Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unable to find an answer to your question on this list, please contact our office directly either by email or by phone at 405-744-2951.


Admission Test Requirements

Can I be admitted to a Program and then take the admissions test (GMAT/GRE) during the first semester?

Admissions tests that are required as part of application should be submitted by the appropriate deadlines. Application files lacking test scores are considered incomplete, and will not be reviewed for admission.


Can the GRE be used instead of the GMAT?

Each degree program has its own requirements listed on the application page of the website. Generally, the answer is no, the GRE cannot be used in lieu of the GMAT. Some Programs will accept either the GMAT or the GRE, and some only accept one or the other test (MBA requires GMAT unless applicant is a currently-practicing medical doctor, dentist, or veterinarian; those professions must provide their appropriate graduate school admissions test scores).


Can the test requirement be waived?

Each Program has specific requirements, but unless otherwise specified on an individual Program’s website, the test requirement cannot be waived.


For International admissions, can the IELTS be used instead of the TOEFL?

Yes. The equivalency for our admissions requirements is:
7.0 IELTS = 100 TOEFL
6.5 IELTS = 89 TOEFL
6.0 IELTS = 79 TOEFL


How long does it take for a test score to arrive at the Spears School Graduate Programs office?

Official GMAT test scores are usually available 5-6 days after the test is taken. The Spears School Grad Programs office will access them electronically through a secured website provided through the GMAT testing service. Scores will only be pulled from the site after our office receives application materials.

GRE scores are mailed directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS), and take approximately 3 weeks to arrive at our office.


I am an alumnus of OSU. Is the GMAT required?

Unless a specific Program’s website indicates otherwise, all applicants must submit the listed application materials before admission can be considered. Alumni status has no bearing on the requirement of application forms; our degrees are all graduate-level, so just as you might have applied for undergraduate admissions, you must also apply for graduate admissions.


What are the GMAT school codes for the Graduate Programs at the Spears School of Business?

Program Code
MIS V0W-5V-86
MSTM V0W-5V-42
Entrepreneurship MS V0W-5V-20
MS in Accounting V0W-5V-40
Accounting PhD V0W-5V-95
Finance PhD V0W-5V-35
Management PhD V0W-5V-52
MSIS PhD V0W-5V-03
Marketing PhD V0W-5V-75


What are the school codes for the TOEFL or GRE tests?

The OSU school code for both the TOEFL and GRE is 6546.


What if I don’t make the minimum recommended score on the admissions test? Can I still be admitted?

Possibly. Admissions committees carefully review each application on an individual basis before making a final decision. Keep in mind that test scores play a key factor in the decision, and a score that is less than the recommended number or is less than the current competitive threshold can be detrimental to the final admissions decision and admissions may be denied because of this.


Application Materials

Are transcripts required as part of the application materials for Spears Graduate Programs?

Yes, transcripts are required. For admissions purposes, unofficial copies can be scanned and attached to the application in an electronic format along with the other required materials. Current or former students of OSU will need to have transcripts sent from the OSU Registrar directly to the Graduate College; that department will not pull any OSU transcripts from SIS.

If admission is granted, the Graduate College will require official transcripts to be sent from the undergraduate institution directly to OSU. To be official, the transcript must show the complete scholastic record with degree conferred, bear the official seal of the institution, and be signed by the issuing officer. The official transcripts can be sent to the OSU Graduate College either electronically or in hard copy format, but they must be sent from the issuing institution, and not issued to the student.

Questions about transcript requirements should be directed by email to the Graduate College at


Can applications be submitted after the deadline?

Application materials should be submitted by the deadline dates posted on the department websites. Please remember that a “deadline” is not a suggested date—it is set on a specific date for a reason. Our first impression of an applicant is from their application, which includes meeting the application deadlines.


For a Master’s program application, what is a Statement of Purpose and what should be included in it? What is the suggested format?

The Statement can be presented as a cover letter, an essay of no more than two pages, or one page of short answers (three or four sentences per question).

The following topics should be addressed:

  • Explain why you have decided to pursue a graduate business degree at OSU. Describe how your experiences, both personal and professional, have led you to pursue this degree at OSU.
  • What are your career aspirations? How will this degree aid you in achieving these goals?
  • What personal strengths will help you attain your goals? What personal weaknesses must you overcome to attain your goals?

Please include your name at the top of each page of the Statement.


I’m applying to a PhD Program and a statement and writing sample are required. What should I use and how long should it be?

Include the following:

  • A statement explaining why you want to pursue a Ph.D. in your chosen area of specialization, and why you think you will be successful (3 pages, maximum).
  • Evidence of any prior independent research work, such as a thesis or research papers


What is the format for Recommendation letters, and what information should they include?

Applicants who submit the online application (available through our website) should include the recommenders’ names and email addresses. The online application system will automatically email the recommender and provide a link to an online form. Recommendations can be letters in a traditional business format or a few paragraphs in the text box provided on the form; whichever way is most comfortable for the recommender is fine.


Who should I ask for recommendations for the application?

Professional or academic recommenders are always preferred. You are applying to a business graduate program, so recommendations should be of a more business-minded nature. You are trying to present the most professional image of yourself as possible. With that in mind, recommendations from personal friends or relatives should be avoided.


Career Placement Services

Does the Graduate Programs office offer career placement services?

Yes. We have a full time Career Coordinator available to assist students with their resume, interview skills, and internship and job searches.


Distance Learning

Can I do a Spears PhD Program online?

No. None of the PhD Programs at Spears School are available through Distance Learning. All of them, with the exception of our Executive PhD, are only based at the Stillwater campus and students admitted to these must attend OSU-Stillwater.


Does distance learning require any time on-campus in either Stillwater or Tulsa to complete the requirements for graduation?

No. The entire degree can be completed via distance learning.


What degrees can I get through Distance Learning?

Distance Learning is not a degree—it is a different method of course delivery that is not based in a classroom at the Stillwater or Tulsa campuses. Courses in the MBA, MS in MIS, and MSTM Programs can be completed through Distance Learning. However, full admission requirements must be met for each prior to enrollment in the Distance Learning course sections.


What is Distance Learning?

Distance Learning is an option for enrollment that is not based in a classroom at the Stillwater o Tulsa campuses. It is not a “watered down” version of any of our degrees, nor is it an “online” degree. It is simply a different method of delivery for our classes. All admission requirements must be met prior to enrollment


What is the first thing new Distance Learning students need to do about the OKEY, email, and pin set up?

To set up your OKEY account, new students should go to, hover the mouse over the Student Life at the top of the page, and a new menu window will pop up. Look for Technology on the right side of the window and click on O-Key Account. Follow the prompts for a new account. Initially, your password will be your birth date. Eventually, the system will force you to change your password and terminate your session. Log in again with your Okey email address and new password to confirm the set-up is correct. Please contact the OSU Help Desk if you have any problems.


What will the diploma show if I completed the coursework through Distance Learning?

The diploma will only show the name of the master’s degree and Oklahoma State University. Since this is not an “online” degree, the diploma won’t indicate it as such.


Who is the academic advisor for Distance Learning enrollment?

Your academic advisor will be the Program coordinator for your chosen degree, unless otherwise told. The staff at the Distance Learning office are not academic advisors.


Enrollment Procedures

Can I take all the classes in Tulsa and complete the degree there?

The MBA part time and professional programs can be completed entirely in Tulsa, but the fulltime program requires some coursework to be completed at the Stillwater campus.

The Master’s degrees in MIS, TCOM, and QFE classes can all be completed at the Tulsa campus; Accounting and Economics are only based in Stillwater.

PhD programs are only available at the Stillwater campus.


I’ve been admitted to a Master’s or PhD Program. How do I enroll for classes?

Enrollment information will be provided in the same letter or email that offers admissions, but admitted students should contact the Program coordinator’s office for an advisement appointment.


What’s the difference between fulltime and part-time?

This relates to the number of hours in which a student is enrolled, not a specific degree. For graduate students, “fulltime” enrollment is nine or more semester credit hours, and “part-time” enrollment is eight or fewer hours. Our Distance Learning option is designed for students who plan to enroll in graduate school part-time while still working fulltime, and will only take one or two classes per semester.


Financial Aid/Scholarships/Assistantships

What financial aid/scholarships do you have for Distance Learning students?

Spears School Graduate Programs does not have scholarship monies available for DL enrollment. Many companies provide tuition assistance for their employees, and we also offer a special rate for active-duty military personnel. We would encourage you to check the resource links on our website for options available for graduate-level study.

All military personnel, who can submit active duty orders, deployment orders or a duty history which covers the enrollment period, are eligible for the military rate. National Guard or Reservists will qualify if active duty status applies. Spouses of active duty military are NOT eligible for the military rate.


Where can I find additional information about Financial Aid or Scholarship opportunities?

List of financial aid resources

Oklahoma Higher Education has separate site for adults returning to college and offers financial aid including in-state and federally funded grants.

The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid

As always, domestic students are encouraged to complete FAFSA forms annually.

OSU’s Graduate College has a list of sources, as well. – Free registration; answer questions your interests & future plans, and this site generates a list of scholarships. Many simply require an application and an essay, will accept both domestic and international students’ applications, and still have funding available for the current school year.


General Admissions

Can I apply for summer admission to a master’s or PhD program?

None of our graduate programs admit for the summer. Depending on the program, there may be fall and spring admission, or fall only. But we do not offer admissions for the summer.


How long are the semesters?

Academic semesters at OSU are 16 weeks. While the exact start/end dates vary each semester, the spring semesters are mid-January through early May, and fall semesters are mid-August through mid-December. Courses offered during the summer (May, June, July) may be four to eight weeks in length, but will still cover the same amount of material in a 16-week semester.


Military Personnel

Can military training be used as “transfer credit” or will active duty experience qualify for course credit

No. Only graduate-level coursework from AACSB accredited schools can be accepted for transfer into the School of Business master’s programs. A full list of accredited institutions can be found at Neither can active duty experience be used for course credit.


Do active-duty military personnel have to take the GMAT for admission to the MBA Program? Can military service/training be used in lieu of this requirement?

The GMAT is required unless an applicant is a currently-practicing medical doctor or dentist (which requires the MCAT or DAT, respectively, in lieu of the GMAT). Military service or training cannot be used for this test requirement.


I am active duty military. How do I make sure I am charged the military tuition rate for distance learning?

First, you must be admitted to a graduate program in SSB. After you complete your academic advisement for enrollment, you will register for classes. After you register, you should then submit a copy your most recent military orders directly to our CEPD Distance Learning office to ensure that the correct rate is charged to your Bursar’s account. There’s nothing to send prior to admission or as part of the application for the military rate. Active duty military personnel will receive a credit around the 4th week of the semester to reflect current military tuition rate. Details about the military rate.


Where can I find information about Veterans Services?

The Registrar’s Office manages that information:



Do you offer a degree in Health Care Administration (HCA)?

The Spears School does not offer this degree in conjunction with our graduate programs. However, it is available at the Center for Health Science in Tulsa. Information about this degree can be found at


How long after application deadlines will I find out if I’ve been admitted?

The average review time for admissions is four to six weeks; much depends on the Program and number of applications received. Often, the review may only take a few days and you will be notified as soon as a decision has been made. You should receive notification of admissions decisions in a combination of methods: email from the Program, hardcopy letter from the Graduate College, or both.

Applications handled through the Spears School Graduate Programs office will always receive email notification when the file is forwarded for review.


I have a three-year undergraduate degree, can I apply to Spears?

Our Master’s programs require a four-year undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degree or its international equivalent, OR in lieu of that, an undergraduate degree from a three year institution PLUS a two year degree in a master’s field.


Where do I find housing if I am moving to Stillwater?

Non-Degree Seeking/'Special' Students

Are pre-requisite or “leveling” courses required for MBA admission?

No. All courses required for graduation are included as part of the curriculum.


Can I enroll in classes without being admitted to a Program?

The MBA, MS in MIS, and TCOM programs allow enrollment in one 3-hour class as a “Non-Degree Seeking” or “Special” student. Applications for Non-Degree Seeking students must be submitted to the Graduate College. A full application to the appropriate program must be submitted by the appropriate deadline, and admission granted, before a student will be allowed to enroll in classes beyond those three hours.

Students classified as “Non Degree Seeking” (or “Special”) are NOT admitted to a specific program; they have simply been admitted to the Graduate College as a graduate-level student who can enroll in a class. Until an application has been submitted to the appropriate program and they are approved for admission, they are NOT admitted to that program.


I’m a non-degree seeking student through the Graduate College. How do I get enrolled?

Students classified as non-degree seeking will be directed by the Graduate College to contact the academic advisor for any Program in which they wish to enroll. Enrollments are most likely to be scheduled by appointment only, and may be limited to the week before the semester begins. You will enroll just like any other student (either with a form at the Registrar’s office, or registration through Distance Learning).


Residency and Tuition

How can I know if I qualify for in-state tuition?

Information about residency can be found on the OSU Registrar’s website.


If I completed my undergraduate degree at OSU, but now live outside the state of Oklahoma, can I still get in-state residency tuition rates?

No. Residency is established by where you permanently reside, not where you went to college. Being an alumnus of the University does not affect tuition rates for graduate-level study.