College Student Personnel Services & Administration


Welcome to the University of Central Arkansas’ graduate program in College Student Personnel Services and Administration (CSPA) webpage! The CSPA program provides professional preparation for students seeking student services positions in both two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions. The program is interdisciplinary to prepare student services administrators for diverse areas of responsibility, including campus climate and diversity, finance, budgeting, grant writing, assessment, leadership/ team-building, and legal/ ethical issues. Please feel free to contact the  Program Coordinator, Dr. Susan Barclay, with any questions.

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Susan R. Barclay
(501) 450-5303
Mashburn 220

General Program Information

CSPA at the summit of Mt. Lao in Qingdao, China – May 2013

Mt. Lao_EDIT

Consistent with the standards and beliefs stated by ACPA – College Student Educators International, NASPA -Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Council for the Advancement of Standards, UCA’s course of study offers opportunities to experience the exciting relationship between theory and practice. Students are expected to meet the intellectual challenges of coursework, assistantships, and professional involvement and to participate in learning experiences leading to an understanding of college student development, collegiate subcultures, organizational dynamics, and the nature of higher education. Another important learning goal is to encourage appreciation of multiple perspectives while developing communication, consultation, and interpersonal relations skills.

The program is interdisciplinary to prepare student services professionals for diverse areas of responsibility, including campus climate and diversity, finance, budgeting, grant writing, assessment, public relations, strategic planning, leadership/team-building, and legal/ethical issues. The CSPA program centers on the profession of student affairs at higher education institutions. This two-year Master of Science program highlights the many factors that affect a student’s college experience, such as the academic climate and its demands, student learning and development issues, the role of faculty members and administrators, and the impact of extracurricular activities. The academic program prepares students for positions in higher education administration and examines such topics as current issues, climate and inclusion, assessment, grant writing, history, legal foundations, student and administrative concerns, leadership and research. Practical experience is also a major component of the CSPA program; therefore, students are required to complete a practicum and internship. Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for more specific information regarding the CSPA program requirements. (Graduate Bulletin)

CSPA at the Great Wall of China – May 2012
Great Wall 2012

A unique experience of the CSPA program is the yearly visit to Qingdao University for the study of student personnel services and higher education at Chinese Universities. Students have the option of spending two weeks in Qingdao and Beijing experiencing the collegiate and country’s culture to enhance their understanding of diverse cultures and the international student experience.

Information for Prospective Students

Application and Admission Procedures

As an applicant for admission, you must present evidence of your ability to participate successfully in a graduate-level academic endeavor. To be considered, you must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and have achieved a minimum cumulative undergraduate Grade Point Average of 2.7 or a 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study.* All applicants must complete all necessary files as required by the Graduate School.

*”Graduate School entrance exams: Submit required test scores (GRE, GMAT, Praxis I) or hold a valid standard educator license for College of Education applicants. The UCA institution code for the GRE is 6012 (

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Program Application

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

  • Submit a completed application for admission to a program coordinator;
  • Submit three letters of reference from professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s professional and academic performance and can address capabilitiies to be successful in Graduate school and the profession;
  • Submit a one-page, single spaced letter of intent that includes reasons for becoming a student affairs professional, reasons why application to this program, and future goals in the profession; and
  • Participate in a scheduled interview with the Program Admissions committee.
Students admitted to the program need to have ample intellectual capacities, strong interpersonal skills, serious interest in the program, commitment to pursuing a career in student affairs, the potential to serve a wide range of students of varying development levels and backgrounds, and the capacity to be open to self assessment and growth. Criteria known to predict success in the program for students of various backgrounds and characteristics will be used in the selection. Students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply (Adapted from CAS Standards for Masters-Level Student Affairs Professional Preparation Programs).
The materials above, including your assistantship application and résumé should be sent to:
Dr. Susan Barclay

College Student Personnel Services and Administration
Department of Leadership Studies
Mashburn 230
University of Central Arkansas
201 Donaghey Avenue
Conway, AR  72035

Program Requirements
CSPA Incoming Class – Fall 2013
Orientation 2013EDITS

The program integrates theory with practice by combining academic preparation with field-based experiences and internships. The program also provides students access to graduate-level instruction from faculty with diverse backgrounds, including field practitioners.

The academic program requires the completion of 42 semester hours of graduate credit. A written comprehensive examination or thesis is  required for graduation competency requirements. 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.

  1. Foundational Studies includes:
    1. Organization and Administration of Student Personnel Services
    2. Student Development Theory
    3. Counseling Theories
    4. Student Characteristics and Effects of College on Students
    5. Cultural Understanding and Diversity
    6. History of Higher Education and Student Affairs
  2. Professional Studies includes:
    1. Assessment and Evaluation
    2. Grant Writing
    3. Research Methods
    4. Counseling Practices and Skills
    5. Leadership and Decision Making
    6. Ethics and Law
  3. Supervised Practice consists of a practicum and internship in at least two distinct settings.


Course Descriptions

Follow this link to CSPA class course descriptions with a CSPA prefix.

Follow this link to CSPA class course descriptions with an LEAD prefix.

Information for Current Students

Course Rotation Schedule (ROTA)

  • Course of study for students beginning Fall 2013.
  • Course of study for students beginning Spring 2013.
  • Course of study for student beginning Fall 2012.

Required Forms and Due Dates

Internship Manual: 

Internship Manual Summer 2013

Internship Manual Summer 2014