College Student Personnel Services and Administration

[1] Program Summary

The Master of Science program in College Student Personnel Services and Administration provides professional preparation for students seeking student services positions in both two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions. Program graduates will be prepared to assume leadership roles as directors or assistant directors in such specialty areas as residence life, Greek affairs, judicial affairs, financial aid, career services, placement offices, minority affairs, admissions, orientation programs, international student programs, student activities offices, academic advising centers, student center management, recruiting, disability services offices, and alumni programs.

The program is interdisciplinary to prepare student services administrators for diverse areas of responsibility, including finance, budgeting, marketing, public relations, strategic planning, technology application, leadership/team-building, and legal/ethical issues. The program integrates theory with practice by combining academic preparation with field-based experiences and internships. The program also gives students access to graduate-level instruction from faculty in multiple disciplines, an important component not often found in other student personnel models, allowing students to broaden their understanding of the campus community and exposing them to a wide variety of institutional processes.

[2] Objectives

  • To enhance the leadership skills of student personnel services administrators who can quickly recognize and adapt to changes in the field and in the needs of college students.
  • To promote an understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities required of student services professionals.
  • To familiarize students with the theoretical foundation in models of human and student development and learning and to apply those concepts to the creation of more effective service units.
  • To foster interpersonal communication skills.
  • To promote the use of quantitative analysis and research to investigate and solve problems.
  • To use technology to create more efficient organizations.
  • To engage in strategic planning and visioning to provide services that provide maximum benefit to students.
  • To engage in sound financial and budgeting practices to most efficiently use the resources of the organization.

[3] Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School at the University of Central Arkansas. Additionally, students must

  1. Submit three letters of reference from professionals who are familiar with the applicant's professional and academic performance;
  2. Submit a paper addressing a topic related to higher education; and
  3. Participate in a scheduled interview with the program admissions committee.

[4] Program Requirements/Curriculum

The degree consists of 42 semester hours of graduate credit. Students may pursue either a thesis option or complete a written comprehensive examination as the culminating experience. Students completing the thesis option will not be required to take CSPA 6335 Grant Writing. The curriculum consists of three components: Foundational Studies, Professional Studies, and Supervised Practice.

  • Foundational Studies includes the study of the foundations of higher education and student affairs.
  • Professional Studies includes five related areas:
    1. Student Development Theory
    2. Student Characteristics and Effects of College on Students
    3. Individual and Group Interventions
    4. Organization and Administration of Student Personnel Services in Higher Education; and
    5. Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
  • Supervised Practice consists of two semester-long internships in at least two distinct settings.

Non-Thesis Option required courses: CSPA 6310, 6311, 6318, 6320, 6325, 6335, 6391, 6360, 6365, 6370, 6392; LEAD 6321; PSYC 6354 or COUN 6342; and COUN 6350.

Thesis Option required courses: CSPA 6310, 6311, 6318, 6320, 6325, 6391, 6360, 6365, 6370, 6392, 6395; LEAD 6321; PSYC 6354 or COUN 6342; and COUN 6350. Note: Thesis credit may be earned as either 6195, 6295 or 6395 but must total at least three hours. Once enrolled in thesis credit students must enroll for a minimum of one hour each semester including summer until the thesis is completed.

[5] Other Program Policies

  1. Transfer Credit: A maximum of nine hours of transfer work may be accepted to meet program requirements excluding courses for practicum and internship. Transfer credit must be approved in advance by both the program coordinator and the department chair.
  2. Course credit with C grades: A maximum of nine hours of C grade will be accepted as part of the degree program.

[5.1] Continuous Enrollment Requirement

College of Education graduate students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment throughout their program of study until achieving program completion. Specifically, College of Education graduate students are expected to be enrolled in at least two of the three semesters in a given calendar year (Spring, Summer I or II, and Fall). If a student must take a time-out, the student is expected to notify his/her home department. If a student fails to register for more than one semester out of three in a given calendar year, he/she may be ineligible for readmission unless granted by the home department.

[6] Courses in College Student Personnel Services and Administration (CSPA)

Follow this link to CSPA course descriptions: course link.