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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know if I want to transfer credits?

Transferring credits for a Masters degree is possible, but there are some guidelines to think about.

Transfer Credits

  • Provide your advisor with a course description and/or syllabus to seek approval for transferring credits. (Final approval is made by the Dean, School of Graduate Studies.)
  • All graduate credit earned must be from a regionally accredited U.S. or approved international college or university.
  • All course work must have been completed within seven [7] years before the anticipated date of graduation.
  • A minimum letter grade of "B" (3.00) must be associated with each course to be transferred as a core requirement or elective. Course work to be transferred into the guided electives category in which a non-letter grade was received will be considered in transfer.
  • If a student is planning to enroll elsewhere and transfer a class while pursuing a graduate degree at BSU, they must seek pre-approval from their advisor.
  • A maximum of ten (10) semester credits or equivalent will be considered in transfer.
  • An official transcript is required before final posting of the transfer credits to your BSU transcript.  However, if coursework is from one of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institutions, there is no need to order a transcript.
  • The posting of transfer credits is usually done at the time of graduation unless otherwise needed. Contact the School of Graduate Studies for more information.

When will I be assigned an advisor? Do I have a choice as to who my advisor will be?

You will be assigned an advisor once all application materials have been received and your materials have been sent to the Graduate Coordinator/Department Chair for their review and approval. If you have an advisor you would prefer to work with, you would need to share that preference with the School of Graduate Studies prior to your materials being sent to the department.

When I'm on campus, where can I store my stuff (e.g. coat), so I don't have to lug it around?

In a locker, free for students. How to get one:

  • Find your locker of choice and remember the locker number.
  • Go to the information desk on the second floor of the Upper Union (or to Decker 112).
  • Sign out your locker for the semester or academic year.

Locker locations

  • Hall/tunnel between library and Upper Union
  • Hagg-Sauer Hall, 2nd floor, near skyway to Bridgeman Hall
  • Sattgast Hall, 2nd floor, tunnel between Sattgast and Memorial
  • Decker Hall (go to Decker 112 to sign out locker)

Can I get about campus in the tunnels without going outside?

Yes and no. Some buildings are not connected, and sometimes the easiest route between two buildings is outside.

Tunnel Networks

  • Most of the dorms, Walnut Hall, and the PE and fitness complex.
  • The Linden-Decker-Birch Hall trio, and most of the academic and administrative buildings.

Outside trips:

  • Between networks (Tamarack and Linden Halls)
  • Unconnected buildings (e.g. American Indian Resource Center and David Park House)

How can I find a Graduate Assistantship position?

There are several ways to locate Graduate Assistant positions.

Contact the Department:

  • Check the School of Graduate Studies website under Graduate Assistantship contacts.
  • Contact the representative in your department or any department that they may suggest could use your skills (e.g. an English Graduate student may apply for a Communications GA position).

Check your BSU email account:

  • The School of Graduate Studies will occasionally email students about available Graduate Assistant positions.
  • If you have questions concerning the setup or accessing your BSU email account, contact the student help desk or call Technological Services (218-755-3777).

Can a Graduate Assistantship count as an internship? Why or why not?

No, not regularly. There are specific guidelines for the internships. Students must have a focus and be able to complete objectives within that focus. While it is possible to link an internship to the assistantship work, the assistantship itself cannot count as an internship.

What if I need to stop taking classes for a while?

Effective Fall 2006, ALL graduate students who have been officially admitted into a graduate program or have graduate special student status at Bemidji State University will be required to register every fall and spring term in order to maintain active status in graduate studies.  If a graduate student will not be registering for any other credit-bearing course, he/she will need to register for UNIV 6000 - Continuous Enrollment.

Maintaining active status is critical and required in order to participate in the University community as a graduate student. This includes taking examinations, submitting forms, or library usage. SUPER LAB USE:  If you wish to use the Super Lab located in Deputy Hall, simply inform the helper at the front desk that you are a graduate student who is enrolled in the UNIV 6000, Continuous Enrollment course. A graduate student who has been admitted into a specific graduate program who does not register every fall, spring, or summer term is considered to have withdrawn.

UNIV 6000 is a zero-credit, zero-fee, non-graded registration option. Graduate students can register for UNIV 6000 online. No special permission numbers or overrides are required.  No student fees will be assessed. Please note: A graduate student should register for UNIV 6000 ONLY those terms (fall, spring) in which he/she does NOT have to be registered for any reason other than to meet the Graduate Studies’ requirement to maintain active status. UNIV 6000 does not meet any other internal/ external departmental or agency requirements.  Do NOT register for UNIV 6000 if you must be registered to hold an assistantship, maintain legal visa status, defer loans, receive financial aid, or for any reason other than to maintain active status. UNIV 6000 will not appear on the student transcript.

What are "competencies" and why do I need them?

Each degree has a competency requirement that must be fulfilled before you are able to complete graduation. Which one(s) you are required to complete depends upon your program(s):

Competency requirements include:


  • Biology M.S.
  • English M.A.
  • English M.S.
  • Environmental Studies M.S.
  • Counseling Psychology M.S.
  • Science M.S.
  • Sports Studies M.S.

Foreign Language:

  • English M.A.

Instructional Technology:

  • English M.A.
  • English M.S.
  • Mathematics M.S.
  • Mathematics (Elementary and Middle Level Education) M.S.
  • Industrial Technology M.S.
  • Technology/Career and Technical Education M.S.
  • Education M.Ed.
  • Education M.S.
  • Special Education M.S.

What are the comprehensive exams?

The comprehensive exam (made up of the written exam and oral defense/presentation) is a portion of a student's final preparation for graduation. Every department handles this portion of a student's program differently.  As soon as you have filed your Candidacy (Form 2), you need to contact your advisor or the chair of your department for details on how your department approaches comprehensive examinations.  See the Graduate Catalog for more information. Please note: Written exams and oral exams are two separate portions of the requirement.

If I finish next summer, when do I graduate?

With a good academic standing and no more than 12 credits of course work to complete before September 1, you may participate in the spring Commencement ceremonies. Submit Form 4 (Application for Graduation) and the non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee to the School of Graduate Studies no later than March 1. Although you may participate in the graduation ceremony, your actual degree would not be conferred until August or until such time you have met all graduation requirements.

Thesis/Research Paper FAQ's

Can I use a research topic that I am currently investigating with a professor, or an internship topic that I have been working on, for my Graduate thesis?

Yes, students may use their projects for their research paper/thesis or for jump starting it. Internship projects can be used in the same way. Consult with your advisor concerning your topic.

How does a graduate student form her or his Graduate Thesis/Research Paper Committee?

Consult with your graduate advisor and suggest names of graduate faculty members that you have had classes or think would have interest in the area you are interested in researching.

Discuss them with your major advisor. Then ask the faculty member if s/he will be on your committee.

Sabbaticals, retirement, or major projects may limit the graduate faculty member's availability.

Where can I get help with my research paper or thesis?

Primary Authorities

Begin with two primary authorities:

  1. Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper from the School of Graduate Studies at Bemidji State University; the latest edition is June 2005.
  2. Your graduate department or program's style manual. The two manuals used most at BSU include the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA-6th Edition) and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th Edition is used by the English Department).

Note Particularly: The handbook and applicable style manual will guide you in format, grammar, sentence structure, and other stylistic matters. In the Handbook, note particularly page 6 (Page Sequence) and Appendix A (Sample Front Matter Pages); both a thesis and a research paper will have chapters. In the APA manual, note particularly Chapter 6 (Students tab), Chapter 3 (APA Editorial Style), and Chapter 4 (Refs tab). In the MLA manual, note particularly Chapter 3 (The Mechanics of Writing), Chapter 6 (Citing Sources), and Chapter 5 (List of Works Cited).

Reviewers after writing your thesis or research paper, submit the first draft to your advisor for a review of content and format. After making any recommended changes, submit the final draft to your other committee members for a review of content and format. Always consult your advisor as to how the process works in their department for the submission of your drafts. After making any further recommended changes and your entire committee agrees you are ready to defend your paper, submit a hard copy of the approved final draft to the School of Graduate Studies along with your Form 5, Pre-defense Signature Form.

Where can I find a sample paper written in APA style?

In two places: in reference materials and in campus archives.


  • Publication Manual of the APA (a sample is provided both in the text and online at
  • Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis of Research Paper (available on the Graduate Studies website).


  • BSU student theses: Search the Library catalog by subject, title, or author; retrieve it from the general collection (4th and 2nd floors); check it out at the Circulation Desk (3rd floor).
  • BSU student research papers: Contact the applicable department or program office.

Do I need a page header in my research paper or thesis?

It depends on the style manual used:

  • MLA: Yes. Along with the page number, your last name is required.
  • APA: Optional. The header is usually the first two or three words of your title.
  • Handbook: See sample and instructions for formatting your title page.