Mayville State University is one of North Dakota’s original colleges, since its establishment was provided for in the state constitution of 1889. Teachers colleges (then called “normal schools”) had grown rapidly since their introduction into the field of American higher education soon after the Civil War. Three times the Legislature of the Dakota Territory had moved toward the establishment of colleges for teacher education, but none of these efforts bore fruit for the people of the area which became North Dakota.

The constitutional convention of 1889 located the nine original state institutions, although the actual process of organization had to be left to the first Legislature. A land grant of 30,000 acres provided the basis for the establishment of Mayville State.

Classes began in 1890, and the following spring the second state Legislature provided funds for a building. The first classes were held in “Old Main” in 1893. From those beginnings, the college story is one of growth and progress. The year 1925 was a particularly significant year with the State Board of Higher Education giving the authority to grant a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree. The Normal School thus automatically became a “teachers college,” establishing a junior college division providing general education and offering a four-year degree. From time to time additions have been made to the curriculum, and as enrollment has grown, new buildings have come to dot the campus.

In 1948, the B.A. degree in Education became a B.S. degree in Education with the first non-teaching Bachelor of Arts degree being offered in 1961. In the 1970s, the University established programs in business and computer information systems. In the early 1980s the degrees of Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of General Studies were approved. The present name, Mayville State University, was approved by the Legislature in 1987.

In recent years Associate of Arts degree programs have gained wide acceptance by students desiring less than the traditional four-year degree. In addition to the regular degree programs, one- and two-year pre-professional programs are available to students who wish to complete the first years of university programs.

Mayville State University has recently added majors in Medical Laboratory Science, Early Childhood Education, Communication, Special Education, Studies in Education, RN to BSN Nursing, and a Music Minor. Mayville State also has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business Administration. These programs allow seamless articulation for students who have earned an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), an Associate of Science (A.S.), or other Applied Associate degrees. The Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business Administration; Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood; Bachelor of Science in Education degrees in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Special Education; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Bachelor of Science in Mathematics; Bachelor of Science in Education in Mathematics Education; Bachelor of University Studies; Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) and Associate of Arts degrees in Business Management and Early Childhood are offered at a distance or online.