University Honors College

University Honors College

1632 SW 12th Ave.


Honors in the City

University Honors College combines the benefits and rigor of a small liberal arts college with the opportunities and resources of a large urban research university. The College centrally engages Portland State’s mission to “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” drawing on PSU's institutional commitment to community engagement, sustainability, and internationalization as well as its civic leadership and location in downtown Portland. The Honors College serves high-achieving, academically motivated students by providing an engaged and challenging educational experience that uses the city of Portland as a living/learning laboratory. Students in any department or major can join the University Honors College; all Honors students graduate with prestigious University Honors in their chosen field.

Honors at PSU offers courses in the theory and research methods of the human, natural, and social sciences as well as a wide-ranging selection of intensive interdisciplinary seminars. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on research projects, network and gain experience through internships, and study abroad with Honors faculty. In their final year, Honors students research and write a baccalaureate Honors thesis.

Engaging faculty from across PSU's campus, the University Honors College gives students the opportunity to work with our finest teachers and researchers. Honors students become disciplined, nimble thinkers, prepared to become leaders, and ready to apply their academic learning to the challenges and uncertainties of the real world.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Eligibility and Admission

Graduation Requirements

Honors Curriculum

University Honors Courses

Graduation Requirements

All Honors students must complete the Honors College curriculum and a senior thesis supervised by a faculty advisor. Honors theses are presented at a public symposium and are published on PDX.Scholar, PSU's open source thesis and dissertation database.

Honors students must meet the undergraduate degree requirements set by the University, including those governing total credits earned, upper division credits, the writing requirement, residence credit, and degree (BA/BS) requirements, as well as any additional degree requirements set by their major department.

Graduating from Honors requires a cumulative PSU GPA of 3.25 or higher and a cumulative 3.25 GPA in all Honors (HON) courses.


First Year: The Global City (15 credits)
  • Hon 101, Hon 102, Hon 103
  • The sequence fulfills 8 credits of Arts and Letters and 4 credits in Social Science
  • The sequence fulfills the University’s lower division writing requirement, and meets the requirement for Wr 121.
  • First year students must complete the Global City sequence regardless of the number of AP/IB credits they may have completed.
  • Incoming first year transfer students with 29 or fewer college credits must complete the Global City sequence.
Second Year: Urban Discourses (12 credits)
  • Hon 201, Hon 202, Hon 203
  • These three courses fulfill 4 credits in Arts and Letters, 4 credits in Social Science, and 4 credits in sciences respectively. The sequence completes the lower-division writing requirement.
  • Students entering Honors with 30-79 college credits should begin with the second year curriculum; all three courses are required.  It is recommended that transfer students begin with HON 202.
Junior Year: Theory & Practice (12 credits)
  • Transfer students must begin with the 4-credit Hon 399: Honors Writing.  This course counts towards the 12-credit third year requirement for transfer students entering at the junior level or above.
  • Hon 399: Honors Writing is an approved Writing Intensive Course (WIC). It fulfills the university's second writing requirement.
  • Students are required to take at least one 4-credit Honors Junior Seminar: Hon 407
  • The additional 8 credits of Junior requirements may be fulfilled through any combination of Honors seminars (Hon 407), internships (Hon 404), research (Hon 401), departmental honors seminars, or approved study abroad courses.
  • Students entering Honors with 80+ credits are required to take HON 202 or its equivalent during their first term in Honors. 12 credits of junior level coursework are also required.
Senior Year: Honors Thesis (8 credits)
  • Hon 403: Thesis Prospectus (4 credits); Hon 403: Thesis Continuation (4 credits); public presentation and defense
  • Hon 403: Thesis Prospectus is an approved Writing Intensive Course (WIC). It fulfills the university's second writing requirement. 
  • Students wishing to transfer into Honors as seniors should contact the Honors College Director to discuss their research experience and plans.