CORVALLIS - The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has approved 12 new degrees or certificates to be offered by Oregon State University, mostly for graduate study in such disciplines as engineering, health care, water resources, Hispanic studies and geosciences.

This is a significant expansion of OSU's academic offerings and will improve the university's ability to educate students in growing fields that have good employment prospects, while serving the needs of Oregon's businesses, industries, environment and changing cultures, said Sabah Randhawa, OSU's provost and executive vice president.

"As the academic and educational needs of the state of Oregon change, OSU also has to change," Randhawa said. "We're Oregon's only land grant university with educational and Extension programs all over the state, and we have a responsibility to stay in tune with the times. We've been able to identify new areas of study that are needed by Oregon residents, will help grow our economy, protect our environment and are a good fit with the traditional strengths of the university."

"All of these degrees and certificates should generate strong interest from our growing body of on-campus graduate students and the evolving needs of working professionals," he said. "We're pleased that the state board understood the need for all of these new degrees and professional certificates, and we expect them to be quite successful."

The new degree offerings, all of which are effective immediately, include:

  • Master of Engineering: This new degree from OSU's College of Engineering will be a coursework-only degree that can be offered in any engineering field, with no requirement for independent research. It is intended as a terminal degree, not as preparation for a doctorate, and will emphasize job-related knowledge and skills. It should be a good fit for students who want more advanced studies in specialized areas, but do not plan a career in research.


  • Graduate Certificate, Health Care Administration: This program, offered through the Department of Public Health, will provide an 18-credit graduate certificate that specifically serves the needs of full-time working professionals in the health care management field. Classes will often be provided via distance education or other non-traditional formats, such as on-site weekend classes. The certificate should provide students with management training for a variety of different health care organizations.


  • Master of Arts, Contemporary Hispanic Studies: Provided by OSU's Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, this master's program will provide an interdisciplinary study of Hispanic cultures and intercultural communication, rather than the traditional emphasis on literature. It should be ideal for students seeking careers with non-governmental organizations, migrant workers' social and legal programs, education and other fields that call for an in-depth understanding of Hispanic culture and language, and it will help serve the growing Hispanic populations in the Pacific Northwest.


  • Certificates, Geographic Information Science: Three different certificates will be offered at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level, with varying amounts and types of study. They are interdisciplinary programs to be coordinated by OSU's Department of Geosciences, and will tap into OSU's expertise with the evolving field of geographic information science, which incorporates such disciplines as cartography, remote sensing, surveying, computer science and other technology. GIS has many promising applications in land management, natural resource systems and other fields.


  • Master of Health Physics, Radiation Health Physics: This degree offered by OSU's Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics will direct students toward professional licensing in the field of radiation protection and will also emphasize fundamental learning and coursework, rather than research. There are currently no similar master's degree programs in the world, and OSU already has a strong record of leadership in this field - last year it granted about one-third of the total health physics degrees awarded in the nation. Employment opportunities for graduates should be strong, in such areas as the U.S. Department of Energy, hospitals, research laboratories, environmental restoration and waste management.


  • Graduate degrees, Water Resources Engineering; Science; or Policy and Management: An interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Water Resources at OSU will have a variety of new graduate degrees: a master's or doctoral degree in water resources engineering; a master's or doctoral degree in water resources science; and a master's degree in water resources policy and management. Administered by the OSU Graduate School, the degrees are the only ones of their type in the Pacific Northwest, and graduates should be highly marketable in a world that faces critical water and environmental issues. The different emphases in engineering, science, or policy and management will give students a range of career choices and real-world problem solving will be required. Experts say that Oregon faces a growing need for professionals who can improve the function of its water systems, work in business, industry and agriculture, assist government agencies, and help develop progressive environmental policies.