Columbia Southern University Reviews - Master's in Occupational SafetySee reviews of all programs at Columbia Southern University
I purchased three degrees (Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Science) from Columbia Southern University (CSU). The established trend throughout all three programs was the Professors failing to provide valid and useful feedback (i.e. indicating where the mistakes actually were on the submitted assignments) in order to reinforce potential learning points. Without identifying where the "minor errors in punctuation and grammar" or "APA formatting errors" existed in the submissions, these obviously generic critiques became nothing more than random deductions. The trend in reference to feedback for any written assignment is to have an obviously pre-generated and generic assessment prefaced by a sentence, poorly attempting to personalize the generic talking points (i.e. Good job [input Student Name Here]! Generic comments. Keep up the good work.). There were a few exceptions, however, the well-established norm was CSU Professors' reliance on seemingly arbitrary checks in grading rubrics without any useful or meaningful feedback. Speaking from an academic perspective, just what is a student expected to glean from checks on a rubric, without errors being highlighted within the actual submitted assignment? This question was submitted through the student services center multiple times without being adequately addressed. Each time the validity of a critique was challenged, due to a Professor's failure to highlight where the error occurred within the submission, the Professor's response would be to assure me that my course GPA would not be adversely impacted. The challenges to the deductions never stemmed from a focus on the GPA, the challenges were attempts to actually come away with useful information in order to have a quality academic experience. This point fell on deaf ears. To read feedback wherein a professor has the audacity to write, the instructor is left with the impression is frustrating in the extreme. The question Just what instruction has been given? would immediately come to mind. In each course, I'd refer to a syllabus for reading assignments and topics for essays. The only interaction with the instructors is when they review written assignments. I use the term review lightly because of how dependent the professors seem to be on the SafeAssign software to justify their assessments. It seems to me they go for the low hanging fruit of APA format or grammar/punctuation for some quick point deductions so they can demonstrate critical assessments of student submissions. I can refer to multiple times wherein a professors feedback included according to SafeAssign your grade is., yet few and far between are there examples of a professor actually addressing or identifying the submission's content inaccuracies or errors. I am left with the feeling that what has actually occurred during this entire academic endeavor with Columbia Southern University is that I have used my VA Educational benefits to be given access to material which was graded by software. The academic experience has been that inconsistent, that impersonal. Grading criteria is inconsistent applied. There were multiple times when I had to bring amendments to the CSU grading policy to professor's attention. I would share the following excerpt from an email exchange with a full-time faculty member in order to have erroneous deducitons reversed: "Regarding references and citations in Unit Assessment written responses (like Unit I), that requirement was removed more than a year ago. The assessment instructions no longer state that references are required, and the static rubric used for all written assessment responses no longer has an APA element. This has caused some confusion among our students after we pounded APA references into their heads for several years. Complicating the matter are some of our part-time professors who have not paid attention and still deduct points for lack of references. For assignments that are uploaded, the instructions should specify whether APA format is required." There was one professor in the Master of Science Program who didn't know the difference between a written response and an essay! When challenged, he shared the rubric which he was using to justify formatting deductions. I was able to highlight the CSU policy governing formatting requirements for written responses, and the correct grading rubric, only to be told the deductions for formatting were within the "professor's discretion". I'm still waiting on a reponse from the Department Chair and Faculty Lead explaining how a professor who clearly disregarded Unit Assessment instructions, utilized the wrong rubric to assess written responses, ignored CSU policy regarding assessment requirements of written responses, and has demonstrated an inability to discern the difference between a written response and an essay, should continue to represent the academic standards of CSU. I began the Associate of Science program in Occupational Health and Safety in November of 2014. I was able to complete all three (Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Science) programs, with a concentration in environmental management in April of 2018. To put it another way, I completed 47 courses, only 2 of which required final exams within 2 years and 4 months! That should tell you all you need to know about this online business. If you're looking to buy a degree from an acreditted degree mill in order to meet a pre-requisite for an application or promotion look no further. Pay the fees and you'll receive a college tuition receipt, suitable for framing. However, if you are looking for a quality academic experience where you will come away with a true education in your field of study, this is not the place.
In 2009, I was pursuing a deggree in Environmental Science and I found Columbia Southern University which offered what I was looking for in the field of environmental science and safety. This degree helped me obtained a position as an Enviromental Inpsector and later as a Safety Trainer.
I want to first state that online university is a different a sometimes misunderstood approach to education. Although this is outside of the norm there are some benefits to pursuing a degree online, specifically Columbia Southern University. First off, the course load is manageable especially for a full time worker with a family. Second, the cost is reasonable. With that being said, you will get what you put in- I spent the majority of my first year just skating by however once I started engaging in the lesson plans, reading the provided prompt, and attempting the assignments with the lesson plans and readings in mind, I found that I was very successful. I have already been offered a job in the field without my graduation (which is Jan. 2019)- more pay, better schedule, and better benefits. In my mind that is a home run. In closing, this education platform is exactly what you make it out to be- for me, I put in the time and energy and it paid off with a bright new career.
I have attended 5 colleges (3 online and 2 local while going to CSU). This school has never once let me down. I am amazed there is anything less than 4 abd 5 star reviews. The professors are great and provide real life knowledge and application to the curriculum. My advisor (Patty Russell) has been so helpful throughout getting my As, BS, and as I go into my MS. The professors have made themselves available to me both during and after I have completed their classes; I've even reached out to one for help with an OSHA inspection. I cannot say enough about this school.
I spent over 12 years in the public fire service and then made the move to industrial safety. I now work in the oil and gas industry as an Environmental, Safety and Health professional. Overall I am pleased with my educational experience with CSU. The courses were beneficial and some of the instructors were very helpful. I did have a few courses where the instructors seemed to be under qualified judging by the feedback that they administered. One negative comment that I will make is that some instructors were more concerned with APA guidelines than they were with actual content. I understand the importance of professional writing and can appreciate that, however I also know that working professionals at a Graduate level need valuable content to assist with career advancement. I ended with a 3.92 GPA in the Masters program and would recommend this institution for working professionals that desire flexibility in their course work.
Let's first start with affordability. This school is extremely affordable, and I received my second masters for under $10k. It was so affordable I paid out of pocket unlike my first masters from another university that I am still paying on five years later. If accreditation is important to you, you should attend Waldorf University which is CSU sister school. They have similar focuses, and they are regionally accredited. However, they cost a little more. Second, the professors are knowledgeable and give you good feedback ( well most of them, but it's the same in any university). The OSH curriculum is not easy at all. It requires a lot of reading and like any online school, you have to be self-motivated. Apparently, over the last two or so years, they had some big cheating scandal with people selling papers or something, so they restructured all the exams and classwork from a mixture of multiple choice and short answers to strictly essays and research articles from the online library (database). Your ability to read, comprehend and write will even make you fail or succeed during this program. The degree hasn't influenced my income more too much as in OSH field; employers really can careless about the degree.The curriculum is good ground work for a cert exam. You will have to study extremely hard, and you get to keep most (or all) books. Getting a CSP, CIH, PE, REM, CHMM, CSHM, etc. or any other EHS professional certification will increase your chances of promotions better. Anyone that say they received a dramatic increase in the EHS field with just the degree and know professional certification is probably blowing smoke up your tail. I have 2 master's and 12 years experience in EHS field. I made it to supervisory level in the field but I have been missing on the managerial or director level positions since I don't have a professional cert. I never really needed it. I am studying to take my cert exam at the end of the month. Overall the program is good. Some classes are more challenging than others and some professors grade harder than others like any college. Anyone that want to work with the federal government you will have to have 30 semester hours of pure sciences and your Industrial Hygiene or Engineering courses will need to come from an ABET accredited program. CSU don't have that accreditation. Most federal agencies wan those classes. I am able to work for one but I have a BS in Chemistry and Masters in Environmental Toxicology from other universities.