Portland State University is a public university in Portland, Oregon. It was first founded as an extension center in 1946. Now a member of the Oregon University System, it officially adopted the current name in 1969. Today the university awards a wide range bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The densely built campus is located in downtown Portland, therefore affording students a virtually limitless menu of choice for cultural and recreational activities within walking distance or through public transportation.
The university defines its mission as “to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic qualities of urban life by providing access throughout the life span to quality Liberal Education for undergraduates and an appropriate array of professional and graduate programs especially relevant to metropolitan areas.”
The university is composed of seven schools and colleges:
- The School of Business Administration
- The Graduate School of Education
- The College of Engineering & Computer Science
- The College of Fine & Performing Arts
- The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- The Graduate School of Social Work
- and the College of Urban & Public Affairs.
Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in more than 120 different disciplines, including such diverse options as accounting, African studies, art, child and family studies, computer engineering, European studies, health studies, information systems, Japanese, mechanical engineering, political science, sculpture, speech and hearing science, and theatre arts. Minors are offered in many of these fields and also available in several others, such as Arabic, classical studies, computer applications, environmental engineering, international economics, Native American studies, and professional writing.
Additionally, there is an undergraduate Honors College intended for students who plan to attend graduate or professional school. Students in the honors program do not need to meet the general university requirements and instead work within the Honors College and their departmental majors.
Master’s degrees are awarded in the liberal arts and sciences, education, business administration (MBA and MRED), studio arts, engineering, computer science, social work, and the programs in the College of Urban & Public Affairs, among others.
The school awards seventeen doctoral degrees,in the following fields: applied physics, biology, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, environmental sciences and resources, mathematical sciences, mathematics education, mechanical engineering, applied psychology, public affairs and policy, social work and social research, sociology and social inequality, systems science, technology management, and urban studies. A doctorate in systems science may focus on business administration, civil and environmental engineering, general systems science, mathematics, mechanical engineering, psychology, or sociology.
The library system offers a wide range of electronic catalogs and on-line databases, in additional to physical volumes stored on site or available through interlibrary loan. The library is home to the university archives.
Most Popular Fields of Study
PSU is home to an innovative peer-education program, called Chiron. Students teach the courses offered through Chiron, manage the program, and make administrative decisions. Many report that their peer-led classes are some of the most stimulating and challenging that they take during their time on campus.
Undergraduate admissions are moderately competitive. Minimum admission requirements include a high school graduation with a 3.0 GPA and fourteen units of college preparatory coursework: four years of English, three years of math, three years of social science, two years of science, and two years of a foreign language. A minimum test score on the SAT or ACT is only required for students who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement.
Applications to the undergraduate programs are accepted on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of June 1 for the fall semester. Applications can be submitted online through the university’s official website.
Graduate students must provide the following for admissions to the graduate school: application and fee, transcripts, and a departmental application form, as well as any additional documents required by the department such as letters of recommendation, test scores, or personal statement.
In addition to the wide variety of financial aid options open to any college or university student in Oregon, the financial aid department offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. All students should begin their financial aid process by submitting the FAFSA. Counselors are on hand in the financial aid department to assist current and prospective students.
Student Financial Aid Details
The campus offers more than a hundred student organizations, including a wide variety of Greek groups and student political groups. The Student Activities and Leadership Program (SALP) offers students with different interests the opportunity to start their own student group if one does not currently exist to fit their needs.
Student Life also sponsors a rich assortment of activities for the whole student body on campus. The more traditional events include movie nights, lectures, and music recitals. Some of the less traditional events include Family Week, community forums, a feminism conference, and culturally-oriented dinners.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department is known as the Vikings. The Vikings compete in NCAA Division I and the Big Sky Conference. Men’s intercollegiate athletics include basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, wrestling, and track. Women’s intercollegiate athletics include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track, and volleyball.
The Outdoor Program gives students the opportunity to enjoy the natural resources of the surrounding environment by rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking. A sailing club is also available to students interested in boating. The university’s athletic facilities are located in the center of campus and are available to all students.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.