Portland State University's nationally recognized approach to education is based on an extensive review of current research. Strong evidence shows that tightly structured clusters of courses with an interdisciplinary thematic approach help to create a more effective general education program. Using mentored inquiry sections, extending the program throughout the four years, and integrating carefully articulated goals further increase the programs effectiveness. The University Studies general education program is designed to provide those environmental factors and learning opportunities that are known to enhance learning, satisfaction, and retention for all students.
PSU's four-year general education program is required of all students, with the exception of those enrolled in Liberal Studies or the Honors Program. University Studies begins with Freshman Inquiry, a year-long course introducing students to different modes of inquiry and providing them with the tools to succeed in advanced studies and their majors. At the sophomore level, students choose three different Sophomore Inquiry courses, each which leads into a thematically linked, interdisciplinary cluster of courses at the upper-division level. Finally, all students are required to complete a Capstone course which consists of teams of students from different majors working together to complete a project addressing a real problem in the Portland metropolitan community.
For an in-depth examination of Portland State University's general education reform model, download "A Model for Comprehensive Reform in General Education: Portland State University."