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The top 5 questions people ask about online learning

A student sits at a table while working on his laptop, a typical online learning environment

What do future Oregon State students ask most often?

By Tyler Hansen
Oct. 2, 2020

At Oregon State University Ecampus, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. We don’t know why donuts taste like happiness or why the dentist asks you questions while working on your teeth.

Other than that, we’ve got things pretty well covered.

We answer countless questions from prospective students all over the world. The Ecampus enrollment services team is your No. 1 resource for information about Oregon State’s online programs, navigating the application process, how to get started and more.

There’s also the Ask Ecampus knowledge base, which contains answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions regarding Ecampus services and programs. It’s accessible 24/7 and provides helpful information on a wide range of topics.

So, which question-and-answer pairs do prospective students search most frequently inside Ask Ecampus? Here are the top five.

1. How does a quarter term compare to a semester term?

Some institutions, like Oregon State, are on a quarter-based academic calendar. This means we offer four terms of instruction each year: summer, fall, winter and spring. Other schools go by semesters, which are broken into two terms.

At OSU, fall, winter and spring terms are 10 weeks each, with finals occurring during the last week. The length of summer term courses varies from one week to 11 weeks.

Please consult with your home institution if you plan to transfer credits to confirm that courses you take online at Oregon State will meet your program requirements.

Quarter system

1 quarter credit = .67 semester credit


10 weeks


10 weeks


10 weeks

Semester system

1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits

Fall semester

15 weeks

Spring semester

15 weeks


2. Can I earn a degree completely online?

Yes! OSU Ecampus delivers bachelor’s and graduate degree programs online — that’s our thing. We also deliver a number of programs in a hybrid format that blends online learning activities and coursework with regularly scheduled in-person classroom meetings.

In addition to online coursework, some online programs or courses may require you to:

  • Take proctored exams in your local area
  • Visit a local library or bookstore to find a book or other resource
  • Conduct field work for a course assignment
  • Pursue a program-related internship in your area
  • Enroll in a site-based laboratory class

So whether you live in Oregon, Oklahoma or Okinawa, you can earn your Oregon State degree at a distance.

3. Do I need a student ID card?

Oregon State ID cards are optional for Ecampus students. You can request a non-photo ID card to be mailed to you by contacting the OSU ID Center once you register for classes.

If you plan to take courses at the OSU Portland Center, you must acquire a student ID.

4. How long does it take to get a bachelor’s degree?

Students taking a full-time course load for three quarters per year can complete a bachelor’s degree in four years. The average Ecampus student takes two classes per term, and it therefore takes longer to complete degree requirements. Each bachelor’s program requires students to complete a minimum of 180 credits.

You can browse OSU’s online undergraduate degrees to learn more about major requirements for specific programs.

Read more top questions

What are the most-frequently viewed questions in the Ask Ecampus knowledge base?

See Nos. 6-10 »

See Nos. 11-15 »

5. How many credits may I transfer into OSU from a two-year college?

Oregon State accepts up to 135 lower-division transfer credits toward a baccalaureate degree. All transfer credit work must be completed at an institutionally accredited school.

Transferable credits may apply to your OSU curriculum and will be determined once you are admitted and have gone through the necessary steps. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-291-4192 or

Discover more about the Oregon State Ecampus online learning experience and the programs and courses we deliver online.

Request information


  • Sadegh Radjai says:

    Hello. My question is: can I transfer the course credits that I have completed in 3 quarters at OSU to another university in California. ??
    Right now I am living outside USA and would like to enroll in your online program for liberal arts and humanities. I will come to the USA next year and want to phisically enroll at a college in California where my parents live.
    Can I transfer my online units to a California school. Do they accept your courses toward my bachelor’s degree?? Thanks

  • Olivia says:

    Hello Sadegh,

    Thank you for reaching out to Oregon State Ecampus with your question. Oregon State University is an institutionally accredited school and our credits are generally transferrable. If you are looking to transfer credits to another school we recommend reaching out to that school to see if our credits will meet their requirements.

    Do let us know if we can help with questions about applying to our degree programs. You can reach Ecampus enrollment services at or via phone at 800-667-1465.

    Ecampus enrollment services specialist

  • Jackson Deschamp says:

    Does the OSU ecampus diploma look different from OSU on campus diploma? If you graduate online do you go to the same ceremony as the on campus graduates?

  • Tyler Hansen says:

    Hi Jackson, great questions! The diploma that Ecampus students receive looks identical to the diploma for students who learn on campus. And yes, when you earn an Oregon State degree online, you’ll get to participate in the same commencement ceremony in Corvallis as on-campus graduates.

    The degree programs are the same, the course learning outcomes are the same, the instructors are the same, the diploma is the same, the ceremony is the same, and employers and graduate schools view the accomplishments the same.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions, Jackson.

  • Nguyen Vu Duy says:

    Can I enter this online program while im still in another country

  • Tyler Hansen says:

    Hi @Nguyen Vu Duy — Yes, you can enroll in nearly all of Oregon State University’s online programs while living in another country. For more information, I recommend that you contact the OSU Ecampus enrollment services team at or 1-800-667-1465. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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