Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design

The Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design has been created as a means to prepare future leaders in architecture, urban planning, sustainability, community development and other fields to aid currently underserved populations through sustainable, human-centered design methods. The Certificate will provide an educational foundation for entry into the emerging field of Public Interest Design, through academic studies and hands-on experience in the field, working directly with communities in need to address issues such as inadequate shelter, food and water scarcity, disaster preparedness and recovery, and economic well-being.

The Certificate in Public Interest Design will be offered to both graduate students and professionals in Portland and beyond. The certificate consists of 18 credit hours of course options from several disciplines, with a focus on the “triple bottom line” of sustainability (social, environmental and economic), ranging from Social Entrepreneurship to Environmental Sustainability to Creating Collaborative Communities. The coursework is anchored by a seminar in public interest design and culminates in fieldwork or practicum on a real-world public interest design project.

For course and application information, please visit:


CPID Student Fellows Program

The CPID Student Fellows program represents a key initiative that contributes to a more vigorous program and provides additional opportunities for students to practice public interest design. The CPID Student Fellows program gives outstanding students the opportunity to gain valuable experience outside of the classroom through participation in a meaningful public interest design project for a minimum of one year. Student Fellows are each given a leadership role on an active CPID project under the guidance of one of its Faculty Fellows or professional collaborators. This program provides consistency with our community partners and truly fosters the esprit de corps of the organization. The fellowship begins with a one-week intensive trip to one of CPID’s project sites to examine broad issues of public interest design, tackle a small project that responds to an issue the group identifies, and meet with stakeholders to evaluate recently completed work by the CPID. More information on the CPID Student Fellows is available HERE.


Architecture Summer Immersion Program

The Architecture Summer Immersion Program at the Portland State University School of Architecture offers those interested in architecture as a potential career and/or field of study the opportunity to explore the subject in an intensive 4-week experience. Led by faculty of the school’s Center for Public Interest Design, the program also explores the question of how principles of public interest design can be incorporated into a design education from the very first time a student picks up a lead holder, rather than adding these concepts toward the end of a design education. In its inaugural year, students learned foundational design skills while also exploring issues of homelessness, environmental sustainability, conflict resolution, and universal design. For more on the Architecture Summer Immersion Program, please visit: