An electronic newsletter from the BSU School of Graduate Studies

Vol. 3, No. 5

October 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 . . .

·      The Process in Review:

Form 5, Oral Defense, and Graduation

·      Q&A: Question of the month?


The Process: Form 5 and Defense Preparations


Form 5. Submit the final draft of your research paper/thesis to your committee for review and feedback. Complete the Pre-Defense Signature Form, obtain signatures, and submit the form to the School of Graduate Studies.


·    Contact your committee members and the graduate faculty representative to schedule your oral defense.

·    Inform the School of Graduate Studies of the date, time, and location; submit a revised curriculum vita.

At least three weeks before the defense, submit one unbound copy of your research paper/thesis to the School of Graduate Studies for review and forwarding to the graduate faculty representative.









For current forms and information, go to

and select the Graduate Forms link.


                                         The Process: The ABCs of Defending Your Work


The following is adapted and condensed from the Requirements_for_Graduation link on the School of Graduate Studies web page. Scroll down to The Oral Examination.

Approval by your committee:

·    readiness for defense of your graduate work

·    oral exam date

(not during last week of classes or final exams)

Before the defense:

·    written exam satisfactorily completed

·    curriculum vita sheet to committee at least three weeks before oral exam

Committee members:

·    your advisor

(committee chair)

·    two or more graduate faculty members

(one from outside your program or department)

·    one graduate faculty representative, assigned by the School of Graduate Studies

(procedural observer and non-voting participant)

Defense features and events:

·    open to the university community

·    focused on the research project (chair decides if visitors may ask questions on the topic)

·    at least one and not more than two hours


·    closed to the public

·    grade of pass, condition, or fail

·    changes in the final manuscript may be requested



Q&A: Question of the month?

Q: What are “competencies” and why do I need them?

A: 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.S.

Environmental Studies M.S.

Counseling Psychology M.S.

Science M.S.

Sports Studies M.S.


Foreign Language:

English M.A.


Instructional Technology:

Mathematics M.S.

Technological Studies M.S.

Professional Education M.S.



For more information, see the Graduate Director for your respective department.














                          The Process: Graduation and Commencement


A Tale of Two Events. You may graduate in December, May, or August. Commencement, however, is held only once each year, in May. If you graduated in the fall, or plan to graduate this spring or in the summer, you may participate in commencement with the spring semester graduates.

Graduation. Start the process by completing Form_4 and sending in a non-refundable $10.00 graduation fee. This initiates the assignment of a Graduate Faculty Representative.  (Note: Students must have a Representative before they are able to schedule their Oral Defense.)  Diplomas typically are mailed about 60 days after the graduation date. More details are available at Requirements_for_Graduation.


Commencement. If you participate, the traditional cap and gown is required; as a graduate student, you are also responsible for purchasing a Bemidji State University hood. More details are available at the commencement link of Records and Advising Services.

A unique feature of graduation from Bemidji State University is the Commencement Walk along the streets lined with well wishers.









We want to make grad_com useful for you. Let us know what you would like to see on these pages by contacting the School of Graduate Studies, Decker Hall 110, 218-755-2027 (toll-free: 1-888-386-8464),