University Studies: Education that matters

Students testing water in Mt. Hood Wilderness

Education that Matters

Your success at Portland State starts in University Studies, a powerful learning experience that emboldens you to create a more meaningful future for yourself and others. 

In University Studies, you won’t do busy work in a big lecture hall to check off your general education requirements. Instead, you'll empower girls at a rock & roll camp, restore beaver habitat to learn about environmental justice, or study sustainable food systems while learning to farm.

You’ll choose a real-world issue that interests you — such as design, pop culture or the environment — and examine it from multiple angles. You’ll still learn important core subjects like science, history and writing, but in a way that lifts you up and makes you feel like you're part of a movement.

Because every time your success inspires others, you change the world. 

Students in Pioneer Square

Make connections 

From your first day on campus, you will connect your classes to your community. You will ask big questions and work with your classmates to find answers. You will learn to think critically, communicate clearly, adapt to new situations, and work with people unlike yourself — skills employers value. Our small class sizes, responsive faculty and trained peer mentors will ensure you always have someone to go to for help. 

Student Capstone at an elementary school

Make a difference

It all leads up to your Senior Capstone, a project that combines your passion and your education to help solve a real community problem. You will feel inspired, supported and challenged to grow as a student. You will learn about yourself and be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a powerful learning experience that will stay with you long after you graduate. This is one of the reasons PSU is recognized as a College of Distinction