Don't miss the GRAD SCHOOL 101 section down below!


October 26-28 Portland, OR
SACNAS conference website

Join us!

The College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) is excited to announce our attendance at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) 2023 National Diversity in STEM Conference!

SACNAS is one of the largest multicultural STEM diversity conferences in the country. SACNAS is a space that fosters inclusivity, understanding, and a sense of belonging for everyone. SACNAS is committed to advancing diversity in STEM by empowering participants from underrepresented backgrounds towards a career in academia or a professional path in the sciences. SACNAS immerses attendees in cutting-edge STEM research, professional development, Graduate School and Career Expos, as well as multicultural celebrations and traditions. Everyone is encouraged to come as you are because all are welcome at SACNAS.

CEOAS is committed to achieving true diversity in STEM. That is why we are so excited to announce our participation in this year’s 2023 SACNAS event in our own backyard in Portland, Oregon! We want to see you there! Will you join us?

Oregon State University is a proud sponsor of SACNAS conference as indicated by the Office of the Provost.

Interested in our SACNAS Chapter? Join other undergraduates across the College of Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, Engineering, Sciences, and Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science. Learn more about how to get involved at the College of Agricultural Sciences, SACNAS, About Us page.

Questions about graduate school at CEOAS?
Contact Us

Grad School 101

CEOAS wants to break down barriers to accessing graduate education. Here’s our “Grad School 101” to help make it digestible to you.

CEOAS is home to a variety of world class scholars and instructors. We have disciplines in Oceanography, Atmospheric science, Geology, Geography, Geospatial studies, and Marine Resource Management

We are an interdisciplinary college, focused on building the best scientists and career professionals that are not only passionate about caring for the earth, but who are culturally competent, empathetic and self-aware.

Our graduate student association, also known as CAGS, works to unite the CEOAS graduate community through social events, workshops, seminars, and more! Learn more by visiting the CEOAS Association of Graduate Students (CAGS) website.

Oregon State University is located in the Willamette Valley in a town called Corvallis. We are one hour from the coast and 2.5 hours from the central Cascade mountains. The greater Corvallis area offers countless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. In the region, there are miles of hiking, running and biking trails, dog parks, and community sports and recreation leagues. Oregon State University's College of Forestry manages a research forest just north of town called The McDonald and Dunn Research Forests. There you will find close to thirty miles of maintained trails and over one hundred miles of forest roads to enjoy.

We know applying to graduate school can be mysterious, challenging, and laborious. We also recognize that many students don’t even know where to start, let alone the daunting task of trying to understand graduate funding. We made this guide to hopefully de-mystify the process and let you know that you are not alone in this process.

Step 1: Reflect. Think about what interests you, what career might you want to have, or the skills you want to gain. Do you need a master’s or a Ph.D. for the type of career you want? This is about you!

Step 2: Look at the colleges and programs that interest you. It may be important to you to live in a particular geographic area or environment, and that is okay! Keep your mind open. Look through programs that seem of interest to you. The CEOAS Academic Programs page is where you can find information on our graduate programs.

Step 3: Begin looking at potential advisors. Advisors will help guide you through graduate school. Advisors are typically people that do research in the fields that you are interested in. Choosing the right advisor is really important. Do you want someone that will be more hands-on and guide you through graduate school step-by-step? Or do you want someone who is more hands-off, but will be there when you have questions or concerns? Or do you want someone in the middle? Start reflecting on those questions. You can find a link to faculty in all of our disciplines on each program's webpage at the bottom.

Step 4: Set up a meeting with the college’s graduate student services! CEOAS has a great team of people that can give you the ‘how to’ talk to potential advisors, provide information on financing your graduate education, and act as support throughout this process and beyond. Contact Robert Allan ( at CEOAS Graduate Student Service.

Step 5: Emailing and meeting potential advisors. It may seem really scary to reach out, but our faculty understand the courage it takes to make the first step. When you craft your email to a potential advisor, it is helpful for them to know a little bit about yourself, why you are interested in their research, and ask if they are accepting new students. Keep it simple, about 2 paragraphs is fine. If the advisor doesn’t respond in 1-2 weeks, send a short follow up email. If they don’t respond after that, try someone else. Some faculty are so busy they might not respond to let you know they are not taking on new students. Once someone responds and says “yes!”, try to schedule a zoom call with them and get to know them. Here are some good questions to ask in your initial meeting with a potential advisor:

  • How many graduate students do you advise?
  • How long does a graduate student take to finish?
  • Do you have funding? If so, would it cover the length of time I am at school?
  • Is there travel funding for conferences available?
  • What type of support do you like to give your students?
    • Are you hands-on or hands-off?

  • What are your work expectations? Do you have set hours you require students to be in the lab/office?
  • Check out "How Do You Write an Email or Letter to a Professor" with guidance on how to write an email to a professor.

These are just a few simple suggestions to get to know your potential graduate advisor. It is important to be aware of how your personalities might work well together or not. If they have other students, ask if you can connect with them! If the potential advisor doesn’t want to connect you with their past or current students, view that as a red flag. It could mean that they may not be a great mentor and fear what their previous students will say about them. Nonetheless, getting to know other graduate students’ experiences working with that advisor might be helpful for you when making a decision.

Step 6:  At this point, you can narrow down places you’d like to go. Start looking into the institutions you plan to apply to. Think about whether the institution has the resources to support you, whether you’d feel comfortable living in the town/city that the institution is in and if the college culture seems welcoming. Ask the program director or graduate student services representative (Robert Allan for OSU), if they will fund your visit to campus to assess whether you want to apply or not.

Once you’ve decided on places you’d like to apply to, note down their application requirements and deadlines. As a general timeline, you’ll want to get to this point by the end of the summer (of the year before you plan on attending). Graduate school applications (depending on the school) typically are due between November and the end of January. Admissions results often go out in March and decisions are expected to be made, in most cases, by April 15.

Step 7: Apply to the university. A common misconception is that you are actually applying to work with your professor or in their lab. While you do need to meet the requirements of the graduate program, it is important to the school that you have met with a potential graduate advisor and that they agree to take you on if you are admitted. Inform that professor that you are applying and submitting an application to that program. The CEOAS How to Apply page has more details on the requirements and materials needed for your application.

Not only is emailing famous scientists anxiety-inducing, but trying to understand how to fund your graduate education is complex! The great thing about our college is that our graduate students don’t acquire debt! Additionally, CEOAS has an excellent coalition of graduate students that bargain and fight for better pay, health insurance, and more!

It is always a good rule of thumb to reach out to Robert Allan ( at CEOAS Graduate Student Services because he is aware of internal funding opportunities that you might not be able to see. For some funding routes, such as internal graduate fellowships or scholarships, a nomination from the program director and major advisor might be required. If so, reach out to the director of the program you are interested in!

Most of the funding options provided by CEOAS or the University will cover tuition, other administrative fees, PacificSource Health Insurance, and a graduate student stipend (for your living expenses!).  Here are the types of funding our graduate students have:

  1. Graduate Teaching Assistantships
    Teach introductory undergraduate courses or assist faculty in the delivery of upper division and graduate courses.
  2. Graduate Research Assistantships
    Typically work on a faculty research project. The money that is funding the research is also funding the assistantship position. Research grants are highly competitive and as such, professors expect a high degree of work from the graduate student.
  3. Fellowships and Scholarships
    Fellowships and scholarships are an essential source of funding designed to help graduate students meet their educational and research expenses. Some fellowships and scholarships are awarded institutionally by the Graduate School or by academic college and department committees, while external agencies award others.
  4. Graduate Student Awards
    The Graduate School administers internal scholarships, fellowships, and awards. Students are encouraged to work with their major professors and academic units for nomination to these opportunities.
  5. Financial Aid
    The OSU office of financial aid can help you find resources to fund your graduate education.
  6. Student Employment
    Employment is another way to help pay for graduate education. Graduate students can find work through on-campus jobs, off-campus jobs, or internships.

We also understand that finances can be especially stressful when going through an emergency situation. We have a couple emergency funding options available to graduate students:

  1. CEOAS Emergency Funding
    Typically $200-500, however more can be awarded in special circumstances
  2. Financial Impact Hardship Award
    Amounts vary but does not exceed $1500

We want to hear from you and we are here to help! Reach out to Robert Allan ( at CEOAS Graduate Student Services.