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

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
Online:
100% online
Flexible:
Combination of online and on campus
  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Locations
    On campus
    Online
    Flexible
    Total Credits
    180
    Start Term
    Any
  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Locations
    On campus
    Online
    Flexible
    Total Credits
    180
    Start Term
    Any

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 selecting, 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 (Anth 101, Anth 370/370L, Anth 372, Anth 373, Anth 376, Anth 379, Anth 471, Anth 472, Anth 477, Anth 478, Anth 479 only), Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Management, Geography (GEOG 210, GEOG 310U, GEOG 311U, GEOG 312U,GEOG 313U, GEOG 314U, GEOG 320, GEOG 322U, GEOG 333U, GEOG 340U, GEOG 380U, GEOG 407, GEOG 413, GEOG 414, GEOG 415, GEOG 418, GEOG 420, GEOG 475, GEOG 480, GEOG 481, GEOG 482, GEOG 484, GEOG 485, GEOG 488, GEOG 489, GEOG 490, GEOG 492 - GEOG 497 only), Geology, Mathematics/Statistics, Physics, Science, Systems Science (SYSC 330, SYSC 332, SYSC 334, SYSC 431, SYSC 452 only).

Social Science: Anthropology (except ANTH 101, ANTH 370/370L, ANTH 372, ANTH 373, ANTH 376, ANTH 379, ANTH 471, ANTH 472, ANTH 477, ANTH 478, ANTH 479), Black Studies (except BST 221, BST 351U, BST 352U, BST 353U, BST 421, BST 424U, BST 425U, BST 426U, BST 427U), Chicano/Latino Studies, Child and Family Studies, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography (except GEOG 210, GEOG 310U, GEOG 311U, GEOG 312U, GEOG 313U, GEOG 314U, GEOG 320, GEOG 322U, GEOG 333U, GEOG 340U, GEOG 380U, GEOG 407, GEOG 413, GEOG, GEOG 488, GEOG 489, GEOG 490, GEOG 492 - GEOG 497), History, International Studies, Judaic Studies (except JST 325, JST 431, JST 435), Native American Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sociology, Systems Science (SYSC 336, SYSC 338, SYSC 350, SYSC 413 only), Urban Studies and Planning, Women’s Studies.

Accreditation

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