Undergraduate Program Liberal Studies

Student raising their hand in class

Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degree Overview

Portland State University's bachelor's degree in liberal studies grants you the independence to take charge of your own education.

By majoring in liberal studies, you will:

  • Explore many courses from a wide range of departments while still making progress toward a bachelor's degree
  • Sharpen universally valued skills such as communication, writing, oral presentation, teamwork, research, and critical thinking
  • Prepare for graduate school by building a broad and deep body of expertise on a single subject
  • Move ahead in your career by mixing and matching courses that relate to your industry, diversifying your knowledge and abilities

Our customizable but academically rigorous program enables you to focus on your own interests with guidance from advisors and faculty. You'll gain skills that have immediate value in nearly every industry—and will help you adapt throughout your life to cultural, economic, and technological changes.

Liberal Studies is the only major that does not require completion of the university studies core curriculum.

Degree Details

Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

PSU's liberal studies degree provides you the greatest range of academic areas and the most flexibility in course selection, integrating courses from three broad areas: sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

As a Liberal Studies major, you'll design a personalized plan with an academic advisor that aligns with your career goals and outlines your path to an undergraduate degree.

You get to learn what you love and love what you learn.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies?

With a bachelor's degree in liberal studies, you'll cultivate skills you can use—and market—no matter what career you choose. Our program is particularly strong in developing your skills in writing, critical thinking, research and analysis, creative problem solving, community engagement, media fluency, and social and environmental responsibility.

Our program prepares you to work in a variety of fields in business, government, nonprofits, social services, and educational institutions, including:

  • teachers
  • program coordinators
  • project managers
  • news reporters
  • financial service representatives
  • community and social service specialists
  • lawyers and judges
  • physicians and nurses
  • writers and editors

Online Liberal Studies Bachelor’s Degree Option 

Complete your bachelor's degree online and build adaptable skills for an interconnected world.
The online Liberal Studies program offers you a perfect balance of flexibility and structure as you focus on your own interests. You will: 

  • Work closely with outstanding faculty. The same faculty who teach our in-person courses also lead our online courses. 
  • Connect with other students. PSU's easy-to-use online course platform encourages direct interaction among classmates.
  • Get credit for previous college work. We accept most transfer credits from accredited community colleges and universities. 
  • Find support when you need it. Our academic advisors, financial aid counselors, and other support staff will respond quickly to your needs and concerns.

Our online liberal studies degree will give you a clear path to finishing your degree and the independence to take charge of your own education.

Program Requirements

A student majoring in liberal studies must complete the general University requirements (except general education requirements), either WR 323 or an approved Writing Intensive Course, and 81 upper-division credits from the arts and letters, science and/or social science academic distribution areas for the liberal studies major.

Distribution Areas

Arts and Letters: Applied Linguistics, Architecture, Art, Arts and Letters, Black Studies (BST 221, BST 351U, BST 352U, BST 353U, BST 421, BST 424U, BST 425U, BST 426U, BST 427U only), Communication, Conflict Resolution, Dance, English, Film, Judaic Studies (JST 325, JST 431, JST 435 only), Music, Philosophy, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Systems Science (SYSC 421 only), Theater Arts, World Languages and Literatures, Writing.

Science: Anthropology (101, 102, 350, 355, 370/370L, 372, 373, 376, 379, 452-455, 471, 472, 477-479 only), Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography (210, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 320, 322, 333, 340, 380, 407, 413-415, 418, 420, 440, 475, 480-482, 484, 485, 488*, 489, 490, 492, 493-497 only) Geology, Physics, Science (SCI), Systems Science (330, 332, 334, 411, 414, 431, 435, 440, 445 and 452 only).

Social Science: Anthropology (except 101, 102, 350, 355, 370/370L, 372, 373, 376, 379, 452-455, 471, 472, 477-479), Black Studies (except 221, 351-53, 421, 424-427), Chicano/Latino Studies, Child & Family Studies, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography (except 210, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 320, 322, 333, 340, 380, 407, 413-415, 418, 420, 440, 475, 480-482, 484, 485, 488*, 489, 490, 492, 493-497), History, International Studies, Judaic Studies (except 325, 431, 435), Native American Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Social Work (310, 320, 340, 341, 350, 351, 384, 375, 399, 416, 430, 431, 432, 450 and 451 only), Sociology, Systems Science (336, 340, 342, 338, 350, 413, 418 only), Urban Studies & Planning, Women's Studies


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).