General Information

University Overview

Oregon State University provides diverse educational opportunities through the undergraduate and graduate programs of its 13 colleges. 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 30,000 undergraduate, graduate and first professional students, representing more than 100 countries, every state in the nation and every county in Oregon.

In addition to its regular educational programs, the university is responsible for Oregon’s land grant mission of research, education and outreach. The 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, with hybrid and continuing education classes offered at various sites throughout the state. There are currently more than 20 undergraduate degree programs, more than 20 undergraduate minors and nearly 30 graduate programs available online. 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. The DPP allows students to 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, the Oregon Center for Advanced Technology Education, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Idaho, University of Oregon and Washington State University.

OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon — the first branch campus in the state — began offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 2001 in partnership with Central Oregon Community College. Students earn an Oregon State University degree in their choice of 18 undergraduate majors, 12 minors and three graduate programs. In 2015, OSU-Cascades will become a full four-year branch campus and will begin enrolling freshmen and sophomores. The OSU-Cascades website is

History of OSU

Founded in 1858 as a small, private academy called Corvallis College, Oregon State University has developed into an internationally recognized public research university.

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.

Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862, the Morrill Act provided grants of land to be used by states for the sole purpose of endowing, supporting and maintaining public colleges. The Oregon Legislative Assembly designated Corvallis College as the state’s land grant institution on October 27, 1868. This was the first state support for higher education in Oregon. Permanent adoption as the state’s agricultural college came in 1870.

For many years, the institution was known as Oregon Agricultural College. The name was changed to Oregon State College in 1953 and to Oregon State University in 1961.

Following the 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, engineering and mechanic arts and domestic science and arts. 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 re-designated 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:

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

Acting presidents of the institution since its founding:

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 OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center, see

Organization of the University

The president is the chief executive officer of the university and is appointed by the Oregon State Board of Trustees. Subject to the Board, the president is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of the university. The provost and executive vice president is the chief academic and operating officer and is responsible for the daily operations of the university.

In November 2009, four new divisions were created as part of OSU's Strategic Alignment and Budget Reduction Implementation Plan: the Division of Arts and Sciences, Division of Business and Engineering, Division of Earth Systems Science, and the Division of Health Sciences.

The academic programs of Oregon State University are divided among 11 colleges, the Graduate School, and the University Honors College, each with a dean responsible for all faculty, staff, students, and academic programs.

The 11 colleges are the College of Agricultural Sciences; College of Business; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; College of Education; College of Engineering; College of Forestry; College of Public Health and Human Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; College of Pharmacy; College of Science; and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Colleges are divided into departments or schools administered by a department head, chair, or director. Each department may offer several programs of study leading to degrees, certificates, options, or minors requiring a specific group of courses for completion.

Some courses and programs described in the OSU Academic Catalog are offered throughout the year online and at a distance by OSU Ecampus. A list of online and distance education courses and programs are available on the Web at

Summer session courses are published annually in the OSU Summer Session Planning Guide and listed in the online schedule of classes. The OSU Summer Session website is

This OSU Academic Catalog lists requirements for each program, as well as all regular courses offered by Oregon State University. A number of special temporary or 'X' courses are also offered each year and are listed in the online Schedule of Classes at

The Graduate School section of this catalog offers a summary of graduate programs and general regulations.

Programs and courses offered by OSU-Cascades on the Central Oregon Community College campus in Bend, Oregon, are available on the Web at