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Transportation defines Portland, Oregon. Portland State University shapes the transportation professionals who, in turn, shape their city and cities across the world. 

Our students conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of the world’s foremost transportation research faculty at PSU in the (CUPA) Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning at CUPA and the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at MCECS

We recognize the importance of learning by doing. Students work on real transportation system projects with partners in our community. These partnerships lead to internships and rewarding careers after graduation. Many of our center's programs are focused on providing students with on-the-job experience and support, including:

  • The Transportation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (TURF) summer program,  
  • Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation scholarships, 
  • An internship annually funded by one of our key partners, Alta Planning + Design,
  • Graduate research assistant opportunities, 
  • Dissertation research fellowships and scholarships through our National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) program, and 
  • Our annual transportation study abroad program in the Netherlands. 

In addition to the above programs, we provide financial support to PSU's transportation student group, Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP), to present their work at conferences like the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). We also host visiting scholars to bring international expertise to our students at Portland State.

Funding Opportunities

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Each year, 15–30 graduate students from engineering, urban studies & planning, and other fields are hired as graduate research assistants for PSU faculty. These students are often co-authors on project final reports and journal articles. TREC hires undergraduate student workers as well, who may work at processing data or similar tasks.

Learn more about the assistantships at College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA): Graduate Student Financial Resources and at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The best way to learn about the new GRA and GA positions is to join the listserv for our student group ITE-STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning).



National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC)

TREC and the transportation faculty at PSU award scholarships through our U.S. DOT funded program National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) to current and incoming PSU students in transportation as well as dissertation fellowships for Ph.D. candidates.
  • Awards will be $1,000-$3,000 and will be made during Spring 2019. 
  • Students who received NITC Scholar funding in past years are eligible. 
  • Due to federal funding limitations, awards for students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be in the form of domestic travel funds to attend a transportation or professional development conference.

If you are selected as a NITC Scholar, you will be expected to actively participate in TREC and NITC-sponsored activities on campus, such as the STEP student group and attending the Friday Transportation Seminars on a regular basis. Applications closed March 5, 2019

NITC Dissertation Fellowships

We offer Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships of up to $15,000 to cover expenses for the recipient while working on a dissertation consistent with NITC's theme of improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities. Applications open three times annually, learn more about NITC Dissertation Fellowships here

Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC)

Walter H. Kramer Fellowship ($2,000)

Dr. Walter H. Kramer founded the first transportation studies center in the Department of Marketing (now School of Business Administration). Focusing on transportation research and education, Dr. Kramer believed that "the actions of an individual, of a college, can determine the future of our cities, our society," and devoted himself toward bringing "the resources of the faculty to bear on the problems of the community." This fellowship is aimed at providing financial support to PSU graduate students enrolled in transportation-related graduate programs and working on multi-disciplinary, multi-modal research connected with making a difference in "our cities, our society, and the community."

IBPI Active Transportation Scholarship ($2,500)

Through a generous donation from Alta Planning + Design, the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) at Portland State University (PSU)  is awarding a $2,500 scholarship to a PSU graduate student who is highly motivated to focus their studies on bicycling and walking as mainstream forms of transportation. The successful applicant will be seeking to better understand how communities integrate bicycling and walking through their planning and design processes. 

IBPI Excellence in Active Transportation ($4,000)

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) at Portland State University (PSU)  is awarding a $4,000 scholarship to a PSU graduate student who is highly motivated to focus their studies on bicycling and walking as mainstream forms of transportation. The successful applicant will be seeking to better understand how communities integrate bicycling and walking through their planning and design processes.

More Scholarship Opportunities

Portland State University (Coral Sales scholarship $1,000)

ITE Bill Kloos Scholarship ($2,500)

Oregon ITE Scholarship (various)

WTS Portland Chapter Scholarships (range, $1,500 - $7,000)



Through a competitive application process, the TURF program is a unique ten-week summer fellowship for undergraduates to get experience in transportation research. Hosted at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, a hub of transportation innovation and expertise, fellows will work on research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

At the end of the program, the students will be expected to provide a final written reflection describing their research findings. The program is funded through an education grant by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC).


Students must be currently enrolled in a civil engineering, urban studies and planning, or transportation-related undergraduate degree program at any college or university. Preference will be given to applicants who have a strong interest in transportation and graduate education. International students are eligible to apply.


Selected students will receive a $7,500 stipend and are expected to work 40 hours per week for ten weeks between June and September. Students are responsible for finding and funding their own lodging during their stay in Portland.

Research Topics

Since the program's launch in 2018, TURF fellows have worked on various research initiatives at TREC, including e-scooters, bicycle and pedestrian count data, multimodal trip generation, pedestrian safety, and equitable transit. Research topics will depend on the student's interest, the faculty's needs, and the current ongoing projects being conducted at TREC. Read more about the 2019 TURF fellows, or see quotes from 2018 participants.

Group Activities

TURF fellows are given adjacent workspaces within TREC's offices so that they can get acquainted with each other, and with the rest of TREC's staff, even though they may be working on different projects. TREC also organizes events and activities to help introduce the group of students to Portland, the university, and the region's transportation community. Group activities have included bike tours of the city, ice cream socials, and workshops with faculty. We also provide information for students interested in getting to know the local transportation network, exploring Portland and beyond. 



Through the on-campus Students in Transportation Engineering & Planning (ITE-STEP), students can take on leadership roles in cultivating community and education around the transportation issues important to them.

Through local chapters of professional development organizations like WTS Portland and Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT), students can develop their academic and professional lives through forging relationships between transportation students and professionals.


Student Alumni from Transportation Programs

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Out in the world, PSU transportation alumni are changing the way we think about transportation as leading academics and practitioners. A sample of some of the organizations our alumni are currently working at:



Alta Planning + Design, SERA Architects, CH2M, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Lancaster Engineering, Nelson\Nygaard, Oregon Public Health Institute, DKS Associates, Resource Systems Group, Inc., Fregonese Associates and ICLEI.


Our doctoral alums are working as researchers, consultants and faculty members in places such as: University of Arizona, University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Sydney.

Research Faculty at PSU

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Transportation problems don’t stay between the lines. As a transportation student at Portland State University, you’ll work with experts in every field that contributes to our knowledge of transportation, including engineering and planning but also fields such as environmental science, psychology, geography and computer science. Our core transportation faculty, including Jennifer Dill, Christopher Monsere, Kelly Clifton, Miguel Figliozzi, Jenny Liu, Aaron Golub, Avi Unnikrishnan and Liming Wang, are regarded as national and international experts in their fields. 

Degree Programs at PSU

Portland State offers a wide variety of degree programs suited to the multi-disciplinary demands of a career in transportation. Curious about the courses offered? See an overview of graduate courses in transportation at Portland State.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

We offer undergraduate programs in civil engineering, supply and logistics management, and community development, which lay the foundation for our transportation graduate programs.

Graduate Degree Programs (Professional)

Master of Urban and Regional Planning is a two-year, 72 credit professional degree program designed for those interested in working as professional planners.

Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering is a non-research based professional degree designed to put you on track for careers shaping the future of transportation with local governments, consulting firms and other organizations. 

Graduate Degree Programs (Research)

The Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Master of Urban Studies are suited for those seeking careers in a broad range of transportation professions or in academia.

Graduate Dual Degree Programs in Transportation

For those seeking an interdisciplinary degree, two dual degree programs are complementary with the Master's of Urban and Regional Planning program: Public Health, and Civil and Environmental Engineering (with a transportation focus). Students should connect with advisors, as dual degree options require careful planning. Email if you are interested in learning more about these programs.

Graduate Certificate in Transportation

The two disciplines, planning and engineering, also collaborate to offer a Graduate Certificate in Transportation for established professionals looking for a deeper understanding of transportation disciplines.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Our Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Ph.D. in Urban Studies help shape researchers into the top experts in their fields. Portland State students publish as lead authors at a greater rate than most universities and are disproportionately represented at forums including the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.


Graduate Courses in Transportation

An overview of transportation-focused courses provided by Portland State University.

Graduate Courses offered by (MCECS) Civil & Environmental Engineering

  • CE 507 Transportation Research Communication Seminar (1)
  • CE 510 Computer Applications in CEE (4)
  • CE 510 Transportation Network Analysis (4)
  • CE 510 Transportation and Health (4)
  • CE 514 Transportation Seminar (1)
  • CE 550 Transportation Safety Analysis (4)
  • CE 553 Freight Transportation and Logistics (4)
  • CE 554 Introduction to Multimodal Transportation Engineering Data Analysis (4)
  • CE 555 Intelligent Transportation Systems (4)
  • CE 556 Traffic Engineering (4)
  • CE 558 Public Transportation Systems (4)
  • CE 559 Transportation Operations (4)
  • CE 562 Traffic Engineering Applications and Signal Timing (4)
  • CE 563 Transportation and Logistics Optimization and Modeling (4)
  • CE 593 Design and Operation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure (4)
  • CE 595 Sustainable Transportation in the Netherlands (4)
  • CE 596 Theories and Methods of Travel Behavior (4)
  • CE 598 Travel Survey and Data Analysis (4)

Graduate Courses offered by (CUPA) Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning

  • USP 510 Public Transportation Planning and Policy (3)
  • USP 511 Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning Lab (2)
  • USP 514 Transportation Seminar (1)
  • USP 537 Economics of Urban Transportation (3) [Odd years - Winter]
  • USP 543 Geographic Applications in Planning (3)
  • USP 544 Urban Transportation Planning (3)
  • USP 556 Urban Transportation: Problems and Policies (3)
  • USP 565 Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning (3)
  • USP 570 Transportation and Land Use (3)
  • USP 578 Impact Assessment (3)
  • USP 579 State and Local Public Finance (3)
  • USP 582 Sustainable Transportation (3)
  • USP 583 Transportation Finance (3) [Even years - Winter]
  • USP 587 Travel Demand Modeling (3)
  • USP 591 Geographic Information Systems I (4)
  • USP 592 Geographic Information Systems II (4)
  • USP 654 Data Analysis II (4)
  • USP 655 Advanced Data Analysis: Structural Equation Modeling (3)
  • USP 656 Advanced Data Analysis: Multilevel Regression (3)
  • USP 657 Advanced Data Analysis: Discrete Choice Modeling (3)