UNST Introduction

Almost every institution of higher learning requires students to complete some kind of general education program in addition to their major field of study.

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 of 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 model, visit University Studies Assessment Plan and Reports Section.

University Studies Vision:
Challenging us to think holistically, care deeply, and engage courageously in imagining and co-creating a just world.

University Studies Mission:
We create an inclusive, interdisciplinary, and inquiry-based pedagogy that
• provokes students to build self-efficacy through relational learning across difference,
• encourages a community of educators to practice engaged teaching for transformative learning,
• advances civic engagement, reflective practice, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.