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Study in Oregon

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If you're considering studying in Oregon, it is likely that you're either drawn to trendy Portland or the prospect of the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

In recent years, Oregon has shot to prominence as a result of Portland becoming something of a paradise for creatively inclined Americans.

This famously environmentally friendly city – one of the 25 biggest in the United States – has a lot to offer those looking to experience some alternative culture.

However, Oregon is more than one city, and if you choose to study in the state then there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself stationed in second city Eugene or smaller university town Corvallis. Neither is too distant from the bigger city however, and picturesque Eugene has a lot in common with it, so fear not if it was Portland which drew you in.

Away from the fertile Willamette Valley in which all the above cities can be found , Oregon, as you might expect from a state in the rainy northwest of the US, is largely defined by lakes, rivers and lush forest – some of it towards the state’s north is so dense that is classed as rainforest. Several mountain ranges also run through the state, so if it’s dramatic scenery you want, Oregon won’t disappoint.

But if you ever get tired of the greens and blues, the southeast portion of the state is arid desert. And this perhaps sums up Oregon well – truly a state of contrast. Outside of the socially progressive and cosmopolitan cities, you can still find plenty of conservatism, rural values and a simpler way of life. If you’re looking to get a holistic experience of the US set against a spectacular backdrop, consider Oregon.

Oregon: Fast facts

•    Oregon has a population of around 3.9 million people

•    Portland is home to Mill Ends Park, which, with a diameter of 62cm, is the world’s smallest

•    A giant fungus, spanning 2,200 acres found in the Malheur National Forest, is thought to be world’s largest organism by area

•    Oregon’s state flag is the only one to have two sides (the reverse is a beaver)

•    Crater lake – filled exclusively with rainwater – has the greatest maximum depth of any lake in the US (600m) and is known for the Old Man of the Lake, a tree stump which has been bobbing in the lake since the late 19th century

•    Oregon grows 99 per cent of the entire US commercial hazelnut crop

•    They take beer seriously in Portland, which has more craft breweries and brewpubs than any other city in the country

•    Famous Oregonians include creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, author Raymond Chandler and director Gus van Sant

Top universities in Oregon

Oregon has two universities in the 2011 QS World University Rankings, both large public institutions. Leading the way is the Corvallis based Oregon State University, in the 401-450 range. Nearly 25,000 students study at the university, mostly at undergraduate level, choosing from 200 undergraduate programs and 80 at graduate level.

In terms of research, OSU is by far and away the most prolific university in the state. It is a Land, Sea, Space and Sun Grant university. Only Cornell can match the feat of being all four.

It also known for being a green university, ranking fourth in the nation in terms of renewable energy use. Students can contribute to this by using on of 22 exercise machines connected to the university's electricity grid!

The other ranked university in the state, at 451-500, is the University of Oregon. Like OSU, it hosts around 25,000 students, again, mostly at undergraduate level. It offers nearly 300 programs and has 25 research centers. UO is classified as a very high research activity university by the Carnegie Foundation.

UO is situated in the Eugene, the state’s second biggest city. It also has a marine biology institute in the coastal city of Charleston, a campus in Portland which focuses on continuing education (journalism, architecture, law etc), and an observatory in the mountains in the centre of the state.

The state has plenty of other universities at which you can study. Perhaps the best known of these is liberal arts institution Lewis & Clark College, a member of the prestigious Annapolis Group.

More states in the west of the US:

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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