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College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA)

Made to Order

The University of Central Missouri's College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program provides a variety of opportunities to help you achieve or enhance your role in student affairs in higher education. Whether you're coming from just completing your undergraduate degree or looking for additional qualifications or courses online for professional development, UCM's CSPA program can help you meet your career goals and objectives.

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Graduate Degree

The Master of Science degree 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.

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Graduate Certificates

The CSPA program offers several graduate certificates designed to enhance the knowledge and effectiveness of those employed in student affairs positions in higher education.

Adult learners in a classroom

Professional Development Courses

Practitioners in student life, housing, student activities, the campus union, and a variety of other settings mentor and teach students in the following  topics to enhance student affairs practice:

  • The Community College
  • Enrollment Management Theory and Practice
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education
  • Foundations of Academic Advising
  • Preparation for the Professoriate
  • College Curriculum & Assessment
  • Teaching Methods in Post-Secondary Education

See our full list of CSPA courses in the catalog!

Admission Requirements

Information regarding specific admissions requirements for the CSPA degree and certificate programs are available on their respective pages.

All prospective UCM graduate students must submit a transcript showing an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The transcript is submitted with the online application to the graduate school. A copy of the transcript (or transcripts) will be sent to the CSPA Program Coordinator with the application. GPA requirements vary by program.

Scholarships & Tuition

See our Scholarships Page for information about applying for scholarships. Scholarships that are specifically for CSPA students are:

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

Information about tuition and costs can be found on the Student Financial Services website.

CSPA Graduate Assistantships

Get Ready for a Great Experience!

This information applies to Graduate Assistants hired for the CSPA program. Information about other Graduate Assistanships 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.

CSPA GA Application & Selection Process

Application Process

To be considered for a CSPA GA position, you will need to submit all of the following materials:

  • Cover letter expressing interest and listing which specific assistantships you are interested in (one cover letter can address multiple assistantships)
  • Resume
  • List of three professional references with contact information
  • Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts will be required later, upon request)

All materials should be sent to the Selection Coordinator, Alan Nordyke, at (e-mail submission preferred). They can also be mailed to Alan Nordyke, Ellis Hall L23, Warrensburg, MO 64093.

The priority application date is February 1.

Candidates will be directed to complete the on-line posting application which will be posted on the UCM Jobs Page at the appropriate time.

Selection Process

  • The 2021 CSPA Campus Interview/Visit Days will be a virtual experience only.
  • Selected candidates will be invited to participate in campus CSPA Interview/Visit Days. This invitation will come as an e-mail from Alan Nordyke.
  • Job offers will be extended following the conclusion of the CSPA Visit Days .

GA Position Job Descriptions

CSPA graduate students can be found in multiple positions across the UCM campus. To learn more about the GA positions dedicated to CSPA students, please click the links below for job descriptions.

NOTE: Not all positions are open every year (No Date listed indicates a CURRENT Opening; Date listed indicates anticipated start date)


  • Do I have to have an assistantship to be in the CSPA Program?
    • No, the CSPA program does not require students to have a graduate assistantship to be admitted to the degree program.
  • I am not finishing my undergraduate degree until this summer; can I still apply for a GA position?
    • You must have a completed your undergraduate degree and submit transcripts that show completion to UCM before you can start a graduate assistantship. It is very important that your final official transcript is received by UCM prior to the start date for your assistantship.
  • I will finish my undergraduate degree in December; are there GA positions available for the Spring?
    • Most graduate assistants are hired for the full academic year, so it is unlikely there will be a position open that begins in January.
  • My current cumulative GPA is not a 2.70, but I expect it to be by end of the current semester. Can I still apply for a GA position?
    • You may apply, but it is likely you will not be considered during the selection hiring process as offices do not like to risk losing other qualified candidates.
  • I have a pet and many of the graduate assistantships require living on campus. May I bring my pet?
  • I have a significant other and many of the graduate assistantships require living on campus, can my significant other live with me?
    • We do have a partner policy for GAs required to reside in on-campus housing. For more information, email Alan Nordyke ( 


The Assistantship Experience

Alumni Comments

For more information about CSPA Graduate Assistantships, contact Alan Nordyke (

Standards & Practices

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

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 with the Master of Science degree 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.

Set up a meeting to speak with Dr. Michelle Conrad to discuss the course rotation that would best meet your needs.

Program Coordinator

Michelle Conrad
Associate Professor
Lovinger 4200 B
Tel: (660) 543-4432


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