Portland-State-University 2023-2024 Bulletin

Admissions requirements

Graduate admission requirements

Graduate admission is selective and meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. The number of students admitted to a particular program is limited to the resources and space available in each program. All applicants for a graduate degree or certificate program must meet minimum University admission requirements as well as departmental requirements. 

University admission requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA. To be considered for Regular admission, applicants must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or the equivalent (on the U.S. 4.0 scale) from the degree granting institution(s). Applicants who have earned 9 or more letter-graded graduate credits must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 or the equivalent; this graduate GPA supersedes the undergraduate GPA. Applicants who have a cumulative undergraduate GPA between 2.5 and 2.74 or the equivalent from the degree granting institution(s) are eligible for University Conditional status. After completing 9 letter-graded graduate credits at PSU with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, students with University Conditional status will automatically be given Regular status.
    • Previous PSU students returning after an extended absence can be considered for Academic Forgiveness which will allow up to three terms to be excluded from the cumulative graduate GPA calculation
  • Copies of transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended (except PSU), including junior colleges and community colleges
  • $65 application fee + $2 processing fee
  • Recommendation for admission from the appropriate graduate program's department

University enrollment requirements include:

  • Verification of official transcripts from degree granting institution(s) and all colleges and/or universities attended where any graduate credits were completed
  • Proof of English language proficiency as demonstrated by:
    • Completion of a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in Australia, English-speaking Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, or Zimbabwe, or;
    • Completion of Portland State's Intensive English Language Program (IELP) with a 3.50 GPA in all courses and recommendation from the IELP, or;
    • Completion of one of the following exams:
      • International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), minimum overall score of 80; minimum subscores of 18 in reading and writing
      • International English Testing Systems (IELTS) exam, minimum overall score of 6.5; minimum subscores of 6.5 in reading and writing
      • Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE), minimum score of 60 overall
      • Duolingo English Test (DET), minimum score of 110
    • Tests more than two years old are accepted if the score exceeds the minimum requirement and the applicant has maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date

In cases when a student does not meet University admission requirements, departments may choose to submit a Graduate Admission - Special Approval Request to the Graduate School. This process may only be initiated by a department.

International applicants must also submit:

  • Copies of official degree certificates/diplomas
  • Certified translation of transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas
  • Financial documentation demonstrating adequate financial support for at least the first year of study

Depending on the individual graduate program, additional departmental requirements may include:

  • Personal essay or statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test scores, e.g. GRE or GMAT
  • Resume
  • Writing samples
  • Portfolio
Information regarding departmental requirements can only be obtained directly from the specific department.

Three-Year Bridge program

This program is an alternate method of meeting graduate admission requirements. It is designed for international students coming from non-Bologna-compliant three-year baccalaureate degree programs recognized by the Ministries of Education in their home countries. This program comprises approximately one year of academic study intended to bridge the differences between the applicant’s degree and a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree. Students are invited to participate in this program only if they have been recommended for admission by their departments.

1. Students graduating from international educational institutions with thirteen years of pre-collegiate work, 'A-level' passes, and three-year bachelor's degrees are directly admissible to PSU graduate programs if they meet all other university requirements.

2. As a general principle, students with twelve years of pre-collegiate education and three-year bachelor's degrees are admissible to graduate programs at PSU only if they complete one additional year of acceptable coursework.
   a. When additional coursework is required for admission to graduate study, specific courses must be approved by the Graduate School, in consultation with appropriate program/college officials.
   b. Coursework is a year's duration and totals 30 – 42 credit hours, with 16 graduate credits that can be applied towards a graduate degree.

3. 'Special Action' exceptions of Graduate School Conditional Admission could waive the additional year of additional work describe in #2. Requests will be considered on the basis of acceptable evidence that the applicant is judged by appropriate campus authority to possess sufficient academic, professional and other potential pertinent to the applicant's educational objectives to merit such action. 'Special Action’ exceptions require submission of additional information. Examples of additional information needed to support the request for Special Action admission are:
   a. Test score results (GRE general and/or specialty tests; GMAT; departmental placement examinations)
   b. Completion of one year of college-level work at a regionally accredited U.S. university in a field related to the field of application
   c. Department faculty evaluation of a portfolio of the student's work in the field (e.g., published articles, research, creative work, relevant awards, professional licensure)
   d. Department faculty evaluation of coursework taken at the international university (review of syllabi, reading lists, prerequisite preparation, recommendations) and of English communication skills
   e. Commitment of individual faculty members who will act as advisors to the student.

4. All special approval admissions requests under either #2 or #3 above must be initiated by the department and processed through the Graduate School’s admissions system. Requests should include support for why special consideration should be considered.

5. When additional coursework is required for admission to graduate study, specific courses must be approved by the Graduate School, in consultation with appropriate program/college officials. Coursework is a year's duration and totals 30 – 42 credit hours, with 16 of these credits countable towards the graduate program.

6. Admission to Portland State University to complete graduate admission preparation (#2) or with a 'Special Action' exemption (#3) does not confer 'baccalaureate possession' rights or privileges acceptable either for the seeking of an American teaching credential or for transfer to graduate programs at other U.S. higher education institutions. Moreover, students so admitted will not be eligible to earn a baccalaureate degree at the University.