Master in College Student Personnel Administration

University of Central Missouri

Program Description

Master in College Student Personnel Administration

University of Central Missouri

About CSPA

The Master of Science degree program in College Student Personnel Administration prepares outstanding generalists for a broad range of entry-level and mid-level positions in student life, student development, student services, and other professional staff areas in institutions of higher education. The curriculum integrates theory and practice in classroom and field-based settings to graduate professionals with the necessary knowledge, skills, commitment to ethics, respect for diversity, and caring to enrich the lives of students. The curriculum meets the standards set by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education for Student Affairs graduate preparation programs.

A major strength of the CSPA program is the close partnerships between the program and student affairs professionals on the campus. Practitioners in student life, housing, student activities, the campus union, and a variety of other settings mentor and teach students in the program. Students benefit from working closely with recognized leaders in their areas of expertise.


Admission requirements


Submit a transcript showing an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with an overall undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.70, or a 3.0 in the final 60 hours (requirements for those receiving a graduate assistantship may be higher). The transcript is submitted with the online application to the graduate school (see application process below). A copy of the transcript (or transcripts) will be sent to the CSPA Program Coordinator with the graduate application.

Candidates also must submit a writing sample describing his or her career goal and how the academic program fits with that goal. Two letters of recommendation are required. One letter should come from a former professor, while the second should be completed by a work supervisor. These items must be sent electronically.


Student Outcomes

With a degree in College Student Personnel Administration, you will use the knowledge and skills obtained through your studies to:

  • Create programs to promote development in which a clear understanding of student development theory is translated into applied practice.
  • Describe the various "cultures" which exist on a college campus, including in terms of governance and "political" dynamics, and identify how interaction among members of each culture affect the mission of the institution and the quality of teaching and learning on campus. Graduates will be able to create environments in which members of different cultures learn to appreciate and cooperate with each other in common cause.
  • Understand management, organizational and leadership dynamics, including organizational theory, financial responsibility, legal issues, the preparation and implementation of a budget, and similar operational issues.
  • Demonstrate comprehension of the various student cohorts seeking higher education in which respect for their individual differences, and understanding of their diversity, as well as an appreciation of their individual and shared concerns, are taken into account.
  • Construct environments, based on a clear understanding of entering and continuing student characteristics and needs so that these students are provided optimal opportunities to learn along with appropriate support in meeting predetermined and evolving intellectual and developmental goals.
  • Describe, in clear and precise language, the standards and ethical guidelines which inform the profession and demonstrate, through her/his own behavior, that these codes are "lived" in daily practice.
  • Understand how to employ assessment techniques and to evaluate outcomes from the framework of individual, group, and environmental perspectives and use the information obtained to make judgments about those programs and services offered others. Students will be familiar with methods and techniques of quantitative and qualitative research and gain the ability to critique such research. Students will be provided with opportunities to design, implement and report about a research study.
  • Comprehend how organizational, management, and leadership theory apply to various student affairs functions such as financial aid, academic advising, residence life, etc. They will also be able to discern how management, leadership, and other theories evolve overtime and how to adapt theory and practice to emerging demands and expectation.
  • Communicate, in language appropriate to each audience addressed, the cultural/historical underpinnings of American higher education and the college student personnel profession as well as the purposes served by CSPA professionals in today's higher education.
  • Construct, including in partnership with students, faculty, and others, a series of intentional activities, programs, and events designed to achieve well-defined developmental outcomes as well as predetermining how such outcomes will be assessed and success measured.
  • Demonstrate competency as agents of change including being able to analyze unique situations, cope with unexpected challenges, as well as be able to demonstrate the flexibility and the ability to cope with ambiguity and chaos necessary to function as a professional in the post-modern university.



See MoCENTS for information about applying for scholarships. Below is a partial list of UCM scholarships many of our students are eligible for. Create an account, complete the application, and apply for as many scholarships as fit your application. A selection of available scholarships is listed below:

  • Dr. David Sundberg CSPA Scholarship
  • Sarah W. Schwartz Scholarship in Educational Leadership and Human Development (preference given to a female student)

Standards and Practices

Our CSPA Program follows the standards and practices of the following organizations:

  • Missouri College Personnel Association
  • American College Personnel Association
  • National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • ACUHO-I Internship Program
  • Student Affairs.Com

CSPA Graduate Assistantships

Get Ready for a Great Experience!

This information applies to Graduate Assistants hired for the CSPA program. Information about other Graduate Assistantships is available through the Office of Graduate Education and Research.

CSPA GAs work with committed staff who not only welcome diversity and creativity, but encourage student development. The close working relationships between and among students, student services faculty, professional staff, and administrators promote an environment in which students are mentored, challenged, and offered a broad spectrum of experiences to create themselves as the outstanding professionals they seek to become.

Course Rotation Schedule

Not all CSPA courses are offered each semester. The rotation of classes is arranged to allow a full-time student entering in fall to graduate by the second May. Students beginning in January should still be able to finish within two calendar years (although this is not required).

Early enrollment is highly recommended. Delayed enrollment may result in a class being canceled for insufficient enrollment.

The current recommended rotation is as follows:

Fall (first year)

  • CSPA 5110 - Introduction to Student Affairs Administration (3)
  • CSPA 5120 - Helping Skills for Student Affairs Administrators (3)
  • CSPA 5410 - Assessment and Program Evaluation in Student Affairs (3)

Spring (first year)

  • CSPA 5210 - Student Development Theory I (3)
  • CSPA 5220 - History of Higher Education (3)
  • CSPA 5130 - Leadership and Organizational Theory in Higher Education (3)
  • CSPA 5980 - Internship in Student Affairs (1 hour*)


  • CSPA 5980 - Internship in Student Affairs (1 hour*)

Fall (second year)

  • CSPA 5310 - Student Development Theory II (3)
  • CSPA 5320 - The Law in Higher Education (3)
  • CSPA 5330 - Governance and Finance in Higher Education (3)
  • CSPA 5980 - Internship in Student Affairs (1 hour*)

Spring (second year)

  • CSPA 5230 - The College Student (3)
  • CSPA 5500 - Seminar in Higher Education (3)
  • Approved Elective (3)**

* Internship hours will occur in one hour increments across three terms, regardless of when the internship work experience is accrued.

** The elective should be approved by your graduate program advisor prior to enrollment.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 8, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Jan. 7, 2019
May 13, 2019
2 years
Full time
597 USD
Missouri Resident: $$298.50/per credit hour. Non-Resident: $597.00/per credit hour. Per credit hour rates do not include mandatory fees, housing or textbooks.
USA - Warrensburg, Missouri
Start date : Jan. 7, 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Dec. 31, 2020
Start date : May 13, 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Apr. 30, 2021
Start date : Aug. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date July 31, 2020
Jan. 7, 2019
USA - Warrensburg, Missouri
Application deadline Request Info
End date Dec. 31, 2020
May 13, 2019
USA - Warrensburg, Missouri
Application deadline Request Info
End date Apr. 30, 2021
Aug. 2019
USA - Warrensburg, Missouri
Application deadline Request Info
End date July 31, 2020