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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called Chiron Studies?

Chiron Studies was named at the time of its founding (by students) during the 1968/69 academic year. This was a time of major student activism around the world, surrounding student empowerment, social justice and war. In Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur distinguished among his wild and debaucherous peers, an astrologer, healer and teacher whose pupils included such heroes as Jason, Achilles and Theseus.

What kind of credit will I receive for taking a Chiron Studies course?

Chiron Studies courses are official 4-credit U.N.S.T. (University Studies) 199-level courses, with the occasional 2-credit weekend intensive and department-sponsored classes. These credits are usually applied to one’s general elective requirements. In some circumstances, relevant Chiron courses may be applied to one’s departmental electives, although consultation with a departmental advisor is necessary. Chiron Studies and our instructors are not responsible for determining whether any individual student may count any credits for taking a specific Chiron Studies course towards graduation requirements. Talk with an academic advisor about what will work best for you.

Are Chiron Studies courses graded A-F or P/N.P. (Pass/No Pass)?

Pass/No Pass. Again, talk with an academic advisor about what will work best for you.

Why should I take a Chiron Studies course?

Our courses are innovative and often at the cutting edge of academia. Additionally, our courses are fun! Because they are taught by student peers and are not part of a department's curriculum, our instructors have the freedom and the privilege to design a course that puts students first. The challenge and excitement in a Chiron class comes from our mission of balancing rigor with student appeal.

Historically, Chiron Studies has been the first to offer courses in subjects that went on to become important fields of study at PSU and other colleges and universities such as feminist, queer, and cultural studies. To learn more, check out our previous course offerings.

Chiron offers a unique learning experience. Our instructors are trained in methods of democratic education and seek to build horizontal and empowering classroom environments. Chiron attempts to be a utopian space where instructors and students get to ask, what is the ideal classroom environment?

Who is eligible to propose and teach a Chiron Studies class?

Upper-division (junior and senior) students who:

  • Have a G.P.A. 3.0 & above
  • Are enrolled in 6 or more credits
  • Are enrolled in a degree/certificate seeking program

Graduate students who:

  • Have a G.P.A. of 3.0 & above
  • Are enrolled in 5 or more credits
  • Are enrolled in a degree/certificate seeking program

This criteria applies during the term of instruction. Enrolled credits CAN include independent study and/or other credits that a student might arrange to earn in conjunction with their Chiron experience.

How do I propose to teach a Chiron Studies course?

Please visit Teach a Chiron Course for up-to-date proposal information and deadlines.

Are Chiron Studies instructors paid?

Yes! Current stipend amounts are $1000 during the term of instruction.

Do Chiron Studies instructors receive university credit for proposing and/or instructing a course?


However, student instructors are encouraged to pursue independent study (course by arrangement) credits with their faculty mentor or another relevant PSU faculty member. This allows student instructors more time to integrate the Chiron instructor experience into their academic career and schedule. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly suggested to ensure that such an opportunity will be applicable to one’s graduation requirements.

How do I find a faculty mentor, and what will they be expected to do?

The faculty mentorship component of the Chiron Studies teaching experience is very important. It is recommended that students ask faculty members (professors, assistant professors and adjuncts) with whom they have worked previously and whose research, knowledge and interest resonate with the content of the proposed course. The time commitment is approximately 3-4 hours for the term. A faculty mentor will be expected to:

  • Supervise the academic quality of the course. This may include help with developing the syllabus and reading list and advising students to seek assistance from other knowledgeable people.
  • Act as a mentor to the Chiron instructor. This may take the form of meetings, email correspondence, or various forms of “check-ins.”
  • Be the professor of Record by submitting grades at the end of the course
  • Evaluate the course and the instructor at the request of the Chiron Studies Coordinator and/or Instructor (within reason).

What kinds of courses does Chiron Studies generally offer?

It's up to you!

Chiron Studies is committed to offering compelling and relevant courses on a wide variety of subjects. We only offer courses that are not already offered by the university. If you are considering proposing a Chiron Studies course, schedule a meeting with the Chiron Studies Coordinators.

Who decides which courses Chiron Studies will offer?

The Chiron Studies Committee.

The committee is comprised of P.S.U. students, faculty, and alumni who have a strong interest in democratic education and student empowerment. P.S.U. students constitute a majority of the committee. Chiron Studies also works with P.S.U. Faculty Senate, Educational Policy Committee, and faculty mentors' home departments to ensure that Portland State University's important curricular shared governance policies are honored.