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About the Program

The Comics Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that is designed to be flexible and responsive to students’ interests. Students can study writing, drawing, and publishing comics, or can explore scholarly approaches to the field, and can draw from course offerings in departments as diverse as Art, Writing, Philosophy, and Japanese. This is an undergraduate certificate with baccalaureate and is available to post-bacc, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Completion of the program requires 24 credits (6 courses) of coursework, including one required class (Comics Theory) and five elective classes. All courses counted towards the Comics Studies Certificate must be completed at Portland State; no transfer credits will be accepted. New classes will be added to the list as appropriate.

Core Requirement

  • Eng 496: Comics Theory

Elective Options (Choose 5)

  • Art 297: Book Arts
  • Art 299/399: Creating Short Comics: Practical Comic Creation
  • Art 356: Visual Storytelling
  • Art 370: Topics in Printmaking Techniques
  • Art 455: Time-Based Art Studio
  • Eng 306U: Topics in Literature and Popular Culture (comics-related classes only)
  • Eng 410/510: Special Topics in Comics Studies†
  • Eng 490/590: Advanced Topics in Rhetoric and Composition Studies‡
  • Jpn 343: Topics in Japanese Literature (in Translation) (comics-related classes only)
  • Jpn 344U: Japanese Literature in Translation: Manga, Japanese Graphic Novels
  • Jpn 345: Manga Now!
  • Phl 317U: Philosophy of Art
  • Soc 410: TOP: Comics and Society
  • WLL 448U: Major Figures in World Literature: Masterworks of Manga: Great Comic Books of Japan (now Jpn 344U)
  • Wr 300: Topics in Composition (comics-related classes only)
  • Wr 398: Writing Comics
  • Wr 400: Special Topics (comics-related classes only)
  • Wr 460/560: Introduction to Book Publishing
  • Wr 462/562: Book Design Software
  • Wr 471/571: Publishing Software
  • Internships with local comics companies and studios
  • All other courses listed on the Comics Studies courses page
  • Other courses in additional departments at the discretion of the Director

†Eng 410/510: Special Topics in Comics Studies, listed above as an elective option, may include courses such as:

  • Autobiographical Comics
  • Censorship and the Comics Code
  • Editing Comics
  • European Comics
  • Focus on Frank Miller/Will Eisner
  • Superheroes and Society

‡Eng 490/590: Advanced Topics in Comics Studies, listed above as an elective option, may include courses such as:

  • Comics History
  • Visual Rhetoric

Completion Requirements

To be awarded the certificate, students must complete the core requirement and 5 elective courses (for 24 total credits) with a grade of C or higher (or Pass) for each course.

For undergraduate students the certificate will be awarded with your Bachelor’s degree from Portland State University (a certificate cannot be earned separately from a Bachelor’s degree for those students who do not already have a Bachelor’s degree). For post-baccalaureate or graduate students, the certificate will be awarded upon completion of the six courses.