Certificate Students

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


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.
  • 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.

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

Our Student Success 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 6 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.

Continuous enrollment

Minimum registration

You must be registered for a minimum of three graduate credits, or on an approved leave of absence, until all degree requirements are completed.

If you are not using university facilities or faculty time during the summer then you may not have to enroll for the summer session. Please refer to the Continuous Enrollment Policy in the Catalog, and work with your program, to determine if this applies to you.

Leave of absence

A completed (with signatures) Leave of Absence Form must be received by the Graduate School at least 15 working days prior to the first day of the term involved. Unless on an approved leave of absence, all graduate students in degree and certificate programs must register continuously for a minimum of 3 graduate credits, excluding summer session, until their degree or certificate is granted or until their status as a credential-seeking graduate student is terminated. If a student is granted a leave of absence during a term, however, they must also withdraw from the term. See the Catalog for more information on Registration Requirements.

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.

Diploma application

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

File diploma application