Portland-State-University 2018-2019 Bulletin

Undergraduate Studies

Shelly Chabon

Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Dean of Interdisciplinary General Education

650 Market Center Building



Undergraduate Programs

Portland State University is committed to providing its students with maximum opportunities for intellectual and creative development within the context of its urban and international mission. Students earning a baccalaureate degree will complete a rigorous program of study leading to mastery of the chosen field of study at the undergraduate level. In addition, Portland State University is committed to providing the foundation for continued learning after completing the baccalaureate degree. This foundation includes the capacity to engage in inquiry and critical thinking, to use various forms of communication for learning and expression, to gain an awareness of the broader human experience and its environment (local, national, and international), along with an ability to appreciate the responsibilities of individuals to themselves, each other, and community.

Undergraduate students at Portland State University may work toward a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, or a Bachelor of Music degree with one or more majors. See the Programs of Study chart for majors leading to a baccalaureate degree.

Students working toward a bachelor’s degree must complete the (1) University requirements, (2) University Studies (general education) requirement, (3) University Writing Requirement, (4) Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Science requirements, (5) requirements for a major, and (6) Foreign Language competency if admitted with a high school foreign language deficiency.  Students majoring in Liberal Studies or completing the Urban Honors Program do not need to meet the University Studies general education requirement. Specific requirements for a baccalaureate degree are detailed here. Students pursuing supplementary programs must complete additional requirements as specified in the curricula of these programs.

Students working toward a bachelor’s degree may wish to supplement their major coursework with:

A certificate program which is an approved academic award given in conjunction with the satisfactory completion of a program of instruction, signifying a standard of knowledge in a specific subject. Certificate types vary, with some available as part of a baccalaureate degree program, others available in non-degree status, and others available to post-baccalaureate students.

A minor is an optional, undergraduate credential, comprised of a formally defined set of courses in a declared secondary subject area/field of study, distinct from and outside of the degree major. 

For a list of available certificates and minors, see Program of Study.

A nondegree preprofessional program in chiropractic, medical laboratory science, dental hygiene, dentistry, law, medicine, naturopathic medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, radiation therapy, teacher education, and veterinary medicine.


Portland State University assesses undergraduate student learning and engagement related to the eight Undergraduate Campus-Wide Learning Outcomes: Communication; Creative and Critical Thinking; Disciplinary and/or Professional Expertise; Diversity; Engagement; Ethics and Social Responsibility; Internationalization; and Sustainability through a variety of activities.

Assessment of student learning and engagement occurs at classroom, departmental and institutional levels. Your participation in assessment matters, as results are used to improve teaching and learning, program structure, course content, and the overall student experience at Portland State University.  

The types of assessments students might engage include standardized tests, placement tests, surveys, course evaluations, portfolios of student work, group or individual interviews, or classroom research, to name a few. Incoming students to PSU may be required to take a writing assessment and, based on the results of that assessment, take an assigned writing course.

Academic standing policy

Undergraduate, Postbaccalaureate and Non-Degree Seeking Students

The faculty Scholastic Standards Committee (SSC) has the authority to place on Academic Warning, Probation or Dismissal any student according to the following standards:

Academic Warning

Any student with 12 or more attempted credits (including PSU and transfer work) whose cumulative PSU GPA falls below 2.00 will be placed on academic warning. A registration hold will also be applied to the student record until completion of a mandatory intervention facilitated by advising and career services. Students on academic warning are restricted to registering for 13 or fewer credits per term.

Academic Probation

Students on academic warning will be placed on academic probation if they do not meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. Raise the cumulative PSU GPA to 2.00, thereby returning to good standing
  2. Earn a GPA for the given term of 2.25 or above, thereby remaining on academic warning and subject to the same requirements in the next term.

Students on academic probation are restricted to registering for 13 or fewer credits per term.

Academic Dismissal

Students on academic probation will be dismissed if they do not meet at last one of the following requirements:

  1. Raise the cumulative PSU GPA to 2.00, thereby returning to good standing
  2. Earn a GPA for the given term of 2.25 or above, thereby remaining on academic probation and subject to the same requirements for the next term.


  1. Grade changes or removal of Incomplete grades do not change academic standing status.
  2. Academic standing status in the current term may be changed by engaging the repeat policy, however repreating courses will not retroactively change the status of a past term.
  3. Students who are academically dismissed from PSU are not permitted to register either full-time or part-time (including 1-8 credits)
  4. When evaluating undergraduate academic standing, only PSU undergraduate credit is considered.
  5. Students on academic warning or academic probation who receive only grades of I, X and/or NP will lose academic standing.


A student who is dismissed may be reinstated in one of two ways. One is to petition and be approved for reinstatement by the Scholastic Standards Committee. Petitions for current term reinstatement must be returned to the Office of the Registrar prior to the beginning of the term for a timely decision. Alternately, conferral of an accredited transferable Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree earned subsequent to the dismissal from PSU, will constitute automatic reinstatement to the University. An official transcript with the degree posted must be presented to the Office of the Registrar. Reinstated students are given probation status.

Graduate Students and Postbaccalaureate Graduate Students

Graduate Academic Standing is administered by the Office of Graduate Studies. See the Graduate Studies section of this Bulletin for policy details.

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

Portland State University recognizes that adults entering or returning to college bring with them a wide variety of prior learning experiences including work, travel, volunteering, activities in professional organizations, or self-study. CPL allows qualified undergraduate students to earn credit for college-level learning outside of the classroom. 

PSU offers four types of CPL credit:

  1. PSU Departmental Challenge Exam
  2. Prior Learning Portfolio
  3. College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  4. Military Credit

CPL Academic Policies

  1. Student Eligibility:
    1. PSU Challenge Exam and Prior Learning Portfolio review requires students to be formally admitted to PSU as an undergraduate and to be enrolled in or have completed one PSU course. Students enrolling in Prior Learning Portfolio must also be in Academic Good Standing.
    2. CLEP and Military Credit is evaluated and awarded as transfer credit at the time a student is formally admitted to PSU, prior to matriculation/enrollment .
  2. Grading: CPL credit is limited to Pass-only grading and, as such, will not have a GPA effect. A "No Pass" assessment is not recorded on the PSU transcript and will have no impact on the GPA calculation.
  3. Pass/No Pass Limit: PSU Exam and Portfolio credit are included in the calculation of the 45-hour limit on Pass credit. CLEP and Military Credit are exempt from the 45 P/NP limit.
  4. Transcripts:
    1. Credit earned by PSU Challenge Exam and Prior Learning Portfolio will be included and appear as institutional credit on the PSU official transcript.  It will be identified as CPL credit.
    2. CLEP and Military Credit awards are not included on the PSU Official Transcript. CLEP and Military Credit awards are treated like transfer credit and may apply towards PSU degree requirements and appear on the PSU Degree Audit. 
  5. CPL Limits: No more than 45 credits of PSU Challenge Exam and Prior Learning Portfolio credit can apply toward a PSU degree. CPL can be used to complete degree requirements unless it is restricted in a major by a particular academic unit.
  6. Repeat Policy: CPL is not eligible for the PSU Repeat Policy. Earning CPL credit for a course in which a student had previously earned a D or F does not remove the prior grade from the GPA calculation.
  7. Residency Requirement: CPL credit will not count toward the PSU credits in residence requirement.
  8. University Studies Placement: CLEP and Military Credit will be combined with the transfer credit to establish placement into the University Studies general education program.  PSU Exam and Portfolio credit will not be used to establish placement.
  9. CPL can be awarded in courses that have been approved by academic departments. Not all courses in all departments are open to challenge. Each academic unit decides which of its courses are available to undergraduates for CPL credit. No courses numbered 199, 299, 399, or 401 to 410 inclusive are eligible for CPL credit.
  10. Credit earned by CPL may not be received in a course which:
    1. Duplicates credit previously earned by a student, or
    2. Is more elementary, as determined by departmental, college, or school regulations, than a course in which the student has already received credit.
  11. Department permission is required in order to re-attempt CPL credit for the same course, after a non-passing prior attempt.

Undergraduate Degree and Credential Requirements

To earn a baccalaureate degree a student must complete (1) University requirements, (2) University Studies - General Education requirements, (3) the Writing Requirement, (4) specific requirements for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Science Degree,  (5) requirements for a major, and (6) Foreign Language competency if admitted with a High School Foreign Language Deficiency.

Students bear final responsibility for ensuring that the courses taken are applicable toward satisfying their degree requirements.

Postbaccalaureate Credential Requirements

Second baccalaureate degree

A candidate for a second baccalaureate degree must complete the following:

  1. Residence credit after earning first degree: if the first degree was from Portland State University, 36 credits; if the first degree was from another college or university accredited by a recognized regional association, 45 credits. Restriction: At least 25 of the 45 credits must be for differentiated grades (A-F).
  2. Bachelor of Arts degree: if the first degree was not a B.A., students must complete 28 credits to include:
    1.  12 credits in arts and letters distribution area with minimum of 4 in fine and performing arts
    2. 12 credits in science and/or social science distribution area with minimum of 4 in science
    3. Four credits in a foreign language numbered 203 or higher.
  3. Bachelor of Music degree: if the first degree was not a B.M., students must complete program in music and applied music as prescribed by the Department of Music
  4. Bachelor of Science degree: if the first degree was not a B.S., students must complete 28 credits to include:
    1. Minimum 12 credits science including 8 with lab (excluding math/statistics)
    2. Minimum 12 credits arts and letters and/or social science
    3. Minimum 4 credits math/statistics
  5. Bachelor of Fine Arts degree: if the first degree was not a B.F.A. students must complete program as prescribed by the department.
  6. Requirements for a major: Courses taken as a postbaccalaureate student or as part of the first degree program count toward the major. Students do not need to meet the general education requirement.
  7. Admitted postbaccalaureate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 on all work taken at PSU. Failure to do so will result in academic warning, probation, or dismissal.
  8. Postbaccalaureate students who do not hold a degree from a university in the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand must satisfy the Wr 323 requirements before graduation from PSU.

Postbaccalaureate Certificates

Postbaccalaureate Certificates are approved academic awards given in conjunction with the satisfactory completion of a program of instruction, signifying a standard of knowledge in a specific subject.The curriculum is designed for students to complete after they have already earned a bachelor's degree. To be eligible to earn the certificate, the student must be admitted and matriculated into postbaccalaureate or graduate status. A Postbaccalaureate Certificate is posted to the official transcript and documented on a separate diploma.

In addition to meeting the specific course requirements of the certificate, students must:

  • Hold a previously earned baccalaureate degree.
  • Meet the Residency Requirement: a minimum of 16 credits or 3/4 of the credits required for the certificate, whichever is higher, must be earned at Portland State University.
  • Students who do not hold a degree from a university in the U.S., English-speaking Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand must satisfy the Wr 323 requirement.

Grading System for Undergraduates

The undergraduate grading system applies only to undergraduate courses.

The undergraduate grading system gives students the choice of taking certain courses designated by departments for either differentiated (A, B, C, D, F) or undifferentiated (pass or no pass) grades.

The following grading scale is employed at the undergraduate level:

A = 4.00 B- = 2.67 D+ = 1.33
A- = 3.67 C+ = 2.33 D = 1.00
B+ = 3.33 C = 2.00 D- = 0.67
B = 3.00 C- = 1.67 F = 0.00


Evaluation of a student’s performance is determined by the following grades:







NP—No pass

The following marks are also used:


IP—In Progress 



X—Non-attendance and No basis for grade

M—Missing grade/No grade received

Pass/No Pass Grading Options

The online Class Schedule identifies courses as offered under the differentiated or undifferentiated option. Students electing the undifferentiated grade option when it is offered are graded pass or no pass. In the majority of instances, a pass grade is equated to a C- grade or better (some departments accept only C or better). Please check with the department. Pass/No Pass grades are not used in computing a student’s GPA. A maximum of 45 credits graded P may be applied toward Portland State’s baccalaureate degree. Students elect grade options for specific courses during the registration period. Grading options may not be changed after the seventh week of the term. The undifferentiated grade option may not be used to repeat a course previously taken for differentiated grade or for major requirements in some departments.

Incomplete Grades

Students do not have a right to receive/demand an Incomplete grade.  The option of assigning an Incomplete grade is at the discretion of the instructor when the following criteria are met.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Required satisfactory course completion/participation. The quality of the work is satisfactory, but some essential work remains. In addition, the student must have successfully completed most of the course work at the time the student requests the Incomplete, with a minimum grade up to that point of a C- for undergraduate, or B- for a graduate level course.
  2. Reasonable justification for request. Reasons for assigning the Incomplete must be acceptable by the instructor. A student does not have the right to demand an Incomplete. The circumstances should be unforeseen or be beyond the control of the student. The instructor is entitled to request appropriate medical or other documentation to validate the student’s request.
  3. Incomplete grade is not a substitute for a poor grade. The Incomplete grade is not meant to create the opportunity for special or additional work for a student to raise a poor grade, or for the opportunity to take the course over by sitting in on the course in a later term without registering or paying for it.
  4. Written agreement. A written or electronic agreement will be endorsed by both the instructor and student. The document will specify a) the remaining work to be completed, b) the highest grade which may be awarded upon submission of remaining items, and c) the date which the missing work is due. The latter may not exceed one year from the end of the term for enrollment for the given course.  A template “Incomplete Contract” is available at www.pdx.edu/registration/grading-system.
  5. Resolving the Incomplete. Instructors may not encourage students to “sit in” an entire future course in order to resolve the Incomplete grade. If the student needs to retake the entire course, they should be given the grade presently earned, and must formally register for the future class they will be attending. If the missed portion of the course is no longer available, instructors may offer an alternative assignment. Grading weight of the alternative assignment should not exceed the original assignment. Students are fully responsible for monitoring all due dates.

Other Rules:

  1. GPA Calculation: Incomplete grades are not included when calculating GPA.
  2. Deadline for Completion: The deadline for completion of an Incomplete is one calendar year. The instructor may set a shorter deadline, which is binding. Any request for a longer deadline must be requested via petition to the Scholastic Standards Committee or Graduate Council.
  3. Failure to make up an Incomplete by the end of one year:
    1. Undergraduate Incomplete Grades: The mark of “I” will automatically change to a grade of “F” or “NP”, depending on the grading option chosen by the student upon registration. If the Incomplete converts to an F, the F grade is included in calculating GPA.
    2. Graduate Incomplete Grades:  The Incomplete will become part of the permanent record for a graduate course.
  4. Graduating Undergraduate Students: Incompletes awarded in undergraduate courses taken in Fall 2006 or later will automatically change to a grade of “F” or “NP” before conferral of the degree. The faculty of record may submit a grade change no later than 30 days after the degree is awarded. Grades of “F” or “NP” will remain on the academic record after this period and cannot be removed.

Drops and withdrawals

The student must initiate drop/withdrawals from a course. It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw properly by the deadline dates published online at www.pdx.edu/registration/calendar. To avoid having to pay special course deposit fees, students should refer to departmental policies.

A student may drop with no record of the course on the transcript up to the end of the second week of the term. As a courtesy, students are advised to notify the instructor concerned of the intended drop.

A student may withdraw for any reason before the end of the seventh week. A student withdrawing in the third through the seventh week will have a “W” recorded on the transcript.

A student cannot withdraw after the seventh week without approval of the Deadline Appeals Committee. A “W” is recorded if the petition is allowed.

Deadline dates for drops and withdrawals are found in the academic calendar published online at www.pdx.edu/registration/calendar. Date of withdrawal is the date request is received by the Office of the Registrar.

X Grade: Non-attendance and No Basis for Grade

The X grade is used when there is little or no attendance and no work/performance upon which to base an academic evaluation. X grades cannot be changed after initial submission and other grades cannot be changed to X except in cases of bona fide grading error as documented by instructor, requiring department chair approval. X grades carry no credit and are not included when calculating GPA.

M Grade: Missing Grade

M grades are automatically assigned by the system when grades have not been submitted to the Office of Registrar by the grading deadline. M grades will change to a grade of X, one term after the initial term. Once converted to an X, grade cannot be changed except in cases of bona fide grading error as documented by instructor, requiring department chair approval. M grades carry no credit and are not included when calculating GPA.

Non-Completion of Course

A student who has participated in a course but who has failed to complete essential work or attend examinations, and who has not communicated with the instructor, will be assigned a D, F, NP, or whatever grade the work has earned. Students who have not attended, nor participated in a course may receive an X grade. Students who withdraw from all courses in any given term must notify the Office of Financial Aid on or before the date of complete withdrawal.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Office of the Registrar computes current and cumulative GPAs on student grade reports and transcripts, according to the following scale: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0. A plus grade increases the points by 0.33, a minus decreases it by 0.33 (e.g., B- = 2.67). Cumulative grade point averages include all credits and points earned at PSU. The GPA calculation is truncated at two decimal points (i.e. rounding up is not used). Separate GPAs are calculated for undergraduate courses and for graduate courses. Further details on academic standing can be found at www.pdx.edu/registration/academic-standing.

GPA Repeat Policy

This policy only applies to undergraduate duplicate courses. Credit and GPA are retained on the first A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and all grades in subsequent attempts count in GPA. The first PSU grade of D or F may be forgiven if repeated at PSU for a differentiated grade (not P/NP). In this case, credit is retained on the last grade received. Both grades are retained on the transcript. If repeated more than once, each subsequent grade will be retained on the transcript and counted in the GPA.

Latin honors at graduation

Latin honors designations are conferred at the baccalaureate level to students who have earned the requisite PSU GPA and who have earned a minimum of 72 credits from PSU, with at least 60 of those credits taken for differentiated grades (A-F). The GPA calculation is based on PSU credit and utilizes the current PSU repeat policy. The award levels are as follows:

summa cum laude—3.90-4.00

magna cum laude—3.80-3.89

cum laude—3.67-3.79

Latin honors are noted on academic transcripts, inscribed on diplomas, and honors candidates are identified in the commencement program.

President's List and Dean's List Awards

Portland State University recognizes and honors the academic accomplishments of our undergraduate students each term by awarding placement on the Dean’s List and the President’s List. High achieving students, as indicated by grade point averages, are placed on the Dean’s or the President’s List according to the criteria established by the Council of Deans. Dean’s List and President’s List awards are only given to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree. The awards are given at the end of each term and are not recalculated based on grade changes or the removal of incomplete grades. The award is acknowledged with a notation on the student’s academic transcript.


Students who have a term GPA of 4.00 are placed on the President’s List, and students who have a term GPA of 3.75-3.99 are placed on the Dean’s List.

Students on both lists must be admitted undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or better, carrying 12 credits or more (excluding AU and P/NP credits).


Admitted undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or better, carrying fewer than 12 credits for a given term may qualify for the President’s List (4.00 GPA) or Dean’s List (3.75-3.99 GPA) if both of the following conditions are met:

  • A minimum of three part-time terms must be completed in succession, without interruption by either a term of full-time enrollment or the awarding of Dean’s List or President’s List
  • At least 12 credits (excluding AU and P/NP credits) must be earned over the combined part-time terms and the student must have an average GPA of 4.00 (President’s List) or 3.75-3.99 (Dean’s List) over the combined terms

Transfer Credit Policies

Accredited colleges and universities

The Office of the Registrar, in consultation with academic units evaluates credits from accredited colleges and universities. Portland State University accepts college-level credits earned in academic degree programs at colleges and universities accredited by regional accrediting associations and as recommended in Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions. All courses are evaluated to be either equivalent or parallel to PSU courses. Equivalent means that the catalog course description is substantially equal to that in the Portland State University Bulletin. Parallel means that the course is in a discipline which is offered by Portland State, even though PSU does not offer the specific course.

Unaccredited institutions and foreign colleges and universities

Departmental representatives, working through the Office of the Registrar, are authorized to evaluate credits transferred from unaccredited institutions or foreign colleges and universities after a student has been admitted to PSU. For specific course equivalency, students may be asked to provide catalog descriptions and/or documents certifying course content. Work from unaccredited schools is evaluated in accordance with the institutions and policies listed in Transfer Credit Practices, published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Credit given for a particular course will not exceed credit given for the equivalent or corresponding PSU course.

Co-admission programs

Portland State University has established co-admission programs with Chemeketa Community College, Clackamas Community College, Clark College, Clatsop Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, Oregon Coast Community College, and Portland Community College. Each co-admission program allows students to concurrently enroll at both PSU and the community college campus. For more information go to www.pdx.edu/transferstudent/co-admission

Associate degree transfer

Students who upon admission have completed an Associate of Arts-Oregon Transfer (AAOT) or an Associate of Science Oregon Transfer-Business (ASOT-B) or an Associate of Science Oregon Transfer - Computer Science (ASOT-CS) degree at an accredited Oregon community college or another PSU-approved associate degree, have met all lower-division general education requirements, which includes freshman and sophomore University Studies requirements. The student must still fulfill any outstanding upper-division general education requirements. The transfer Associates may not satisfy all requirements for admission to professional schools. Please check with each school for specific admission requirements.

Vocational and Career-Technical credits

Portland State University grants up to 12 credits for courses which are deemed vocational-career technical. These credits are transferred to PSU as general elective credits.

Oregon Transfer Module (OTM)

Transfer students who present an earned OTM from another Oregon institution will be granted a minimum of 45 quarter credit hours toward their general education graduation requirements.

Correspondence credit

A maximum of 60 correspondence credits are acceptable in transfer from regionally accredited schools recognized as institutions of higher education.

Community and junior colleges

The number of lower-division credits to be accepted in transfer from regionally accredited community and junior colleges is limited to 124.

College courses completed before high school graduation

College courses taken before a high school diploma is received are accepted in transfer provided the student receives grades of D- or above in the courses and the grades are posted on a college transcript.

Health Science Professions

Students who have completed preprofessional programs at PSU may transfer up to 48 credits of their professional health science work from schools accredited by a regional association and/or as indicated in Transfer Credit Practices. The health science students may not receive a bachelor’s degree from PSU and from the professional school when both degrees are based essentially on the same credits completed by the student. The residence credit requirement is satisfied by completing 45 of the last 60 credits at PSU, after admission to PSU and prior to formal enrollment in the qualifying professional program. The student must be within 48 credits of receiving a bachelor’s degree from PSU at the time of matriculation into the professional program.