grad_com is an electronic newsletter from the BSU School of Graduate Studies. If you have ideas, send them to, with Attn: grad_com in the subject line.

Vol. 2, No. 9

May 2006


The Process

Registration: Grad classes

Starting the count of seven years to complete a degree

Form 1: Applying for admission to graduate studies

Completing 13-16 graduate credits after admission

Form 2: Applying for candidacy in a graduate degree program

Taking the written exam at the end of course work

Form 3: Proposing a research paper or thesis

Doing the work and writing the results

Form 4: Applying for graduation

Submitting the research paper or thesis for review

Form 5: Scheduling the oral examination

Defending your graduate work


































This month . . .

·      Career Services: Helping with Your Future

·      Academic Regalia at Commencement

·      Q&A: Meaning of the commencement banners?

Career Services: Helping with Your Future

Present what you have to offer future employers, and discover what employers have to offer you.

Start with your résumé. To view examples, go to the Career Services homepage; under Students, Alumni, or Distance Learners, click on the Resumes link. Career Services can also provide hard copies of résumé examples more applicable to graduate students. For feedback on your revised résumé, email

Next, create or update your credential file. For instructions, go to the Career Services homepage; under Students, Alumni, or Distance Learners, click on the Credential Files link.

Though BSU Career Services holds the official credential files, graduates are given working credentials to send to employers.

Finally, after perfecting your résumé and assembling your credential file, get connected with employers. BSUCareers is an online résumé system for students and employers.

Note: You must have an active credential file to register with BSUCareers.

More information: Career Services, 755-2038, Sanford 102,

Academic Regalia at Commencement

The academic regalia – gown, hood, and hat – are adapted from the habits and gowns worn by medieval monks and priests, founders of the university and collegiate practices in Europe.

Q&A: Meaning of the commencement banners?

Q: What is the meaning of the varicolored commencement banners?

A: In the early 1980s, Grand Marshal Gerald Schnabel, Professor of History, decided to enliven the commencement exercises. He commissioned Keith Malmquist, Professor of Visual Arts, to add color to the ceremonies.

    Professor Malmquist designed the banners, backdrop, and lectern drape that are part of the graduation panoply. The meaning of the colorful banner designs has not been disclosed by their creator, but they serve the purpose for which they were created.

    The two large BSU banners, eight banners with unique designs, and many windsocks separate the groups in the commencement ceremonies

Gown. Usually black, with a few exceptions representing certain school’s colors, gowns reflect the three levels of academic degrees granted by universities and colleges.

Bachelor: moderately pointed sleeves.

Master: full-length oblong sleeves hanging down from the wrists.

Doctor: tailored with full, bell-shaped sleeves; three velvet bars (signifying the third level of degree) on each sleeve; and two velvet panels on either side of the front closure. The bars and panels are either black or in the color of the given degree.

Hood. The three degree levels are represented in different hoods of increasing length. Not worn by graduating seniors, a hood is worn by faculty and staff whose terminal degree is the baccalaureate; the hood is short and hangs to about the middle of the wearer’s back. The master’s hood is moderate in length, and the doctoral hood is fuller and longer.

Colors of the external velvet panels represent the particular degree field. Colors most commonly seen at commencement exercises:

              arts             education           law

               philosophy               science


Internal colors of the hood, opened outward on the lower end, represent the institution which granted the degree: Colors for Bemidji State University are green and white.

Hat. The academic hat can be either the traditional flat-top variety, known as a mortarboard, or the tam variety.

Mortar-boards are so named “from the similarity to the top portion of the mortar-board used by a mason. At the University of Paris, teachers placed square, stiff caps on graduates to signify promotion. This type of headgear was adopted later by the masters at Oxford …” (UMD Commencement program).

Tassels: The doctoral degree is represented by the gold bullion tassel on the academic hat. At Bemidji State University, all other degrees are indicated by black tassels.

Dave Carlson, Registrar, provided information about the commencement regalia and panoply.

Let us know what you think: For the newsletter survey, go to and click on the grad_com survey link. School of Graduate Studies, Decker Hall 110, 218-755-2027 (toll-free: 1-888-386-8464),