The Graduate Mission

The mission of Graduate Studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead is to promote excellence in research, advanced career preparation and development, as well as personal and creative expression. Graduate Studies at MSUM introduces students to a community of scholars and learners who foster innovative efforts in the areas of discovery, creativity, scholarship and artistic expression. MSUM Graduate Studies is committed to excellence in all graduate degree and certificate programs.

MSUM at a Glance

Minnesota State University Moorhead, with an enrollment of more than 6,600 full and part-time students, offers 82 undergraduate majors with 99 emphases, and 14 graduate degree programs. Included in our majors are 31 areas of teacher licensure preparation. Our professional programs are grounded in the liberal arts, designed to provide a broad base of knowledge and cultural themes. As a part of the higher education system established by the State of Minnesota, the University provides the advantages of a quality education at the lower costs made possible by the support of Minnesota’s citizens.

Vision Statement

Minnesota State University Moorhead will be a welcoming educational community that offers rigorous courses of study and places high expectations upon its students. Our strong commitment to faculty-mentored undergraduate research and intellectual growth will provide students with continual opportunities for personal and professional achievement. MSUM will continue to foster an environment that encourages students to become versatile, thoughtful, innovative, and engaged leaders who contribute to their professions and their communities.

MSUM values diversity and mutual respect and will strive to instill these ideals throughout the institution. MSUM honors its heritage as a respected, student-focused, public university and will continue to enhance our students’ lives at the same time that it contributes to the community and the region. MSUM will offer graduate and professional programs that contribute to the state and region through increased collaboration with local and state business, industry, and human services to assure optimal preparation of graduates. 

Minnesota State University Moorhead will build upon a solid foundation of high quality teaching and learning as it commits to a future as the premiere liberal arts and sciences-based university in the region.


Minnesota State University Moorhead is a caring community promising all students the opportunity to discover their passions, the rigor to develop intellectually and the versatility to shape a changing world.

History of Minnesota State University Moorhead

Minnesota State University Moorhead’s institutional life began in 1887 when, two years after a bill calling for its establishment was approved by the Minnesota legislature, funds were appropriated for the construction of campus buildings. Moorhead Normal School was built on land deeded to the city by the bill’s author, S. G. Comstock, a former Clay County Attorney and, later, an executive with James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railroad. The campus opened for classes under its first president, Livingston Lord, in August of 1888.

Moorhead Normal School was Minnesota’s fourth such institution, charged with the education of those who would teach in the area’s rural schoolhouses. Students graduated from these normal schools after two years, with a license to teach grades K (or 1) through 8. By the second decade of the 1900s, the demand for better-educated teachers, together with the increased numbers of students attending high school, was the motive force that prompted the development of a four-year college curriculum. This progress was marked by the school’s first name change, to Moorhead State Teachers College, in April of 1921.

In late April-early May 1957, the Minnesota state legislature approved another name change, bringing into existence Moorhead State College. This change reflected the institution’s “increasing diversity and breadth of purpose” (graduate programs began in 1953), and also came at a time when the campus was going through something of a construction “boomlet.” Over the next 18 years, the campus added 11 new buildings and numerous new programs. The 18 years of Moorhead State College also saw the establishment of that unique educational resource, the Tri-College University.

On August 1, 1975, a ceremony was held on campus to mark the renaming of the college to Moorhead State University. All other Minnesota State Colleges were also transformed into state universities at the same time. The time of this change was surrounded by the continued growth of the University student body, a growth mirrored by the number of majors offered, which rose to more than 90 (the University currently offers more than 140 majors, including emphases and options).

In 1998, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved a policy authorizing the seven state universities to change their names if they wished to do so. Accordingly, after consultation with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, the campus’s fifth name change to Minnesota State University Moorhead was approved by the Board of Trustees and became effective July 1, 2000.

The Campus

Most of the 28 major buildings on the 119-acre campus have been constructed since 1957, including the Science Laboratory Building that opened fall semester 2004 and the Wellness Center that opened spring semester 2009. Other campus buildings include five residence halls and one apartment facility, the Livingston Lord Library, Comstock Memorial (Student) Union, Kise Commons food service, the Regional Science Center, Hendrix Clinic and Counseling Center, Security/Police Substation, 11 classroom buildings, the Alex Nemzek Hall complex for men’s and women’s physical education, health and athletics, and Owens Hall administration building.

The Faculty

There are more than 300 members of Minnesota State University Moorhead’s instructional faculty. Over 70 percent of the faculty holds the highest degree in their fields. Professors teach 99 percent of classes and are advisors and mentors. A student-faculty ratio of 19-to-1 encourages undergraduates to participate in faculty-mentored research and creative projects, and 73 percent of classes have fewer than 30 students. 

The Community

Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota are education-minded communities with Minnesota State University Moorhead, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, and Concordia College on one side of the Red River, North Dakota State University on the other. The two cities support a symphony orchestra, a community band, area youth orchestra, community Jazz Arts Group, community opera, community theatre, and several art galleries. Minnesota State University Moorhead regularly offers a Performing Arts Series, monthly art exhibits, and a number of dramatic and musical programs.

The character of this metropolitan community of more than 174,000 is also determined by its rural traditions. Situated in the rich farming land of the Red River Valley, Fargo-Moorhead is the hub for wholesale and retail trade, communications, transportation, industry, and medical care in the Upper Midwest. Fargo-Moorhead was named an All-American City in 2000.