Fueled by our legacy of activism and interdisciplinarity, CSSA cultivates transformative educational practices and professional leadership for better, more equitable futures.

How we learn

Our core curriculum is rooted in innovative approaches to student development, student success, student leadership, and community engagement. And CSSA’s academic and cocurricular programming provides students with the knowledge, skills and awareness to integrate and apply social justice practices in varied student affairs settings. Our program fosters discourse, critical thinking and collegiality, enhanced by expert faculty mentoring, expansive opportunities for valuable work-based experiences and leadership development to ensure every student gains relevant exposure to the complexities of a large, public research university.


Specifically, our program is strengthened by:

  • professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and nationally
  • practical learning experience through internships, partnership and projects
  • networking opportunities at the institutional and national level
  • flexible degree offerings and delivery modes
  • our commitment to upholding rigorous national standards and principles, including those set by CAS, NASPA and ACPA


Required Courses for All Students

A major in College Student Services Administration is generally completed in two academic years and requires a minimum of 54 graduate credits and a capstone (for EDM) or thesis (for MS) project. Additionally, every student expands their expertise by selecting one area of specialization, which includes coursework within and electives beyond CSSA:

  1. Student Affairs & Student Success
  2. Inclusive Leadership & Systems Development
  3. Sports, Athletes, & Education
  4. Critical Studies in SLCS
  5. Thesis
  6. Create your own!

40 Credits of Core Courses

  • CSSA 510: Internship in College Student Services (9)
  • CSSA 513: Research & Assessment in Higher Education (3)
  • CSSA 520: Multicultural Issues in Higher Education (3)
  • CSSA 530: Fundamentals of Counseling (3)
  • CSSA 548: History of Higher Education (3)
  • CSSA 551: Programs and Functions in College Student Services (3)
  • CSSA 552: Principles and Theories of Student Development I (3)
  • CSSA 553: Principles and Theories of Student Development II (3)
  • CSSA 554: Legal Issues in Higher Education (3)
  • CSSA 557: Professional Development in College Student Services Administration (1)
  • CSSA 558: Organization and Administration of College Student Services (3)
  • CSSA 574: Budget and Finance (3)

 15 Credits of Elective Courses 

  • CSSA 502: Independent or Special Studies (1-3)
  • CSSA 503: Thesis (3-9)
  • CSSA 505: Reading & Conference General (1-6)
  • CSSA 505: Reading & Conference Portfolio (1-6)
  • CSSA 506: Projects (1-3)
  • CSSA 549: Globalization in Higher Education (3)
    • Academic Advising (1)
    • Disability Issues (2)
    • Transitions (3)
  • Other Electives within SLCS or other Dept/Program (3)

Master of Education (Ed.M.)

This first degree option, the Master of Education (Ed.M.), is earned through successful completion of all required program coursework and successful completion and defense of a capstone portfolio. The capstone portfolio is a cumulative, comprehensive, and reflective form of student assessment. Completing a portfolio requires that the student address each program competency in a comprehensive, meaningful, and creative way. The portfolio “product” can be shared in any number of formats, including, but not limited to: writings, pictures, audio or video clips, and electronic media (websites, CDs, PowerPoint documents, etc.). No specific format is required or preferred. Students are asked to utilize the format that is most compatible and appropriate given their strengths and learning. Students are strongly encouraged to develop and assemble numerous and diverse artifacts in meeting the competencies on an ongoing basis. Final portfolios are distributed to and evaluated in writing by a committee just prior to the last term of coursework. A public, formal committee meeting with oral presentation and defense serves as the second method of evaluation.

Master of Science (M.S.)

The second degree option, the Master of Science (M.S.), is earned through the successful completion of all required program coursework and successful completion and defense of a thesis. In addition to the required coursework and the thesis, students pursuing the M.S. degree must also demonstrate adequate evidence of competence and learning in each of the nine CSSA competency areas. Demonstration of this evidence may take the form of an extended/detailed competency plan with select work samples or other methods approved by the major professor. This demonstration need not be a portfolio, but it should still show adequate evidence of competency mastery. The thesis research should be significantly reflected in the demonstration.