Certificate Students

Graduate certificates are useful for students who have completed baccalaureate degrees and want to pursue advanced-level learning.


Certificate Residency: Students must earn a minimum of 9 credits toward the certificate after admission to the certificate program.

This page outlines the policies and procedures that students need to know in order to successfully complete their certificate.

Policies of particular importance for certificate students include:

  • Students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher.
  • Students must earn a minimum of 9 credits toward the certificate after admission to the certificate program.
  • Courses applied to a graduate certificate must be “C” or higher.
  • The total GPA for courses listed on a program of study must be 3.00 or higher.
  • Coursework cannot be more than seven years old at the time a certificate is awarded, including preapproved transfer credits (if applicable).
  • Students enrolled in certificates without concurrent enrollment in a graduate degree program are not subject to the continuous enrollment policy during the time allowed for certificate completion, with two exceptions:
    1. The College of Business requires continuous enrollment of certificate students; and
    2. All students admitted to a certificate must enroll the first term of admission, or will need to reapply for a future term. After the first term, certificate only students (except those in the College of Business) are exempt from continuous enrollment.
  • Students must apply to graduate before the completion of their last term of attendance to trigger the award of the graduate certificate.

Please refer to the Catalog for full policy information regarding graduate certificates.

The main current students page lists resources and services to assist you while at Oregon State.


Use the flow chart to understand the major milestones for your degree.

Certificate Flowchart
Certificate Flowchart

Number of credits

  • All certificate programs require a minimum of 18 graduate credits and may include a final project, portfolio, or report for integration of the sequence of course materials.
  • All graduate student programs of study submitted to the Graduate School must consist of, at a minimum, 50 percent graduate stand-alone credits. The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses.
  • No final examination is required.

Transfer credits

Because certificates are usually comprised of a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 22 credits, transfer credit into a certificate is limited. Students can apply a maximum of 9 credits to an 18-credit certificate with proportional increases for programs that require more than 18 credits. Graduate courses from other institutions and graduate courses completed at OSU prior to admission to the certificate program may be eligible for transfer. Students must meet the transfer credit policies described in the Graduate Catalog.

Program of study

All certificate students must complete a program of study during their first few terms. The form outlines courses you must take to complete the certificate. A program director or advisor from within the certificate program will help you complete this important form. The program of study ensures you will meet the required number of credits and any other requirements to earn the certificate.

Grievance procedures

Please visit the grievance procedures page for information.

Additional or concurrent degrees

If you decide to pursue a graduate degree before or immediately after completing a certificate, please talk with your advisor. The timing of an additional or concurrent degree has implications for the use of potential transfer credit.

Apply to graduate

At the beginning of the term you plan to complete your certificate, you must apply to graduate. This form and the program of study are used for a completion audit in the Graduate School.

Apply to graduate