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Types of Minnesota State Schools

Are you interested in public two- or four-year schools? Narrow your choices by program, size, location, or degree.

Different types of colleges prepare you for different types of careers. An important key to your success is to find a college that fits you and your career goals. To do this, learn about types of schools which make up Minnesota State and how they differ from each other.

Two-Year Colleges

Programs at technical and community colleges can be completed in two years or less. These types of schools may award certificates (1 year or less), diplomas (2 years or less), or associate degrees (2 years).

Public technical colleges are state colleges that offer courses and programs that emphasize hands-on knowledge and skills that lead to specific jobs in technical and industrial occupations to business, marketing and sales careers. Instructors are often former business owners or skilled practitioners with solid experience in the occupations they teach. Local employers work closely with the colleges to ensure the teaching of skills demanded in today's job market. Technical colleges offer programs ranging in length from three months to two years.

Community colleges are two-year colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and University system that allow you to complete your first two years of a bachelor's degree at a community college, and then transfer credits to a four-year college or university to finish. Or you can take a career program leading directly to a job. Community colleges offer general education courses, occupational programs and developmental and college preparatory courses for those who need to brush up on basic skills. Evening and weekend classes offer flexibility for working students. Most offer a chance to participate in athletics, clubs and activities in theater, music or the arts.

Community and technical colleges allow you to enroll in a technical program to learn skills that lead directly to a career or earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree and then transfer credits to a four-year college or university.

Tribal colleges provide an education similar to that offered at community colleges. Minnesota State has Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (the only combined tribal college and state community college in the United States).

Four-Year Colleges & Universities

Programs at these colleges and universities are completed in four but not more than six years. These types of schools award bachelor's degrees, but some may also award graduate and professional degrees and certificates. Some schools also offer accelerated three-year bachelor's degree programs.

Public four-year universities offer a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. Most offer a range of athletics and intramural sports as well as programs in theater, music, and the arts. Undergraduate on-campus housing is also available on most campuses. Minnesota State has seven state universities that offer comprehensive courses and programs leading to a bachelor's or master's degree. Programs are offered in liberal arts, sciences, and professional fields.

Centers of Excellence

Minnesota State Centers of Excellence promote connectivity between industry and the colleges and universities. They help students gain access to the latest technologies and work-based learning opportunities, and facilitate education and training for business partners to meet their workforce needs today and into the future.

Useful Tips

  • Learn how credits transfer between colleges and universities.
  • Try the Education Search Tools. Make a selection under "match colleges to your preferences." This tool allows you to find those schools that match any combination of your criteria.

Source: Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Minnesota State

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