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Whether you are interested in trying graduate school for the first time or wanting to combine some specialized training with your master’s or doctoral degree, you may want to consider a graduate certificate program. 

OSU offers more than 35 graduate certificates in a wide range of disciplinary areas.  Most graduate certificates can be earned in 12-18 hrs.  These hours can also be counted toward a master’s or doctoral degree. 




  • What is a Graduate Certificate

    A graduate certificate is an academic credential earned after completing a short program of focused study. Graduate certificate programs can serve both as a stepping stone onto more advanced study leading to a master’s or doctoral degree, or as a standalone educational achievement to assist an individual in their career.

  • Will the certificate be listed on my transcripts? 

    Yes. Completion of a graduate certificate is listed on the official transcript. You also receive a printed certificate.

  • What are the steps to earning a graduate certificate?

    The basic steps for a graduate certificate are the same as a regular degree program. You have to submit an application and fee, be admitted, complete the required courses, and submit the required graduation paperwork. A plan of study is required for a graduate certificate.

  • What is the required graduation paperwork for a graduate certificate?

    There are three forms that are required to be on file in your graduating semester.  The first is an approved plan of study.  If you find yourself beginning your graduating semester without an approved plan of study, please submit one as soon as possible.  If you have an approved plan, review it carefully to see if a revised plan of study is necessary.  The second form you must submit is a signed graduation clearance form. Third, you must submit an Application for Graduation with the Office of the Registrar.  These forms and processes are the same as for a student earning a regular graduate degree.

  • Can I use the Online Plan of Study application to submit a graduate certificate plan of study?

    Yes. The online plan of study is the only approved way to submit a plan of study for a graduate certificate. However, only students that have been officially admitted to a graduate certificate will have the option to create a certificate plan of study. The online plan of study uses current matriculation information from Banner Self Service to ensure accuracy.

  • Do I need an advisory committee for a graduate certificate?

    No. The plan of study for a graduate certificate just needs an advisor signature. Typically this is the director of the certificate program.

  • How many credit hours do I have to complete for a graduate certificate?

    All graduate certificates require a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours, but each program has its own specific requirements. Please refer to the website for the specific certificate program you are pursuing for curriculum information.

  • I thought you already had to be in a graduate degree program to get a certificate?

    You do not have to already be admitted to a graduate degree to apply to a graduate certificate program. Many graduate students at OSU decide to earn a graduate certificate when they are already partway through a regular degree program. Some graduate certificates are tied closely to a degree program, while others are standalone.


  • Can I use courses from my MS/PhD for a certificate?

    Yes. We relax the normal restrictions on double-counting courses for graduate certificates. Any and all courses applied to a certificate at OSU can still be applied to a graduate degree program at OSU. For example, a graduate student could complete the fifteen credit hour Graduate Certificate in Global Issues while completing the thirty-three credit hour Master of Science in International Studies without going over thirty-three total credit hours if they planned the programs prudently.

  • How long do I have to complete a certificate?

    There is a five year time-limit to complete a graduate certificate.   

  • Where can I find more information?

    The Graduate College website is packed with useful information, and should always have the most recent version of any of these forms available for download.


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