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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

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Oct 2, 2020. It was most recently updated on Jan. 23, 2024.

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 open-ended questions with both of their hands in your mouth.

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, certificate or microcredential completely online?

One word: Yes. OSU Ecampus delivers 100+ degrees, programs and microcredentials 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 credential 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.

  • Rachel Wolz says:

    Hi! If i have enrolled into the Oregon State E-Campus, do I have to live in the dorms the first year? Or are we able to live in our homes?

  • Tyler Hansen says:

    Hi @Rachel Wolz. Great question. If you are enrolled as a distance student with Oregon State Ecampus, then no, you do not need to live in the dorms first year. That is a requirement only for campus-based students who take in-person OSU classes. Please let us know if you have any other questions at or 1-800-667-1465.

    — Tyler

  • Jimmy Johnson says:

    Will my degree and my official transcript bachelor’s in computer science say ‘online’ after I have graduated from my computer science degree?

  • Tyler Hansen says:

    Hi Jimmy. Your Oregon State diploma and transcript will not say “online” or “Ecampus” on them. All Ecampus online courses and programs have identical learning outcomes as on-campus courses and programs, so no distinction is made on diplomas and transcripts. Please let us know if you have any additional questions: or 1-800-667-1465.

  • Kaitlin Eller says:

    Are the online classes where you need to log on at a specific time during the day to attend lectures or is it more set up that you have to meet certain deadlines but are flexible with when during the day you study the course materials? Trying to see if it is a program I would be able to do while working full time.

  • Tyler Hansen says:

    Hi Kaitlin. Nearly all Oregon State Ecampus online classes are delivered in a way that does NOT require you to log on at specific times for class meetings or class work. This is called asynchronous learning. You are correct that there are certain weekly or regular deadlines set by the instructors of Ecampus courses, and those are time-bound — but there is no expectation or requirement that you conduct your studies at specific times.

    For what it’s worth, there is a very small collection of OSU business courses that are delivered in what is called a remote hybrid fashion. (There are about 10 of these out of OSU’s 1,700+ online courses.) These remote hybrid courses feature 50% of the class meetings held at regularly scheduled times on Zoom and 50% of the class meetings conducted asynchronously online.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions. We’re happy to help you find the right program and chat with you about ways to find the right work-life balance to make it all work. We’re available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. PT. You can email us at or call 1-800-667-1465.

    Thanks, Kaitlin.


  • Rochelle says:

    Can students be awarded a minor after they complete a degree whether the degree is from OSU or from another University?

  • Morgan L. says:

    Hi Rochelle, that is a great question! If a student has completed a 4-year degree, whether from OSU or elsewhere, a minor can be added to that degree as a post-baccalaureate student. Any of our undergraduate minors can be completed as a stand-alone postbacc.

    Reach out to our enrollment services team if you have any questions. We’re available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. PT via email at or phone at 1-800-667-1465 (opt 3).

  • vinoth says:

    Hi. can i do first 2 years online then next 2 year onsite?

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Vinoth, that’s a great question! Once you have been admitted, you can connect with your academic advisor regarding the transition process from learning online with Ecampus to in-person learning.

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