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Get certified in hidden student populations

This graduate certificate focuses on populations whose members are not easily visually identified, do not generally have a formal voice in the system and who may be motivated to remain anonymous. Members of hidden populations often have experiences with socially stigmatizing trauma. Those currently considered to be hidden populations include those who have foster care and/or justice-involved experiences, who are survivors of sexual violence, who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, who face housing insecurity and/or who are considered Third Culture Kids/Individual.


This certificate is framed by the last decade of emerging research, which aims to better understand shared topics across hidden populations, including specific needs, challenges and opportunities for support.


Successful completion of the certificate program requires 12 credit hours (four courses) of graduate-level coursework, including two required courses and two committee-guided electives that encourage students to further focus on their individual interests. Required courses are offered 100 percent online. The delivery format of electives is dependent upon the respective academic department and may be online, hybrid or in-person delivery. Online courses are delivered through Canvas, OSU's online learning platform.


Previous or current enrollment at OSU not required. Credit hours may be transferable to other graduate degree programs.



Required (six credit hours):

  • HESA 5333: Introduction to Hidden Student Populations
  • HESA 5433: Practicum in Hidden Student Populations

Electives (six credit hours):

In addition to the example electives below, multiple other courses may be considered by the graduate committee on an individual basis. Specific course sequencing is required.

  • HESA 5340 : One-hour courses, each with a focus on a specific hidden population (up to six credit hours)
  • SCFD 5873: Culture, Society and Education
  • EPSY 5986: Instructional Effectiveness in Higher Education
  • EDLE 6633: School Leadership and Community Collaboration
  • WAED 5013: Characteristics of Adult Learners
  • SPED 5633: Behavior Characteristics of Exceptional Individuals
  • CIED 5623: Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Curriculum
  • HDFS 5753: Leadership and Management of Community Service Programs


Admissions Requirements and Deadlines

Applications are accepted each semester. Applicants will be notified of admission status within four to six weeks of submission.


To apply to the program, submit the following:

  • Graduate College Application
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions (undergraduate degree from an accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA required; admission with qualifications may be considered)
  • Professional resume
  • Statement describing the objectives the applicant hopes to meet or advance by completing the program

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