Frequently Asked Questions - Certificate

Below you will find some frequently asked questions about the graduate certificate in water conflict management and transformation. 

What are the requirements to get admitted to the program?

  • A bachelor’s degree and admission to both the graduate school and certificate program are the primary requirements. It is recommended that students applying for the on campus program follow these instructions. Similar procedures are available for students interested in the online program.

What are the deadlines for admission to the university?

Can I complete the entire certificate program online?

  • Yes, this entire certificate can be accomplished by taking online courses. With the development of the online version of the certificate program, offered through OSU’s Extended Campus, it is hoped that part-time, evening, and weekend professional non-residents will have the opportunity to participate in the program while continuing with their careers and family commitments. Learn more about this online certificate program. Students are provided with support services appropriate to online learners such as phone and email support, searchable knowledge base, and communications to optimize their opportunities for successful completion of the program. Full information is available on the OSU Extended Campus.

Is this a degree program?

  • This is a graduate certificate program. You can however, earn a master's degree or PhD and certificate, simultaneously. In fact, it is common practice for students to pursue the 18-credit Graduate Certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, while simultaneously earning advanced degrees in the:
    • Water Resources Graduate Program (Masters and PhD; on campus), to learn more contact Dr. Mary Santelmann, Program Director - m[email protected]
    • Geography Program, (Masters and PhD; on campus), to learn more contact Dr. Julia Jones, Graduate Program Head - [email protected]
    • Master’s Natural Resources Program (Masters; online), to learn more contact Dr. Janean Creighton, Program Director - [email protected]

Is there a need for this kind of certificate program?

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - a lead water cooperation facility, through its recent five-year program Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential, identified key needs to alleviate the conflict potential over shared waters, and found the lack of training in conflict management among stakeholders and water managers to be of paramount importance. With OSU’s strong core faculty and experience in these issues, it is ideally poised to take a leading role in this international initiative. On issues related to water conflict management and water governance programs, these courses are demand-driven. They are the result of a year of extensive interviews of students and professionals in the field who helped identify precisely what Oregon State University (OSU) can best do to help support this complex, interdisciplinary field. The question was brought also to several watershed councils, participants of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board's biennial conference (e.g. citizens, state and federal agencies, local governments and stakeholders), and to the state's “Salmon Strategy Team” comprised of state and federal agencies and coordinated by the Governor's Natural Resources Office. Recent policy initiatives illustrate that such a program is a priority at the state, regional, and national levels. And, project manager’s employed in local, state and federal agencies indicated that they could benefit from this program. The agencies include watershed councils; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality; US Environmental Protection Agency; US Bureau of Reclamation; US Fish and Wildlife; and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Other benefactors would also include environmental consultants. Furthermore, OSU faculty have been asked by the World Bank to design a course in international water conflict management based on their bi-annual course for water ministers, to meet what they see as a growing demand for the field at the professional and graduate student levels throughout the world. International organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Conservation Union have begun to focus and fund large international river basin projects to meet overlapping goals associated with assisting hostile countries to work together and to protect their common water resources for current and future generations. These programs place great emphasis on building the capacity of institutions through human resources training to ensure a high level skill base across these large basins to address complex water resources challenges before they become conflicts.

Tell me about the students, alumni and faculty?

Our community consists of local and distance students, faculty, post doctorates, visiting scholars, water practitioners, and people with an interest in water management. We are not bound geographically, but like to consider ourselves fluid and dynamic. Here you will meet some of the people behind our projects, programs, and database. You will meet and get to know our partners and see some of the wonderful connections we are building globally. Find out what the students are studying and see what happens to them when they leave the Certificate Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation. See for yourselves why visiting scholars, specializing in water governance and transboundary waters, insist on coming to Oregon State University

What are the water-related graduate courses at OSU?

Does OSU offer a Master’s Degree or PhD in Water Conflict Management?

  • There is no specific Master’s Degree or PhD in Water Conflict Management, but with coordinated efforts with program-affiliated faculty and/or a master’s or PhD advisor can help you design a Master's or PhD thesis with an emphasis in water conflict management.  In fact, it is common practice for students to pursue the 18-credit Graduate Certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, while simultaneously earning advanced degrees in the:
    • Water Resources Graduate Program (Masters and PhD; on campus), to learn more contact Dr. Mary Santelmann, Program Director - m[email protected]
    • Geography Program, (Masters and PhD; on campus), to learn more contact Dr. Julia Jones, Graduate Program Head - [email protected]
    • Master’s Natural Resources Program (Masters; online), to learn more contact Dr. Janean Creighton, Program Director - [email protected]

How much does it cost to earn the certificate?

How long will it take me to complete this program?

  • The answer to this question, really depends on how many courses one takes per term. This may be governed by employment, family and other commitments. Taking one course per term, not including over the summer, would take two years. Taking two courses per term, including two in the summer, one could graduate in a year. Please also be aware that there are a few one-week, 3-credit courses that are offered during summer term (on campus only).

Can I transfer credits earned at another institute?

  • Up to 6 graduate credits may be transferred toward an 18-credit graduate certificate. Please keep in mind that courses completed no more than seven years prior to the graduate certificate award may be used to satisfy certificate requirements. See the Policies Governing Graduate Certificate Programs in the Graduate School guidelines.

I am interested in online classes, are there any scholarships or financial aid that I can apply for?

  • There is no financial support available within the certificate program, however through the university, you may qualify for scholarships, loans, or financial aid. Receiving financial aid depends on ones financial need. To be considered for aid one must submit formal application. This process is described at the following web sites: OSU’s Financial Aid, OSU’s Ecampus Financial Aid for online classes.
  • Online students (and potential online students) that have additional questions on this matter can contact, Joan Oakes, Ecampus’ Student Services Specialist, by e-mail or by telephone at +1-541-737-4166. Unfortunately, there is no financial aid in place for international online students at this time. However, this is something that OSU's Extended Campus is exploring. Regarding scholarships for international students, please see the Office of Admissions' Scholarships for International Students page for information that may be of value. Also, consider applying to The Fulbright Program, which is a U.S. government flagship program in international educational exchange

Once admitted, do I need to take classes every term?

  • The policy has recently changed. For students that are only working towards the Certificate, continuous enrollment is not required. There is no need to file a leave of absence form.  For students that are working towards the Certificate and also working on an advanced degree, the requirements may be different. Please see the Graduate School policy for the latest details.

What is the policy regarding the graduate certificate study program?

  • The policy states that students will be required to take a minimum of 50 percent graduate-level stand-alone courses. The remaining credits may be the 500 component of 400/500 slash courses. This means that if you complete 19 credits towards earning the certificate, 50% of those credits (at least 10 credits) should be 500 level courses. It is essential that you verify if a course is a graduate-level stand-alone course before registering. For example, let’s see if GEOG 541 is a graduate-level stand-alone course:
  1. Go to the Schedule of Classes
  2. Search for “GEOG 541”.
  3. Select a section. 
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and under the section Class Notes:
  • If the wording in the comments column says, “Does not meet Graduate School's stand-alone requirement.” Then GEOG 541 is regarded as a 400/500 slash course.
  • If the statement “Does not meet Graduate School's stand-alone requirement” is not displayed, then this course is considered a graduate-level stand-alone course.

Tell me more about the Capstone Courses?

  • It is highly recommended that the capstone courses be taken towards the end of your program of study. With the capstone courses you would take WRP 521, and choose between WRP 510 and WRP 509. Details are provided below:
    • WRP 521 - Water Conflict Management and Transformation Capstone Course: This is a 3-credit course offered: (1) Online every fall term; and (2) As a one-week course, on campus every year in the summer, during the third week of June. Classes are usually held from 8am to 5pm each day. This is a great opportunity to accelerate your program of study, meet instructors and other students with similar interests and visit Oregon State University.
    • WRP 510 - Internship Capstone: The capstone internship is designed to provide students with an opportunity to work with a mentor on water-related issues, applying learnt water governance skills to watershed councils, to local government agencies within ones community, and other water-related programs and initiatives.  Through this approach students earn college credits at an internship site of their choosing, that has been approved by the instructor. This provides a platform for hands-on learning in a safe environment under the tutelage of a mentor, while exploring and gaining understanding of everyday challenges that often must be balanced to meet the needs of the community. The internship will also include writing assignments. In all, the internship should provide a mechanism for moving students to a more professional role in the workforce by melding learnt theory with practice. This can be taken by any student, but is highly recommended for students that have not entered the workforce yet. This will need to be approved by me, prior to the registration timeframe. So please plan ahead. To complete the internship 80 hours is the minimum time required. Most students are able to find this appointment on their own. If you need assistance, contact Lynette de Silva, the Certificate Program Director.
    • WRP 509 - Practicum Capstone: The capstone practicum is designed as a non-traditional class, exploring tools, models and concepts in the collaborative decision-making process in water resources. Emphasis is on group projects and self-directed practical application of community-based natural resources. In general, students will be expected to attend public meetings and engage with their communities. This approach is open to all students, but it is highly recommended to students that are primarily out in the workforce wanting to add more of the academic theories to their portfolio. If you would like to learn more about what’s required for this course (WRP 509 - Practicum Capstone) and/or would like to get permission to register, students should contact instructor – Dr. Jenna Tilt at [email protected].

What are some of the (university) resources that I should know about?