College of Distinction

Student at Design Week in Pioneer Square

PSU recognized as College of Distinction

Portland State University is proud to be a College of Distinction, an honor given to the best campuses for students who want to learn, grow and succeed. We earned this mark of excellence for our innovative, hands-on approach to teaching and learning. At PSU, you can explore real-world issues that matter to you and build the skills you need to make a difference in your career and community. You can’t find an experience like this anywhere else in Oregon.

Custom path for you

One reason we earned this honor is because of our pioneering University Studies program, a powerful learning experience that breaks the mold for what’s possible on an urban campus. Since it began in 1994, University Studies has gained national recognition for integrating all core undergraduate requirements — such as writing and math — into a four-year pathway that is tailored to your interests and designed to ensure your success. It’s the kind of engaging education you are more likely to find in a private, liberal arts college. We’re doing it on a diverse public campus in the heart of downtown Portland.

Naureen Portrait

Education that matters

University Studies changed everything for PSU student Naureen Kahn — her major, her goals and how she tells her story. Starting as a freshman, she made deep connections with her classmates, studied complex themes from multiple angles and got involved in her community. In University Studies, you can learn about yourself and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Our small class sizes, responsive faculty and peer mentors — like Naureen — make it possible.

Award-winning program

University Studies has won awards from numerous national organizations, including:

  • The Association for General and Liberal Studies
  • The Council for Higher Education Accreditation
  • U.S. News & World Report
  • Corporation for National Service
  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation 
  • The Pew Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education

University Studies is one of the reasons PSU is ranked among the most innovative universities in the nation.