Oaksterdam University: The Complete Review

Coined as the self-proclaimed “first cannabis college in the USA,” Oaksterdam University has no doubt become one of the premier names in terms of cannabis-based education. And until we start seeing established universities incorporating marijuana-focused courses into their academic curriculum (how long before a Bachelor’s degree in “Cannabis Education” becomes available?), it is likely to stay this way.

| Oaksterdam University – is it worth your cash? Will it really help you get a job in the industry? Keep reading for our professional opinion…

Of course, as is the case with any investment that one would make into his or her future, it would be wise to dig a little deeper into the University in an effort to learn what the organization is all about, what sorts of courses they offer, and whether or not obtaining a certification from them will offer any sort of value in terms of career progression or job placement within the marijuana industry.

If you’ve been asking yourself the question ‘what is Oaksterdam University‘ – and/or if you’ve been considering making the investment into one of their online or in-person programs, then this complete (and updated) Oaksterdam review is for you. Enjoy!

What is Oaksterdam University?

Simply put, Oaksterdam is an educational institution that offers cannabis-based courses in a variety of academic settings. Their “claim to fame” so to speak is their horticulture course, which offers a hands-on learning experience for those wishing to learn the ropes in terms of how to grow cannabis (both commercially and for personal/therapeutic reasons).

The growing course is offered both in-person (Oaksterdam University is located in Oakland, California), as well as online for individuals located across the U.S. and the globe.

If you go online and take a look at some Oaksterdam University reviews, it will become evident fairly quickly that the institution is a reputable one – not unlike some other organizations out there that appear to be nothing more than a cash-grab gimmick.

Indeed, Oaksterdam employs some of the most renowned and iconic names in the cannabis industry, including Ed Rosenthal (author of several iconic cannabis publications, including the ‘gold standard’ Marijuana Grower’s Handbook); and Paul Armentano (Deputy Director for NORML – the nations leading authority on marijuana law reform).

Hell, Oaksterdam even employs Kyle Kushman (according to the website he’s an instructor for the Horticulture and ‘Veganics’ courses). We’ve never heard of the guy before, but if your last name is ‘Kushman,’ you’ve got to know a thing or two about cannabis.

In all seriousness though, Oaksterdam has the credentials to back up their claim as “America’s first cannabis college,” and with over 35,000 alumni, it indeed appears that they are one of the best pathways in terms of immersing yourself into a productive cannabis-based career.

Our Oaksterdam University Review: What Will it Cover?

In this all-encompassing review, we touch on things like:


  • How much it costs to attend Oaksterdam
  • What their complete range of courses offer
  • How long it takes to complete a certification program
  •  Whether or not (in our opinion) the price offers value in terms of helping you find a job in the cannabis industry.

While students come from across the United States (and the globe) to attend the university, the following careers are just a few of the most popular reasons why folks want to complete a program course – or earn a full certification – through Oaksterdam: dispensaries management, budtending, cannabis product sales, and commercial cultivation.

Of course, the cannabis-based institution is also appealing for those who simply want to expand on their own personal knowledge. With marijuana laws constantly improving across the United States, more and more individuals are gaining access to the plant and wishing to incorporate it therapeutically into their day-to-day lives.

If nothing else, completing a grow course at Oaksterdam University would essentially provide you with the knowledge and educational foundation needed to grow your own meds. Growing weed can be one of those things that’s super easy yet incredibly frustrating at the same time, and in our experience, it takes a certain level of knowledge and hands-on experience in order to do it right — especially if you’re wanting to grow your own crops for personal medicinal use.

A Brief History of Oaksterdam University

As we mentioned earlier, Oaksterdam University actually prides itself on being “America’s first cannabis college.” While there’s surely no way to objectively determine how accurate this statement is, the fact is the institution has had “educational roots” for nearly a quarter century – ever since the good freeriding days of 1995.

While we’re not quite sure what the phrase “educational roots” means, we do know that Oaksterdam college has been established as a cannabis-centric academic institution since 2007 – longer than any other marijuana school that we’re aware of.

Also, we suppose now would be as good a time as any to clear up a couple of things about what Oaksterdam actually is. A lot of folks seem to want to refer to it as the ‘Oaksterdam dispensary,’ but this is just flat-out wrong. A dispensary is a shop that sells marijuana – Oaksterdam is nothing of the sort. They may offer courses on how to open up or run a dispensary, but they certainly don’t sell any weed.

| To be clear, Oaksterdam is a university — NOT a dispensary. A mind-boggling number of people somehow manage to get this mixed up…

Anyway, now that that’s cleared up we can talk about some of the Oaksterdam University requirements. To put it simply, there aren’t really any; as long as you have a credit card and can afford to pay for the class(es) you want, you can enroll yourself and become an official Oaksterdam student. You can be from anywhere in the world, but you do have to be at least 18 years old. (For those wondering ‘how to get into Oaksterdam University,’ hopefully this will come as a pleasant surprise).

That said, you’ll need to either be located in the California Bay Area (Oaksterdam is located in Oakland) or have access to quality and consistent internet service in order to access and complete your courses. The Horticulture certification program is available both online and in-person, while the CannaBusiness courses are only available at the physical campus.

Oaksterdam Online: What do they Offer?

Oaksterdam offers two main focused programs that you can receive a certificate in: Horticulture and CannaBusiness. As the names suggest, the Horticulture program is very centered around learning how to grow weed from seed (or clone) all the way to harvest. It is available both online and in-person, though we would recommend the in-person program if at all possible as it of course will provide invaluable hands-on experience.

The CannaBusiness program is designed to prepare individuals for a wide variety of cannabis-related careers, though we were a little surprised during our Oaksterdam review to learn that it is not available online – only in-person. Anyway, if you have ambitions to land a job or career in any one of the following marijuana-related sectors, The CannaBusiness program would likely provide an excellent foundation:


  • Cannabis history and law
  • Cannabis business management
  • Cannabis patient relations
  • Cannabis Science and Economics
  • Cannabis Extracts and Topicals
  •  Cannabis Advocacy and Action

You can receive a certificate for both the Horticulture program and the CannaBusiness program. Two different levels of certificates are available: a “Full Semester” certificate and a “Seminar” certificate. The Full Semester certificate is a 14-week program, while the Seminar certificate is much quicker at only 4-days (it is typically completed over a weekend). As we mentioned earlier, the Horticulture certificate can be completed both online and in-person, while the CannaBusiness certificate is only available by going to classes at the actual campus in Oakland.

Oaksterdam University Tuition

You’ve essentially got four options when it comes to enrolling in Oaksterdam University: you can either do the Horticulture program or the CannaBusiness program, and you can do either a Seminar certification (4-days) or a Full Semester certification (14-weeks) in each.

If you’re trying to get the short Horticulture Seminar certification over a weekend, be advised that it can be broken up into two parts (each of which is two days long). Or of course you can do the entire Seminar over a continuous 4-day period.

As far as the CannaBusiness certification, you can choose to do either a ‘Basic’ certification or an ‘Advanced’ certification. If you have limited or no experience whatsoever with cannabis, the Basic would obviously be your best bet. If you’ve got a decent amount of experience, you’d probably get more out the Advanced courses.


CannaBusiness Semester14-weeks$1,595
CannaBusiness Seminar (Basic)2-days$695
CannaBusiness Seminar (Advanced)2-days$695
CannaBusiness Seminar (Basic + Advanced)4-days$1,095
Horticulture Semester14-weeks (also available online, in which case you have 180 days to complete)$1,895
Horticulture Seminar (Part 1)2-days$795
Horticulture Seminar (Part 2)2-days$795
Horticulture Seminar (Parts 1 + 2)4-days$1,295
Outdoor Greenhouse Horticulture1-day$400

Oaksterdam Courses: Online and In-Person

As you can see, if you’re wondering about your options for various Oaksterdam University locations, you’re a bit limited. The main campus for Oaksterdam University is in Oakland CA, but of course you’ve got the online option as well so you can essentially take Oaksterdam classes from anywhere.

There used to be such a thing as the Oaksterdam Los Angeles campus, but this was closed down some time ago. We’re not exactly sure why they shut it down, but it was possibly due to a low volume of students (we imagine most folks who attend the Oaksterdam University campus will travel from around the country (and the world) to do so, in which case they probably just choose to go to the main Oakland campus).

In any regard, if you’re wondering about Oaksterdam University housing, be advised that they don’t offer any – you’re on your own when it comes to securing a place to stay during your time in the Bay Area. This likely isn’t too much of a big deal if you’re just completing one of the short two or four day seminars, but if you’re trying to do a whole 14-week Semester certification, finding housing may be more of an issue.

Is it Hard to Get Into Oaksterdam?

If you’re worried about the Oaksterdam University acceptance rate, don’t be. From what we can tell, as long as you’re 18 years or older you can become an “Oaksterdam OG” student (sorry that was a really bad joke).

But seriously though, you don’t have to submit any transcripts or anything like that in order to get accepted into Oaksterdam. In fact, it doesn’t even look like you have to have a high school diploma (or any sort of education for that matter).

| If you’re wondering whether or not it’s hard to get into Oaksterdam, it’s not. As long as you’ve got a credit card, you should be good to go.

This may seem to some folks like it’s a sign of a low-quality education, but you’ve got to realize that we’re not dealing with a traditional academic institution here. Cannabis is in a very strange state right now where it’s becoming a massive global industry, yet there are next to no opportunities when it comes to actually studying or training for a career in it. So in that regard, we actually admire what Oaksterdam is doing in terms of offering high-quality marijuana-based education to basically anyone who wants it (and/or who can afford it).

Lastly, if you’re asking yourself the question ‘is Oaksterdam worth it,’ there’s really no specific answer we can offer – it really just comes down to what you’re looking to get out of it. If you’re wanting to use your certification to land a killer upper-level job in the cannabis industry, you can (in our opinion at least) toss that notion out the window. The marijuana industry is indeed a very lucrative business right now with loads of job needs, but the majority of the top positions will go to folks who have solid business management experience and/or a business education.

In other words, don’t expect your Oaksterdam “degree” to be the sole thing that lands you your dream job. From what we can tell, cannabis industry employers will be much more interested in prior employment experience that you have, and/or your academic credentials (i.e. an Oaksterdam University online certificate will probably not make or break your chances of landing a good job).

Horticulture Education from Oaksterdam University

If you go online and look for a horticulture definition you’ll see that Google pretty much nails it spot on: “the art or practice of garden cultivation and management,” it says. I mean honestly, it doesn’t really get more spot-on accurate than that.

Truth be told, ‘horticulture’ is a relatively broad term that can encompass a wide range of activities (commercial, personal, recreational, educational, etc), that deals with the growth and cultivation of plants. With that in mind, there are indeed dozens of ways in which one could define horticulture – in fact, marijuana horticulture is just one small niche of a much larger field.

Case in point, in terms of horticulture jobs one could sufficiently make a career as a farmer, a florist, a botanist, and so on (though with regard to horticulture vs botany, there are indeed some fairly significant differences there. But we won’t get into that here in this article… for obvious reasons).

Anyway, hopefully that’s a sufficient enough definition of horticulture for you guys. If you want Wikipedia’s definition though, they claim it is the “…cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers as well as many additional services.”

Agriculture vs Horticulture at Oaksterdam University

Before we get any further into our little ‘what is horticulture’ rhetoric, be advised that you should not confuse the Oaksterdam program with an agricultural program. While Oaksterdam does of course offer an online horticulture degree (well, a certificate to be exact), this is a very different thing from an agricultural degree.

Simply put, the key difference in the horticulture vs agriculture debate is that agriculture deals with large-scale commercial farming on big plots of land; horticulture, on the other hand, typically deals with small-scale gardening. (Hell, by the time we’re done explaining all this stuff you’ll have enough firsthand knowledge to run your own horticulture therapy salon or horticulture magazine!).

| If your plan is to become a career horticulturist, you could likely find better university-based options than Oaksterdam.

In any regard, this is why horticultural careers are really not that prevalent within the cannabis sector – or any sector for that matter. As is increasingly becoming the case, marijuana vendors are looking for suppliers that offer lower and lower costs. And you don’t get lower costs by purchasing buds from a small boutique horticulturalist – you get them (for better or for worse) by purchasing from a huge commercial agricultural operation.

Also, we certainly wouldn’t recommend planning on making millions of dollars off of a basic horticulture salary. A quick online search disclosed that horticulturalists make between $26k and $50k a year – livable on the top end, but you certainly won’t be living that Young Jeezy lifestyle.

And as we said, even in the cannabis sector a horticulture degree probably wouldn’t land you some pristine, lucrative career. In our opinion you’d be more likely to end up working at something like a community college or a Center for Urban Horticulture. Which, to be clear, actually seems like a pretty awesome job (I went to the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center in Philadeplphia one time on a field trip, and needless to say, it was pretty awesome).

Enrollment Process for Oaksterdam University

Contrary to popular belief (well maybe not popular belief, but at least prevalent belief), you do NOT have to be a resident of the Golden State to enroll in the Oaksterdam California campus — nor will being a California resident affect the cost of Oaksterdam tuition that you’ll have to pay.

Like we mentioned earlier, Oaksterdam is not your traditional university – there’s no on-campus living, there are no scholarships or financial aid, and really, there are not even any degree programs offered.

Of course, this makes enrolling in Oaksterdam a breeze compared to pretty much any other academic institution on the planet. You don’t have to send any transcripts, you don’t write any “statements of purpose,” and you certainly don’t have to go through any length online application processes.

Simply put, if you’re wondering how to enroll in Oaksterdam, just go to their website, navigate to the “Course Shop” tab, check out the list of upcoming courses (many of them are only offered periodically), and select the one(s) you want. You’ll have to pay of course before you are officially enrolled as a student, but that’s really all there is to it.

If you’re finishing your Semester or Seminar certification on-campus, you’ll of course have to find some sort of housing option in the Oakland area. If you’re enrolling in Oaksterdam online courses though, you can progress at your own rate — as long as you complete and pass everything within 180 days.

Take your time and find the best option for you!

With that in mind, take your time choosing which option would be best for you as Oaksterdam offers plenty of them. We would assume that the majority of people who obtain their certifications do so for personal reasons (i.e. learn how to properly grow their own cannabis), but we have actually heard of a lot of folks who completed the program and said it legitimately helped them out with getting a job.

Surprisingly, it seemed to be as much about the connections you make as a student at Oaksterdam, at least as much as it is earning the actual degree/certification. As we said earlier landing a good job in the marijuana industry is all about connections, and you’ll meet A LOT of folks that can dish you out good opportunities — if you earn them.

| For our money, the connections you’ll make during your time at Oaksterdam will be just as valuable as the actual education you receive.

Pretty much every single instructor at the University is employed in the cannabis sector in some way, and we would imagine that the vast majority of Oaksterdam graduates who go on to get good “marijuana jobs,” do so by networking and establishing connections while taking the courses.

In that regard, it is actually really important to do your best, attend all classes, be professional, and impress your teachers after enrolling in Oaksterdam. After all, who knows what sort of opportunities might pop up once you’re actually there on campus.

Oaksterdam University: Price and Overall Value

So with everything you now know about Oaksterdam University – not to be confused with the University of Oaksterdam – (just kidding), you might still be wondering if it’s worth the investment in terms of time and money to go there.

In our opinion, if you’re even considering going on behalf of wanting to increase your cannabis knowledge and education, then do it. If you’ve checked out any Oaksterdam reviews online you’ll see that the courses and curriculum really are top-class, and you’ll be learning from some of the highest-regarded names in the industry.

Particularly with the horticulture course, we feel the amount to be learned is tremendous. Anyone who has grown cannabis before will tell you that it takes years of experience in order to get the healthiest buds and the highest yields, but as a student of Oaksterdam – even if you take the Oaksterdam University online classes – you’ll surely be able to cut down the time that it takes for you to become an expert.

Of course, the Oaksterdam price is something to definitely consider. As is the case with any investment however, you’ve got to expect to pay a little bit in order to reap the rewards of your time and energy. In the grand scheme of things, the money that you’ll put away towards the program will be well worth it in the long run. It may not be as cheap as the good old “Oaksterdam Michigan” days back in 2009 (they also had the Oaksterdam University Los Angeles campus up-and-running for a while), but hey – we’ve got to adapt with the times right?

Final Conclusion on Oaksterdam University

Well, hopefully if nothing else this Oaksterdam review has at least been able to help answer the question – ‘what is Oaksterdam University?’ Simply put, it’s a top-class cannabis-centered academic institution that offers certifications from some of the most knowledgable, experienced, recognized names in the marijuana industry.

They offer certification courses in both CannaBusiness and Horticulture (i.e. how to grow cannabis), and we have heard from several sources that it legitimately does boost your credentials to help you land a decent career in the cannabis industry.

| All in all, an education from Oaksterdam is a very decent resume builder if you’re trying to land a job in the cannabis industry.

Even if you take the Oaksterdam University online classes, your knowledge and experience will no doubt increase tremendously – and like we said earlier, the connections you’ll make while you’re a student at Oaksterdam will be just as important as anything else.

In terms of finding work and establishing a good-paying career in the marijuana sector, here are some jobs that you might qualify for after earning a certificate from Oaksterdam: dispensaries management and operation, how to become a budtender, how to grow cannabis commercially, and how to educate new cannabis patients (this would extremely relevant for landing a job in a cannabis clinic).

All in all, we would not hesitate to recommend completing one of the certification programs at Oaksterdam University. You can finish one in as little as four days, and we really do think it will be worth the investment. Yes it will cost a decent amount of money initially, but really five-hundred or even fiftenn-hundred dollars or so is not that much considering the opportunities that it may present you with in the future. Just one last thing – make sure not to get your names jumbled up and mistakenly refer to it as the ‘University of Oaksterdam’ on your first day of classes!

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