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 Mission, Values, History, Accreditation

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Meeting the Needs of Oregon—and the World

Focusing on its current strengths and future potential, Oregon State University fosters exceptional educational, research, and outreach initiatives that sustain human well being and improve the quality of human life. Acting on this imperative requires understanding diverse, complex interactions among population, demographics, human health, climate, access to natural resources (including safe food, clean water and air, and wood products), sustainability, economic vitality, cultural diversity, and new technologies, among others. Well-being and quality of life are likewise enhanced by the fine and performing arts and the humanities and social sciences, which promote understanding and improvement in human interactions within and across cultures.

A successful response to this imperative requires OSU to meet two commitments: 1) OSU will lead in developing a globally competitive workforce and an informed and capable citizenry; and 2) OSU will address multifaceted national and global challenges that resist simple technical or social solutions.

Three Signature Areas of Distinction, informed by the university’s two commitments, provide OSU a competitive edge, a stronger assertion of institutional identity nationally and internationally, and the greatest possible opportunity to have a positive impact throughout the state, nation and world. These three areas are:

  • Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems
  • Improving Human Health and Wellness
  • Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress

Students Come First

  • OSU is committed to diversity. Our students come from all walks of life and from all over the world. These students are extraordinarily bright and high-achieving contributors in the classroom and in their communities. Over the past five years, more of Oregon’s high school valedictorians and salutatorians have enrolled at OSU than any school in the Oregon University System.
  • OSU offers a full range of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans from federal, state, and university sources. We will help you get the best possible financial aid package.
  • OSU CONNECT, a five-day orientation program before the start of fall term, helps students adjust to campus life. Activities include new student convocation, welcome receptions, interactive workshops with students and professors, and many other educational and social activities geared toward connecting new students to the university and Corvallis.
  • Our First-Year Experience program helps new students transition into university life. A variety of small-group experiences are offered (such as OSU U-Engage, a student orientation course) to connect first-year students to faculty, current OSU students, and other new students.
  • The University Exploratory Studies Program allows students to explore a variety of disciplines before choosing an academic major.
  • Our Intercultural Student Services office, cultural centers, and Educational Opportunities Program work with African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and Native American students to ensure that their OSU experience is positive.
  • Oregon State is the only college or university in the state that offers ROTC programs for all four services—Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy.
  • With more than 300 student organizations, plus club, intramural, and Pac-12 Conference sports, students find it easy to keep busy at OSU.

OSU's Campus—Is the State of Oregon

  • The OSU Extended Campus office offers an extensive range of distance education services and bachelor’s degree programs throughout Oregon.
  • The OSU Extension Service has programs, staff and volunteers providing essential services in all 36 Oregon counties.
  • Corvallis is an ideal university town of 54,000 people, offering a wide range of community, religious, dining, shopping, and cultural opportunities. And the city is just an hour or more from the Oregon Coast, the snow-capped Cascade Mountains and Portland—Oregon’s largest city.

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Oregon State University is a comprehensive, public, internationally recognized research university. As one of only two land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the country (Cornell being the second), OSU offers programs and employs faculty and staff in every county of the state. OSU views the state of Oregon as its campus, and works in partnership with all of Oregon’s community colleges and the state’s public and private colleges and universities to serve Oregonians’ educational needs.


As a land grant institution committed to teaching, research, and outreach and engagement, Oregon State University promotes economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world. This mission is achieved by producing graduates competitive in the global economy, supporting a continuous search for new knowledge and solutions, and maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence, particularly in the three Signature Areas: Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems; Improving Human Health and Wellness; and Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress.


To best serve the people of Oregon, Oregon State University will be among the Top 10 land grant institutions in America.


  1. Provide outstanding academic programs that further strengthen performance and pre-eminence in the three Signature Areas of Distinction: Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems; Improving Human Health and Wellness; and Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress.
  2. Provide an excellent teaching and learning environment and achieve student access, persistence and success through graduation and beyond that matches the best land grant universities in the country.
  3. Substantially increase revenues from private fundraising, partnerships, research grants, and technology transfers while strengthening our ability to more effectively invest and allocate resources to achieve success.

Core Values

Accountability. We are committed stewards of the loyalty and good will of our alumni and friends and of the human, fiscal, and physical resources entrusted to us.

Diversity. We recognize that diversity and excellence go hand-in-hand, enhancing our teaching, scholarship, and service as well as our ability to welcome, respect, and interact with other people.

Integrity. We practice honesty, freedom, truth, and integrity in all that we do.

Respect. We treat each other with civility, dignity, and respect.

Social responsibility. We contribute to society’s intellectual, cultural, spiritual, and economic progress and well-being to the maximum possible extent.


Source: OSU Strategic Plan


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Core Themes

The core themes and their objectives were selected to align with the OSU Strategic Plan, the university’s mission and its three fundamental goals. The following core themes were chosen in early 2010:

  1. Undergraduate education
  2. Graduate education and research
  3. Outreach and engagement

Beginning in the fall of 2010, the university has introduced a Core Theme Planning process that will be conducted on an annual cycle and use continuous improvement principles to inform the campus community of how we are fulfilling our mission.

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University Overview

Oregon State University provides diverse educational opportunities through the undergraduate and graduate programs of its 11 colleges and one school. Academic choices include studies in scientific, technological, interdisciplinary, and professional as well as liberal arts fields. A land grant, sea grant, space grant, and sun grant university with beginnings in the 1850s, OSU is now home to more than 28,800 undergraduate, graduate, and first professional students, representing about 90 countries, every state in the nation and every county in the state of Oregon.

In addition to its regular educational programs, the university is responsible for Oregon's Land Grant mission of research, education, and outreach. OSU Extension Service delivers educational programs in all of Oregon's 36 counties, reaching out to communities with programs as diverse as Master Gardeners, 4-H, and community leadership. Working in collaboration with Extension Service faculty, the researchers in Oregon's Agricultural Experiment Station conduct scientific, social, and economic research at 11 branch stations at 15 locations across the state, including one of the nation's only urban experiment stations, the Food Innovation Center in Portland.

Oregon State University Ecampus provides learners with access to an OSU education no matter where they live. Ecampus offers accredited courses and degree programs online and at various sites throughout the state of Oregon. There are currently 16 undergraduate degree programs, 19 undergraduate minors and 17 graduate programs being delivered online and at a distance. The Ecampus website is

In addition to these extended campus opportunities, OSU has established a dual enrollment Degree Partnership Program (DPP) with all 17 Oregon community colleges and several others in Hawaii. With the degree partnership-dual enrollment programs, students may take classes at both institutions simultaneously. Students complete just one application, pay one application fee, and have the freedom to select courses from either institution's schedule of classes. The DPP website is

OSU's educational partners include all Oregon community colleges, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Center for Advanced Technology Education, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Idaho, University of Oregon, and Washington State University.

The OSU-Cascades branch campus in Bend, Oregon—the first branch campus in the state—began offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs fall term 2001 in partnership with Central Oregon Community College. OSU offers 15 undergraduate degree programs, three graduate degree programs, and 12 different minors. Students enroll, register, and pay tuition fees at OSU-Cascades, but earn a degree awarded by Oregon State University. In 2015, OSU-Cascades will become a full four-year branch campus of OSU and will begin enrolling freshmen and sophomores in a broad range of undergraduate programs. The OSU-Cascades website is

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Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The university is authorized to offer baccalaureate, master’s, doctorate, and first professional degrees, as well as undergraduate-, postbaccalaureate-, and graduate-level certificates. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities reaffirmed the accreditation of Oregon State University in Spring 2011. The next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2018. The accreditation includes the College of Pharmacy.

In the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Rangeland Sciences program is accredited by the Society for Range Management. The Department of Food Science and Technology’s curricula are approved by the Education Committee of the Institute of Food Technologists. The Agricultural Education major is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).

In the College of Business, the Business Administration programs (undergraduate and graduate) are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business–International.

The College of Education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) for the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers. The graduate program in Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

In the College of Engineering, the Bachelor of Science degrees in Bioengineering, Chemical, Civil, Ecological, Electrical and Computer, Environmental, Industrial, Manufacturing, Mechanical, and Nuclear Engineering baccalaureate programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the ABET, Inc. 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012; 410-347-7700. The Construction Engineering Management program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science-Computer Systems option is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the ABET, Inc. 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012; 410-347-7700. The Bachelor of Science degree in Radiation Health Physics is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of the ABET, Inc. 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012; 410-347-7700.

In the College of Forestry, BS degrees in Forest Management, Forest Operations Management, Forest Engineering, and Forest Engineering-Civil Engineering are accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). In addition, the BS degree in Forest Engineering and the BS double degree in Forest Engineering-Civil Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Commission of ABET, The BS degree in Renewable Materials is accredited by the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST).

In the College of Liberal Arts, the Music Education MAT degree program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).

The College of Pharmacy's PharmD program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The college also offers Community Pharmacy Residencies jointly accredited by the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists and the American Pharmacists Association.

The College of Public Health and Human Sciences received accreditation in June 2014 by the Council on Education for Public Health as the first accredited school of public health in the state of Oregon. The Athletic Training major is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The Dietetic option in the Nutrition major is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as is the transcript-visible post-baccalaureate Dietetic Internship. The graduate Physical Education Teacher Education licensure program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. The Health Management and Policy undergraduate program is certified by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. In Human Development and Family Sciences, the Human Services option is accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education, and the OSU Child Development Center in Bates Hall is accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). HDFS participates in a double degree program in Early Childhood/Elementary Education that is accredited through the College of Education’s teacher education programs. The Double Degree pathway includes all the course work and field experiences necessary to qualify for an Oregon Initial Teaching License granted by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).

In the College of Science, the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Track One is approved by the American Chemical Society and has two options: advanced biochemistry and advanced chemistry.

The College of Veterinary Medicine's DVM program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association: Council on Education. In addition to the DVM degree, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, and the Small Animal Teaching Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association.

Student Health Services is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and is a member of the American College Health Association. The Student Health Services Laboratory is accredited by the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA).

The university’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., and the pre-doctoral training program at CAPS is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

The Oregon State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Program is fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC). AAALAC accreditation is recognized world-wide as the gold standard for animal research programs. OSU’s participation in the rigorous AAALAC accreditation process demonstrates a campus-wide commitment to humane and responsible animal use in research, instruction and testing and dedication to excellent science. This institutional accreditation encompasses all OSU sites where university-owned animals are housed or maintained, including the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Centers, the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, the Laboratory Animal Resources Center and the entire campus research enterprise.

The Academic English and General English programs at INTO OSU are accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) for 5 years from August 2013. INTO OSU agrees to uphold the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency. For further information about this accreditation, please contact the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, 801 N. Fairfax St., Suite 402A, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-665-3400,

For further information, visit

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History of OSU

Founded in 1858 as a small, private academy called Corvallis College, Oregon State University has developed into a major teaching, research, and public service institution.

College-level courses were introduced into the curriculum about 1865, and two men and one woman fulfilled the requirements for baccalaureate degrees in 1870, becoming the first graduates of a state-assisted college in the western United States.

In its early days, Corvallis College was maintained by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was only partly state-supported. The state assumed complete control in 1885.

With the assumption of state control, the college became known as Oregon Agricultural College. The name was changed to Oregon State College in the 1920s and to Oregon State University on March 6, 1961.

In designating Corvallis College as Oregon's agricultural institution, the state legislature accepted the provisions of the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862. The act provided grants of land to be used by states for the sole purpose of endowing, supporting, and maintaining publicly controlled colleges.

State assistance to higher education in Oregon started on October 27, 1868, when Corvallis College was designated as "the agricultural college of the state of Oregon."

Following designation of the college as a land grant institution, agriculture was added to the existing arts and science curriculum in 1869. The curriculum continued to expand, with professorships in commerce (1880), agriculture (1883), household economy (1889), and engineering (1889) resulting in the establishment in 1908 of the professional schools of commerce, agriculture, home economics, and engineering. The first summer session was also held in 1908.

Curricular growth continued with the schools of forestry (1913), mines (1913), pharmacy (1917), education (1918), basic arts and sciences (1922), and health and physical education (1931).

In 1932, the Oregon State Board of Higher Education established the School of Science for the state system at Corvallis, eliminated the School of Mines, and reduced the School of Health and Physical Education to a division. Major work in business administration was discontinued but was reinstated when the College of Business was established (first as a division) in 1943. The College of Liberal Arts was established (as the School of Humanities and Social Sciences) in 1959. The Department of Oceanography was established in 1959, became the School of Oceanography in 1972 and the College of Oceanography in 1983. In 1992 the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Science was merged with the College of Oceanography and renamed the following year as the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. In 2011, the Department of Geosciences in the College of Science was merged with COAS and the college renamed the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The College of Health and Physical Education (now the College of Public Health and Human Sciences) was reinstated (as a school) in 1974, and the College of Veterinary Medicine was established (as a school) the following year. In 1983, all schools of the university, except the School of Education, were redesignated as colleges. In 1989, the School of Education became a college. In 1991, the College of Education merged with the College of Home Economics, and within the College of Home Economics and Education, was renamed the School of Education. In 1995 the University Honors College was established. In 2002, the College of Health and Human Performance and the College of Home Economics and Education were merged into the College of Health and Human Sciences. As part of this restructuring, the new School of Education became an independent academic unit. In 2005, the School of Education was renamed the College of Education. The College of Health and Human Sciences was renamed the College of Public Health and Human Sciences in 2011.

Following the approval of legislation adopted by the 2013 Oregon Legislature, Oregon State University made the decision to have its own institutional board of trustees. That board was appointed by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in the fall of 2013 and assumed all of its official duties on July 1, 2014.

Presidents of the institution since its founding are:

  1. William A. Finley, 1865–72;
  2. Benjamin L. Arnold, 1872–92;
  3. John M. Bloss, 1892–96;
  4. Henry B. Miller, 1896–97;
  5. Thomas M. Gatch, 1897–1907;
  6. William Jasper Kerr, 1907–32;
  7. George Wilcox Peavy, 1934–40;
  8. Frank Llewellyn Ballard, 1940–41;
  9. August Leroy Strand, 1942–61;
  10. James Herbert Jensen, 1961–69;
  11. Robert William MacVicar, 1970–84;
  12. John V. Byrne, 1984–95;
  13. Paul G. Risser, 1996–2002;
  14. Edward J. Ray, August 2003–present.

Acting presidents of the institution since its founding are:

  • Joseph Emery, 1872
  • John D. Letcher, 1892
  • George Wilcox Peavy, 1932–34
  • Francois Archibald Gilfillan, 1941–42
  • Roy Alton Young, 1969–70
  • Timothy P. White, 2003

For more details, see

For the Best of OSU Archives, see

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OUS Five-Year Calendar

The OUS 5-year calendar defines the beginning and ending dates of each term for the next five years. It is published on the web by the Oregon University System.

Note: OSU will begin observance of Veteran's Day on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. The fall term schedule for the 2015–2016 academic year has been adjusted to accommodate this decision and classes will begin on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.

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