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Portland State University

1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201, USA

Portland State University award
Portland State University award
US ranking
position: 307
Tuition & fees per year: $12,010
Acceptance rate: 98.00%
Median alumni salary: $37,970
Avg. SAT and ACT: 1125 SAT, 21 ACT
Entrance difficulty: N/A

Courtesy of Portland State University

What is the history of Portland State University?

Portland State University, often referred to as PSU, was initially established in 1946 as the Vanport Extension Center. This center was the brainchild of Stephen Edward Epler, a World War II veteran who sought to provide post-secondary education to his fellow veterans. The center, which was initially located in Vanport, north of Portland, offered the first two years of college to 1,400 World War II veterans. By 1952, the center had grown in popularity and was transformed into a permanent, two-year institution, relocating to the old Lincoln High School on Portland’s South Park Blocks.

The journey to becoming a degree-granting institution began in 1953 when Epler and his supporters started working on expanding the center into a four-year institution. The Oregon legislature passed HB 713 in April 1953, which permitted the center to offer four-year programs, but it was not until February 14, 1955, that the school was granted the authority to award degrees. At this point, it was renamed Portland State College.

The college continued to evolve over the next two decades, eventually gaining university status in 1969. Today, Portland State University is one of two public universities in Oregon located in a large city. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity" and offers undergraduate degrees in 123 fields and postgraduate degrees in 117 fields.

In 1993, Portland State University made significant changes to its undergraduate curriculum, adopting an interdisciplinary general education program known as University Studies. This program, which replaced the traditional undergraduate distribution system, consists of a year of required freshman inquiry courses, a year of sophomore inquiry, junior cluster courses, and a senior capstone. The senior capstone course requires students to participate in a community-based project of their choosing, often followed by a public presentation on their experience in the project.

Portland State University is also recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. It houses several resource centers, including a Women's Resources center, a Disability Resources center, a Resource Center for Students with Children, a Queer Resource Center for LGBT students, and a Veteran's Resource Center. The university's fraternities and sororities are represented by a student-run group called "Greek Life" or "Greek Council," which organizes socials, fundraisers, and other philanthropic events.

In recent years, Portland State University has continued to expand its academic programs and research initiatives. It has a strong focus on sustainability and is home to the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. Notable faculty members include Phil Knight, the co-founder and Chairman of Nike, Inc., and Ivan Sutherland, a Turing Award winner and director of the Asynchronous Research Center.

What are the faculties and departments at Portland State University?

Portland State University is a hub of diverse academic disciplines, boasting 24 departments that cater to a broad spectrum of academic pursuits. These departments span a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, English, Geography, Geology, History, Mathematics and Statistics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, and Speech and Hearing Sciences. Each department offers a variety of courses and programs at different levels of study, from undergraduate to doctoral.

In addition to these departments, Portland State University also comprises 10 schools and colleges. These include the School of Business, the School of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs. These academic units offer more than 200 degree and certificate programs, providing students with a multitude of options to pursue their academic interests from undergraduate to doctoral levels.

Beyond the traditional academic departments and schools, Portland State University also hosts a variety of institutes, centers, and research labs. These facilities offer students the chance to hone their skills and network with leading professionals in their respective fields. For instance, the School of Gender, Race and Nations provides courses in Black Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Indigenous Nations Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Similarly, the Sociology department and the Speech and Hearing Sciences department offer specialized courses in their respective fields.

The Graduate School at Portland State University is recognized as one of the top schools for graduate studies in various disciplines such as urban policy, public affairs, counseling, social work, healthcare management, and business.

Portland State University's urban campus offers students a unique learning experience that extends beyond the traditional classroom setting.

What is the location of Portland State University?

Portland State University is nestled in the southwest downtown area of Portland, a city located in the West region of the United States. The university's physical address is 1825 SW Broadway, Portland, with a ZIP code of 97201. The campus is strategically positioned, bordered by Clay Street to the north, Fourth Avenue to the east, Interstate 405 to the south, and 12th Avenue to the west.

The university's central buildings, which include Lincoln Hall, Cramer Hall, Smith Memorial Student Union, Fariborz Maseeh Hall, and Shattuck Hall, are all situated on SW Broadway.

What is the mission and vision of Portland State University?

Portland State University has a clear mission and vision that is centered around leading the way to a better future through academic excellence, urban engagement, and expanding opportunities for all. The university is committed to providing an accessible and innovative learning environment that promotes collaboration, engagement, sustainability, and transformation.

The university's dedication to collaborative learning, innovative research, sustainability, and community engagement is evident in its approach to education. It serves and sustains a vibrant urban region through its creativity, collective knowledge, and expertise. The university's research and teaching have a global impact, and it is committed to educating a diverse community of lifelong learners.

Portland State University is also committed to promoting access, inclusion, and equity as pillars of excellence. It believes in fostering curiosity, collaboration, stewardship, and sustainability. The university strives for excellence and innovation in problem-solving and upholds the values of integrity and respect.

The Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies (IMS) supports the vision and mission of Portland State University by convening regional partners, curating credible information, and conducting objective policy research. The IMS envisions the Portland Metropolitan region as a vibrant, diverse, metropolitan region that provides economic, cultural, educational, and social opportunities to its residents. It plays a unique role in the success and vitality of the region by convening residents and leaders to identify and discuss key issues and provide the data needed to create a common understanding of conditions and trends.

The Finance and Administration Division (FADM) of Portland State University also plays a crucial role in supporting the university's mission and vision. The FADM keeps students at the core of its work and honors the university's commitment to access, affordability, and inclusion. It embraces innovation, creativity, and collaboration to serve the university's academic mission and strategic goals.

What is the accreditation of Portland State University?

Portland State University holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This accreditation is a testament to the institution's quality, as it is granted following a rigorous peer-review process. The NWCCU's endorsement applies to the entire university, offering a level of assurance about the quality of educational opportunities available to students.

In addition to the university-wide accreditation, several specific programs at Portland State University have also earned national accreditation from various bodies. These include the College of Education, the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, the School Counseling program, the Marital, Couple and Family Counseling program, and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Furthermore, the Helen Gordon Child Development Center, a part of the university, has also received national accreditation.

The Council for Accreditation has specifically accredited the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, School Counseling, Marital, Couple and Family Counseling, and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. This additional accreditation further underscores the quality of these specific programs at Portland State University.

In summary, prospective students can be assured of the quality of education at Portland State University, as evidenced by its comprehensive accreditation status. This includes both university-wide accreditation from the NWCCU and program-specific accreditation from various national bodies.

Portland State University Rankings

See where this school lands in our other Rankings to get a bigger picture of the institution's offerings.

24 Most Popular Colleges in Oregon in 2023-2024

47 Best Value Colleges in the West in 2023-2024 US

49 Best Colleges in the West in 2023-2024 US

118 Best Public Colleges in 2023-2024

217 Most Popular Colleges in the West in 2023-2024 US

229 Best Value Colleges in 2023-2024

307 Best Colleges in 2023-2024

1614 Most Popular Colleges in 2023-2024


Portland State University Profile - Basic Information

Name of the institution

Portland State University

Level of institution

Four or more years

Granulation by control over the institution (public/private)


School type


Setting type

City: Large

Calendar system


Foundation year


Institution size category

20,000 and above

Main student body


Institutional Category

Degree - granting, primarily baccalaureate or above

Portland State University Programs and Degrees

iconMaster's degree
iconBachelor's degree
iconCertificate of less than 1 year
iconPostbaccalaureate certificate
iconDoctor's degree - research/scholarship
iconOther degree
iconCertificate of at least 2 years, but less than 4 years
iconAssociate's degree
iconCertificate of at least 1 year, but less than 2 years
iconPost-master's certificate
iconDoctor's degree - other
iconDoctor's degree - professional practice

Alumni Salary for Portland State University Degrees


Avg. salary

Architecture and Related Services


Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies


Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services


Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs


Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services




English Language and Literature/Letters


Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences


Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Health Professions and Related Programs




Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services


Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities


Mathematics and Statistics


Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies


Natural Resources and Conservation


Philosophy and Religious Studies


Physical Sciences




Public Administration and Social Service Professions


Social Sciences


Visual and Performing Arts