Applicant FAQs

1.  Where can I find information about the Water Resources Graduate Program?

You can find detailed information about our faculty, curriculum, requirements, etc., on our website at http://oregonstate.edu/gradwater. From this site you can access the OSU home page which will provide you with information related to university policies and procedures. 

2.  Where can I find course descriptions?

Course descriptions can be found by following the links on the Online Catalog web page or at http://catalog.oregonstate.edu. If you wish to see a list of courses you would have to have taken by the time you complete a degree through this program, go to our website and click on Degree Programs, then the Water Resources Engineering, Sciences, or Policy & Management link. This will take you to information about the degree and will provide links to the Core Curriculum tables and checklist pages.  Students can be accepted without having all of the undergraduate fundamentals but those courses will need to be taken before you could graduate from this program.  Having already taken those undergraduate courses can increase your chances of being accepted so if you can make them up ahead of time, it will be to your advantage.

3.  How do I submit an application to the Water Resources Graduate Program?

Please see our Applicants page for instructions on submitting your formal application to the program.

4.  What are the typical GRE and GPA scores of accepted students?

While we have no minimum GRE score requirement, scores for accepted students are generally high.  Scores are typically at least in the 75th percentile. This would be about 540 or higher (or 156 on the new scoring scale) for Verbal, about 720 or higher (or 156 on the new scoring scale) for Quantitative, and Analytical Writing is around 5.0 or higher. The average GPA of accepted students is around 3.6.  Keep in mind that the Graduate School requires a GPA of at least 3.0 in order to be accepted.

5.  Where should I send my application materials?

Application materials can be sent to the Graduate School office, or directly to the Water Resources Graduate Program.  Documents received at either office will be copied and forwarded to the other, so a complete application file is kept at both offices. 

You are welcome to email signed letters of recommendation as a PDF file to gradwater_support@oregonstate.edu.

6.  Can applicants be accepted during any term, or just during Fall term?

Our policy is that students can be accepted into the program at any time during the year and it is possible that support from sponsored research can become available throughout the year.  Some departments, in particular Geosciences, make decisions about Graduate Teaching Assistantships or nominations for Oregon Laurels tuition scholarships in early-February.  Most students begin this program Fall Term and there are advantages with an early application in terms of assistantships and finding an advisor, particularly if you are interested in working with Geosciences faculty.

7.  How can I receive funding for my graduate studies?

Most of our students are financially supported by the faculty advisors, through grants and contracts. A match between your background and available support is central to obtaining such funding.  Students who are awarded funding typically carry an overall GPA of 3.4 when they are accepted into the program.  We encourage you to contact faculty and explore areas of common interest and opportunities for financial support. Competition for support is very high and generally, only the most highly qualified students receive this funding.  Funding is not available through the Water Resources program itself, financial support generally comes from the advisor and is controlled by his or her home department.  Please be aware of the fact that students awarded an assistantship are still responsible for paying student fees and those generally amount to several hundred dollars per term.

8.  My online application is complete, and I have sent the additional materials required by the program.  Is there anything else I can do to increase my chances of being accepted?

If you submit a formal application, it is important that you contact faculty you feel would be a good match for your interests and background because we must have someone volunteer to serve as your advisor in order to accept you into the program.  Personal contact with faculty will increase your chances of finding an advisor.  Faculty names, research topics and email addresses can be found on the WRGP website and you’ll want to contact faculty who have indicated they can advise students in your area of interest.  It is a good idea to stay in touch with OSU during the application process so that you can confirm that your material is being received.  Transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation don’t always arrive when they should so monitoring your application is always a good idea.  You can monitor the status of your application from the Graduate School website at this link http://oregonstate.edu/admissions/graduate/status.html or you can email gradwater_support@oregonstate.edu for a status update.

9.  I am an international student.  Is there anything else I should know before applying to the program?

International students often have great difficulty finding financial support due to issues related to their being out of the U.S. and not having had the opportunity to show they can successfully manage the curriculum requirements at an American institution.  Unless a student can demonstrate substantial financial support (minimum of $15,000 to $20,000 a year) from their own country or personal resources on the order of $30,000 per year, along with a very strong application, it is unlikely they will be awarded enough additional financial aid at OSU to make it possible for them to complete their studies.  In addition, even very good students applying to our program from abroad are at a disadvantage because professors are reluctant to agree to advise someone they have never seen.  Most international students are accepted as M.S. students, and after they have experienced some success on our campus, the possibility of switching to a Ph.D. degree program can be considered.  International students will find information about specific requirements related to their application on the OSU website at this link: http://oregonstate.edu/admissions/international.html

We do not want to discourage international students from applying to the program, but we do want you to be aware of the challenges this presents.