Graduate Certificates

Located in PSU’s College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA), the Toulan School graduate certificate programs offer students interdisciplinary coursework and resources from throughout the city, state, and university, including: the School of Business Administration; the Center for Real Estate; the Department of Architecture; and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

The Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning offers four graduate certificates: Energy Policy and Management; Real Estate Development; Urban Design; and Transportation. We also collaborate on a graduate certificate in Sustainable Food Systems. These post-baccalaureate certificate programs are intended for professionals who want to gain technical knowledge and build analytical skills in order to specialize or advance in their careers.

Graduate certificates are designed to be completed in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study.

Energy Policy and Management

The Graduate Certificate in Energy Policy and Management is intended for three sorts of students: (1) professionals working in the energy industry who wish to broaden their training and increase their knowledge of current issues in energy policy and management; (2) graduate students currently enrolled in degree programs who wish to add energy policy and management expertise to their course of study; and (3) prospective energy industry employees who wish to gain knowledge and skills that will enhance their employment prospects.

Real Estate Development

The Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development is for experienced professionals who wish to deepen their understanding of real estate financing, land use, economic development and valuations. Ideal candidates for this certificate include legal professionals seeking further specialization in real estate law, public employees seeking career advancement, and private sector professionals wanting to rise to the next level of commercial or residential development. 

Urban Design

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Design was created for those who are currently seeking an advanced planning or architecture degree, or who are currently employed as a professional planner, architect, or designer. It utilizes the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region as a laboratory — an urban place renowned for its use of urban design and attention to urban design concerns. 


The Graduate Certificate in Transportation focuses on building engineering, practical and problem-solving skills for transportation specialists and junior planners who want to advance their careers and pursue jobs such as transit planners, transportation planners, and transit managers. 

Sustainable Food Systems

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems offers students the opportunity to explore the complex issues and relationships between food, people, and society. The program draws on the expertise of faculty from departments across the University, providing an interdisciplinary understanding of the issues, perspectives, strategies, and solutions involved in creating sustainable food systems. It connects a range of academic areas related to food systems, including public administration, community health, urban and regional planning, business, and education.

Applied Social Demography

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Social Demography at Portland State University offers students the opportunity to explore the complex issues and relationships between demographic change and its impact on communities. The program draws on the expertise of faculty from departments across the university, providing an interdisciplinary understanding of the issues, perspectives, strategies, and solutions involved in understanding and framing the components of population change: fertility, mortality, and migration/immigration.  


The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program addresses the social issues, policies, and programs affecting the quality of life for our rapidly aging population. The program is managed by the Institute on Aging (IOA) and is unique in its inclusion of courses in urban studies and planning, government policy, social work, psychology and sociology. Students have the opportunity to work directly with IOA faculty on publicly and privately funded research. Employment possibilities in the field of aging services are vast, and many opportunities for entrepreneurship in this field are yet to be discovered.

Course Overlap Between Degrees and Certificates

Graduate courses can be applied to a master’s (or a doctoral) degree and a graduate certificate. However, graduate courses cannot be applied to two graduate certificates.  See the PSU Bulletin for more course overlap information.

How to Apply

Note:  International applicants considering coming to PSU for a certificate program only, should first contact before applying.

Applicants not currently enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral program who wish to start a graduate certificate program can apply using PSU’s online application system. There are no application deadlines – you can apply at any time – but please allow a minimum of four weeks before the start of the term. View the Academic Calendar to allow sufficient time for processing. The cost for the graduate certificate programs is calculated at the same rate per credit hour as graduate degree seeking programs. See PSU's Tuition & Fees Information.  

Using the online system, applicants are asked to:

  1. include a one-page statement describing their interests, relevant experience and career goals in pursuing the pertinent Graduate Certificate;  
  2. submit a resume;  
  3. upload scanned copies of transcripts (front and back) from each post-secondary education institution they’ve attended.  Once you have been accepted, official copies will be required before you can register.  Please visit the Graduate School for complete instructions on submitting transcripts.
  4. International students must meet PSU's English language proficiency requirement.

Prerequisites for Graduate Certificate Admission

Candidates for our post-baccalaureate certificate programs must have a Bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Backgrounds may include planning, civil & environmental engineering, business administration, geography, mathematics, statistics, economics, political science, computer science, and other liberal arts and sciences majors.