* Term also listed in the glossary

Admissions: Application

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A detailed document highlighting a person’s professional and academic history. CVs usually include work experience, achievements and awards, scholarships and grants, completed coursework, research projects, and publications.
GMAT Graduate Management Admissions Test
An exam offered by MBA.com assessing quantitative, integrated, and verbal reasoning. It is a common requirement for graduate admission to a business program.
GRE Graduate Records Examinations
An exam offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) assessing quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and verbal reasoning. It is a common requirement for graduate admission, but not every program requires it.
Rolling admissions
An admissions process in which applications are on a rolling basis.
Schools of Public Health Application Service is a common application portal for students applying to public health programs at various universities. Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences requires graduate applicants to submit this application for several of their graduate programs.
Statement of purpose (SOP)
Also referred to as a “personal statement” or “statement of objectives,” it is a statement usually 1-2 pages in length describing an applicant’s interest in the program, the applicant’s qualifications, and future goals. The applicant may use this opportunity to share information that is not evident in the transcripts (e.g. life situations leading to bad grades, etc.). Statement requirements can vary program to program. The SOP should be specific to each program to which the applicant is applying.

Admissions: Types of Graduate Study

Accelerated Master’s Platform (AMP)
A curriculum that allows high-achieving undergraduate students to complete graduate courses and apply those credits towards both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. AMP students have the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in as little as one year instead of two.
Graduate certificate
An abbreviated graduate curriculum in which a student completes courses in a specific subject to acquire new/additional knowledge at the graduate level. A graduate certificate usually requires approximately 18-23 credits, which is a little less than half of most master’s degree requirements. Some OSU degree programs (masters or doctorate) will allow transfer credits from an OSU graduate certificate.
Hybrid graduate program
A program that combines both online and in-person elements to complete the degree.
Low-residency program
A program that involves brief on-campus or specific-site residencies with the majority of course work completed through distance education.
MAIS Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
This master’s degree allows students to combine multiple majors and minors together into a single degree.
Non-degree seeking
Non-degree enrollment status is designed for students who wish to take courses but do not plan to pursue a degree. Non-degree students do not qualify for financial aid. Non-degree students are part-time students and are expected to enroll in no more than eight credits per term.
Professional degree
A degree that prepares the student to work in a particular profession, often meeting the academic requirements for licensure or accreditation. Some examples are a PharmD, EdD, and DVM. These degrees are usually broader in course content compared to a regular graduate degree and usually focus more on real world application to prepare students for the profession.
Terminal degree
The highest level degree awarded for a specific subject. The most common is a PhD, but other examples include EdD, PharmD, DVM, JD, and MD. Some master’s programs are also considered terminal degrees when a doctorate is not necessary or available for the profession. Examples include a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Masters of Social Work (MSW).


A form of graduate employment. Graduate assistantships are categorized as either Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) or Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA). GRAs typically work on research related work for OSU, support specified grant projects, or assist undergraduate student labs. GTAs typically provide support and instruction for courses or administrative support for the university. Assistantships come with several benefits; tuition remission*, monthly living stipends* and health insurance. Assistantships are governed by contract agreement between OSU and the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE)*. Questions regarding assistantships should be directed to the Office of Human Resources or CGE.
Coalition of Graduate Employees: Local union chapter (6069) representing Graduate Employees (i.e. those graduate students with assistantships).
Graduate fellowships are recognized nationally as a means to acknowledge and support outstanding graduate students in pursuit of their advanced degree objectives. Graduate fellowships provide financial support to graduate students without a commensurate service requirement. At OSU, this financial support can include residential tuition rates, stipends*, and health insurance. Graduate fellowships vary widely by their purpose, selectivity, duration and support level. Fellowships may be supported by either internal or external sources of funds. Some types of fellowships include; pre-doctoral fellowships, dissertation* fellowships, traineeships, and institutional graduate fellowships. For more information visit our fellowship webpage.
Full-Time Equivalent: A decimal used to show a position in terms of the percentage of contribution compared to a full-time position of 40 hours per week/2080 hours per year. For example, a student on a .49FTE graduate assistant appointment at OSU is expected to work 19.6 hours, on average, per week, or 255 hours over a 13-week academic quarter appointment.
A financial award given to a student. Scholarship amounts vary and can be applied directly to a student’s account, given as a cash award, or intended for tuition support. Each scholarship is different and there are many scholarships available at OSU and beyond.
A monetary allowance or salary to offset living and/or personal expenses for a student on a fellowship* or assistantship*. Stipend amounts vary and can be provided either monthly or quarterly.
Tuition remission
Tuition remissions cover up to 16 credits of tuition costs each academic term (fall, winter, spring, and sometimes summer). Remissions are provided for students on graduate assistantships* at OSU.
Tuition waiver
A waiver that covers all or part of the tuition charges to a student in an academic term*. For appointed fellowships*, waivers cover up to 12 credits of enrollment each academic term, not including summer term.

International Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
A program that allows international students on F-1 visas to engage in an internship*, practicum*, or cooperative education program (generally off-campus) that is a required or integral part of the curriculum in their department for a specific period of time during their studies.
English proficiency
An admissions policy that requires international applicants and applicants without a degree from a U.S. (or other English speaking country) to demonstrate that they have achieved a certain level of facility with the English language to be admissible to a graduate program. This helps to ensure success in the graduate program. English proficiency can be demonstrated through the TOEFL or IELTS exams.
Financial documentation
Documents proving that an international student who has been admitted to OSU has the necessary funds to live and study in Corvallis or Bend for a full academic year in order to receive an I-20 Form* needed to obtain a student visa. The total amount of expenses is based on average costs for tuition, fees, books and supplies, insurance, and room and board. The financial documentation usually includes a bank statements, a funding award letter, or a sponsor letter.
I-20 Form
This document is created for international applicants who will be seeking F1 visas once they have been admitted to OSU and have shown they have the necessary funds to attend for an academic year. Admitted international students need the I-20 form to apply for their F-1 Student Visa.
A center at Oregon State University specific for international students. INTO OSU offers several English language and graduate pathway programs. INTO OSU provides advising and new student support during the time students are enrolled in these programs. Visit their website.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
An employment benefit available to students in valid F-1 status after graduation.
Transitional Admission Program (TAP)
International applicants who have demonstrated that they are admissible academically through their application, but do not yet have the necessary English proficiency* can receive conditional admission, also known as TAP, if a graduate program approves of this admission.

Current Graduate Students

Continuous enrollment
A policy where a student must enroll in a minimum of 3 graduate credits every fall, spring, and winter term* in order to remain an active student. This includes students who are taking only preliminary comprehensive or final oral examinations* or presenting terminal projects. Students with graduate assistantships*, fellowships*, scholarships*, some veterans and international students typically need more credits per term. Students must be enrolled unless on an approved leave of absence*.
The final paper produced at the end of a doctoral degree that explains the research done and its results and conclusions. It is sometimes called a doctoral thesis.
Final oral exam
The exit exam for degree completion reviewed by a graduate committee*. This exam is also known as a “defense” when presenting a thesis* or dissertation*. Non-thesis* final oral exams include presenting on a project, a summary of acquired skills, a report, etc.
Graduate committee
A committee of graduate faculty members including a student’s major professor*, who is appointed to guide a student’s course work and research. These faculty also serve as the final examination committee in most cases.
Graduate Council Representative (GCR)
All doctoral students and master's students who are writing a thesis* (as well as all MAIS* students) are required to include a Graduate Council Representative on their committee. The GCR serves as an impartial committee member who advocates for a fair process for the student and ensures that all rules governing committee procedures are followed.
A position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. Some graduate programs include or require credit-granting internships.
Leave of Absence
An on-leave status for graduate students who need to suspend their program of study for good cause (e.g. illness, temporary departure from the University for employment, family issues, financial need, or personal circumstances) for one or more terms. Students who desire a leave of absence will work with their major professor, program administrator, and the Graduate School to arrange authorized leave.
Major professor
The major professor, also known as a faculty advisor, is an identified faculty member a student works with to complete a degree. The major professor will be the chair of the student’s Graduate Committee*.
A master’s program that does not require the student to submit a thesis to complete their degree. The student will fulfill requirements through another method like a report, practicum, or final project.
A graduate-level course, often in a specialized field of study, that is designed to give students supervised practical application of a previously or concurrently studied field or theory. While a practicum helps students practice the subject, an internship* allows the student to implement their acquired skills in the real world.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project.
Preliminary oral exam (Oral Prelim)
This exam determines a doctoral student’s understanding of their major and minor fields and to assess capability for research. The preliminary oral exam is taken near the completion of all course work. Once completed, the student focuses on their dissertation*.
Program of study
A form that lists the courses a student will complete to fulfill degree requirements.. It is created in collaboration with the student’s major professor or advisor(s) and graduate committee.
Qualifying exam
An examination early in the graduate degree process that a student must pass in order to begin or continue with a course of study. This exam may also be used to highlight areas of weakness that can be addressed through additional coursework or independent study. Unlike the preliminary oral exam*, not all programs require this exam.
Oregon State University, conducts classes in terms, also referred to as "quarters". Terms are one-third of the academic year, not counting summer. Terms at OSU are divided into fall, winter and spring terms and consist of 11 weeks each, with finals occurring during the last week. Summer courses at Oregon State have several different options for length of courses, varying from one week to 11 weeks.
The final paper produced at the end of a master’s degree that explains the research done and its results and conclusions. The term “thesis” is sometimes also used at the PhD level.