Portland State University

Portland State University

Degree Subject

Degree Level

Portland State University

Portland State University (PSU) is a public state and urban university that is a part of the Oregon University System. It has the most overall enrollment of any another university in Oregon and is also the state’s only university situated in a major metropolitan area. Its mission is to improve the academic, economic, social, and cultural features of urban life by offering access to quality undergraduate liberal education and various relevant graduate and professional programs that are especially applicable to metropolitan areas. The university engages in research and community service that maintains a high quality learning environment that demonstrates important issues to the region. It dynamically encourages the development of a network of education entities to serve the surrounding community. Its core values include access to learning, learning and discovery, openness and reflection, mutual respect, and community and civic engagement. Portland State University instills an innovative academic approach that features rigorous learning opportunities in the classroom and practical opportunities through various activities such as classroom projects and internships. The U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” rank Portland State University among the best colleges in the nation.

Portland State University offers online programs through its Center for Academic Excellence The center incorporates the latest advancements in online course design, technology, and support and offers more than 200 programs in complete online and hybrid online formats. Students are able to pursue certificate programs, degree programs, special endorsement, and independent study programs at the high school and college levels. The programs are committed to quality education that is flexible and convenient and created to meet the needs of busy adult learners. Distinguished faculty members, many who are recognized at the national level, teach the online programs. Online courses are categorized as enhanced, hybrid, and fully online. Enhanced courses are defined as traditional on-campus courses with online delivery of course materials. Hybrid courses feature on-campus instruction combined with online activities. Fully online courses enable students to complete the course entirely online with access to all course content and materials through a course management system. All online courses are delivered via the Blackboard course management system that features an easy to use interface, asynchronous interaction with instructors and fellow students, various course materials, and online grade book. Online programs include business administration, social work, systems engineering, software engineering, criminology and criminal justice, educational media/librarianship, e-learning systems, and infant toddler mental health.

Portland State University was founded in 1946 as the Vanport Extension Center to provide education to veterans of World War II. It became Portland State Extension Center in 1952 and then Portland State College in 1955 and it become a four-year institution that was authorized to grant degrees. It added graduate programs in 1961 and doctoral programs in 1968. In 1969, the college was granted university status, becoming Portland State University. The university implemented a new interdisciplinary general education program called University Studies in 1994. Throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium Portland State University continued to expand and add more programs. Today, the university services almost 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 16,000 access course materials online.


The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits Portland State University.

Schools of Education

  • School of Business Administration
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Masseh College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • School of Extended Studies
  • School of Fine and Performing Arts
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • School of Social Work
  • College of Urban and Public Affairs

Scholarships Offered

Portland State University offers various scholarships for freshman, transfer, graduate, post-baccalaureate, international, and continuing education students. Scholarships include the Presidential Scholarship, Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship, Oregon Laurels Scholarship, Out of State Opportunity Scholarship, Portland State University Foundation Scholarships, Diversity and Multicultural Student Services Scholarships, and International Achievement Scholarship. It also accepts scholarships from outside organizations.

Financing Options

Portland State University participates in several financial aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal PLUS Parent Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan, Oregon Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, Oregon University System Supplemental Grant, and National TEACH Grant. The university also accepts Veterans’ Benefits and private alternative loans.

Credit Earning Options

Portland State University awards credits for previous coursework completed at another accredited institution of higher education. All transfer courses must have earned a grade of a C or better. Students are also able to earn credit for examinations such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Advanced Placement (AP). The university also accepts military credits. Students seeking any type of transfer credit must submit official transcripts and supporting documentation.