General Questions

What resources are available to help when I am looking for a Job? 

Students looking for a job can peruse our Job Board list, check our FW Job Board and sign up for our OSU FW job listserv that is distributed as a weekly digest to subscribers.

What will be my tuition rate? What if I take a mixture of Ecampus and Corvallis Campus courses?

Ecampus (same price for Oregon residents, out-of-state residents, and international residents)
Corvallis Campus
Summer Session (all tuition is in-state)

See the Tuition Comparison Chart to compare Ecampus and Corvallis Campus rates. Students taking a mixture of courses pay separate tuition and fees for each campus and those are added together. This can end up being quite expensive so students should talk to an advisor if they are unsure what to do.

What does the notation, "Does not meet Graduate School's stand-alone requirement" on a course listing mean?

The notation that a course “does not meet the Graduate School’s stand-alone requirement” means that the course was taught as a “slash” course, with both undergraduate (400-level) and graduate (500-level) students in the same class.  The Graduate School limits Certificate, PSM, Masters and PhD students to no more than 50% “slash” courses in their program of study.

Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate

When can I apply for a Certificate program? 

The Graduate Certificate programs will admit students for Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. 

Is there financial aid for the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificates program?

Yes, federal financial aid is available if you are enrolled at least half-time. For graduate students, full-time enrollment is 9 credits, and half time is 5 credits.  Federal aid is generally available as student loans.  OSU does offer a limited number of need-based scholarships for Ecampus students.  However, these scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of FAFSA scores – there is no application process to apply for scholarships for Ecampus programs at this time.

I have been out of school for a while, who should I request references from?

References can be obtained from many sources, including current and former work supervisors, project leaders of internships and volunteer experiences you may have participated in, colleagues with a knowledge of your writing and academic ability, as well as ‘formal’ academic references. Letters from family members and close personal friends are not considered acceptable professional references.

Can I use the credits I earn for the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate toward a Master’s degree?

Yes, as long as your courses are a part of the curriculum for the Master’s program you’re interested in pursuing. OSU offers two online Master’s degree programs that incorporate any the courses in the Fisheries or Wildlife Certificate curriculum to satisfy a portion of their Master’s program requirements: the Professional Science Master’s in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration (PSMFWA) and the Master’s of Natural Resources (MNR).  Fisheries or Wildlife Certificate courses are full graduate-level courses and may also be used for other graduate degree programs at OSU and other institutions.

Can I transfer credits that I have taken for another program or as a non-degree student to the Graduate Certificate?

Up to 6 credits of approved coursework can be transferred.

Will I have a faculty advisor?

Because the Graduate Certificate is not a formal degree, you will not have a faculty advisor. For academic program advice, you can contact the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Graduate Program Coordinator. Capstone projects are guided by a mentor that you identify from a local agency, college, or other organization, and are overseen by the Graduate Program Coordinator. If you are not able to find a local mentor, our program advisor will help identify an agency or University-affiliated scientist to provide you with feedback for your project. 

What should I do if I don’t have the prerequisites I need for some of the courses in the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate program?

For graduate level courses, OSU does not enforce prerequisites. This means that you will be allowed to register for a course that has prerequisites without a check of your previous coursework. However, you should use the listed prerequisites to determine whether you have the necessary background to succeed in the course.

If you feel that you need a prerequisite course to prepare you for the graduate level class, you may enroll in the preparatory course as a part of your Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate program of study. You will not be able to count the preparatory course toward your 18 credit Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate requirements, but you may count it toward your minimum enrollment requirements for financial aid. For example, if you take one graduate level course and one “background” undergraduate course in a term, you will qualify as a half-time student for financial aid purposes, even though only one of the courses is a part of the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate curriculum.

Are there specific class times for the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate Ecampus courses?

The online courses offered for the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate are taught through OSU’s Canvas system.  Most courses are based on readings and assignments posted on Canvas, and student deliverables are due within a given timeframe. There is usually a discussion board where students engage on course topics, and these discussions are often a part of the course grading.  Some instructors offer real-time or recorded lectures or other multimedia components, but these are structured so that students who are not able to attend in real time are not disadvantaged.

In the future, OSU may offer “hybrid” courses that combine some onsite course components with online coursework.  Both OSU’s Corvallis campus and Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon are involved in efforts to expand hands-on opportunities for our Ecampus students. Courses with an on-site component will be clearly indicated in the course catalog.

How many courses am I allowed to take each term?

Graduate students may take up to 16 credits each term.

What is the minimum number of courses each term?

To meet the University’s minimum enrollment requirement, you must take at least 3 credits each term (except summer term).  If you find that you need to take a term off, please notify the Graduate Program Coordinator at least two weeks prior to the start of the term for which you are intending to take leave. You must complete your Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate program of study within 7 years of enrolling.  

Is there flexibility in what courses I take for the Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate?

We have chosen courses for the Graduate Certificate that meet our desired learner outcomes and have provided a list of several course options for each component of the Graduate Certificate. However, new courses are added to OSU’s curriculum every year, and there may be a course that meets our requirements for the Graduate Certificate but is not on the list. Such a course may not be eligible for financial aid. You should check with the Program Director before taking an unlisted course to petition for inclusion in your Fisheries or Wildlife Management Graduate Certificate Program.

Where can I find out which courses are offered each term?

The Fisheries or Wildlife Graduate Certificate Program of Study form shows the terms each course in the curriculum is offered over the next academic year. Specific information on each course can be found in the OSU course catalog (enter the course number you’re looking for in the QuickJump box).  Additional online course information and syllabi are available through the Ecampus website.

Is a project or thesis required for the Fisheries or Wildlife Graduate Certificate?

Yes, a Capstone Project (FW 506, 3 credits) is required. This is a research paper or outreach product that you will work on independently, with assistance from a local mentor. For more details and samples of student projects, see our capstone project section.

When should I enroll in the FW 506 Capstone Project course?

Most students enroll in FW 506 Capstone Project at the end of their Fisheries or Wildlife Certificate program of study. However, you may take FW 506 at any point in your Certificate coursework.  Options for completing your project include producing your entire project in one term or engaging in data collection and research while enrolling in other courses in your program of study and later enrolling in FW 506 while completing your final report.

What should I do before signing up for FW 506 Projects?

You must submit a Capstone Project Proposal to the Graduate Program Coordinator for approval prior to registration in FW 506 Projects. This will allow us to provide input on your proposal. It will also notify us to grant you the course registration approval required to register for FW 506. 

What if I don’t finish my project by the end of my FW 506 course?

If you enroll in FW 506 and then find that you cannot complete your project in a single term, you can take a grade of Incomplete and finish your project the next term. Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for more details. You will also need to submit a Request for Incomplete Form at least two weeks prior to the end of the term and have it approved by the course supervisor. This form is available on the course Canvas site.

PSM in Fisheries & Wildlife Administration

When can I apply for the PSM program? 

The PSM program admits students for Fall, Winter, and Spring terms.

How much background in biological science do I need for PSMFWA?

A little over half of the credits required for this degree are in biophysical sciences, including the internship credits; the rest are in social sciences and business/communication skills. Most of the biophysical science courses require at least a basic background in biology and ecology. We encourage you to review the course list and check the course catalog for syllabi and recommended pre-requisites (most pre-requisites are advisory only at the graduate level). If you have little or no background in biology, you may want to take a couple of undergraduate courses as a non-degree seeking student before applying to PSMFWA. Syllabi for most online courses are linked on the Ecampus Course Catalog.

We strongly recommend placement in a Graduate Certificate before applying to PSMFWA. Taking a few courses at the graduate level, getting used to online coursework, and finding the right balance of school, work and family are important to your success in the degree program. Your Certificate credits (up to 15) can transfer to PSMFWA or another graduate degree.

When are the deadlines to apply to the PSMFWA program?

Applicants are accepted to the Professional Science Master's in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration (PSMFWA) program on a rolling basis. Students need to have all application materials uploaded at least 30 days prior to the start of the term for which they want to be admitted. 

Can I complete the PSMFWA program entirely online?

All required coursework for the PSMFWA is available through OSU’s online Ecampus program.  However, students are encouraged (but not required) to attend the one week PSM Program orientation held during the 3rd week of September of their cohort year.  Students may also take credits in residence at OSU or at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon.

Is an employer letter of support a requirement for application?

We encourage students applying to the PSMFWA program to obtain a letter of support from their current employer.  This provides us with insight into the resources you may be able to access while pursuing your degree – these may include time off, internship support, tuition assistance, or other means of augmenting your ability to succeed as a student. While the employer letter of support is not required to apply to the PSMFWA, it will be taken into consideration in evaluating your application and may improve your potential for admission.

Are GRE scores required to apply to the PSMFWA program?

Yes, GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores are required to apply. Our Department prefers GRE scores be in the 50th percentile or higher. However, applications are evaluated for overall merit, and students who do not meet the standards of one criterion may be admitted based on superior performance in another. GRE scores should be less than 5 years old; the institution code for OSU is 4586.

What level of professional experience is required for acceptance to the PSMFWA?

All applicants must have at least 5 or more years of experience working in a natural resource field to be considered. A current CV is required in the application materials. Professional experience must demonstrate the application of current biological knowledge to problems and programs dealing directly with the fish or wildlife resources (administration, education, research, or management) as a significant portion of job responsibilities.

Professional experience provides demonstrated expertise in making decisions in the application of ecology to stewardship and management of fish and wildlife resources and the environment. Technician-level work, such as data collection, surveys, and habitat manipulation conducted under existing protocol or under the specific direction of another, may not be considered professional-level experience.

Do I need a faculty advisor before I can be accepted to the program?

Yes. The Fisheries and Wildlife Graduate Admissions Review Committee evaluates applications based on academic and professional merit. Candidates whose qualifications meet the requirements of the review committee will pass the preliminary acceptance phase.  Final acceptance is contingent upon the student being accepted by a program advisor.  For more information on connecting with an advisor, please reference our guide for Connecting with an Advisor. Faculty advisors should reference our Prospective Advisor Guide for an outline of expectations.

If students in the PSMFWA program are currently employed within the field, are they still expected to complete an internship program? Or can current employment count toward the internship requirement?

The Internship is a required component of Professional Science Masters degrees. We are flexible about working with students to develop a useful project that fits their work schedule and needs. While previous work and “typical” daily activity at your current job cannot count toward internship, a “special project” within your agency, a joint project with another agency,  or a temporary change of duties or location could serve as your internship.  Internship credits can be spread over several terms - you do not have to complete your internship requirement in a single term.

MS or PhD in Fisheries Science or Wildlife Science

Are GREs required? How long are the results good for?

Yes, GREs scores for the general test are required. The scores are good for five years. The subject exam is not required. The guideline for admission to our graduate program is upper 50th percentile on each section of the GRE, although conditional admission may be granted for scores outside this range.  GRE subject tests are not required but will be used in the evaluation of the applicant if submitted.

Faculty advisors who wish to admit students who do not meet the department’s minimum standards for admission should provide a statement that 1) addresses the shortfall(s), 2) indicates why the student is likely to be successful without meeting the guidelines and 3) states the faculty member’s willingness to accept the student.

What is the required TOEFL score?

The Test Of English as a Foreign Language score required is 550 on the paper-based test or 213 on the computer-based test or 80 on the Internet (iBT) with a minimum score of 18 on each section. A minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS may be used as an alternative to the TOEFL test.

When are the application deadlines for each quarter?

Our department's decision for admission is not the date of application but your acceptance by a faculty advisor. Read more information in the Before Applying section. 

Do I need a faculty sponsor to be accepted into the program?

Yes, in most cases only students who have contacted graduate faculty members and have an agreement to be hired by them are accepted. When contacting faculty members by email it's often a good idea to attach (or include information on) your transcripts, GRE scores, a resume, and a statement of objectives. If your application package has been submitted then make sure to let them know.

How many credits are required to complete the degree? Are specific courses required?

Doctoral degrees in Fisheries Science or Wildlife Science require a minimum of 108 credits.  A minimum of 36 thesis credits must be completed after admission to your PhD program.  Our department does not require specific courses for your graduate program. Your coursework should be planned in consultation with your faculty advisor and graduate committee. Your program of study should be filed by the end of your first year of enrollment in your degree program.

What are the departmental guidelines for screening graduate applications?
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • GRE scores in the upper 50th percentile in each category
  • A four-year baccalaureate degree in a biological field from a regionally accredited college or university and a combined GPA of 3.00 on the last 90 quarter (60 semester) credit hours of graded undergraduate work toward the first baccalaureate degree plus all work completed thereafter,
    OR a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and a 45 quarter-credit-hour graduate degree from a regionally accredited university.
  • If the student has completed his or her baccalaureate degree in a country that is a signatory of the Bologna Declaration, then a baccalaureate degree of at least three years duration with a B average (equivalent 3.00 on a U.S. 4.00 grading scale) in the last two years, plus all subsequent graded course work OR a baccalaureate degree of at least three years duration with a two-year (equivalent to 45-quarter credits) graduate degree.
  • Additional minimum entrance requirements for international students are listed under Admission Requirements for International Graduate Students.
  • An M.S. degree is required to apply for the Ph.D. program*

*The faculty believes that the training in research and writing skills associated with an MS thesis improve the likelihood of success at the PhD level. Therefore, we typically require that students wishing to pursue a PhD first complete a Master's program that included a thesis. However, we recognize that some exceptional students with extensive experience may be qualified to enroll in our PhD program without first earning a Master's degree. Such students should work with their potential advisor to draft a petition (no more than 2 pages) summarizing qualifications. Examples of relevant experiences that should be described, or included with, the petition include detailed accounts of the student's role in previous research activities, peer-reviewed publications, lists of relevant awards (e.g., NSF or other comparable graduate fellowships), or demonstration of other scholarship activities equivalent to those associated with an advanced degree (e.g., undergraduate honor's thesis and other comparable experiences equivalent to a master's thesis of our department). The petition, along with a curriculum vitae, should be sent in electronic form to the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will evaluate the materials and notify the department head, advisor and student whether enrollment in our PhD program prior to completion of a Master's degree is recommended.

Can students who don't meet the departmental guidelines still be accepted?

Yes, students can be admitted provisionally by the department with support from their faculty sponsor and approval of the graduate committee. Under special circumstances, students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may be considered for admission. Students with a GPA of 2.75 to 2.99 may be granted Conditional Admission by the Department.  Conditional students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average on all work taken as a graduate student and a grade of B (3.0) or better in each course in the first 18 hours of graded graduate credits.  A student admitted conditionally may not schedule or hold preliminary oral exams or final oral exams until they have been reclassified as regular graduate students.  Reclassification is granted when the GPA conditions have been met.

Applicants with a GPA under 2.75 may be admitted on appeal to the Graduate Admissions Committee.  The department will determine if they wish to support these applicants before the Graduate Admissions Committee. The Graduate Admissions Committee may consider the following additional criteria when reviewing applications from students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement:

• GRE or GMAT scores,
• the student's undergraduate institution,
• specific courses completed at the undergraduate and graduate level, and
• letters of recommendation from major professors or current employers

What can students do to be more competitive?

Students who do not have a biological background or have a low GPA should consider taking courses as a post baccalaureate student. Courses to focus on would be statistics, ecology, general biology, chemistry, and math. A second bachelor's degree isn't always needed but could be a good option if you don't have any experience in this field. If your GRE scores are low in two or more areas you should probably study and retake them. You should also consult with faculty you want to work with and see what they recommend.

How do I change the term for my graduate school application?

If you have already applied for admission but have not registered for any classes, you may use the Change of Term form to submit a change of term. One term change within the academic year is allowed. (Example: An application originally submitted for fall 2010 can be changed to winter 2011 or spring 2011. Summer begins the new academic year.) Requesting more than one term change or term changes to new academic years requires a new application and fee.