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Section IV

General Program Requirements

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 (Form 2)

  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 Form 2 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: See Dual Degree/Program below.
  4. Program of Study or Application for Admission to Candidacy: The program of study a) must be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor, b) must list all course work completed as well as all anticipated course work to be used to satisfy degree requirements, and c) requires the approval of the advisor, the department/program chair, the college dean, and the Dean, School of Graduate Studies.
  5. Changes to an Approved Program of Study: A Graduate Petition (Form 6) approved by the advisor, the department/program chair, College Dean, and the Dean, School of Graduate Studies, is required if the student intends to substitute course work in areas other than the 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 transfer credits should be indicated on the Application for Admission to Candidacy.  For more information, see Transfer Credit Requirements in this section.
  7. Institutes and Workshops: A maximum of five (5) semester credits of letter grade workshop/institute courses numbered 5950 or equivalent (when transferred) may be included in a program of study. See Courses and Numbering in this section for more details.
  8. Students must consult with their assigned advisor as to the research, thesis or applied master’s option.

Program Options for Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) Degrees

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.S.), Counseling Psychology (M.S.), Education (M.S.), English (M.A. and M.S.), Environmental Studies (M.S.), and Special Education (M.S.).

  1. Course Requirements: A minimum of thirty (30) credits is required in the Thesis Option. This includes the credits granted for the thesis. A maximum of ten (10) graduate semester credits or the equivalent may be considered in transfer from another regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university (see Transfer Credit Requirements in this section), when using credits from previous Graduate Special status (see Graduate Special Student in Section II), or when completing a second/dual degree (see Dual Degree/Program below).
  2. Thesis Requirements: A student electing the Thesis Option is required to submit one (1) original and one (1) photocopy of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies 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 accessible through the School of Graduate Studies website, and any additional corresponding formatting manual required by the department. The number of thesis credits may vary from two to six (2-6) 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.S.), Counseling Psychology (M.S.), Education (M.S.), Elementary and Middle Level Mathematics Education (M.S.), English (M.S.), Mathematics (M.S.), and Special 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) graduate semester credits or the equivalent may be considered in transfer from another regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university(see Transfer Credit Requirements in this section), when using credits from previous Graduate Special status (see Graduate Special Student in Section II), or when completing a second/dual degree (see Dual Degree/Program below).
  2. Research Paper Requirements: A student electing the Research Paper Option is required to submit one (1) original copy of the research paper to the School of Graduate Studies 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 accessible through the School of Graduate Studies website, and any additional corresponding formatting manual required by the department. Two (2) credits may be granted for the research paper.

Program Option for Applied Master’s Degree

Applied Master’s degrees are indicated by a three- or five-letter designation, e.g., M.Ed. for the Master of Education. Applied Master’s degrees cannot be designated as M.S. (Master of Science) or M.A. (Master of Arts). These designations are reserved for the Thesis and Research Paper Options only. For specific program requirements, contact the program coordinator.

The degree programs that offer Applied Master’s degrees are Education (M.Ed.) and Special Education (M.SpEd.).

  1. Course Requirements: A minimum of thirty (30) credits is required in the Applied Master's Option. This does not include the credits granted for the capstone experience. A maximum of ten (10) graduate semester credits or the equivalent may be considered in transfer from another regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university (see Transfer Credit Requirements in this section), when using credits from previous Graduate Special status (see Graduate Special Student, Section II), or when completing a second/dual degree (see Dual Degree/Program in this section).
  2. Capstone Experience Requirements: Every Applied Master Program must include a capstone experience, i.e. an experiential-based activity typical of preparation for practice in the field. The capstone project must be prepared in accordance with the "Handbook for the Capstone Experience," which is accessible through the School of Graduate Studies website, and any additional corresponding formatting manual required by the department.  For specific requirements for the capstone experience, refer to Graduation Requirements for Applied Master’s Degrees in this section.

Preparation for Graduation

General Graduation Requirements

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 Academic Programs/Courses in 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/presentation.

FINAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS

All major programs require satisfactory completion of a final written examination and an oral examination (M.A. and M.S.) or presentation (Applied Master’s degree). In order to complete an Application for Graduation (Form 4), candidates must identify the dates on which they intend to take, or have taken the written examination and when they plan to complete their oral examination/presentation. (For more information on the oral examination or presentation, refer to the specific graduation requirements of the different Master’s degree options.)

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 are offered according to departmental/program guidelines.
  3. Written Examination Committee: The written examination is developed, administered, and evaluated in accordance with the established departmental/program guidelines. The oral examination/presentation 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 written examination may not be attempted in the same semester/summer session as the original examination.

The Oral Examination/Presentation

For details on the Oral Examination for a Master of Arts or Master of Science, see Graduation Requirements for M.A. and M.S. Degrees directly below.

For details on the Presentation for an Applied Master's, see Graduation Requirements for Applied Master’s Degrees in this section.

Graduation Requirements for M.A. and M.S. Degrees

In addition to the General Graduate Requirements, all majors leading to a M.A. or M.S. degree have the following requirements for graduation.

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 M.A. or M.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 an 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. Obtaining the necessary form(s) from the School of Graduate Studies and providing copies of all required paperwork.

Note: This form must be approved and on file in the School of Graduate Studies one term before applying for graduation.

APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION (FORM 4)

The Application for Graduation and preliminary curriculum vita sheet must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies no later than the first week of the semester in which the candidate anticipates satisfying all degree requirements (or by March 1 if a summer graduation is expected). A non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee must accompany the application. Please note: Admission to Candidacy (Form 2) and an approved Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal (Form 3) must be on file in the School of Graduate Studies prior to applying for graduation.

PRELIMINARY CURRICULUM VITA

A preliminary curriculum vita must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies along with the Application for Graduation (Form 4).  A sample vita sheet and template is available to students from the School of Graduate Studies website or can be acquired directly from the office of the School of Graduate Studies.
 
All candidates are required to provide the oral examination/presentation committee and the School of Graduate Studies 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 (FORM 5)

The Pre-Defense Signature Form is completed by the student and signed by the committee members once they review and provide feedback to the student. After all signatures have been secured, the form must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies along with the FINAL draft of the research paper/thesis (hard copy required).

THE ORAL EXAMINATION

Candidates will not be permitted to take the oral examination unless,

  1. The Nature of the Oral Examination: The oral examination typically focuses on the research project. It generally consists of a presentation of this research project, followed by a discussion during which the student is asked to expand, defend, or explain the research and its findings. 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 List Serve” 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,
  4. FINAL Curriculum Vita: All candidates are required to provide the oral examination committee and the School of Graduate Studies with a FINAL curriculum 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.
  5. 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 (graduate faculty representative) will be appointed by the Dean, School of Graduate Studies, to serve as a procedural observer and a non-voting participant in the oral examination.
  6. Grading of the Oral Examination: The examination committee has the option of recommending a "pass," "conditional," or "fail." A candidate whose "conditional" recommendation requires the oral exam to be retaken will have one (1) opportunity to do so. A candidate who "fails" will have one (1) opportunity to propose a new project. The committee will specify (in writing) any conditions that the candidate must satisfy prior to the scheduling of a second examination or proposal. Conditions may include additional course work, readings, and/or projects. It is the responsibility of the candidate's advisor to notify the School of Graduate Studies once all conditions have been satisfied. All conditions that may be required must be contained in a graduate faculty representative's report to the School of Graduate Studies. A second oral examination may not be scheduled in the same semester.
  7. The Thesis or Research Paper Options: Once the oral examination is passed, students are required to submit an electronic copy of their final draft, including the committee’s corrections, to the School of Graduate Studies for a formatting review; this must be completed before the student provides the final hard copy for submission. 

Graduation Requirements for Applied Master’s Degrees

In addition to the General Graduate Requirements, all majors leading to an Applied Master’s degree have the following requirements for graduation. For specific program requirements, contact the program coordinator.

GRADUATE PROJECT AND PRESENTATION PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM (FORM 3)

The Graduate Project and Presentation Proposal Approval Form must be completed by each student seeking an Applied 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 presentation of the capstone experience.
  3. Becoming familiar with the guidelines that apply to the area of study and discussing questions related to the guidelines with the advisor.
  4. Meeting with the advisor on a regular basis at mutually agreed upon times.
  5. Selecting an Oral Presentation Committee (includes advisor). Each committee must consist of:
    1. at least two BSU graduate faculty members, one of whom must be from a department other than the department hosting the graduate program;
    2. a BSU approved professional in the field. The student is responsible for securing a résumé from the field representative;
    3. a final committee approval determined by the department hosting the program and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
  6. Obtaining the necessary form(s) from the School of Graduate Studies and provide copies of all required paperwork.

APPLIED MASTER’S APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION (FORM 4)

The Applied Master’s Application for Graduation and preliminary curriculum vita sheet must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies no later than the first week of the semester in which the candidate anticipates satisfying all degree requirements (or by March 1 if a summer graduation is expected). A non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee must accompany the application. Please note: Admission to Candidacy (Form 2) and an approved Graduate Project and Presentation Proposal (Form 3) must be on file in the School of Graduate Studies prior to applying for graduation.

CURRICULUM VITA

All candidates are required to provide the oral examination/presentation committee and the School of Graduate Studies 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.

A curriculum vita sheet must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies along with the Applied Master’s Application for Graduation (Form 4).

APPLIED MASTER’S PROJECT AND PRESENTATION FINAL APPROVAL FORM (FORM 5)

The Applied Master’s Project and Presentation Final Approval Form is completed by the student and signed by the committee members once they have reviewed and provided feedback to the student concerning the capstone experience. After all signatures have been secured, the form must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies prior to the oral presentation of the capstone experience.

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE

Every Applied Master's Program must include a capstone experience, i.e. an experiential-based activity typical of preparation for practice in the field.

Capstone Experience Requirements

A capstone experience must satisfy the following requirements/standards:

  1. The capstone experience should require students to demonstrate an ability to synthesize the fundamental theories, knowledge, and skills of the educational program in an applied setting.
  2. It should be an experience shaped by the input of a professional in the field during which the student is provided with frequent opportunities for evaluation and feedback.
  3. The experience should require the student to demonstrate professional levels of oral and written communication.
  4. The capstone experience should include a paper or other product that demonstrates:
    1. literature search or some other benchmark research beyond the student’s own experience (allowing the integration of research-based theory and practice in the relevant field)
    2. synthesis of the research (written work, art presentation, PowerPoint presentation, etc.) (showing critical thinking, e.g. complex problem solving that accounts for multiple perspectives)

Note: Each curriculum proposal for an Applied Master's Degree must indicate how the proposed capstone experience meets the listed requirements/standards.

Presentation of Capstone Experience

Candidates will not be permitted to present the capstone experience unless

  1. Admission to Candidacy (Form 2), Graduate Project and Presentation Proposal (Form 3), and Applied Master’s Project and Presentation Final Approval Form (Form 5) 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. Presentation of the capstone experience requires the approval of all committee members.

Evaluation of Capstone Experience

All parts of the capstone experience must be evaluated by

  1. at least two (2) BSU graduate faculty members, one (1) of whom must be from a department other than the department hosting the graduate program, and
  2. a BSU approved professional in the field (approved by the department hosting the program and the Dean, School of Graduate Studies). The committee is responsible for approving and evaluating the capstone proposal, and the completion of the capstone experience.

Graduation

A master's degree candidate may initiate the graduation process by filing the appropriate Application for Graduation (Form 4).

  1. Application for Graduation: This form must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies 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 March 1. The completed form must be accompanied by a non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee payable to Bemidji State University and a preliminary curriculum vita.
  2. Graduation Requirements: The University's graduate program requires students to complete a minimum of one-half of their course work at the 6000-level (see Fifty Percent (50%) Requirement in this section), satisfy a competency area requirement, pass a written examination, complete (a) a thesis or research paper and an oral examination or (b) a capstone experience and an oral presentation.
  3. Graduation Periods: A student may graduate in 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 encouraged to attend the commencement exercises. Concerns regarding exemptions should be addressed to the School of Graduate Studies.
    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 August 15 following commencement. These courses must be outlined on the student's candidacy form (Form 2), which must be on file in the School of Graduate Studies. Attendance at commencement exercises does not signify completion of all degree requirements.
    Students are required to wear traditional cap and gown apparel at commencement. Graduate students are responsible for purchasing a Bemidji State University hood as part of the traditional apparel (see Commencement information for details).
  5. Diploma: Diplomas typically are mailed approximately thirty (30) days following the date of graduation.
  6. Notification of the Receipt of a Degree: The Dean, School of Graduate Studies will, upon request, send a verification of graduation to appropriate officials once all degree requirements have been satisfied.

Dual Degree/Program

If a student is pursuing a dual degree, then the paper/thesis/capstone project must be completed for each program separately. There must also be separate written and oral exams/presentations. Courses may be allowed to count across programs if approved via petition. No more than 10 credits of core and elective courses may count across programs. (See Admission to Candidacy in this section.)

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

  1. All requirements identified for each degree or program.
  2. Separate candidacy for each program (Form 2).
  3. A written examination for each degree or program.
  4. An oral examination/presentation 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.

Steps in Pursuing M.A. and M.S. Degree Requirements

Steps

Time Frame

Application for Admission into a degree program (Form 1)

Prior to completing ten (10) credits or the equivalent

Admission to Candidacy (Form 2)

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

Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (Form 3) (includes committee selection)

Prior to registration for thesis/research paper credits

Written Departmental Examination Requirement

See the department/program description

Competency Area Requirement

Satisfy prior to the oral examination

Register for graduate research/thesis credits

See advisor

Application for Graduation (Form 4) and Curriculum Vita Sheet

Submit during first week of semester of graduation or by March 1 if summer grad.

Pre-Defense Signature Form (Form 5)

Submit prior to oral examination

Graduate Representative assigned (by School of Graduate Studies)

The School of Graduate assigns the Graduate Representative only after Form 5 and a hard copy of the student’s FINAL draft has been received.

Oral Examination Requirement

See the department/program description

Verification of Completion

Mailed upon request from Graduate Dean

Diploma

Mailed to student within thirty (30) days following approval of graduation by Registrar


Steps in Pursuing Applied Master's Degree Requirements

Steps

Time Frame

Application for Admission into a degree program (Form 1)

Prior to completing ten (10) credits or the equivalent

Admission to Candidacy (Form 2)

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

Capstone Experience Proposal Approval (Form 3) (includes committee selection/approval)

Completed during term prior to registering for Capstone Experience course

Written Departmental Examination Requirement

See the department/program description

Competency Area Requirement

Satisfy prior to the oral examination

Register for capstone credits

See advisor

Application for Graduation (Form 4) and Curriculum Vita Sheet

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

Pre-Presentation Signature Form (Form 5) (includes committee selection)

Submit prior to oral presentation

Oral Presentation Requirement

See the department/program description

Verification of Completion

Mailed upon request from Graduate Dean 

Diploma

Mailed to student within thirty (30) days following approval of graduation by Registrar

 


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