Academic Information

The most current University Policies can be found on the University Policies and Procedures webpage.

Academic Year 

The academic year at Minnesota State University Moorhead is arranged into fall and spring semesters of approximately 16 weeks each and a summer semester offering a variety of start and end dates comprised of variable week and short-term workshop sessions.

Students may enter the university at the beginning of any term although the academic year begins officially with the fall semester.

Academic Requirements

Within practicable limits, academic policies and requirements at MSUM are not retroactive. Students entering a degree program can expect to complete the program under the requirements specified at the time of enrollment, unless enrollment is interrupted for more than one year. When a required course is no longer offered, students may substitute another course or courses with the approval of the department chair.

Individual exceptions to major and minor requirements listed in the university catalog, including the waiver or substitution of courses, are subject to the approval of the department chair by written notice to the Registrar's Office. Records of approved changes will be retained in student files until graduation or five years after the last term of enrollment.

Academic Credit Hour

The unit of credit at Minnesota State University Moorhead is the semester hour.

In accordance with federal guidelines, academic credit hours for a course are determined by the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. The institutionally established equivalency is not less than:

  • One semester hour of credit is awarded for 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 1800 minutes of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  • At least an equivalent amount of work as required in item (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading toward the award of credit hours.
  • For laboratories, a minimum of 100 minutes per week for 15 weeks is equivalent to one credit.
  • One semester credit of field experience requires a minimum of 40 hours of direct experience.
  • For alternate course formats which do not meet faculty contact requirements credit is awarded based on the equivalent face-to-face course or by assessing the amount of work required by the student.

Each academic year shall consist of at minimum 144 instructional days.

Alternative Course Formats

Any course not fitting the traditional 50 minutes per week for each credit in a face-to-face classroom. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Accelerated course defined as courses with the normal number of seat-time hours but in a more compressed time than a traditional semester length.
  • Hybrid courses defined as reduced seat time with an online component with the same outcomes as the traditional in-seat class.
  • Online courses defined as completely presented in an online environment with the same outcomes as the traditional in-seat class.
  • Internships defined as similar hours as a traditional course per credit.
  • Clinical rotations defined as a minimum of similar hours as a traditional course per credit with specific identified outcomes. Time frames may be dictated by an accrediting agency.
  • Individual study or research. The scope of the study or research to require the average student to work an average of three hours a week per credit for 15 weeks.

Classification of Students

Students at Minnesota State University Moorhead are divided into classes as follows:
            Freshman          0-29 credits
            Sophomore       30-59 credits
            Junior               60-89 credits
            Senior               90 or more credits

Special students not participating in a degree program are admitted on an individual basis and classified separately.

Academic Honesty  

The university expects all students to represent themselves in an honest fashion. In academic work, students are expected to present original ideas and give credit for the ideas of others.

When an instructor has convincing evidence of cheating or plagiarism, a failing grade may be assigned for the course in which the student cheated. When a failing grade is assigned for this reason, the instructor shall report the offense, the evidence, and their action to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If the instructor (or any other person) feels the seriousness of the offense warrants additional action, the incident may be reported to the Dean of Students Office. The Director of Student Conduct and Resolution will follow procedures set out in the Student Conduct Code. After the review of the case and a fair, unbiased hearing, the Director of Student Conduct and Resolution may take disciplinary action if the student is found responsible (see Student Conduct Code for details).

A student who has a course grade reduced by an instructor because of cheating or plagiarism, and who disputes the instructor’s finding, may appeal the grade, but only by using the Grade Appeal Policy, which states that the student must prove the grade was arbitrary, prejudicial, or in error. 


Academic advising is designed to assist each student in the development of a meaningful educational plan compatible with the student’s interests, abilities, and life goals. Academic advising is an ongoing and collaborative process and requires the student and advisor meet at least once each semester.

Students may expect their advisors:

  • Have knowledge of the university curriculum requirements and are able to provide accurate information; 
  • Are informed about university policies, procedures, support services, and resources; 
  • Are reasonably available for consultation by having posted office hours and/or appointment times; 
  • Have knowledge of career opportunities and appropriate graduate programs in their fields; and 
  • Will refer the student to specialized institutional and community resources when necessary. 

Advisors may expect the student:

  • Will make and keep appointments;
  • Will prepare for advisor appointments by bringing their degree audit report (DARS) to the appointment and giving thoughtful consideration to life/career goals, fields of study, and personal interests;
  • Will keep their advisor informed when there are changes in objectives, course selection, academic plans, or progress;
  • Will maintain up-to-date personal records of academic progress and will resolve discrepancies on official grade reports and/or other university documents; and
  • Recognizes that they bear the ultimate responsibility for the development and implementation of his or her academic plan of study, including meeting graduation requirements.

Advisor Assignment and Changes

Students are assigned to a faculty advisor after the time of first registration. Students can find the name of their advisors in eservices. Any change of advisor may be made with the approval of the chair of the department in which the student plans to seek a major and must be reported to either the Registrar's Office or the Academic Support Center.

Appeal of Undergraduate Academic Policies

Academic Appeals can be filed to seek waiver of a graduation or Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum (LASC) requirements, retroactively withdraw from a course (after the withdrawal deadline has passed), and other similar situations. Appeals to retroactively withdraw cannot be accepted if five years have passed since the course in question was taken. Students can inquire in the Registrar's Office whether an appeal is appropriate in their situation.

Students may complete the appeal form and return it to the Registrar's Office, along with appropriate supporting documentation. The Academic Appeals Committee reviews student appeals and approves or denies them. Students whose appeals are denied by the Committee may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs whose decision is final.

Internship Policy  

A.   Students will not be required to return to campus after completing an internship. Students should, however, be encouraged to return to campus to share their experiences.

B.   Before the start date of the internship, the internship supervisor, the site evaluator, and the student shall sign an internship agreement which outlines mutual responsibilities and expectations and contains statements clearly articulating liability assumption on the part of MSUM, the site, and the student.

C.  Minimum Standards

  • A minimum of one (1) semester credit and a maximum of twelve (12) semester credits will be granted.
  • A maximum of twelve (12) semester credits may be counted toward a degree.
  • An internship will be graded only on a pass-fail basis.
  • An internship may be taken only by a student majoring in a program with an approved internship experience.
  • The student must have at least junior standing.
  • Internship credits will be awarded on the basis of a minimum of forty (40) hours of fieldwork per semester per credit received.
  • Each internship must have a written agreement outlining the mutual expectations and responsibilities of MSUM, the site, the department, and the student.
  • The internship agreement will be kept on file in the department office for six years.
  • Every internship will be evaluated by the department internship coordinator or the internship supervisor.

D.  Departmental Expectations
All departments offering internships must have a current internship document on file in the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and in the office of the appropriate dean. The document shall include statements of the:

  • Objectives of the internship program.
  • Responsibilities of the student, the faculty supervisor, and the site evaluator.
  • Departmental procedures for approving internships.
  • Means of reporting results or accomplishments.
  • Method(s) of assessment.
  • Expectations and procedures of monitoring internship achievements.
  • Departmental practice on faculty workload, if any.
  • Departmental policy on internship compensation.
  • Name of a designated departmental internship coordinator.

First Year Seminar Graduation Requirement

All new entering undergraduate students are required to successfully complete a 1-credit hour First Year Seminar. Successful completion of the course is a graduation requirement. New students who have completed 24 or more transferable credits will be exempt from this requirement.

Learning Communities

MSUM Learning Communities provide students who live on campus with an academic advantage. Communities help students make a smooth transition into college life and facilitate an environment that enhances learning potential outside the classroom. Students who are a part of a Learning Community gain exposure to campus resources, university faculty and staff, and to a support network of classmates who share the same major or similar interests. Learning Community students will take classes together, live on the same floor in the residence hall, and have full access to an upper-class mentor who lives on the floor. Students will have the opportunity to get to know faculty within their major. Learning Communities help students set academic goals, develop study skills, engage in leadership opportunities outside of the classroom, and provide students with the opportunity to volunteer within the campus and local community. Please visit Learning Communities online for more information.

Background Checks 

Minnesota law requires any person who provides direct contact services to people receiving services from facilities and agencies licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and/or the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have a background study conducted by the state. Direct contact is defined as providing face-to-face care, training, supervision, counseling, consultation, or medication assistance to people receiving services from the agency or facility. Any individual who is disqualified from having direct patient contact as a result of the background study will not be permitted to participate in a clinical placement in a DHS or MDH licensed facility or agency. Failure to participate in a clinical placement required by the academic program could result in ineligibility to qualify for a degree in this program.

Students whose programs may involve DHS or MDH licensed facilities or agencies should contact the chair of their major program. Forms may be obtained from the program chair.

Student Liability 
Students are liable for their actions and may be sued (along with others) for damages due to negligence. Minnesota State University Moorhead has a Student Intern Professional Liability Policy which covers students engaged in internships. The coverage is for $2,000,000 per occurrence and $5,000,000 in annual aggregate. In addition, some internships and academic programs may require students to purchase separate liability insurance.

If the student or his/her academic department or clinical practicum site does not have a formal internship agreement, and therefore does not have a formally acknowledged internship (i.e. no credit hours, etc.), the student is NOT covered by the University Student Intern Professional Liability Policy.

Students completing their practicum work in area schools can receive liability insurance through the Education Minnesota Student Program provided they are members. For more information, check out their website at