California Southern University Reviews

  • 64 Reviews
  • Irvine (CA)
71% of 64 students said this degree improved their career prospects
69% of 64 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

Jason S.
  • Reviewed: 12/23/2022
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"I see a lot of negative responses about communication and advising. I don't understand this. I have had great experience with my advisor. When there is a question the advisor is prompt and either answers the question directly or puts me in touch with the person who can. Communication with Professors has been amazing. Again, if I have a question the professors are quick to answer and even offer Zoom calls if requested. The subjects and assignments are engaging and the classes are designed for students to communicate and work together. My experience as a student and someone who has worked for almost a decade in the field of higher education has taught me that a University experience is dependent on what you put into it. So many of the comments on this thread really reflect more of the learners attitudes towards education more than the institution. If you were to attend an Ive League or any other school you would face some issues with communication and this is partly due to the fact that the expectation of any program is that you are educated and motivated enough to find answers when you need them. It's 2022 and access to information is easier now than any other time in history. Higher education overall is not designed to baby you. If anything it is to teach you how to teach yourself. The higher the degree the more onus there is on the student to be independent. This is an online degree program, you should expect that you will have to do some leg-work. I have friends in many institutions that are in the top 1% that face the same issues that are mentioned in many of the negative comments. The difference is the attitude and individual motivation of the student. Calsouthern has a lot to offer for those who are able to apply themselves and commit to doing the work. The school is accredited and transparent. I recently had a question regarding licensure and the advisor literally initiated a conversation with the Board of Psychology to find answers. The only weakness I have found are the library resources, but this is also the case at many institutions. At the end of the day your education is in your own hands and is what you make of it. Expecting a professor, advisor or any representative to be at your beckon call (regardless of the institution) is rather lazy and unreasonable. Those that have had negative experiences would have had the same experiences regardless of whether they attended Oxford or a vocational school. Gas lighting is usually the expression of someone that can not take responsibility for their own actions and that is what I am reading throughout these reviews. Don't be discouraged by what you are seeing in these comments. I am a student at CalSouthern a long with a lot of great classmates who come from diverse backgrounds, and yes, there are those that only put 5 or 10% into their program and those are the one's that are always complaining. You can see it in the discussion posts. At the end of the day your education is what you make of it. You don't like a bad grade, you don't like that someone didn't do your research for you, you don't like that you didn't read the catalogue to understand the requirements of the Uni? That's not on the institution. You feel that your advisor didn't "reach out" or isn't responding? Request a new advisor... I have never had that kind of experience. I have had two advisors and they have been absolutely amazing. I have had professors that I have had great connections with and even after the class they will check in and see how I'm doing. They have a wealth of educational and professional background and are always open to share their experiences and even their struggles. So I would HIGHLY recommend CalSouthern. As far as the school being, "only concerned about money".... This is laughable.. Institutions make money that's just the reality of any business whether it is education or retail. I have worked with Institutions in higher education that would blow your mind when it comes to getting money out of you. Textbooks, parking tags, activity fees, class notes, club fees, high prices on campus based diners or cafeterias, even down to ridiculous fees for transcripts. Calsouthern, will refer you to sites that sell textbooks but you are free to get them wherever you want. The fees are straight forward and are even less than most institutions. I have attended Institutions that actually required that you buy printed copies of class notes for $30-$50... These were prestigious institutions. Calsouthern has never charged anything like this. Overall, I spent several years looking for an accredited university with a good online program. I moved overseasd 12 years ago and have had limited access to Doctoral programs. When I finally found this University I had my concerns as anyone would looking at an online program for the first time. Calsouthern, for me, has been and continues to be a great experience. I work hard, stay in touch with my advisor and professors as any student should and have never been disappointed by the response. Jason Sullivan class of 2024"
  • Reviewed: 12/21/2022
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"I started as just tipping my toes in there, but I ended up taking my PsyD degree. It was rigorous and worth it. Downfall, the academic advisors were in and out ( resigned or something). Another thing: The university waived my tuition, and it was reset to $0.00, instead of paying in $16,000.00s, I paid less than $2,000.00. I am glad for the decision I made. Good luck to you all."
Sara Russ
  • Reviewed: 10/14/2022
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"I attended this school from 2012-22 for their PsyD program. The quality of the education is horrible. They eliminated all personal contact and students are completely on their own. They also moved to Arizona. What? Recently I tried calling three different numbers and extensions and got only voicemails, which is thought was odd. I also didn’t get a return call. They have made some incredibly shady changes in recent years, which is why I withdrew. I no longer have any faith in this PsyD program. Trust me when I say that you should look somewhere else because this place is seriously suspect. I spent over $10k and got nothing for it."
Dr. Edward Ramirez
  • Reviewed: 6/27/2022
  • Degree: Business Administration
"CalSouthern University offered a great experience and increased my passion for research. The dissertation process was very challenging and rewarding. My chair Dr. Maria Schellhase was nothing less than amazing! This school will challenge you, so if you are looking for an easy degree without paying the price and sacrifice required, this is not the school for you. Overall, I rate my three-year journey a 5 with academics that transformed my career! I commend the school and recommended it to every serious learner!"
  • Reviewed: 6/17/2022
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"I am completely dissatisfied with the level of administrative support I receive from the university. They switched from one platform to another (CANVAS) platform and the level of support I started with just vanished. I currently have no idea who my advisor is, nor do I know how to find that information. Also, I have left messages on the CANVAS board for advisement (as I'm almost done with coursework and want to prepare for the exam) and have had no return messages. The library is missing a lot of online journal subscriptions and I constantly run into roadblocks with finding research during literature reviews. The new library system is much less efficient and you have to click on individual searches with your search string rather than just one big meta search. It was much easier to find research in the old system. There also doesn't appear to be a lot of support yet for practicum preparation or internship preparation, and lack of the APA accreditation makes finding internships daunting. Though I'm not sure I'm going to get licensed as I don't intend to change my current career, it would be nice to have some flexible options. The financial system is such a mess, also, They just switched to a different company that handles the fee payment but there's also a balance due on the website, which is confusing. It just seems very fly-by-night with the new platform. The quality of instruction hasn't seemed too bad but there is a huge inconsistency in work demand between instructors, which some having more time devoted to smaller papers with one big project due in the last two weeks of the class that requires a great deal more time to complete."
Steven Mendoza
  • Reviewed: 5/28/2022
  • Degree: Psychology
"After exploring many avenues to attend a PSYD program, I enrolled at California Southern University. This was the best decision, and I am delighted and motivated to participate in the Online classes. My experience in this academic institution has been phenomenal. Currently, I am taking Clinical Interviewing, and the assigned textbook comes with an access code to videos. The videos and the content are fabulous, and I find myself actively learning from the assigned text. Also, the videos and other activities included in the course are great! These clinically driven classes are of extreme help because the clinicians/instructors in these videos discuss essential skills that the scholar/practitioner needs to know to practice within the Professional Practice of Psychology. Also, there are other WEB SEMINARS that are available to all graduate students enrolled in the PsyD. Moreover, I was able to transfer 30 units into the PsyD program, and I have now completed a few more courses, and I continue to make progress. This University is fully accredited (WASC), just like any other major university in Southern California. The only difference is that the tuition is reasonable for those with no other means, or resources to obtain a graduate education. In addition, I have received a %15 percent tuition discount for my U.S. Army Service, and I have received a scholarship from California Southern University, which has undoubtedly assisted me with my educational goals. The clerical staff and the accounting department had been very ethical, and the contract from the university is within ethical and honorable standards. My experience with this University has certainly been positive. My professors read my work, and they provide feedback on time. If the work is not acceptable to meet the University's academic standards, then the work needs to be resubmitted. I know it is not easy, but it needs to be done to earn the grade effectively. If you want to learn because you are eager to learn, and apply your knowledge in a work environment, then enroll. But if you want an easy ride, then consider other options. I am trying to convey that this is not an easy program, and it is geared toward those serious about developing new knowledge for cognitive gain. This University is fully accredited and meets (United States) national accreditation standards. The professors have earned credentials from American Psychological Association programs. Now, I know there are many negative reviews about the professors, the University, the staff, and even Gardner, that takes care of the plants around campus, LOL. The truth is that there is always going to be an opinion. I certainly will recommend this academic institution to my friends because it was founded under the premise that "Knowledge Conquers Everything." If you want to create new knowledge, evaluate, and analyze information, consider your options carefully, as there are many options. It is up to you to understand, remember and apply your knowledge. Remember, "You make the degree work for you." Practicums and Internships are also available in the Curriculum of the PSYD. To enroll, you would need to pass all core courses and electives, including comprehensive exams. Then Internships. I would highly encourage you to speak to an advisor for guidance. Good luck in your endeavors…… S."
  • Reviewed: 4/19/2022
  • Degree: Psychology
"I chose California Southern University because tuition is affordable, and I get to work at my own pace. You will be just fine if you can self-motivate and are responsible for keeping track of time and pacing yourself. I don't recommend this school if you have terrible time management. Don't think you can pass without doing the work either. I feel the courses are vigorous and you will learn a lot. I love that I do not have to work with other learners in completing assignments. I have had to do that for my undergraduate courses in a different online program, which was terrible. Not everyone has the same work ethic as you do. I have only had two academic advisors throughout my time with this institution, and they were fantastic. I recommend this school."
  • Reviewed: 3/27/2022
  • Degree: Business Administration
"For a study-at-your-own-pace experience, I am self-motivated and this program was great. I liked not interacting with classmates or relying on the instructors, I prefer researching for myself, studying, then writing my analysis of the work. You get what you put in. They did a major overhaul of the platform in summer of 2021 and are still making improvements. My thesis committee was great, my chair was excellent, and she pushed me. As for the coursework, it was on par with my MBA work from another accredited school, so I feel it was fair. If you are new to online learning or need a lot of teacher/peer support, then this may not be for you. But if you want to work hard, fast, and do a lot of writing/research to earn a degree, then this program is good. Top notch? Not entirely, you do get what you pay for, but it is accredited and doable by any working professional."
New student
  • Reviewed: 12/1/2021
  • Degree: Psychology
"I have completed a few online degrees and worked in higher education and this is by far the worst learning environment I have had. The library is a canvas course and I am currently in an “interactive” class of one. My resources were poorly explained to me as a new student, there is no such thing as live supports, and the learning systems are lacking."
Dr. Bernard Klop
  • Reviewed: 5/5/2021
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"My five years as a student at California Southern University was a wonderful experience! The flexibility in programming and the quality and rigour of the courses are on par with any brick and mortar university. I had a fantastic team to support me through my dissertation journey, and was able to graduate summa cum laude. As with any university program and especially one with a distance learning format, to be successful requires a high degree of motivation and self-discipline. If you are passionate about furthering your education and establishing yourself as a leader in the field of psychology, Californian Southern University is a great option!"
  • Reviewed: 11/7/2020
  • Degree: Psychology
"I graduated about 8 months ago, paid my account in full, and still has not received my diploma, despite the fact I reached out to them several times and was left with no response. I am looking into my other options to escalate this issue. This is revolting and I feel indignant."
  • Reviewed: 10/31/2020
  • Degree: Psychology
"I can't recommend this school. Please don't choose to go here just because the tuition is cheaper than elsewhere. You truly get exactly what you pay for. My experience is that this school's #1 priority is taking your money. Period. End of story. Some of their policies are punitive and greedy. Once they have you locked in to the program, they don't really care much about accommodating any problems or issues that may arise for you. They also switched my academic advisor part way through the program. What I was told by the first advisor regarding how many breaks I could take in between courses, was not upheld by the next advisor. I was also given other false information by my academic advisor that ended up costing me more money in the long run. Instead of apologizing for giving me inconsistent, conflicting information, they treated me like I was the one who was the problem. In psychological terms, this is what is known as "gaslighting." Be prepared to be bullied. I find this school's policies and practices to be somewhat shady and not honorable. I was also treated terrible as a student during the Covid-19 crisis. When the stay at home order hit California, I lost everything and had no income for several months. Initially. trying to get a leave of absence from this school was like pulling teeth. Eventually I got one, but they treated me just awful in the process. They have no compassion for students. My final message to any prospective student is this: Buyer beware. They want your money more than they want to make sure you have a good education or great experience, and there is a gaslighting culture here."
James Byron Harvey
  • Reviewed: 9/25/2020
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"The experience had it's ups and downs, but at the end of my program where I needed to test for the qualification examination, the university was missing-in-action the entire time. No support by-the-way regarding internship and practicum placement. Plus, they do not support APEX placement at all! I studied for three months in preparations of for the qualification examination, and the resources the university provided was minimal. Did not pass by one point, and reached out for support for study materials to be successful, and the Assistant Dean of Behavioral Health directly refused to help me. At this point, do you really think after five years I am going to having any positive to say after thousands of dollars spent on this university? HEL NO! Find somewhere else, but do not attend this PSYD Program. You will regret the end."
  • Reviewed: 9/10/2020
  • Degree: Psychology
"I had 9 different advisors. They approved me to start my research project and in the middle of it told me that I had to take 2 additional courses. It always takes 5 to 6 emails to get anyone to respond from accounting or admin. When asked justification for a break down of an additional 1500 fee, no one could give a reasonable explanation other than " admin stuff" and "scheduling". I was told by the Dean " it is what it is". Education is decent, the admin and leadership is horrible. *Update... since complaining to the Dean about the services I was being provided, I was told that my chair will be replaced due to being on too many chairs. I am on the last 2 chapters of my doctorate project.. and they replaced my chair person. The person I have been working with the entire time on my project! I was told there would be a fair review process of my complaint and would have a student representative to talk to. No one talked to me to understand my complaint, rather I was sent a letter that stated that the "University is under no obligation to provide me with a consistent chair through out my education". There are many options for schools, pick any other option! The people at this university do not care about the students. The Dean of psychology told me that when they made the decision to replace my chair, that my perspective was not considered. In the letter I received, they literally told me what is "in my best interest" ...with out even consulting me about MY education. Do not waste your time and money"
  • Reviewed: 7/7/2020
  • Degree: Child Development
"I see some negative reviews on here, and I think each experience is different. Yes, academic advisors change really often, which can't be blamed solely to the university, because these are employees as well, who may chose to take other career paths. Other than that, the mentors are great, very rigorous and caring. Some of them, like any other university can be harsh and uncaring as well. I have been with this university as a student since 2012, but I can say that I have really enjoyed it so much. I have gained tremendous amount of knowledge and skills, and my professional performance has been way better since attending this university, and my supervisor and friends have noticed that to me. So, nothing or none is perfect, Calisouthern University is no exception. But it is really a great academic institution. I am preparing for my PsyD now, and I can't be happier for the support I have. Not to mention that is is affordable as well, and regionally accredited (although not APA accredited yet). Glad to be part of California Southern University. M."
J. Yang
  • Reviewed: 1/8/2020
  • Degree: Psychology
"I love Calsouthern! Their online platform is perfect for me because it allows me to work and learn at my own pace. It is also a lot more affordable on my budget than competitive programs I looked into before enrolling. I am half way completed with my program and so far everyone I have been in contact with (Mentors, Advisors and the Librarian) have been extremely helpful and friendly. If you are looking for a program that allows you to get a degree on your own time and offer support, I recommend this school."
  • Reviewed: 1/4/2020
  • Degree: Business Administration
"I took the first course in the DBA program and dropped 4 weeks in. I should have dropped sooner. The instruction is horrible. The instructor is completely disengaged. Assignments are reading text book chapters, writing papers, getting a grade and posting a chat in the forum from time to time (these are graded). I learned nothing from the instructor because he relied on the text book to do the teaching. and referred questions to web sites so you can find your own answers. He used a bachelor degree level text book, so if you have prior instruction in business, you learn nothing new. The online system is proprietary, meaning I think they developed it in-house. It is really primitive and has only the basic functions of uploading papers, and posting in the forums. I give the program a grade of C-. Their DBA program has a high student attrition rate. You would think they would dig into the cause and work to improve. The instruction reflects either a lack of knowledge of how to teach or a lack of commitment to students. I felt like people in the program were basically buying a degree. If all that is important to you, then this is the place for you. But if you are looking to learn to excel in the competitive world of real business, go elsewhere. If you dicide go to CSU for your DBA, I hope to connect with you on a business deal because I will be taking advantage of your poor education and taking all your money!"
Great Option for Working Professional
  • Reviewed: 12/26/2019
  • Degree: Marriage & Family Therapy
"I started when the tuition was lower than it is now. Touro University Worldwide was the only other inexpensive online program at the time and so the choice was a toss up. WASC accreditation and affordability were the main reasons I chose this program. Like any school, some teachers were good, some were fair and some were pretty bad; overall most were good. My advisor was great! He did a great job selecting teachers that matched my learning style. It is a program only for those who are able to be self-directed. You are really on your own in the classes and for finding a suitable practicum site. I would recommend to any student who just finished a bachelor's degree that they attend a brick and mortar school with a cohort group and the chance to practice in a classroom setting. That was not me and this program for the price I paid was ideal. I also recommend a COAMFTE Accredited Program for most, but since I am planning on staying in California for the foreseeable future, that was not necessary for me. It seems that a COAMFTE accredited degree is more portable and accepted by more states without the hassle of jumping through a bunch of hoops. It is also much more expensive! In the end, for about $25,000 total (books, tuition & fees), I have an accredited degree, am now registered in CA as a counselor and am well on my way to licensing. I also already have a job and an offer for another job (both from sites where I did practicums). Overall, my experience was very good and I am 100% satisfied."
  • Reviewed: 12/11/2019
  • Degree: Clinical Psychology
"The advisers change weekly and no one knows what they are doing. One is told different things by whom ever you speak with. You have to self-teach. I would NOT waste my money because truly, that is all the school cares about, or so it seems. When I graduated, I had a credit of almost $1000.00 due to my over paying. Do you think I have my money???? Nope, still waiting. It is shameful they way they do business. They charge you for all these silly asinine things but can never explain why."
  • Reviewed: 11/27/2019
  • Degree: Psychology
"I enjoyed my coursework and found the program challenging yet fair. I am frustrated, however, because Cal Southern does not participate in Degree Verify, an online site employers use to verify degrees. The other major online universities, such as Walden and Capella, do participate. I feel this makes a degree from Cal Southern appear less legitimate."