Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Financial Aid & 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Visit myphoto.osu.edu to submit a passport-style photo and government-issued ID.
- Select Ohio State Online on the Program Type drop-down menu.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, students learning online must be vaccinated or have received an exemption. Ohio State is requiring every student, faculty and staff member – including Buckeyes learning online – to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Students should report their vaccination status through My BuckMD. You can read more about the requirement online and learn where to schedule a vaccination appointment in your area by visiting the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.
Students who do not comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement may be unable to use Ohio State’s online registration system to register for courses or participate in on-campus experiences and Ohio State-related activities like field placements. Please refer to your college for additional vaccination requirements and guidance specific to your program.
Technical Requirements & Support
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 adivsor.
To receive access to all Office of Disability Services resources, you must register at ods.osu.edu. 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 http://ods.osu.edu/how-to-register/.