An electronic newsletter from the BSU School of Graduate Studies

Vol. 3, No. 4

September 2006


New Information!


Web Updates:

The Graduate Studies website is currently undergoing changes for your convenience.  We will inform you when they have been completed.  Take a look and see what is new!


URGENT information on Tuition Fee Due Dates:

Due to changes in MnSCU policy, there is an important guideline of which all students must be aware:

Effective Fall Semester, All tuition and fees should be paid in full no later than five business days after each term’s first day of class session or the student will be dropped from all classes. 

A student will not be dropped only if they meet one of the following criteria:


1: The student has applied for financial aid and the university has received the FAFSA results from the Dept. of Education.

2: The student has made a minimum down payment to tuition and fees of 15% or $300, whichever is less, and has an active payment plan contract.

3: Student has a scholarship or third party award that meets the minimum down payment rule.

4: Student is enrolled in PSEO program.

5: Student’s tuition and fees are deferred for special hardship cases such as sudden illness, a death in the family, or natural disaster.




This month . . .


·       Ins and Outs: Investigating Grad Programs

         This month: The Biology Program

·      Graduate Timeline, Expectations, and Details from

         the Biology department

·      Q&A: Straight from the Biology Department…



Ins and Outs of the Biology Department


The degree… 


Master of Sciences degree in Biology – this degree reflects the range and depth of biology sub-disciplines and broadens students’ horizons through coursework and original research.





This degree requires an undergraduate major in biology or a minimum of 24 undergraduate semester credits in the field of biology. 


A GRE general exam is required for enrollment in this program, and a minimum GPA of 3.00 (“B”) in the sciences and mathematics is strongly suggested.


Students must also submit a one-page letter of intent, stating research interests and future career goals.  Prospective students should contact Biology department faculty to ensure that a faculty member with an appropriate research interest is available to act as their graduate advisor.




Competency Requirements


Students must have a working knowledge of applied statistics, which can be satisfied by successfully completing SCI 6350 Advanced Computer Applications in Statistics or an equivalent.

The Thesis/Research Paper…


There are two (2) options for a Thesis in Biology:


·    Laboratory Projects and Thesis – Students work on developing a laboratory research plan and carrying it out under the supervision of a faculty advisor in preparation for completing a thesis.


·    Field Projects and Thesis – Students work on developing a field research plan and carrying it out under the supervision of a faculty advisor in preparation for completing a thesis.




Note: Sometimes, students are unable to complete their graduate work within the suggested time schedule. The Biology Graduate program may be extended depending upon the thesis project.


Q&A: Question of the month?

Straight from the Biology Department

Q: What are the deadlines for completing the Biology program on time and where can I find them?

A: A general timeline for completion deadlines is included on the “Graduate Student Expectations and Timelines” sheet, which can be found in the Biology department.

 Some of the deadlines are tentative; it is best to check with your advisor for any changes and to make sure that you do not miss deadlines. 




Great Advice from the Department Chair:


At its best, a graduate education is a great experience for the student and the graduate student's advisor.  Ideally, during your graduate studies, you will evolve from being a student to being a colleague for both other students and faculty.  I encourage you to work hard, learn absolutely as much as you can, and share your new-found knowledge as widely as possible.


~Dr. Patrick Guifoile




If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either the School of Graduate Studies


Dr. Patrick Guilfoile

Chair, Biology Department

Bemidji State University, #27

1500 Birchmont Drive NE

Bemidji, MN 56601



Dr. Debbie Guelda

Graduate Director,

Biology Department

Bemidji State University, #27

1500 Birchmont Drive NE

Bemidji, MN 56601

218-755- 2786






Graduate Expectations /Program Layout /Additional Details of the Biology Program

Graduate Program Layout

First Semester

·          Graduate Students should start selecting members and organizing their Graduate committee within the first semester of their first year.

·          Students should plan their Graduate curriculum and have it approved by their Graduate committee.

·          Student should obtain the following from the School of Graduate Studies:

1.       Bemidji State University Graduate Catalog

2.       Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper

·          Students should prepare their research proposal and present it to their committee.

Second Semester

·          Students should begin their research (this may be ongoing through the summer).

Third Semester

·          Students must complete the written examination in their sub-discipline.

·          Students will continue their research and begin writing their thesis.

·          Students should complete the Admission to Candidacy form for the School of Graduate Studies.

·          Students should complete the Graduate Research Paper/Thesis Proposal Form.

Fourth Semester

·          Students need to file their application for Graduation and Curriculum Vita Sheet during the first week of the semester if they intend to graduate at the end of the semester.

·          Students should complete their research and thesis.

·          Students should hand in thesis draft for review by their advisor. (Typically, several revisions are required.)

·          After the advisor approves the thesis, it should be given to the student’s Graduate committee.

·          After the committee approves the thesis, it should be given to the School of Graduate Studies for formatting corrections.

·          Each student’s oral defense should be scheduled and conducted.

·          Final revisions should be made and signatures collected from every member of the Graduate committee.

·          One original and one copy of the thesis must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before the degree is complete.


Graduate Expectations

Graduates are expected to:

1.        Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 (“B”)

2.       Plan a curriculum and have it approved by their selected committee

3.       Complete the approved curriculum

4.       Complete and present their proposal of research to their committee

5.       Complete the written exam

6.       Complete the oral defense of their thesis and collect all committee signatures

7.       Turn in final copies of their thesis to the School of Graduate Studies


Additional Details

The Biology department faculty has a broad range of research interests and work closely with students on their research projects.

Students are not accepted into the Biology program unless an advisor had agreed to work with them, so the program is relatively small.

Faculty Advisors often need grants to fund student research.

Research projects and course requirements are tailored to each student.

There are few required courses because the focus is on the student’s research and thesis.

Many students publish – and are encouraged to publish – during or soon after the completion of their degree; they do so in peer review journals.

There are four (4) Graduate Assistantship positions available for teaching Freshman Biology labs. 

Graduate Assistantship positions in research may be available, but faculty advisors often need grants in order to fund these positions.






















For current information on the Department of Biology, contact Dr. Patrick Guilfoile at 218-755-2800

( ), Dr. Debbie Guelda at 218-755-2786 (, the Biology Department at 218-755-2920, or visit the Biology Department website.


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),