Skip Navigation

The Process - A General Description of Completing Your Graduate Degree from Beginning to End

The Process is broken down into seven parts:

Registration Start and Status

Regular or Special: A "regular" graduate student is pursuing a master's degree in a specific field of study. A "special" graduate student is pursuing graduate course work without a planned objective but with the goal of personal and/or professional enrichment (e.g. licensure). Special students fill out the Graduate Special Student Application to begin taking courses for an indefinite period of time, provided that a 3.00 (B) grade point average is maintained.

Seven Years for All: Regardless of status, the seven-year clock starts once you begin taking graduate-level courses. Graduate coursework older than seven years will not count toward a graduate degree; the restriction includes transfer credits and courses taken as a Graduate Special student.

Back to Top

Form 1, Application for Admission to Graduate Studies

The beginning application process is the same for all "regular" graduate students: Complete electronic application and payment option on the School of Graduate Studies' website under the ApplyNow link. The option also exists to manually complete, print, and sign Form 1, attach a payment of $20 (checks or money orders make payable to BSU), and mail or hand deliver them to the School of Graduate Studies (BSU, #48, Deputy Hall 111). Additional instructions, including individual department requirements, are then forwarded to students via email once the application has been processed.

Transfer Credits: Students may transfer up to 10 credits from an accredited U.S. or approved international college or university. Transferred courses must have been completed within the seven years prior to the student's anticipated graduation date.  The courses will be recorded as elective credit only.

Graduate Special Student Application

The application process for graduate "special" students is similar to the process for regular graduate students: Complete electronic application and payment option on the School of Graduate Studies' website under the ApplyNow link. The option also exists to manually complete, print, and sign the application, attach a payment of $20 (checks or money orders make payable to BSU), and mail or hand deliver them to the School of Graduate Studies (BSU, #48, Deputy Hall 111). Any additional information will be forwarded to students via email.

Special Student Credits: A limit of 10 graduate credits under the Graduate Special status may be used toward a degree.  If students are considering completing, or choose to complete a master's degree at BSU, and they desire to use credits they have previously earned, they must fill out Form 1, Application for Admission to Graduate Studies before they reach the 10 credit mark. If the student has already paid the $20 application fee as a "special" student, you will not be required to pay again. 

Back to Top

Form 2

After students have been admitted into the program and completed 13 to 16 graduate credits of coursework for their degree, they must begin the process of completing Form 2, Application for Admission to Candidacy.  Specialized candidacy forms can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and Candidacy (Form 2).  If students plan to transfer in graduate credits from another institution, the limit of transfer credits is restricted to a total of 10 graduate credits gained within seven years prior to the student's anticipated graduation date.  Minimum Grade Reminder: Students should maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 (B) in order to be eligible for candidacy.  See "Candidacy for a Master's Degree" in graduate catalog for details.

Making Changes to Your Program

If students need to make changes to their Form 2 - Candidacy program plan (such as substitutions for required program courses), they must complete and have approved Form 6 - Graduate Petition and submit it to their advisor for approval.  More than three non-elective courses, or six credits, in substitutions to the approved program will require the submission of a revised Form 2.

Competency Requirement

If students have not completed the competency requirement for their program, they should contact their advisor as soon as possible to determine which requirement is necessary to complete their degree.  For more information on "Competency Requirements," see the graduate catalog.

Written Exam

Once students are near the completion of their coursework, the School of Graduate Studies generally suggests that they consider making preparations at this time to complete their written examination.  However, each individual department and the student's committee members may more accurately determine the correct time frame in which the written exam must be completed for the student's specific program.  

Back to Top

Form 3

Students must consult with their advisor as to whom should serve on their graduate committee. Once committee members have been determined, the student must complete a proposal according to the guidelines of their department or program. After the proposal has been approved by the student's committee/department, students should complete the appropriate Form 3, Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form for their program, obtain signatures from their committee members, and submit the form to the School of Graduate Studies, along with a hard copy of their proposal.

Form 3 - Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Approval Form (MA/MS)

This proposal form is specific for the purpose of securing research paper or thesis approval from the student's graduate committee for the completion of a degree in the Master of Arts/Master of Science Track. This form can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and MA/MS Track.

Thesis: A thesis (approx. 4 to 6 credits) demonstrates the student's ability to work independently and gives evidence of independent thought in perceiving problems and making satisfactory progress toward a solution. Students should prepare a thesis with the guidance of their committee and according to the Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper on the School of Graduate Studies website. 

Research Paper: A research paper (2 credits) is not unlike a thesis, in that it demonstrates a student's ability to work independently and gives evidence of independent thought.  Students should prepare a research paper with the guidance of their committee and according to the Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper on the School of Graduate Studies website.

Form 3 - Graduate Project and Presentation Proposal Approval Form (M.Ed)

This proposal form is specific for the purpose of securing final graduate project/presentation approval from the student's graduate committee and field representative for the completion of a degree in the Applied Master's Track. This form can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and Applied Master's Track and will be completed in ED 6750, Educational Research II.

Field Representative Resume: At the submission of Form 3, students completing an applied master's degree (M.Ed.) are required to submit a copy of their field representative's resume for approval.  Students cannot move forward with their graduate project unless they complete this step.

Capstone Project: Students completing an applied master's degree (M.Ed.) are required to complete a Capstone Experience and Project in lieu of a thesis or research paper.  The subject of the student's capstone experience and project is determined with the aid of the student's project advisor.  Students should prepare their capstone project according to the Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper and their coordinating Capstone Handbook on the School of Graduate Studies website. When a capstone project is complete and approved by the student's committee, students must submit one electronic copy (for formatting corrections and review) to the School of Graduate Studies. 

Whatever the culminating project, every student must follow certain final paper or project guidelines to complete their degree.  For example, each department dictates the style manual that is preferred or required for the final paper or project within the program; however, the School of Graduate Studies reserves the right to govern the final result in proper formatting of a student's final document.  For this reason the program's department, the student's graduate committee, and the School of Graduate Studies work together to ensure that the student produces a culminating project which meets each party's standards.  

Back to Top

Form 4

After Form 3 is approved, students must access the correct Form 4 - Application for Graduation, determined by their program. Students must submit Form 4, along with a curriculum vita, to the School of Graduate Studies.

Form 4 - Application for Graduation (MA/MS)

This form is specific for the completion of a degree in the Master of Arts/Master of Science Track and must be submitted no later than the first week of the semester in which the student plans to satisfy all degree requirements for graduation.  It can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and the MA/MS Track. Leave the date, time, location, and Graduate Faculty Representative name blank; all will be determined at a later date.

Form 4 - Applied Master's Application for Graduation (M.Ed)

This form is specific for the completion of a degree in the Applied Master's Track and must be submitted within the first week of the semester in which the student plans to satisfy all degree requirements for graduation (usually when the student registers for the final capstone experience).  It can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and Applied Master's Track.

Summer Graduation: If students plan to complete their degree during the summer but would like to take part in Spring Commencement ceremonies, they must apply by March 1 of the year they plan to graduate.

Curriculum Vita

The curriculum vita must contain a precise listing of all the courses used to fulfill the student's master's degree program. Curriculum vita examples and templates can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and are separated according to the student's program track.

Preliminary Curriculum Vita (CV)
The preliminary curriculum vita that the student provides to the School of Graduate Studies along with Form 4 will be incomplete; for Master of Arts/Master of Science students, the scheduling of the oral defense and the assigning of the Graduate Faculty Representative will be done later.  If revisions need to be made to the student's curriculum vita, it will be returned to the student with the expectation that the student will make the corrections. A final CV will be required at a later date. See below.
 

Back to Top

Form 5

Once the student's Form 4 and Preliminary Curriculum Vita have been submitted, the student must complete and submit Form 5. Please refer to which Form 5 you are to access below.

Form 5 - Graduate Research/Thesis Paper Pre-Defense Signature Form (MA/MS)

This form is for the purpose of verifying that each member of the candidate's graduate committee has read and provided feedback to the student of the graduate research paper/thesis prior to the oral defense. This form can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and MA/MS Track. 

Once the approved Form 5 and a hard copy of the FINAL draft of the student's paper is received by the School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Faculty Representative assignment will be completed. The student and committee members will be notified of the assignment and the student will be given the go ahead to scheduling their oral defense. Please refer to the Graduate Studies' website for appropriate deadlines.

Students are responsible for communicating with their committee members and the graduate faculty representative concerning the scheduling of their defense.
 

Final/Completed Curriculum Vita
Once a date, time, and location has been agreed upon by all participants (including the graduate faculty representative), the student is responsible for submitting a final/completed curriculum vita to the committee members and the School of Graduate Studies.

Form 5 - Applied Masters Project and Presentation Final Approval Form (MEd)

This form indicates the final approval for graduate students seeking to complete an Applied Master's degree at Bemidji State University.  Signatures verify that the student has completed an approved final project for the Applied Master's graduate program. This form can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website under Forms and Applied Masters Track.

By the time that Form 5 is completed and signed, students will then be given the "okay" to conduct their final presentation in the presence of their committee members as part of a Capstone Experience course.  Form 5 should then be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies along with the completed and signed capstone project.  


Final/Complete Curriculum Vita
Once the School of Graduate Studies conducts a preliminary review of the coursework completed, the student must provide the committee and the School of Graduate Studies with a final/completed curriculum vita as soon as possible.

Back to Top

Diploma

After the forms, the coursework, and the final draft of your culminating project are in, all that is left is making sure that the requirements for Commencement are met should you choose to participate. 

Those Participating in Commencement

Commencement events and activities will be posted on the Records Office and the School of Graduate Studies' websites. Make sure that you are on the Commencement list (posted online by the Records Office) and that your address information is current in the Records Office so that your degree is not misdirected.  Be sure to order caps, gowns, and hoods from the bookstore.  Graduate students must use the appropriate cap, gown, and hood at the commencement ceremony.


Due to the number of spring graduates each year, spring diplomas are generally mailed mid-summer.  Students who complete their degrees during summer sessions or the fall semester may expect their diplomas within a month after their completed degree has been approved by the School of Graduate Studies.  Students who need confirmation of their degree before the receipt of their diploma should contact the School of Graduate Studies.

Those Foregoing Commencement

Make sure that your address information is current in the Records Office so that your degree is not misdirected. Due to the number of spring graduates each year, spring diplomas are generally mailed mid-summer.  Students who complete their degrees during summer sessions or the fall semester may expect their diplomas within a month after their completed degree has been approved by the School of Graduate Studies.  Students who need confirmation of their degree before the receipt of their diploma should contact the School of Graduate Studies.

Back to Top