College Student Personnel program

Degree Requirements - CSP: Higher Education Leadership

The curriculum for the College Student Personnel program are rooted in the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies, Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) Graduate Preparation Program guidelines, and feedback from the annual surveys conducted with our recent alumni and their student affairs employer.

The Higher Education Leadership track consists of 43 semester hours of credit including a specialization core of 36 hours, six hours of application through hands-on student affairs work, a thesis or a mixture of one of these experiences selected in consultation with your advisor. Graduate School requirements regarding transfer of credit and extension work will apply.

Core courses are offered in a sequential fashion (six-seven credit hours per session), and have a low-residency approach – typically three in-person weekend course meetings per session with the remaining coursework facilitated through WesternOnline.

Course Sequence


Program Course Descriptions

CSP 533 Special Problems in College Student Personnel. (1–3, repeatable to 6) Designed to provide a group of students an opportunity for further professional growth and to apply problem-solving approaches in dealing with a specific educational problem. 

CSP 550 Legal Issues for Professionals in College Student Personnel. (3) A study of the complex problems of law and ethics as they influence the field of college student personnel and the student affairs professional’s role. 

CSP 552 Introduction to College Student Personnel Work. (3) An introduction to student affairs in higher education focusing on the foundations of the profession, its theoretical base, models of practice, and necessary competencies. An overview of specific areas of student affairs practice is provided.

CSP 553 Organization and Administration of College Student Personnel Services. (3) An analysis of organizational structure and administrative responsibility of college student personnel workers. Attention will be given to administrative procedures, budgeting, planning, records relationships to students, and relationships to other institutional administrative personnel and academic units. 

CSP 554 Higher Education in the United States. (3) An overview of higher education in America. The course reflects the historical development of higher education and provides students the opportunity to explore the broader functions, issues, and participants that comprise post secondary education in the United States. 

CSP 559 Student Development Theory and Application I. (4) A critical analysis and review of student development as the theoretical basis for the student affairs profession. Consideration is given to formulating a personal philosophy of student development, current research, and methodology, and writings. 

CSP 560 Student Characteristics and College Impact. (3) Characteristics of college students, focusing on the needs of the diverse student populations on today’s college campuses, will be examined. The impact of college on students, including factors related to retention and attrition and the differential impacts of college on various student populations, will also be explored. 

CSP 597 Theory to Practice I. (3) Intensive professional experience, under supervision, in a student affairs setting. The purpose of this course is to gain practical experience in applying the knowledge gained in didactic courses to a field of specialization. 

CSP 598 Theory to Practice II. (3) Continuation of CSP 597. Intensive professional experience, under supervision, in a student affairs setting. The purpose of this course is to gain practical experience in applying knowledge gained in didactic courses to a field of specialization.

CSP 600 Capstone Professional Development Seminar (3) An integrative seminar taken in the student’s final semester. Using a case study approach, the seminar is designed to assist students in applying concepts studied in previous courses to current problems and issues in student affairs. Prerequisite: CSP major.

EDL 500 Leadership Development. (3) Leadership styles and theories; organizational cultures, structures, and contexts; change processes; decision-making; communication skills; motivation; and effective team-building.

EIS 500 Methods of Research. (3) An introduction to the nature and techniques of contemporary social scientific research (including educational and human service). Emphasis placed on developing research literacy through critically reading, examining, and evaluating the characteristics of both quantitative and qualitative research. Additional emphasis on the critical issue of the nature of the relationship between research and its application to practice. 

EIS 523 Advanced Measurement and Evaluation. (3) Study of theories and applications of measurement in education including testing and evaluation. Attention to measures of central tendency, data collection, and analysis.

EIS 607 Implications of Diversity for Educational Leaders.  (3) Rapidly changing demographic patterns hold implications for school policy.  Effective educational leaders understand diverse cultures and communication styles, and practice collaboration and dialogue.  This course will provide resources necessary for administrators to establish themselves as facilitators who offer an inclusive educational vision for the community.