department/program has the option of recommending a "pass," "condition," or "fail." Candidates who "condition" or "fail" on their first attempt will have one (1) opportunity to retake the written examination, with the approval of the department/program and the satisfaction of any conditions that the committee may require (e.g., additional course work, readings, or projects). However, the second examination may not be attempted in the same semester or summer as the original examination.

The Oral Examination

  1. The Nature of the Oral Examination: The oral examination typically focuses on the research project. The examination is to be scheduled for a period of not less than one hour and normally not more than two hours.
  2. Oral examinations are open to the university community. The examinations of the upcoming week are announced on the Faculty_Staff_Listserv no later than Friday of the week prior to the examinations. At the discretion of the examination committee chair, visitors may ask the candidate questions regarding the topic. The evaluation of the examination by the committee is closed to the public.
  3. Scheduling the Oral Examination: Before a candidate attempts the oral examination, the written examination must be satisfactorily completed. Before scheduling the oral examination, candidates must provide the Graduate Studies Office with a copy of the final draft of their thesis or research paper. The Graduate Studies Office then appoints the Graduate Faculty Representative and gives him or her a copy of the thesis or research paper. It is then the responsibility of the candidate to initiate with the advisor the scheduling of the defense, allowing at least three weeks before the examination, and the advisor must notify the Graduate Studies Office of the date, time, and location of the examination. The oral examination should not be scheduled during the last week of classes or during any final examination period.
  4. The Oral Examination Committee: The oral examination committee must consist of the candidate's advisor and at least two additional members of the graduate faculty. The advisor will serve as chair of the committee. Students are encouraged to have a member from outside the program/department to serve on the committee. A member of the graduate faculty-at-large will be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies to serve as a procedural observer and a non-voting participant in the oral examination.
  5. Grading of the Oral Examination: The examination committee has the option of recommending a "pass," "condition," or "fail." A candidate who "conditions" or "fails" will have one (1) opportunity to retake the oral examination. However, the committee will specify (in writing) any conditions that the candidate must satisfy prior to the scheduling of a second examination. Conditions may include additional course work, readings, and/or projects. It is the responsibility of the candidate's advisor to notify the Graduate Studies Office once all conditions have been satisfied. All conditions that may be required must be contained in a graduate faculty representative's report to the Graduate Studies Office.
  6. The Thesis or Research Paper Options: Guidelines for the preparation of the thesis and research paper are available in the Graduate Studies Office. The final oral examination committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies reserve the right to request changes in the final manuscript. All changes requested by the committee must be included in the committee's written report. All changes requested on the original copy, whether by the examining committee or the Graduate Studies Office, must be completed to the satisfaction of the requester(s) prior to a candidate's approval for graduation. An original and photocopy containing all requested changes must meet with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies before the student will be permitted to graduate.
  7. Vita Sheet: All candidates are required to provide the oral examination committee and the Graduate Studies Office with a vita sheet at least three (3) weeks prior to the scheduled final oral examination. The vita sheet must contain a precise listing of all courses to be used in fulfillment of the master's degree program. A sample vita sheet is included with the Application for Graduation sent to students upon approval of the research/thesis proposal.

Graduation

A master's degree candidate may initiate the graduation process by filing the Application for Graduation.

  1. Application for Graduation: This form must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office during the first week of the semester in which all degree requirements will be satisfied. Candidates who will be completing degree requirements during the summer must submit their Application for Graduation no later than May 1. The completed form must be accompanied by a non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee payable to Bemidji State University.
  2. Graduation Requirements: The University's graduate program requires a student to complete a minimum of one-half of their course work at the 6000 level, satisfy a competency area requirement, complete a thesis or research paper, and pass both a written and an oral examination.
  3. Graduation Periods: A student may be graduated in either December, May, or August. Commencement, however, is scheduled only once each year, in May.
  4. Commencement: Commencement exercises are held at the close of spring semester. Students who graduate during fall or plan to graduate during the summer may attend spring exercises with the spring semester graduates. Students in residence during spring semester who will complete graduation requirements that semester are required to attend the commencement exercises. Concerns regarding exemptions should be addressed to the registrar.

    In order to qualify for participation in the annual spring commencement exercise, a student must be in good academic standing and have no more than twelve (12) credits of course work to complete by September 1 following commencement. These courses must be outlined on the student's candidacy form, which must be filed with the Records Office. Attendance at commencement exercises does not signify completion of all degree requirements.

    Students are required to wear traditional cap and gown apparel at commencement exercises. Graduate students are responsible for purchasing a Bemidji State University hood as part of the traditional apparel.

  5. Diploma: Diplomas typically are mailed approximately sixty (60) days following the date of graduation.
  6. Notification of the Receipt of a Degree: The Dean of Graduate Studies will, upon request, send a certificate verifying graduation to appropriate officials once all degree requirements have been satisfied.

Time Limit

Graduate credits earned within seven (7) years before the confirming of the degree shall apply to the master's program. Course work more than seven (7) years old is considered to be obsolete and may not be included in a student's program of study.


Steps in Pursuing Degree Requirements

Steps

Time Frame

Application for Admission into a degree program

Prior to completing ten (10) credits or the equivalent

Admission to Candidacy

Upon completion of thirteen (13) to sixteen (16) graduate credits

Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (includes committee selection)

Prior to registration for credits

Written Departmental Examination

See the department/program description

Competency Area Requirement

Satisfy prior to the oral examination

Application for Graduation and Curriculum Vita Sheet

Submit during first week of semester of graduation or by May 1 if summer graduation

Pre-Defense Signature Form

Submit prior to oral examination

Registration for credits

See advisor

Oral examination

See the department/program description

Certificate of Completion

Mailed upon request

Diploma

Mailed to student within sixty (60) days following approval of graduation


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