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Graduate School

International Students/Nonimmigrant Admissions

Admission is determined by a selective process that includes consideration of English language proficiency, academic achievements, financial resources, and student visa eligibility.

In addition to the Graduate School admission requirements, the following supporting documentation must also be sent to the Office of International Programs by the appropriate deadline:

English-Language Proficiency
Students whose first language is not English must give evidence of proficiency in English. Such students should arrange to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A passing score on the TOEFL is 550 on the paper-based test (PBT) and 79 on the Internet-based test (IBT). A passing score on the IELTS examination is 6.0 overall band score. The Graduate School will also consider for admission students who have attained a Level 9 and scored at or above the iTEP Level 5 from training and testing administered by the Language Company on the MSU campus. Individual programs may require specific skill levels above the minimum band score. In lieu of previously defined satisfactory performance on the TOEFL, IELTS, or iTEP, international students who have attended formal education for three or more years in the U.S. may, at the discretion of the program, be considered for admission into the Graduate School with the recommendation of the program director who has been able to assess the students’ English proficiency through voice conversation.

Academic Achievement
Applicants to the MSU Graduate School should have completed their secondary education and obtained their high school diploma or school-leaving certificate, as well as completed an undergraduate university level degree. Minot State University will review all secondary and university-level course work for academic rigor and trends in academic performance.

Applicants are required to submit an original or certified copy of official academic records from all colleges, universities and professional schools attended. The academic records must show all marks or grades received in each subject for each school year and any certificates, diplomas or degrees awarded, including all subjects passed and grades or marks earned on government or university examinations. All academic records and supporting documents must be official. Official academic records should be sent directly from the issuing institution to the MSU Graduate School. If a record is not in English, a certified literal English translation must accompany the official transcript. If only one original record is available, the appropriate school authority that issues the original academic record should make a photocopy of the applicant’s papers and certify that it is a true copy by placing the institution’s stamp or seal and the official’s signature on the photocopy. Copies of foreign transcripts issued by one institution but certified by another institution will not be accepted.

Academic Credential Requirements
Applicants are required to have all international* college, university, or professional school statements of marks (transcripts) evaluated by World Education Services (WES) on the course-by-course basis. WES is an internationally recognized, comprehensive organization that offers timely evaluations of transcripts at a reasonable cost. Applicants should request WES to send credential evaluations directly to the MSU Graduate School.

Sponsored applicants working with a programming organization or agency may have all their statements of marks (transcripts) evaluated by the programming organization. In such cases, statements of marks and degrees submitted to the Graduate School should bear the original stamp/seal and signature of the school official responsible for issuing such records, such as the registrar or controller of exams for that institution. Only degrees received from colleges and universities recognized by the Ministry of Education of a foreign country or regional/global accreditation bodies are accepted. The programming organization shall authenticate the final documents to be submitted to the Graduate School.

If a record is not in English, a certified literal English translation must accompany the official transcript. If only one original record is available, the sponsor or programming organization should make a photocopy of the record and certify that it is a true copy. Copies of foreign transcripts issued by one institution but certified by another institution are not accepted. Notarized, faxed or scanned copies are not considered official, but may be submitted for preliminary review. Original copies are required in order to be fully admitted.

*Applicants who have attended Canadian colleges, universities, and/or professional schools should have their institutions send original transcripts directly to the MSU Graduate School; WES evaluation is not required. Applicants from MSU's formalized partner institutions are not required to provide WES evaluation.

Conditional Admission Status for International Students
Conditional Admission Status may be offered to international students who are unable to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency with a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets the minimum admission requirement for the MSU Graduate School. The following minimum requirements must be met before consideration for Conditional Admission Status will be granted:

Conditionally admitted students will be entered into the competitive applicant pool for Admitted—Approved Status upon completion of any additional program-specific exams as well as proof of English language proficiency (see English- Language Proficiency) *Students holding Conditional Admission Status are not eligible to apply for Graduate Assistantships or Graduate School scholarships and are not eligible to enroll in graduate courses.

Credit Transfer
Graduate course work completed prior to attending MSU is subject to departmental approval in order to meet major requirements and to receive transfer credit. Evaluation of transfer credit normally will not be complete until the applicant has arrived on campus and enrolled for coursework. Applicants seeking transfer credits for higher education work completed outside the United States may be asked to bring with them a detailed syllabus for each course, and must be prepared to provide a full description of prior course work to their academic advisor to facilitate the evaluation of transfer credits. Specific guidelines for requesting to transfer credit are provided in the Graduate School Policies and Regulations section of this catalog.

Financial Support
International students are not eligible for U.S. federal or state need-based financial assistance. Therefore, certification of adequate financial support to meet the needs during the period of enrollment at MSU is required of all international non-immigrant applicants. Admission will be granted when proof of funds has been submitted. Failure to submit supporting documents will delay admission and the issuance of the appropriate immigration forms. The student must be prepared to document on a yearly basis the ability to pay the following year’s tuition and fees as well as the cost of living expenses. To prove sufficient financial resources, international applicants should complete the Affidavit of Support form and submit it with a recent bank statement revealing a current account balance.

Before departing for the United States, students should become thoroughly familiar with their home governments’ regulations for exchanging and forwarding money abroad.

International Student Tuition All students, regardless of residency, pay North Dakota in-state tuition for all classes. More detailed information regarding tuition rates can be found on the MSU website at:

Tuition and fees for all students are due at the beginning of each semester and must be paid in full at the Business Office within the first 12 class days of the semester; MSU does not issue paper statements; students are responsible for checking their account in Campus Connection. Students who do not pay their tuition and fees in full on or prior to the 12th day of classes are withdrawn from their classes and will incur a readmission fee.

Please note that tuition policies are subject to change or suspension without advance notice by action of either Minot State University or the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

Mandatory Health Insurance
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education requires all students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada to demonstrate health insurance coverage for themselves and their accompanying dependents. The state of North Dakota recommends a specific insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage and benefits specifications required. The fee for health insurance for one year must be paid upon arrival prior to course registration, and at the beginning of each subsequent year and will be added to the student’s university account. Students who demonstrate proof of coverage under a comparable insurance policy with a different U.S. vendor or from a country with mandatory health insurance plans may request an exemption to this requirement. All exemptions will be handled through a waiver process through the Office of International Programs.

Canadian students are exempt from the mandatory insurance requirement. However, be advised that Canadian provincial insurance may be inadequate in the case of emergencies. Canadian students should consider buying supplemental insurance with a private provider.

Immunization Requirements
The state of North Dakota requires proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella prior to registration for courses. Students should send copies of their immunization records to the Office of International Programs prior to arrival. Tuberculosis (TB) screening is also required of all international students and must be completed after arrival on U.S. soil, but prior to the first day of class. Students who fail to meet these requirements will have a "hold" placed on their institutional profile and account, and will not be allowed to register for courses.

Student Visa Information
Minot State University is authorized by the U.S. government to issue SEVIS Forms I-20 to assist non-immigrants to apply for F-1 visas. The Office of International Programs will issue I-20s to international students who meet all of the entrance requirements.

Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Awards Admitted international graduate students are eligible for graduate teaching and/or research assistantships and tuition awards. International students wishing to be considered for assistantships and/or tuition awards should submit completed applications to the Graduate School no later than June 1 for the following fall, spring, and summer semesters. Conditionally and provisionally admitted students are ineligible for assistantship and tuition award consideration.

Information about international students in the U.S. is tracked using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Students are assigned a SEVIS ID number which is located on the upper right hand corner. The ID number begins with an N and has 10 digits. Students are required by Congress to pay for this tracking system, and this SEVIS fee is an additional fee, not to be confused with the visa application fee. All new students must pay the SEVIS fee after receiving the I-20 form from Minot State University, but prior to visiting the U.S. consulate for their F-1 visa interview. Students from Canada, who do not require a visa, must pay the SEVIS fee before their first entry to the U.S. and will be asked for a copy of the receipt at the port of entry. To pay the SEVIS fee, go to the following website:

American government regulations allow students to enter the U.S. only within 30 days of the start date indicated on the I-20 form. MSU campus housing is not available until just before the start of school, so if you arrive early you are responsible for your own accommodations. New and transfer international students are required to attend a welcome orientation specifically for international students at the beginning of their first semester at Minot State University. This orientation is in addition to the general MSU "new student orientation" and is held a few days prior to the start of classes.

The I-20 form is first endorsed by a Minot State University’s Office of International Programs at the time it is issued and then must be re-endorsed at the end of each semester. These signatures confirm full-time student status and enable F-1 students and their dependents to enter and leave the country. International students planning to travel outside of the U.S. during their entire length of study at Minot State University must bring their I-20 form to Office of International Programs for verification and signature renewal at least 24 hours prior to travel.

Students must be making satisfactory academic progress toward their major field of study in order to have their I-20 form endorsed each semester. ‘Academic progress’ means that the student must be taking course work that satisfies the declared degree requirements and maintain a satisfactory grade point average. Students who fail to meet these requirements will not be eligible to have their I-20 form re-endorsed.