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Master's in College Student Personnel

OCPA 2019
Program Code: ME6275

The graduate degree program in College Student Personnel (CSP) is a long-established, nationally respected, full-time, cohort-based program, taking two academic years to complete. The history of CSP program can be traced back to mid-1960s when the program began as a specialization in the counseling program. In recent decades individuals from across the U.S. as well as other countries come to Ohio University to study in the Masters in College Student Personnel program. Approximately 20-25 students enroll each year in this cohort-based program. Over the past nearly six decades, our graduates have attained significant leadership positions in colleges, universities, and professional associations. Quite a few of CSP alumni became the presidents of NASPA (e.g., Dudley Woodard, 1989-90), the national association of student affairs administrators, or Vice Presidents of top research universities.

The Master's in College Student Personnel curriculum integrates theory and practice, blending courses in student development theory, student affairs administration, counseling, and higher education with hands-on experience in student affairs offices at Ohio University or at neighboring institutions. The program requires the equivalent of two years of full-time study and follows national standards for professional education, while also personalizing study in order to meet individual needs.

All students in the CSP program hold a graduate assistantship in Student Affairs or other divisions of Ohio University. Visit the Student Affairs website to see a description of available graduate assistantships. Admission to the program and the GA assignment are independent decisions.

Deadlines for Applications for Academic Program and Graduate Assistantships Are Extended to April 30, 2022!

*Please note that the Program application and Graduate Assistant application are two separate processes

About the College Student Personnel Program

Standards and Guidelines

The curriculum in the Ohio University College Student Personnel program has been developed to meet the standards and guidelines of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. The standards for Master's Level Student Affairs Administration preparation programs have been used to guide a curriculum that also incorporates elements unique to the Ohio University CSP program. Additionally, the faculty have designed the curriculum to align with the ACPA/NASPA Student Affairs Competencies.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Students will comprehend realistically the different aspects of the student affairs profession.
  2. Students will analyze fundamental student affairs competency areas, including the structure and function of higher education, student development theories, diversity, and organization/administration, and assessment/evaluation.
  3. Students will apply leadership skills, interpersonal/helping skills, and scholarship skills to be student affairs professionals.
  4. Students will integrate their developing professional networks, their mentorship experiences, their assistantship/practicum experiences, and their academic experiences into their own unique career development

Program Philosophy and Objectives

For over 40 years, our Master's Degree students have embraced the mission of learning how to enrich the student experience. The program offers knowledge and skills in a distinctive community setting, a learning-living laboratory for studying and enhancing the undergraduate experience. The core values that guide the mission are:

  • "Community" as a mutually empowering learning environment
  • "Diversity" as more than the tolerance of difference but a commitment to equity, justice, and affirmation
  • "Individuality" as an expression of personal human growth and dignity
  • "Holism" as the synergy that must take place between the ideas and activities, the heads and hearts of our learners
  • "Service" as an unwavering devotion to the development of human potential
  • ­"Learning" as the primary reason for the existence of institutions of higher education

The program attempts to fulfill its MISSION by:

  • Providing a core of theory, skills, values, and attitudes to help our graduates enrich the student experience
  • Developing understandings about higher education, student affairs functions, college student development, and educational research
  • Assisting students in developing their professional competencies through field experiences that are sequenced appropriately with theory-oriented courses

Alumni Map and Job Placement Rate (close to 100%!)

Alumni Map

Faculty Diversity Statements

Program Faculty

"I believe it is important to move past lip service when it comes to diversity and social justice issues. To affect change, we have to develop the intellectual tools and political savvy to understand and challenge structural inequality. My goal as an educator is to teach the knowledge and skills necessary to help students advocate for more equitable systems." Dr. Laura Harrison

"Diversity features centrally in my pedagogical approach and work with students. Through teaching and working with students, educational contexts often divide and stratify students. In my courses, I engage students in challenging conversations that are pertinent to working with the changing demography of college campuses." Dr. Dave Nguyen 

"A transparent, routine, rigorous reflection on my own positionality and privilege as a cis-gendered white woman is essential to understanding what dismantling oppressors mean from the vantage point of a teacher, advisor, and researcher. My goal as a thought partner for lifelong learners of all backgrounds is to catalyze self-guided inquiry with a social justice orientation. Drawing from the work of scholars including Crenshaw, McCall, Said, and El-Tayeb, my writing focuses on critically-oriented questions at the nexus of migration, diversity, and internationalization in higher education." Dr. Lisa Unangst

"As an Asian woman faculty who came from a foreign country, I know I only can thrive in a campus culture that ensures diversity, inclusive and equity. This culture is what I am committed to nurturing and maintaining among all the students in my classes. The overarching theme of my higher education research is education equity, which is primarily examined from the financial and international perspectives. I also actively advocate for minority students and faculty through my service activities at the university and in the Athens County community." Dr. Lijing Yang

"College is a time of great opportunity for discovery about identity, culture, and community. As someone who has been around college campuses for over 40 years, I recognize that learning about diversity and social justice issues is not about a destination, but a journey filled with amazement, deep joy and profound personal challenge. My own experiences, often in the company of students, with rich classroom and out-of-class conversations to international adventures in small, rural communities in Africa and Latin America; and inner-city and poor rural communities in the United States, have opened minds to the stark challenges associated with structural inequalities. But my experiences with diversity have also helped me recognize the gifts and strengths of the individuals and communities that are often labeled deficient. As an educator, I believe my role is to expose students to people and ideas that help them love who they are; to learn about, acknowledge and celebrate the gifts of others; and to develop the tools and skills to shape local and global communities that honor everyone’s potential." Dr. Peter Mather

CSP Partner--The Division of Student Affairs (DOSA)

The OHIO Division of Student Affairs will ensure that a framework of equity and social justice is embedded into its day-to-day work.

The Graduate Assistant (GA) is expected to be inclusive, equity-oriented, and diversity-aware, which aligns with the institution’s expectations of diversity and inclusion. We seek a candidate committed to working with people holding similar or different world views while advocating for the inclusion of all people.  

The DOSA website highlights that equity and social justice is our strategic priority and delineates our progress toward that value.

Curriculum Overview

Enriching the student experience ­is the theme of our Master's Degree Program in College Student Personnel (CSP). The program offers knowledge and skills that help our graduates enrich student learning. Distinctive elements of our CSP program include the opportunity to have two unique practicum experiences in addition to the graduate assistantship and "specialized courses in College Student Affairs". 

The program prepares promising entry-level professionals for direct service positions in various higher education settings by helping current professionals attain the necessary skills to assume leadership positions. Most of our students attend full-time, gaining professional experience through graduate assistantships. Full-time students with assistantships usually take two years to complete the program.


Fall, Year 1 Spring, Year 1 Fall, Year 2 Spring, Year 2
Research Methods Campus Environments Capstone Project Leadership and Change Management
College Student Development Diversity in Higher Education Assessment and Evaluation Legal Issues in Higher Education
Helping Skills Student Affairs Organization and Administration Theory to Practice Seminar 1 Theory to Practice Seminar 2
Higher Education in the U.S. Elective/Practicum Elective/Practicum Elective/Practicum

University Partnerships

The Ohio University College Student Personnel Program has a strong, collaborative relationship with the Division of Student Affairs, University College, and Diversity and Inclusion. CSP students are involved as graduate assistants, interns, and practicum students, serving on committees and participating in professional development programs. University partners participate in the professional development and educational preparation of CSP Master's Degree students. Student affairs administrators are also frequently asked to share their expertise as guest speakers in CSP core courses. Ohio University is fortunate to have a strong and well-respected Division of Student Affairs whose professionals are committed to partnership in the development of future Student Affairs professionals.

Academic Admissions Process

The application process for master’s degree study in College Student Personnel requires acceptance to the academic program and a graduate assistantship offer by January 1st for first consideration:

  1. No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required.
  2. Review the CSP graduate assistantship informational packet: CSP GA Info Packet
  3. Completed Online Graduate Admissions Application and an application fee of $50
  4. Submit: 
    • Transcripts of undergraduate institutions attended.
    • Autobiographical Sketch/Personal Statement (2-3 pages, double-spaced) The autobiographical sketch provides a sample of your writing. It should tell us about you as an applicant and address important factors in your life journey that have shaped your interest in CSP and brought you to apply to this program.
    • Three letters of recommendation (the requests for your letters of recommendation will be available when you submit your application)
    • A current résumé.
  5. After reviewing your admissions materials, each student will have a personal interview with a faculty member. These interviews will be conducted in early January 2022. 
  6. Students will be notified about the status of their academic applications by January 25. At this time, students will be extended offers to participate in *virtual* Interview Weekend.

Graduate Assistantship Process

The application process for master’s degree study in College Student Personnel requires the following by January 11 for first consideration:

  1. Review the list of available graduate assistantships: which will become available in October 2021. 
  2. Apply to up to seven (7) available graduate assistantships. The faculty strongly encourage students to apply to at least five positions. 
  3. Students will be notified about the status of their graduate assistantship applications by January 25th. At this time, students will be extended offers to interview for the position. 
  4. Participate in Interview Weekend Days. 
  5. Initial offers for Graduate Assistantship positions will be extended within one week of the interview weekend.

Apply Now!

Request Information

For further information, contact:

Higher Education and Student Affairs 
Patton Hall 432