St. Cloud State University (SCSU), the largest of seven state universities in Minnesota, has evolved into one of the leading comprehensive state universities in the Upper Midwest, serving 16,400 students from more than 80 nations. The campus overlooks the Mississippi River in the city of St. Cloud, a regional hub of Central Minnesota with a population of 63,000 in a three-county metropolitan area whose total population is over 263,000. St. Cloud is 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis and St. Paul whose seven-county metropolitan area has a population of 2,800,000. This location, which offers easy access to urban, suburban, and rural areas, provides students with a range of opportunities for clinical and field experiences, internships, and service learning. St. Cloud State University also serves regional businesses and industries through its centers for applied research in fields such as computer technology, biotechnology, manufacturing engineering, and microelectronics. The university is a major contributor to economic and workforce development, applied research, professional growth, international awareness, community development, and quality of life in Minnesota.
The university’s evolutionary path is a familiar one in American higher education. The institution began in 1869 as the Third State Normal School with one building, five faculty members, and 53 students. In 1898 the school began offering a junior college curriculum, and in 1914 it dropped its secondary education program entirely. In 1921, when the state legislature changed the State’s normal schools to state teachers colleges, the Third State Normal School became St. Cloud State Teachers College. Four years later, in 1925, the newly designated college awarded its first bachelor’s degrees. In 1953 it became St. Cloud State College as the legislature broadened the mission of the teachers colleges to accommodate increasing demand for higher education following World War II. After the legislature authorized state colleges to offer master’s degrees in 1955, St. Cloud State College offered its first master’s degree programs in 1957. It became St. Cloud State University in 1975 when the legislature changed the designation of state colleges to state universities. In 2005 the legislature authorized state universities to offer doctoral programs in applied fields of study. SCSU has just recently developed its first applied doctoral program.
The university mission is as follows: St. Cloud State University is committed to excellence in teaching, learning, and service, fostering scholarship and enhancing collaborative relationships in a global community. SCSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Accreditation and just recently was reaccredited in fall 2007.
SCSU offers 205 academic degree programs of which 139 are undergraduate and 66 are graduate. Undergraduate programs include 135 leading to bachelor’s degrees, two to associate degrees, and two to certificates. Graduate programs include 52 leading to master’s degrees, 13 to graduate certificates, one to a specialist degree, and one to a doctoral degree.