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Liberal Education


The mission of Bemidji State University's Liberal Education curriculum is to create an environment where students of diverse backgrounds and abilities can acquire the knowledge, the skills, the values, and the confidence necessary for effective and responsible participation in our changing global society.


Completion of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum fulfills the liberal education requirement for any Minnesota public institution. Students transferring with a completed Minnesota Transfer Curriculum will satisfy Bemidji State University's Liberal Education requirement. Completion of individual competencies within the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum will not satisfy Liberal Education. However, satisfied individual competencies will be evaluated and transferred on a course-by-course basis.

Students transferring from BSU to another Minnesota public institution of higher education will have fulfilled the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum if they have completed required courses in the following ten categories: Communication, Critical Thinking, Natural Science, Mathematical/Logical Reasoning, History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, Human Diversity, Global Perspective, Ethical and Civic Responsibility, and People and the Environment.


  1. A total of 42 credits must be completed to satisfy the Liberal Education Program at Bemidji State University; 40 of these credits must be completed in Categories 1-10, which compose the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  2. A single course may be placed in one or two categories. Each credit in any of these courses, however, may be counted only once in meeting the 42 credit requirement.
  3. The Critical Thinking category may be satisfied either by taking a course or by the satisfactory completion of the other Liberal Education categories.
  4. In each category where two courses are required (i.e., #3, 5, and 6), students are encouraged to take courses with different departmental prefixes.


The Liberal Education curriculum at BSU, in accordance with the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, encompasses a broad education foundation that integrates a body of knowledge and skills with study of contemporary concerns--all essential to meeting individuals' social, personal, and career challenges in the 21st century. The competencies people need to participate successfully in this complex and changing world emphasize our common membership in the human community; personal responsibility for intellectual, lifelong learning; and an awareness that we live in a diverse world. They include diverse ways of knowing--that is, the factual content, the theories and methods, and the creative modes of a broad spectrum of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields--as well as emphasis on the basic skills of discovery, integration, application and communication.


  1. Communication Skills
    • Written Communication: You will engage in effective written communication that emphasizes awareness of audience, clear thinking, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation. You will learn how to read critically so as to understand the main arguments and underlying assumptions made in a text.
    • Oral Communication: You will have the opportunity to develop your skill in interpersonal communication, public speaking, and discussion. Listening skills you should expect to acquire include critical and reflective thinking and responding; speaking skills include the ability to present ideas and information orally in a coherent, logical, articulate way, tailoring the communication to a specific audience.
    • Collaborative/Cooperative Learning: You will be given the opportunity to work with a group on specific problems or tasks that will involve teamwork and cooperative problem solving.
    • Use of Technology: You will become more aware of the tools of communication used in a technologically dependent society, be capable of choosing the appropriate technologies, and possess the skills needed to apply those technologies in communicative situations.
  2. Higher Order Thinking Skills
    • Critical Thinking: You will learn the skills necessary for the careful, reflective, and deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim or an assertion.
    • Problem Solving: You will be involved in the generation, implementation, and evaluation of solutions needed to achieve identified goals.
  3. Values
    All courses in the Liberal Education curriculum will give you the opportunity to focus on values in the following ways:
    • Identify and examine your own values and those of other cultures and apply these values in decision making;
    • Understand assumptions and meanings associated with values expressed in discourse and in disciplines;
    • Recognize ethical dilemmas and make informed judgments in situations demanding ethical decisions;
    • Understand and apply the principles of ethical reasoning.


Bemidji State University offers a curriculum (64 credits minimum) that leads to a two-year Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in Liberal Education. The 64 credits include all Liberal Education requirements plus electives. With proper advising, this program may be used as the basis for continuing on in a four-year bachelor's degree program.

 For transfer students, 22 credits and a minimum of one semester must be completed at Bemidji State University.


Category 1: Communication (2 courses, 6 credits)
Category 2: Critical Thinking (requires completion of the rest of the Liberal Education program)
Category 3: Natural Science (2 courses, 7 or more credits)
Category 4: Mathematical/Logical Reasoning (1 course, 3 or more credits)
Category 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2 courses, 6 or more credits)
Category 6: Humanities and the Arts (2 courses, 5 or more credits)
Category 7: Human Diversity (1 course, 2 or more credits)
Category 8: Global Perspective (1 course, 3 or more credits)
Category 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility (1 course, 2 or more credits)
Category 10: People and the Environment (1 course, 3 credits)
Category 11: Performance and Participation (1 or more credits)

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