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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.

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, including 1 with lab, 7 or more credits)
Category 4: Mathematics (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 in the United States (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 course, 1 or more credits)

Required Credits: 42

If the required courses are completed in less than 42 credits, additional Liberal Education credits must be taken, from any category, to bring the total to 42. For students planning to use the completed program to satisfy the general education requirements of another state institution, as provided by the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, forty credits must be in Categories 1 through 10.

Category 11 is a Bemidji State University graduation requirement. Students who have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum prior to transfer to Bemidji State University and students who already hold an AA or baccalaureate degree are exempted from the Category 11 requirement.

Graduation planning forms for Liberal Education are available online at Make a selection from the “Graduation Planning Forms and Information” drop-down menu.


Categories 1 through 10 comprise the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. MnTC is designed to expedite the transfer of courses within the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system (MnSCU), and to or from the University of Minnesota. If a MnTC category is completed at one school, it is deemed to be completed at another MnSCU school. If a student plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota without having completed the entire MnTC, a course-by-course evaluation will be done according to the University's liberal education requirements. Individual courses may be accepted in transfer. Students who complete the MnTC and then transfer to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities have fulfilled the University's first-year writing requirement, as well as the liberal education requirements.

  1. Some courses are listed in two categories, and may be used to meet the requirement in both categories. However, the credits may be counted only once toward the total. If credits taken do not total 42, the student must take additional credits (from any Liberal Education category). Forty credits must be from Categories 1 through 10.
  2. Courses not approved for Liberal Education will generally not be accepted as substitutions for approved courses.
  3. For student transferring out of BSU to other state institutions, the MnTC will be validated with the completion of Categories 1 through 10 and a minimum of 40 credits.

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.


The Honors Program is an alternative Liberal Education program that emphasizes an interdisciplinary academic curriculum different from the Liberal Education program and a student’s major. See "Honors" in Section VII for information.


Liberal Education and other programs use the Dimensions of Student Learning for self-assessment.

  1. Intellectual Development
    • Higher Order Thinking: Use critical thinking and appropriate frameworks for inquiry.
    • Knowledge, Value and Abilities Related to the Arts, Humanities, Sciences and Specialized Fields of Study: Understand concepts, ideas, and theories from various disciplines and abilities associated with specialized fields of study.
  2. Understanding of Self / Relating to Others
    • Values: Examine, evaluate, and express values.
    • Communication: Present ideas clearly and effectively in visual, written, and oral form.
    • Human Diversity: Recognize the experiences and contributions of diverse groups and cultures.
    • Self Development: Demonstrate awareness of concepts, knowledge, and actions which promote one’s well-being.
  3. Participation in an Emerging Global Society
    • Readiness for Careers: Demonstrate knowledge, ethics and abilities as they relate to one’s specialization and career choice.
    • Responsible Citizenship: Participate as a contributing member of a changing global society.


For Categories 3 through 11, departments may propose, subject to approval, study-travel courses (domestic or abroad) using the All-University course numbers specified under “Others” at the end of each category’s course listing.

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