Bemidji State University


Bemidji State was founded in 1919 as Bemidji State Normal School. It was changed at one time to Bemidji State College and then to the name it has today, Bemidji State University. It was named for the lake that it borders, Lake Bemidji.

Bemidji State University is part of the state of Minnesota public university system. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. It is classed as a Master’s College and University II by the Carnegie Institute.


Information Summary

Ranks 25th in Minnesota and 894th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 81.8
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $20,994
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT 75%ile scores 24
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 21 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 72% / 53%
Enrollment Total (all students) 5,111


Bemidji State’s academic offerings are provide through three colleges—Arts & Letters, Professional Studies, and Social & Natural Sciences—and the School of Integrative Studies. There are 30 primary academic departments within the three Colleges as well as the Center for Environmental, Earth, and Space Studies. The University’s Honors Program is quite rigorous. It is for students who show particular promise and an outstanding ability to work independently and creatively. Honors students design their own programs of study in cooperation with a faculty advisor and are allowed to begin work in their major field of study much sooner than other students.

Bemidji State University has academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. There are 4 colleges: the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Professional Studies, the College of Social & Natural Sciences, and the School of Integrative Studies.

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges. Degrees at the bachelor’s level can be received in such areas as accounting, geography, mathematics, foreign languages, nursing, biology, Indian studies, sports management, creative and professional writing, pre-professional programs, and teacher licensure. There are also specialized licensure programs in education, early childhood, middle school reading, and other related areas of education and child development. Minors are offered in many of the above majors and in other areas such as anthropology, Ojibwe, Peace & Justice studies, and space studies. There are two associate’s degree programs, including criminal justice.

Graduate programs are offered in 11 areas. These include an MA in English and an MS in biology, English, environmental studies, industrial technology, technology education, mathematics, science, special education, sport studies, and education with an emphasis area. There are no doctoral or professional degrees.

Most Popular Fields of Study


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Unique Programs

The Center for Environmental, Earth and Space Studies (CEESS) offers a B.S. and a B.A. in Environmental Studies as well as a geology minor. Officials within the Center cite as their greatest concern “human stewardship of the earth.” For that reason, students are presented with a curriculum of both the natural sciences and the social sciences to better understand humanities role in and impact on the earth’s geological history. This study includes economics, politics, and other social sciences, and provides students with a foundation they can rely on to pursue endeavors other than scientific study or research.

The American Indian Resource Center is part of the School of Integrative Studies. It provides educational services to students, culturally focused services to Native Americans, and collaborative programs for both that aims to bring people together in a mutual understanding of the benefit and impact of the Native American population on our country and the world.

Bemidji State offers a Women’s Studies program that aims to celebrate women’s contributions to society and affirms women’s place in the modern world through an examination of history, social science, and religious studies.

Bemidji State University has an undergraduate Honors Program, housed in the School of Integrative Studies. Students who seek admission to the Honors Program need to have a 3.25 GPA (usually accompanied by class rank in the upper 10% and high test scores) and the ability to write well. Honors students design their own programs of study, enroll in special Honors courses, and work on a thesis.

Some of the other unique opportunities available at Bemidji State University include the American Indian Resource Center, which provides cultural event information and helpful resources for students or others of Native American descent. An Indian studies and Ojibwe language is an available academic program.

A distance learning program is available for some undergraduate and graduate programs, primarily in education and business.


Bemidji State does not have an application deadline, but rather operates under a rolling admissions policy, meaning students may apply at any time before the upcoming semester. Of course, enough time must be allowed so that scores and transcripts can be produced and submitted to the office of admissions. Applicants must have a score of 21 or more on the ACT or 990 or more on the SAT, or graduate in the upper half of their high school’s graduating class. There is also a college preparatory curriculum that must be completed prior to admission, including four years of English, three years each of mathematics, social studies, and sciences, two years of a foreign language, and one year each of world culture and the arts. Students may participate in advanced placement (AP) examinations, but the University will only accept scores of 3, 4, or 5 for such exams and the result must be sent directly to the office of admissions. If an applicant has received college credit for any coursework, advanced or otherwise, they must also submit an official transcript from the college or university that granted them the credit for that work. Applicants who have graduated within the past two years all must submit scores from the ACT or SAT standardized exams.

Bemidji State University has no undergraduate admissions deadline. The application fee is $20. Applications can be submitted on-line. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.

As part of their application, students should submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. Students should have completed high school courses satisfying the Minnesota College Preparation Standards as follows: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 3 units of history and social studies, 3 units of science, 2 units of a foreign language, and 1 unit of world culture or the arts. Students must generally meet the following minimum requirements: high school class rank of top 50% or ACT scores of 21 or above or 990 SAT.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.

Students applying to the graduate programs at Bemidji State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. Applications can be submitted on-line, and the application fee is $20. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) as required by department, two letters of recommendation, and a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 2.75. The graduate application deadline is May 1 for the fall semester.

Financial Aid

Bemidji State provides a comprehensive financial aid program for students that totals more than $18 million each year, including institutional scholarships, work study, and loans from federal and state sources. The FAFSA is obviously required for federal aid and should be completed as soon as possible. BSU offers athletic grants, academic scholarships and waivers, and welcomes outside scholarships. Also available are such unique opportunities as the Minnesota State Grant and the Est. Indian Grant, coordinated through the Tribal and State Indian Scholarship Offices.

Tuition at Bemidji State University was $2,472 per semester for the 2004-2005 academic year for in-state, undergraduate students attending full-time. Students applying from out of state and graduate students have higher costs. Reduced out-of-state tuition rates are available for students applying from North or South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Manitoba, and students from Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Nebraska pay 150% of the Minnesota student rate. Additional costs include books and living expenses.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Work-study programs are also available for graduate and undergraduate students based upon need. Students who seek financial aid will need to fill out the Federal Student Financial Aid Form, available on-line and other forms as required for other forms of aid.

Graduate students may also receive financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all of the tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of assistantships or fellowships are available and about the details of the application process.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2429th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Minnesota.


BSU is home to six residence halls and the Cedar Apartments, giving students a number of options for living accommodations. Student activities include a number of student clubs and organizations, as well as intramural sports, aerobics, fitness programs, a climbing wall, and an Outdoor Program Center.

Student life at Bemidji State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Clubs and organizations include minority groups, political groups, academic groups, musical groups, arts groups, community volunteer groups, and other associations. The university has a radio station with student staff, and there are several student publications, including a weekly student newspaper. Student can participate in water aerobics, in fitness programs, or in intramural sports; a climbing wall is available as well.

Residential services include game rooms, computer labs, a weapons storage facility, and a room for cleaning wild game.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Bemidji State Beavers compete in the NCAA Division II and Division I for ice hockey, and are members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for all Division II sports. Sports include baseball, football, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, cross country, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball, golf, and ice hockey. One of the proudest parts of Bemidji State is its hockey program, and the home to that program is the John S. Glas Fieldhouse. Constructed in 1967, the Glas Fieldhouse has give the Beavers what seems like a nearly insurmountable home advantage. With a home record of 425-115 (approximately 80% winning percentage) since playing in Glas Fieldhouse, the Beaver’s men’s hockey team is truly a force to be reckoned with and one of the most successful athletic teams in Bemidji State history. Adding to that impressive record are five national championships won at the Fieldhouse, only failing to clinch the title once in the Beavers’ six championship contests at home. Chet Anderson Stadium is home to the Beaver’s football team, and has a seating capacity of 5,000. Since 1996, the Beavers have posted an impressive 25-13 record at Anderson Stadium, giving them a winning percentage of over 65%.

Bemidji State University is an NCAA Division II School. Men’s and women’s ice hockey teams compete at the Division I level. Teams compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference; the ice hockey teams compete in the College Hockey Division (men’s) and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (women’s). Men’s sports include ice hockey, basketball, baseball, football, golf, and track & field. Women’s sports include ice hockey, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The team nick-name is the Beavers.

Athletic facilities at Bemidji State University include a stadium, a gymnasium, and a field house.

Among the championships and awards that Bemidji State University has received are a number of Academic All-Conference athletes, the NSIC men’s basketball championship, and a CHA conference championship.

Local Community

The town of Bemidji has a population of approximately 12,000 and sits on the southwest shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake that feeds the Mississippi River. Historically, it was the first town on the Mississippi River, and is the home to Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. It is considered a progressive town, probably due to its link to the University. There are some strong presences from technology and artistic interests, though it maintains a small town atmosphere with a number of small shops and a laidback style.

Bemidji State University is located in Bemidji, Minnesota, which has a population of approximately 12,000. It is located in north-central Minnesota, on the shore of Lake Bemidji. Near-by attractions include outdoor recreation, statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox, a Scandinavian festival and other winter activities, a science center, a history center, and a playhouse.

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