Undergraduate Program Urban and Public Affairs

PSU urban studies student getting on MAX

Urban and Public Affairs Bachelor's Degree Overview

A national pioneer in urban studies, Portland State University offers an exceptionally flexible online Bachelor’s Degree program in Urban and Public Affairs.

Designed for a diverse student body that includes working adults, community college transfers, and career changers, this college-wide online bachelor’s degree lets you integrate courses from multiple departments in PSU’s renowned College of Urban and Public Affairs and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

Our flexible urban and public affairs degree brings Portland’s vibrant spirit to you—wherever you live.

PSU’s urban and public affairs faculty excel at breaking down silos and crossing boundaries. Our graduates stand out in the job market for their ability to draw connections, see the big picture, and make use of a broad, versatile skill set. Urban and Public Affairs students "choose their own adventure" by tailoring their courses to fit with their interests, across the following topics:

  • Urban design and planning
  • Crime prevention and criminal justice policy
  • Politics Public administration
  • Civic engagement
  • Public health
  • Economics
  • International & global studies

Degree Details

Urban and Public Affairs Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

This multidisciplinary degree program affords students flexibility so they can balance learning with work, family, and other life experiences. The major can be completed fully outside of the traditional classroom, and students are welcome to combine online with in-classroom learning. Students also have a wide variety of choices in selecting elective courses from across the disciplines. Courses transferred from other programs may also be used.

Earn an Interdisciplinary Urban and Public Affairs Degree for a Multidisciplinary Profession

Our flexible Urban and Public Affairs degree combines the convenience of online learning with Portland’s unique, innovative spirit of public engagement. Choose our online bachelor’s degree in Urban and Public Affairs for:

  • Extraordinary faculty. You’ll learn from professors who’ve earned high distinction in urban and public affairs and remain active in the profession.
  • Flexible Credit Policies. Reduce your distance to graduation by applying previously earned credits from Portland State and/or accredited transfer institutions toward the degree.
  • Interdisciplinary Focus. You can satisfy degree requirements with courses from several departments in the College of Urban and Public Affairs and OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, customizing the program to build specialized knowledge that serves your goals.
  • Career Opportunities. PSU has an outstanding reputation for training urban and public affairs professionals. Our graduates have an excellent job-placement record with public, nonprofit, and private employers, as well as a strong rate of graduate school admissions.
  • High-touch online platform. Our online public and urban affairs courses are at least as interactive as on-campus classes. You’ll build strong relationships with classmates, enjoy one-on-one access to faculty, and participate in lively discussions and collaborative assignments.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree in Urban and Public Affairs?

The flexible Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Public Affairs offers outstanding preparation for:

  • Professional schools, including law, education, public health, business, and medicine
  • Graduate studies in urban affairs, planning, public administration, public health, and related fields
  • Public-sector careers with local and regional government agencies
  • Employment with nonprofit organizations that promote urban development, civic engagement, economic opportunity, racial justice, environmental health, transportation, and many other issues

Featured Courses

Internship/Field Experience and Dean’s Seminar: This degree program offers students the opportunity for experiential community-based learning through an internship program of their own design as well as the chance, in the Dean’s Seminar, to design their own policy-based project around a topic of personal, professional or career interest.


Select 5 upper-division electives from the following academic units: CCJ, PA, PS, USP, PHE, ECON, OR INTL. A maximum of 3 of these electives can come from any one participating unit. The other two electives must come from the other participating units.


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