Study Away in Tacoma

Spring Program

TIES: Tacoma Immersion Experience Semester

Tacoma, the City of Destiny, a location that is rich in culture, history, geography, and population. Find yourself exploring the many neighborhoods of the city as you spend a semester studying, living, and exploring all of the fascinating elements that make Tacoma a thriving location. (PLU News program feature)

Announcing new special TIES Global Scholar Award – up to $2500 to help reduce costs associated with participating in this exciting program. Application and eligibility information.

Questions? Please contact: Rachel Haxtema –


Open to all majors, focused on developing community engagement/partnership and advocacy. Courses will vary each semester.

Students will take a foundational course on Tacoma, choose from multiple courses taught downtown by PLU faculty and community partners and an internship or academic research project with a community partner.

TIES Program Coursework

Foundational Tacoma Course (GLST 301)
Internship or Research
Additional course offerings: 2-3 course options from a variety of disciplines
(16 credits)

Spring 2017 Courses:

Tacoma: The Power of Place and Identity – Prof. Jp Avila
GLST 301 (A – 4 credits)

Students will explore identified challenges facing the city and how those needs are being addressed. Students will also interact with residents and service providers from health, business, educational, environmental, arts and social service sectors. Students will learn about the history of Tacoma, how its geography and waves of migrants and immigrants have influenced the culture and future of this place.

Business Ethics – Dr. Sergia Hay
PHIL 225 (PH – 4 credits) Monday/Wednesday 6:15-8:15 pm

Examination of the morality of market aims and practices. Students in the course will be introduced to moral theories and consider competing conceptions of corporate social responsibility, truth in advertising, meaningful work, and environmental protection. Special emphasis will be given to some Tacoma businesses and non-profits.

Multicultural Perspectives in the Classroom – Dr. Vidya Thirumurthy
EDUC 205 (A – 4 credits) Wednesday 3:40-5:25; 4 Saturdays 9am-4:30pm (February 18, March 18, April 15 & May 13)

The course creates awareness and attempts to promote a deeper understanding of the diversity that exists in the United States. The content of the course will cover issues such as ethnicity, gender, disability, racism, and poverty. To accomplish these goals, the readings and the orchestrated field experiences will focus on education in Tacoma public schools and how power relations impact the quality of education in this local area.

Writing Tacoma – Dr. Jason Skipper
ENG 385 (WR – 4 credits) Monday/Wednesday 6-8 pm

In this creative nonfiction writing course, students will write about Tacoma and the places in the region that make this area distinct, taking into account its rich history, diverse culture, and eclectic communities. Over the term, we will study various approaches to writing nonfiction, and then students will use these skills to immerse themselves in specific places and produce writing that provides readers with a unique perspective on Tacoma.

PLU Course Equivalency

Pacific Lutheran University awards all credits earned in this program. Course and study tour offerings are subject to change.

Study Tours

Integral to the culture and society course, group study tours guide students through the cultural, environmental, economic, religious, and artistic diversity that makes up Tacoma. Course lectures and readings come to life as students meet community partners, non-profit, government and business leaders, while visiting locations throughout the city. Students will attend cultural events such as Chinese New Year celebration, arts events including the Annual Wayzgoose celebration and 253 Film Festival, and the business and non-profit South Sound Sustainability Expo.

Local Housing

Students will be housed in a historic Tacoma neighborhood and will have access to public transportation to get to the thriving downtown area, Stadium district, South Tacoma neighborhoods and businesses, and Point Defiance.

Program Fee

The PLU comprehensive fee for Spring semester covers this academic experience (instruction and academic credit, housing and meal stipend, & study tours). To find the current comprehensive fee for one semester, divide the total full-year cost listed on the Admissions website by two. Please note that the comprehensive fee varies each year, and the cost of this program will be based on the year in which you study away. Financial aid applies.

New special TIES Global Scholar Award available – up to $2500 to help reduce costs associated with participation in this program. Application and eligibility information here.

Out-of-pocket Expenses

Books, personal excursions, and other miscellaneous expenses are not included in program cost.

Global Scholar Award

All PLU Gateway & Featured Programs are Global Scholar Award eligible. This need-based award can cover out-of-pocket expenses up to $2500 on PLU’s TIES Gateway semester program.

Contact Us

Rachel Haxtema

TIES Coordinator
Center for Community Engagement & Service


First Year, sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Students must have a minimum 2.7 or higher G.P.A. (3.0 preferred). Must be a student in good standing.

Application Deadline

The Spring 2017 applications will be submitted online and the priority deadline is October 26, 2016. A $50 non-refundable fee is due with the application. A $300 non-refundable program payment to confirm participation is required within 10 days of acceptance.

Application Components

  • Online application
  • Short essays
  • 2 recommendation forms (1 faculty, 1 professional)
  • Application fee

Why Study Away in Tacoma?

Read this interesting article, “Why a Global Education Doesn’t Have to Mean Going Abroad”

Program Highlights

  • Spring program in 2017 and 2018
  • Courses taught in downtown Tacoma
  • Live in a historic Tacoma neighborhood
  • Experiential learning in local community
  • PLU faculty-taught courses
  • Local study tours related to program focus