You know you want to pursue a graduate degree, but you still have some questions about the application process.

Unlike the admissions process for most undergraduate degrees, graduate admissions application requirements, deadlines and funding opportunities can vary from program to program, even at the same university.

You might notice one program only admits once a year while another allows applications any term. One might require an entrance exam, like the GRE, and another does not. Checking the webpage of your program of interest is an essential step in the graduate application process.

While there are differences in program requirements, there are some common features in the graduate application processes. The Graduate School is here to share some tips to help you feel confident and ready as you prepare to apply to graduate school.

To help understand abbreviations and terms used in the admissions process and beyond, check out our glossary of terms.

Tips on assembling application materials

Application material such as a CV or resume, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation are common requirements for almost all graduate programs. Many admissions committees use these documents as part of their evaluation. Visit the Career Development Center's Prepare for Grad School for tips on preparing these items.

Tips for contacting faculty

Some graduate programs will require you to identify your faculty advisor before submitting an application. Others may ask you to list the faculty with whom you are interested in working. Whether or not your program requires you to reach out to faculty before applying, it can be a helpful way to get to know prospective advisors and see if your research interests align with theirs. Learn five tips for contacting a faculty advisor for graduate school.

GRE/GMAT preparation

The Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) is common for graduate admission, but not every program requires it. Many graduate programs at Oregon State are adopting a holistic approach to admissions. Business programs typically expect the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) instead of the GRE. Visit the webpage of your program of interest to learn about their testing requirements, if any. If you have demonstrated financial need, you may be eligible for the Educational Testing Center's (ETS) GRE Fee Reduction Program.

Looking for free practice tests? Check out:

Resources and tips

You've taken the first step in your university career by pursuing your bachelor's degree at Oregon State, and are ready to go further. Do you stay at OSU for your graduate degree or go to another university? Some fields encourage you to remain at OSU, while others prefer you to study elsewhere. Expenses, program offerings, location, and other factors may influence your decision. Contact the graduate program you are considering at OSU to discuss continuing your education at Oregon State.

Depending on your career aspirations, you may pursue a graduate certificate, master's or doctoral degree. If your goal is a doctoral degree, check with your graduate program of interest to see what degree levels applicants can apply to with a bachelor's degree. Some programs allow bachelor's holders to apply directly to their doctroal program, while others may require a master's first. Some programs allow applicants to earn a master's while pursuing a doctoral degree.

If a master's is your goal, you may have the opportunity to start your graduate degree while finishing your bachelor's. Oregon State offers several accelerated master's platforms. This curriculum allows undergraduate seniors to take graduate-level coursework and use those credits toward their bachelor's and master's degrees. Students apply in their junior year.

Whether you are seeking a master's or doctoral degree, many faculty reviewers look for prior research experience. Having research experience looks great on your CV and establishes relationships for letters of recommendation. It can also increase your chances of finding a research position in graduate school. On-campus and Ecampus students can find research opportunities through Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts (URSA). Non-research degree applicants can look for opportunities such as an internship or work experience to strengthen their CV or application.

Want to learn more about preparing for graduate school and earn college credit at the same time? Consider taking GRAD 420: Graduate School Preparation. This 1-credit online course covers selecting a graduate program, the application process, and how to prepare for graduate student life.

You've taken the first step in your academic career by pursuing a bachelor's degree and are ready to go further. Continue your journey with a graduate degree at Oregon State University! Check with your program of interest to see what degree levels are available to you as an applicant with a bachelor's degree. If you are interested in pursuing a doctorate, some programs allow bachelor's holders to apply directly to their doctoral program. They may offer a master's degree along the way.

If you plan to pursue a graduate degree in a subject similar to your undergraduate field, talk with professors from your current department to see if they can provide insights into applying to graduate school in your academic area. You can ask if they have any connections to faculty at Oregon State. Faculty from different universities collaborate with each another, and you might have a connection.

Many graduate programs like to see that an applicant has research experience. Oregon State offers numerous opportunities for summer research, which looks great on your CV and establishes relationships for letters of recommendation. It can also increase your chances of finding a research position in graduate school and give you a taste of what it is like to be an Oregon State student. Browse research opportunities on our Undergraduate Research, Scholarships and the Arts page. Non-research degree applicants can look for opportunities such as an internship or work experience to strengthen their CV or application.

If you are returning for a graduate degree, you are not alone! Around 75% of enrolled graduate students at OSU in fall 2019 were over the age of 25. According to, the average age of a graduate or professional student is around 30 years old, and the average part-time graduate student is approximately 35.

No matter their age, graduate school is a place where students from various academic backgrounds and life experiences come together to further their education and contribute to the academic community. Your work and life experience are valuable assets.

If you are worried that you will be rusty with specific subjects, consider searching for free online refreshers or consider taking a non-degree course at a university or community college. Your graduate program may also provide some refresher workshops or classes at the beginning of your graduate degree. Check with the program to which you are applying to see what subjects, if any, you will want to brush up on.

As part of the application process, you will need to order transcripts from your past universities. Most of these requests can be done online. Usually, a quick search on your former institution's website will show you how to request and send official transcripts.

Most graduate applications include letters of recommendation. Letters should be from individuals who can vouch for your ability to succeed in graduate school. Ideally, you will include at least one former professor from your prior institution, but make sure they remember who you are. Prior to requesting a letter, provide information about yourself, and attach past assignments if you still have them. You can also consider professors from any non-degree or certificate courses you may have taken after your bachelor's. If you do not have any academic references, select past or present supervisors and colleagues who can speak to your work ethic, experience, and why you would be successful in a graduate degree.

No matter how long you have been out of school, graduate school can feel overwhelming at times. Know that the university offers various resources for undergraduate and graduate students. Don't be afraid to ask for help and to use the resources available to you! Check out some that are available to graduate students on our campus resources page.

A part-time student is defined as anyone who enrolls in less than 9 credits per term. Part-time enrollment allows students who have full-time jobs, families or financial obligations to earn graduate degrees at their own pace.

Before you apply to your program of interest, verify that part-time study is available. Some programs have set cohorts and curriculums that require full-time enrollment. If you are curious what the part-time curriculum in a particular program would be, get in touch with the primary contact for the graduate program.

As you plan your coursework, be aware of OSU’s continuous enrollment policy. This policy requires graduate students to enroll in a minimum of three graduate credits every fall, winter and spring term. You should be ready to commit to taking classes throughout the entire academic year, although students in good academic standing may request leaves of absence after successfully completing the first term of enrollment.

Your source of funding can dictate the number of credits you take per term. If you are working full-time while studying, 3 credits may be all you can afford, or all your employer will allow you to take. FAFSA, VA benefits, and some grants require more than 3 credits a term (usually around 5 credits). Confirm enrollment policies with your funding provider. Graduate assistantships and most fellowships require full-time enrollment.

Navigating university systems and completing a degree can be challenging, especially if you are the first in your family to do it. As a successful undergraduate, you have proven you can succeed in a university setting.

While there are similarities between a bachelor's and a graduate degree, graduate study can feel like an entirely new world at times. You will have challenges, but you will also have successes. Oregon State University offers numerous resources for graduate students to help assure that the successes will predominate.

Graduate school is about making connections. Build your community by participating in departmental activities, study groups, students clubs, or Cultural Resource Centers. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Talk to your faculty advisor at the start of your program to discuss your expectations and any concerns you might have. You need a clear picture of what to expect. Read some additional tips from a first-generation graduate student in this The Cooper Square Review article.

If you participated in a scholar program in preparation for graduate school, such as McNair, MARC U-Star, LSAMP, Gates Millennium, or Ford Family Foundation, you might be eligible to receive a graduate application fee waiver.

Oregon State University thanks you for your service. Whether you want to earn a graduate degree to move up in military rank or transition to a civilian career, Oregon State has the resources to support you during your academic endeavors. Military & Veteran Resources provides support for the military-connected community. Their services include navigating higher education requirements, finding available benefits and services, and connecting you to other members of the community. If you are interested in an online degree, check out online resources and student stories on the Ecampus Military webpage.

Oregon State is committed to supporting applicants and students with undocumented or DACA statuses by providing a safe place to learn. House Bill 2787 provides certain students with an exemption from nonresident tuition and fees at public universities. Visit OSU's resource page for information about applying and enrolling, paying for school, and supporting services.

We appreciate the perspectives and knowledge that international students bring to our university. We hope that Oregon State University will become your home away from home. The Office of International Services, INTO OSU and our Cultural Resource Centers provide support along with a sense of community.

As an international applicant, you will prepare typical application items such as transcripts, a statement of purpose, CV and letters of recommendation. You will also have to submit proof of English proficiency if you completed your prior degree outside of the U.S. or outside of another English speaking country. There are two exams you can take to show proficiency; they are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). If you are not sure if the country in which you earned your degree is exempt from the English requirement, you can check here.

Looking for resources to prepare for one of these exams? Check out these resources:

Need to practice your English more? Consider one of our Academic English programs. The Academic English Program creates opportunities for international students to develop the academic, critical thinking, and linguistic skills necessary to succeed in a US university. This academically rigorous program provides you with high-quality English language instruction and the academic skills to succeed at OSU.

Want some free guidance on how to prepare for study in the U.S.? Visit EducationUSA for tips and to find your local, regional office.

We know that deciding to attend graduate school can be a big choice when you have a family. The Family Resource Center at Oregon State offers resources for students with families, including family housing options, childcare and family friendly locations on the Corvallis campus. The Student Support Programs at OSU-Cascades can assist students in Bend. If you are wondering how to balance graduate school with raising children, look at this Princeton Review article.

Looking for a fun way to explore the Corvallis campus with your children? Check out the Pre-college Program's Photo Hunt Tour. To connect your family at the OSU-Cascades campus, consider a public art self-guided tour or Science Pubs.

As an employee of an Oregon public university (except Oregon Health Sciences University) appointed at half time (0.50 FTE) or more, you or a family member may be able to register for courses and receive a reduced tuition rate. If you are planning to use this benefit toward a graduate degree, check the program you are interested in allows for part-time enrollment.