Bemidji State University

Posted on April 7, 2013


Okay, so this blog post may seem like a bit of a cop out; writing about a school that I am already thoroughly involved with and attend for my undergraduate degrees. But it is on my Lists for Schools and is on my radar for Graduate Programs in the Northern Midwest. I have not decided to research as many top ranking programs not only because of their selectivity but because many of the schools I am researching are more viable options for the people who may be reading my posts. Click here to go to the actual BSU website page for their M.A.

So a couple of things that I look for when researching graduate schools: requirements, funding and rank. There are many other things to factor in: the location of the school, the size of the school, the number of students in the program, and etc. etc. I will be doing my best during this project to go over these various factors. How in depth I go with these various factors will depend upon how much information I can actually find.

Beginning my research on BSU, I was disappointed in what lack of information I was finding on my school. There was a lot of information given on Bemidji’s website and a lot of websites giving an overview of the school (particularly for undergraduates) but not much outside information dealing with graduate programs at all, let alone our English graduate program.

Rank; Bemidji State University does not have a rank. We are a pretty small university so this does not surprise me that much.
“A student may be admitted to graduate study who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the appropriate regional or national accrediting agency.Students with an undergraduate grade point average below 2.75 may be admitted on a provisional basis. For students admitted provisionally, a “B” (3.00) average must be attained for the first eight (8) semester hours of resident graduate work attempted. Workshop grades will not be used to determine overall GPA during the first eight (8) semester hours.”
Directly pulled from the Admission Standards page of BSU. The requirements specifically for the English Department is that prospective students have a Baccalaureate background in Shakespeare, English, and American Literature. Trying to find even more specific requirements was a little confusing. I had to go to the Frequently Asked Questions page to find the specific inclusions for the application. The BSU website does not say whether or not candidates need to take the GRE. I did email the Chair of the English Department, Dr Larry Swain, and inquired after this. He said that the GRE was not a requirement.Funding: The actual Financial Aid and Funding pages on the BSU website are discouraging. Not many scholarships or grants are presented or information linking to them. The average tuition (calculated using the BSU Business Department’s tuition calculator) averaged to be about $2520 per semester. The suggested form of payment? Loans. From just looking, the English Department’s website does not look much more promising. There is a link to graduate assistantships and a small paragraph about said assistants.

“You may apply for a teaching graduate assistantship in the English Department. This carries with it twelve credits of tuition waiver and a stipend of $8,500 for a year, renewable for a second year. GA’s teach one section of College Writing each semester and take courses in teaching, composition and rhetoric. You may also apply for nonteaching graduate assistantships in other areas of the university such as the library and the graduate office”
The number of these graduate assistantships offered each year varies on funding provided from the school. Considering this is the first school on my list, I have not figured out if this is a reasonable amount of funding or not. To be compared and determined. I am thinking that maybe I will have to do a post specifically about funding towards the end of my project.

I found this website when I was researching Bemidji at thought that many of the statistics presented were interesting. In my research I had found many other websites showing demographics and statistics like this, however those websites mainly focused on the undergraduate programs offered, not the graduate.

What else to say about Bemidji State University? Well it is located in northern central Minnesota and is considered a rural town; which it really is. To get anywhere that might even be remotely considered urban, be prepared for a two hour or more drive. The university has a small population and campus. The scenery of the campus and surrounding area is unrivaled. Itasca State Park and the Headwaters of the Mississippi are only a half hour away along with the The Lost 40 only being a short drive up highway too. Some more perks about the school; I can say that the English Department has an excellent faculty. I may be biased, but I could also argue that I have had four years of experience. They are all knowledgeable and approachable. Another perk is that BSU does not charge out of state tuition. This matters even more to graduate students who may be transferring from out of state.

Paul and Babe; Bemidji’s Mascots!

Which school is next on my agenda? University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.