Frequently Asked Questions

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State Authorization

What is state authorization?

State authorization refers to regulations that impact online and on-ground education offered across state lines and programs that lead to state licenses or certifications. Compliance with these regulations ensures that an Ohio State degree will be recognized and that a student will be eligible to sit for licensure in states other than Ohio.

Each state has unique authorization requirements, so Ohio State must review each state’s laws to ensure that the university is in compliance. At Ohio State, we have a team dedicated to researching regulations, seeking and maintaining compliance, communicating changes in authorization status, and disclosing state licensure and certification information.

Why does it matter?

In order to offer educational opportunities to students outside Ohio, Ohio State must comply with state, federal, and professional licensing board regulations. Federal regulations require an institution to be authorized in every state where a student is located in order to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs.

Requiring authorization of distance education programs also ensures that students are protected as consumers. Authorization regulations help ensure that a student is not investing in a program that is not legitimate or a program that does not lead to the license the student was expecting. 

What is the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, also known as SARA, establishes uniform standards for distance education for all participating states and institutions. Ohio State joined SARA in 2015, which means Ohio State can offer most online and on-ground courses and programs in SARA member states, districts and territories without seeking authorization in each state.

Does SARA cover professional licensing board authorizations in other states?

SARA does not cover professional licensing board authorizations. If you are planning to seek a professional license or certificate in a state other than Ohio, it is highly recommended that you contact the appropriate state licensing agency to seek guidance before beginning a licensure program.

Earning My Degree Online

Will my degree be considered an "online" degree?

When you earn your Ohio State degree online, you receive the same Ohio State diploma as on-campus students. There will be no online distinction on your diploma.

How long will it take me to finish my program?

Each Ohio State Online Program is unique and have their own timelines for completion. This also varies based on how many credits you choose to take each semester.

For more information or to estimate how long it will take to complete your degree, visit your program's website.


Will I be able to attend graduation?

As long as you're approved by your college, all students enrolled in an online program at Ohio State are welcome to attend their graduation ceremony on campus in Columbus.

In order to be eligible, you must apply for graduation. This application and approval process takes place through your college.

For more details on graduation and to download the graduate school graduation application, click here.

You will receive your Ohio State degree by mail, or at the ceremony if you decide to attend.

After graduation you will become an alumnus of The Ohio State University and are strongly encouraged to join the Ohio State Alumni Association, a network with millions of other Buckeye graduates. 

Is my entire program offered online?

The definition of an online program is that 50% of the courses are delivered in an online format, but many of our programs are offered 100% online. Certain programs may have on campus requirements. For more information, contact your program advisor. 

Common Online Degree Questions

How do I buy books/materials?

The official Ohio State Bookstore is Barnes & Noble located on the Columbus campus. They accept online orders and will ship products to your indicated address.

You may also want to check out Ohio State's Digital Bookstore, which contains all digital materials developed by Ohio State students, staff and faculty.

Some Ohio State courses are part of CarmenBooks, a program that offers digital copies of selected textbooks for a fraction of the cost of a new, physical copy. If you register for a course using CarmenBooks, you will see this discounted textbook cost reflected as a course fee.

You may choose to opt out of this program. However, if you do so, you will be responsible for obtaining your textbook and other course materials on your own. To opt out, email You must express your interest to opt out of CarmenBooks before the end of the 100% refund period for your session. After that date, no refunds will be available.

Tech Hub is the official technology store at Ohio State. All Ohio State students receive a discount for any products they may purchase through Tech Hub. If you place an order by phone, they will ship your products to your indicated address.

Ohio State also offers a selection free, downloadable software on a variety of platforms to our students. See OCIO Software for a full list of what is available for download. 

I am a veteran who served in the military, what kind of assistance can I get for my Online Program?

Military and Veterans Services ensures the academic success of Ohio State's military and veteran students. 

Learn more or contact an advisor by visiting the Veteran and Military Students website.

What is an online certificate?

Online certificate programs at Ohio State are undergraduate- and graduate-level programs that offer students the opportunity to study a focused topic in a shorter time frame than earning a degree.​ 

There are two main categories of certificate programs offered at Ohio State: Credit and Non-Credit.

  • Academic certificate programs taken for credit offer students the opportunity to earn an official university-level certificate. In some cases, a portion of credits earned in these certificate programs can be used toward earning a degree. For example, students who earn the online Public Management Certificate from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs may apply some credits toward the online Master of Public Administration and Leadership and use the certificate to satisfy the master's program experience requirement.
  • Students might pursue workforce development training or continuing education units (CEU's) that are required by certain fields such as nursing and social work.  

Both Credit and Non-Credit Online Certificates can contribute to eligibility requirements for licensure or certification in a specific technical or professional area. For more information on the different types of certificates available at Ohio State, visit the Registrar's website.

Learn more about the benefits of online certificate programs.


Learning Online

How do I interact with my classmates and instructors?

You will interact with your classmates and instructors in a variety of ways. You will participate in class discussions on Carmen, interact via open forums, email and through our video to video software, CarmenZoom.

Some instructors will have their own method for further interaction, which will be contained in your syllabus. 

What does an online classroom look like?

Online courses at Ohio State are different from face-to-face courses. Our faculty members design their online courses to take advantage of the possibilities of the Internet—ways of communicating across distances, connecting to outside people and ideas, working through problems and presenting information.

Online courses have many of the elements of face-to-face courses, but the structure, format and timing is different. The majority of Ohio State's online programs are offered in an asynchronous format.

In an asynchronous course, work is completed on your own time, within a certain timeframe. Instead of distinct class sessions, then homework and preparation, your online courses will usually be divided into week-long modules where you will have:

  • a major topic or task
  • supporting materials (videos, reading, or other media)
  • ongoing discussion and collaboration with your professor and classmates
  • an opportunity to practice and receive feedback

Some online programs are offered in a synchronous format. In a synchronous course, students will virtually attend a class session each week, at the same time as their instructors and classmates. 


How does my online program work?

When you enroll in an Online Program at Ohio State, you are choosing to take required courses and electives in an online format. You’ll progress through your course work just like you would in a traditional classroom with assignments, assessments and participation requirements. You’ll interact with your instructor and fellow students via online discussions and submit your assignments online. In certain cases, there may be an on campus requirement, depending on the program. For more information, check your program page or contact your program advisor. 

How flexible are online classes? What is my expected time commitment?

Online programs at Ohio State are here to work on your schedule. You are welcome to schedule as many credit hours per semester as you feel that you can handle. The amount of credits you schedule will help determine how long it will take to complete your program. 

Your expected time commitment will vary based on your course load. For every credit hour you are enrolled in, expect to complete three hours of work outside of class, for studying or projects.

Do I have a specific class time or a specific time that I need to be online?

The majority of our programs are asynchronous, meaning you are not required to be online at certain times for class. If you have a proctored test or need to be online at a specific time for a class meeting, please check your syllabus or contact your instructor for this information. Learn more about the difference between asynchronous and synchronous learning.

Applications & Admissions

When do I apply?

You should apply whenever you feel ready to begin your online program. Deadlines vary between each program, but they will be tailored to start at the beginning of autumn, spring and summer terms. For more information regarding deadlines, contact your program advisor.

Will my earned course credits transfer to my online program at Ohio State?

If you have previous college credit, you may transfer your credits when starting your online program with Ohio State. Contact your program advisor with specific questions.

For more information or to see the transfer credit requirements, see the Ohio State Transfer Credit Policy.

Note: a maximum of 7 hours of grad non-degree credit can be earned at Ohio State and then applied to a graduate degree program.

I've received my letter of acceptance, how do I enroll in classes?

After you've been accepted into an Ohio State Online program, you will receive your username information (lastname.#), your email address and access to Buckeyelink.

You will also receive an email from your program coordinator confirming your admittance with suggested courses for your program track. In Buckeyelink, which is your student portal, you will be able to search and enroll in courses, pay tuition and see important deadlines. Once signed in, click "Add a Class" to search and enroll in courses.


Other than my application, what do I need to send to Ohio State?

When applying to Ohio State, you will file your application and pay your application fee. Ohio State may require you to send further documentation or information. See Ohio State undergraduate and graduate admission requirements for more information.

Financial Aid & Tuition

How much is tuition?

Tuition varies by program and the number of credits you’re enrolled in. See Tuition and Fees for detailed tuition information on your online program, and learn more about how to calculate the total cost of your degree.


I'm a veteran, how do I use my GI Bill® or receive financial aid?

Veteran and Military Students supports all of Ohio State's current and former military students, including those in online programs. (There are many restrictions and requirements in order to use your GI Bill® or receive federal financial aid). Any student planning to utilize VA education benefits (e.g. GI Bill®, tuition assistance, etc) must work with an advisor within Veteran and Military Students to register and enroll in The Ohio State University.

Review our GI Bill® Guide to learn more about the process, or contact an advisor with Veteran and Military Students for assistance.

Can I apply for any scholarships?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for scholarships in any state that Ohio State is authorized for your program. Your program or college may also offer scholarships that you may be eligible for.  For more information, contact your program advisor.

There are also a number of private funded scholarships that are available for students. To receive any funding, you must meet all eligibility requirements and be selected as a recipient for that scholarship. There may be certain expectations you must meet to maintain your scholarship.

For more information, visit the Student Financial Aid page.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

All Online Programs students at Ohio State are eligible to apply for financial aid. However, there are many factors in determining eligibility for financial aid. For more information regarding financial aid eligibility, requirements or to file the current year's FAFSA, see Student Financial Aid at Ohio State.

Student Activities & Benefits

Can I get a BuckID if I want one?

As an Ohio State Online student, you may get a digital BuckID, the official identification card of The Ohio State University. Your digital ID will be available through the Ohio State app.

  1. Visit to submit a passport-style photo and government-issued ID. 
  2. Select Ohio State Online on the Program Type drop-down menu.
  3. You will be notified when your application is reviewed. Once approved, your digital ID will be available through the Ohio State app.

Your digital BuckID may be used in situations where you need to confirm your student status, such as to receive a student discount. Read more about how to access your digital BuckID.

The BuckID office will mail physical BuckID cards and nursing badges to nursing students in online programs.

Can I participate in student activities?

As part of an Online Program at Ohio State, you do not pay the Student Activity Fee and therefore your participation in on-campus student activities will be limited.

Can I get legal support from Ohio State?

Online Program students at Ohio State are not eligible for legal assistance. Online students will not be charged the annual SLS fee in their tuition.

If you are required or choose to take one class on campus in Columbus during a given semester, you may be eligible for Student Legal Services if you so desire. Contact SLS for more information.

Am I eligible for Ohio State athletics tickets?

Yes--online students are eligible for athletics tickets just as traditional students are. We hope you'll come to campus to experience a Buckeye football game in the 'Shoe or a basketball face-off energized by the Buckeye NutHouse for yourself. Beyond those sports are dozens of other teams competing year-round and students are encouraged to support their fellow Buckeyes.

Some sports require early action to secure your student ticket, and other sporting events are free to attend. Learn more at the Ticket Office website.

Technical Requirements & Support

What basic technology requirements do I need to take an online program at Ohio State?

For the best experience in Ohio State's Online Programs, you will need these basic tech requirements. See Tech Support for a full list of Online Programs support and requirements.

  • Current Mac (OS X, v10.7 or higher recommended) or PC (Windows Vista, or Windows 7 or 8 recommended)
  • Stable high-speed internet connection (DSL or cable)
  • Firefox web browser (download for free)
  • Up-to-date Java, Flash, and Silverlight plugins installed (see the Firefox plugin check)

Note: Some programs have their own specific tech requirements, for more information, check that program's individual website or contact your program advisor.

How do I get accessibility support from Ohio State?

To receive access to all Office of Disability Services resources, you must register at Equivalent to students on campus, ODS is happy to work with students from online programs at Ohio State as long as they are documented within the office.

To register, go to