College Student Services Administration at Oregon State University, uniquely situated in the School of Language, Culture and Society within the College of Liberal Arts, graduates leaders in equity and access, community and justice, and institutional transformation. Embedded in the School’s distinctive network of interdisciplinary programs in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Queer Studies, Ethnic Studies, Languages, and Anthropology, CSSA offers a profoundly different orientation from traditional higher education and student personnel Master’s programs. Our program is cohort-based, and attracts and graduates culturally and intellectually diverse individuals to work in the field of student affairs and other higher education areas. On campus and through E-Campus, CSSA students seek an intellectual, activist community premised on racial justice, social transformation, and institutional change. CSSA students graduate with expertise in anti-racist, feminist, and intersectional frameworks that positions them to shape the increasingly challenging social worlds of higher education. Through their assistantships in SLCS, in CLA advising, in cultural resource centers and other student offices, CSSA students bridge academic and student affairs, strengthening the infrastructure (and culture) of care and community at Oregon State. CSSA advances CLA’s mission through interdisciplinary projects and research on power, race, gender, and justice in universities and through centering and supporting our diverse student populations. CSSA graduates attend to the “life cycle” of undergraduate students in their transitions from pre-college to college, during college, and beyond to career or graduate school.

The curricular focus of CSSA is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and awareness needed to effectively engage with contemporary and future college students.  Because of the program's location within the School of Language, Culture, and Society, the integration of social justice throughout the curriculum is a foundational strength of CSSA.  In addition to social justice studies and experiential activities in the CSSA program, students will have access to other SLCS curriculum to further enhance their knowledge of social justice issues.  Through the CSSA program, students will have the opportunity to think critically about social justice and participate in experiential learning activities in which they will engage in the work of social justice.

Graduation from the program requires the following:

  • Successful completion of at least 54 credits of graduate-level coursework, the majority of which are required in the major field of study (CSSA). Additionally, a minor or area of specialization is chosen and completed by the individual student
  • Successful completion and presentation of a capstone project (Ed.M. degree) or a thesis capstone (M.S. degree) during the final year.

Program History

Dr. Robert W. Chick, an administrator who had significant student affairs experience at the University of Missouri, University of Denver, and Washington State University, founded the CSSA program in 1966. As the first Dean of Students and later the Vice President for Student Affairs at Oregon State University, Dr. Chick built an outstanding program of coordinated student services within the OSU community.

Dr. Chick provided leadership in bringing together student affairs professionals throughout Oregon and the Northwest to share ideas and discuss relevant issues in the field. From this, he recognized the need for a professional training and degree program in the region. In 1966, the State Board of Higher Education in Oregon approved the offering of Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.M., and the M.S. degrees through the CSSA graduate programs at Oregon State University. Dr. Chick's mentorship of CSSA graduate students and of Oregon State University student affairs professionals has left a lasting legacy.

Since its founding, over 500 students have graduated from the CSSA program. CSSA graduates hold positions in nearly every state as well as in several other countries. Alumni also hold positions at various levels of administration in colleges and universities from instructional faculty and advisors to presidents. Alumni have also held numerous leadership positions in professional associations including President of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), President of the Association of College Unions-International (ACU-I), Vice President of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), President of the Northwest Association of Student Affairs Professionals (formally NWCPA), President of the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA), as well as serving on numerous advisory boards, editorial boards, and national/regional committees.

CSSA Competencies and Core Values

The CSSA curriculum is organized around a set of core competencies that represent the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential for the student affairs professional to be competent, capable, and contemporary, and successful in their professional work with students and colleagues.  Additionally, the core competencies provide guidance in the orientation of CSSA students to the underpinning values of the student affairs profession and serve to inform the lifelong learning requirements for student affairs professionals.

As specified by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, the CSSA program includes the essential attributes of a comprehensive graduate preparation program (a) foundational studies, (b) professional studies, and c) supervised practice.  In addition, the CSSA program’s courses, activities, and pedagogy place emphasis on understanding and enacting social justice practices.

Read and learn more about the CSSA Competencies and Core Values.

CSSA Curriculum 

View more information about the courses offered in the College Student Services Administration program. 

CSSA Faculty

The CSSA faculty have a sincere commitment to the intellectual and professional formation of those enrolled in the CSSA program. View the adjunct faculty in the College Student Services Administration program.