Letter to the Editor: Reduce graduate student courseload requirements

General Opinion Graphic

Jon Ruff

Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor contains statistics from data compiled by the Coalition of Graduate Employees. The Baro reviewed this data prior to publication and found it to be accurate.

Regarding the negotiations between Oregon State University (OSU) and the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE), the union that represents graduate employees at OSU.

The CGE seeks a reduction in the minimum courseload requirements for graduate employees from 12 credits per term (3 courses), to 9 credits/term (~ 2 courses). After employee testimonies failed to convince the OSU bargaining team, the CGE turned to language we thought OSU might be more familiar with: numbers. We conducted a comparative study of 100 randomly selected public universities across the United States to determine the average courseload requirements for graduate workers. Our results show OSU living up to its motto, “Out there.”

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(1) Across all schools in the Pacific Northwest and California, public university courseload requirements range from 9 to 10 credits per term. Here at OSU: 12.

OSU has the highest courseload requirements of any public university using a term system included in our study.

(2) In public universities across the US, average required classroom time per year is 200-300 hours. At OSU: 396 hours.

Average study time required outside of the classroom: 500-700 hours per year. At OSU: 990 hours.

(3) The OSU bargaining team has stated concerns that graduate employees won’t graduate on time if courseload requirements are reduced.

Well, it turns out the typical Master’s student at OSU completes 27 credits beyond those required to graduate. The typical Ph.D: 36 extra credits.

OSU, our hats are off to you. You’re certainly “Out there.”

Jon Ruff

OSU graduate student