Columbia Southern University Reviews

  • 179 Reviews
  • Orange Beach (AL)
  • Annual Tuition: $6,600
87% of 179 students said this degree improved their career prospects
79% of 179 students said they would recommend this school to others
Start Your Online College Search:

Student & Graduate Reviews

  • Reviewed: 9/3/2016
  • Degree: Occupational Safety
"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."
  • Reviewed: 9/1/2016
  • Degree: MBA in Public Administration
"Great school and great professors. However, the student advisory department is a waste, they should do away with this department. It is better to contact your professor if you have any concerns. In the four years that I have attended the school only once, I was contacted by my advisor via email. When I needed to talk to an advisor I was unable to reach them. Another problem is the online library. Other than that great school."
  • Reviewed: 8/27/2016
  • Degree: Environmental Science
"I began my college education thirty years after graduating from high school. I researched and found Columbia Southern University offered a BS in Environmental Services Management that best aligned with my current employer and interests. Columbia Southern educators have been great, they have common chat rooms, will contact you via email, and give detailed feedback on assignments. Although not in a classroom or face-to-face it makes it feel more personal, more one-on-one. Earning your degree on-line gives you the freedom to work, handle your family responsibilities and not stress over the commute to get to class. It allows you to schedule your study time around your other responsibilities. In 2009 I began my Associates, by 2012 I completed my Bachelors while working full time. That same year I got promoted and enjoyed taking on a more responsible demanding role. To date I'm still continuing my education, I am now just 5 classes from earning my Masters in Emergency Services Management, with a 4.0 GPA. Not bad for someone who grew up and was told women were to marry and have kids, education was not necessary! There is no end to what you can achieve, just try one class, then one more ... before you know it you too will have earned your degree!"
Unhappy Student
  • Reviewed: 8/26/2016
  • Degree: Organizational Leadership
"My experience with CSU has been horrible. 1. During the first class I took at CSU, my experience is that the online library significantly lacks resources. When searching the History database for "Federalist Paper number 1", the result I get is "Media Discourse and the Yugoslav Conflicts...." which has absolutely nothing to do with American History and the Federalist papers. When searching for a book referenced in one of the reviews provided by the school, "Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist Papers", my first result was "The irony of Barack Obama: Barack Obama, Reinhold Niebuhr and the problem of Christian Statecraft". Again, nothing to do with the search criteria. When searching for "American Revolutionary War", I get "Islam and Political Violence". When requiring use of the online library, it would seem to make sense that adequate resources are provided. The Instructor was understanding and allowed me to use alternate resources to successfully complete the assignments. 2. During the second class, I encountered instructions for assignments in a syllabus that conflict with the grading rubric, a requirement to submit assignments in a system that they know won't accept the required formatting (they tell you that it won't accept the required formatting in their tutorial), was given a textbook that is a different version that what is referenced in the material, experienced a Professor who graded not based on the instructions for the assignment but based on rubrics that don't match the instructions given for the assignment. When attempting to point this out to the staff, they admit that the instructions are confusing and sent it to the Instructional Technology and Design department for review but agreed with the Professor grading based on instructions that were not provided. After completing an assignment with instructions of "Cite the text", I was graded based on yet another rubric that was different than the instructions that were provided (the rubric said to provide outside resources but the instructions for the assignment say "Use your knowledge...." and "Cite the text to support your ideas...") and was threatened with being referred for an Academic Integrity Violation. I have been asked to un-enroll from their University."
  • Reviewed: 8/23/2016
  • Degree: Environmental Science
"Amazing school and highly respected with employers. I got my dream job thank to the Masters Degree offered by this great school. It took me three long years of hard work and lots of assignments but it was totally worth the effort. The tuition fee was very low in comparison to the similar program but the courses and instructors were high quality. I totally recommend them for any EHS/ OHS courses or degrees."
BS in Business/MBA Project Management
  • Reviewed: 8/22/2016
  • Degree: MBA in Management
"Earned my Bachelor's and Master's degrees here. Excellent student support staff gets you started with ease. Knowledgeable instructors with great credentials. Well rounded degree program with a challenging but achievable workload. You will learn to do research and write well. No group projects, which if you have ever had to deal with that drama, is a big plus. You register for a class, and they ship you the book(s) automatically, or give you online access, whichever is applicable. No hidden fees to nickel and dime you into oblivion. Fair grading, but not everyone gets a trophy- you have to earn it. Curriculum is current and relevant to today's business environment- what you learn here today you will use tomorrow at work."
  • Reviewed: 8/9/2016
  • Degree: Occupational Safety
"Columbia Southern University is an outstanding, affordable alternative to the traditional university. It provides excellent courses that are geared towards preparing the student for career advancement as well as entry into their field of study. I would highly recommend Columbia Southern."
  • Reviewed: 7/31/2016
  • Degree: MBA in Human Resources
"I graduated in 2016 and I have to say I love this school. I just hope to find me a good job. I do wish they would offer more scholarships for grad students wanting to enter the DBA program. It would also be nice if the school was Regionally accredited. Tom"
  • Reviewed: 7/22/2016
  • Degree: Business Administration
"This college was amazing. It was all online so I could do it at home without finding childcare for my kids. It was in my own pace yet had deadlines that were set. The deadlines were all realistic and it made completing the assignments on time easy."
Howard H. Walmsley
  • Reviewed: 7/14/2016
  • Degree: Emergency Management
"I have attended Columbia Southern University to achieve a masters degree in emergency management. I am please to day, I love the school. The staff and professors are very knowledgeable and made it easy for me to begin my courses. My professors were all Doctorate level and very impressive. I learned a more than I thought about a subject I was already passionate about, and I found the school to be the best decision I ever made. I hate to leave after graduation. Go Knights!"
  • Reviewed: 6/28/2016
  • Degree: Emergency Management
"I have earned 3 degrees from CSU. My scholastic exposure to a higher education of my field from professionals in their field was phenomenal. It was hard work and the professors expected the hard work to come from me. While the expectations were high, so was the encouragement and ability to contact my professor with any questions I may have had. My experience was better than I anticipated. I would recommend this college to everyone. When it came to using the advisory staff for starting college and advancing through the degrees, I found them extremely helpful and always courteous where I found some colleges with a take it or leave it attitude. Everyone is friendly and helpful."
Lori EHS specialist
  • Reviewed: 6/17/2016
  • Degree: Engineering
"I have and will continue to refer professionals to Columbia Southern University. Every professor I had during my program had their doctorate level degree, very impressive. One of my professors authored seven books on the topic of study. Again, very impressive. Other online university I have attended presented only adjunct professors. Books are mailed as soon as you enroll in your courses. I was able to graduate with my Master of Science degree in 13 months. Earning this degree got me a promotion, I jump up three pay grades and received a substantial raise. Loved it so much I am returning to CSU; enrolling in the university's MBA degree program with a concentration in project management, starting in September 2016. GO Knights!"
Safety Professional
  • Reviewed: 5/25/2016
  • Degree: Engineering
"My experience at CSU has been a great one! The instructors are very helpful and passionate about helping their students. I've read complaints about the school being only "Nationally" accredited, that only has a significant impact on your future employment based on your career choice. For instance, a Psychology major (which typically requires a doctorate degree to reap any benefit) should consider a traditional brick and mortar school. Less traditional programs of study like OSH, the accreditation is not a factor because the information provided is just as in depth as any other institution you will find. In fact an employee that works directly with OSHA based in Washington D.C, says employee candidates with a CSU degree are looked upon as having a wealth of knowledge as OSHA recognizes the degree program as being a rigorous one. The only downside is the lack of oppurtunity to gain hands on experience. However most students at this school already have real world working experience and are now furthering their education. Overall as a military veteran, I say thank you to CSU as they have provided me with great opportunity to expand and achieve all of my future endeavors. Keep up the great work CSU!"
Frank Smalls
  • Reviewed: 5/14/2016
  • Degree: MBA
"Great school, The course work is very challenging. I enjoy my time at CSU. I would recommend this school to anyone that is looking for first-class education at a reasonable. The subject are base on real life. The Instructors are knowledgeable and always ready to help"
C. Covington
  • Reviewed: 5/14/2016
  • Degree: Criminal Justice
"I am 1/2 way through my masters degree program and thought I would share my thoughts. CSU might not be for everyone but it works for me. Some reviews complain about advisors and disbursements. My advisors change every few weeks. I can see where this can cause confusion for folks. I don't require much from them so it doesn't matter to me. I could see how this could be a problem for someone in undergrad who doesn't understand what classes they need. As for disbursements this is difficult at most colleges. The money comes from the fed usually so the college has to wait until it arrives. I am a law enforcement officer at a college and I am frequently called to enrollment services to deal with irrate students who get very angry. I don't think CSU is unique there. Overall I am very pleased with my program. My command staff is aware that I am working on my masters and that alone has given me an edge. There is a promotion board coming up and even without the degree I am a strong applicant for promotion. I have been able to take information from class and apply it directly or used it to explain something several times already impressing my supervisors. I am very happy with the program so far. The school isn't perfect though. The quality of the professor varies widely. Some have been very involved and others much less so. I think a few just read enough of your work to write a short comment in the grades section and move on. Others rip your paper to shreds and question you a great deal. This is often true in brick and mortar schools too though. This school really requires a great deal of self motivation. The student does nearly everything, no one is teaching you the material. You have to learn it on your own. If you aren't able to thrive in that environment this might not be the place for you. Since I do like self learning it works great for me. The student also has to know what they are getting involved with. As many have said this school is Nationally accredited not Regional. Sometimes this matters and other times it doesn't. Do your research before you sign up. For me it doesn't matter. I work for a Regionally accredited college but they accept National degrees. One of the deans' phd is from. nationally accredited school; good enough for me. This school isn't Harvard or Yale either (it doesn't claim to be). Your degree might not have the brand name recognition that a major school has. Just make sure you research your academic needs before you sign up (you should do that at any school though). Is it perfect? No. Is it good? I think so! Is it a good value with a good return on your investment? For me it has been. Good luck!"
  • Reviewed: 5/12/2016
  • Degree: Information Technology
"I graduated from CSU in mid-2012 w/ a B.S. in Information Technology w/ a 3.8GPA. I was able to transfer in 75% of the credits needed thanks to my A.A.S. degree completed at a community college, several IT certifications I had and a couple classes from a college attended years earlier. I know for a fact getting a B.S. in IT helped me get 2 different IT-related jobs since 2012 and helped me switch careers after the recession. CSU is a nationally accredited school, which means it is 100% legit and fully-recognized by the United States Government as a legitimate, reputable university. CSU has now been around for decades at this point. CSU's classes, expectations and class structure/workload is consistent and well-crafted for it being 100% online. The biggest selling point for me was the # of credits they transferred in, the low cost per credit ($200 when I went) and the take-classes-at-any-time approach vs. needing to work full-time and figure out how to attend a real, physical school Mon-Fri. I think schools like CSU are the future for people because a regular state school can charge $20k/annually for tuition+room & board and frankly, they guarantee no better job than anything else. I would recommend going to a community college to get years 1 & 2 from face-to-face learning, for even cheaper than this ($100-125/credit hour) and then for years 3-4 going to a school like CSU. And for people whining about accreditation and not being able to go beyond, that's hogwash. Regionally accredited schools like University of North Alabama offer Master's Degree programs (which again can be taken online) to CSU grads and don't penalize/look down on them at all. So you can get the best of both worlds. If I had any complaints, it's that, having gone to a 4-yr. school years ago, you get ONLY the education stuff and none of the college life stuff. Second, it feels isolating never meeting classmates or teachers, so it's equivalent to self-study. Third, I wouldn't recommend doing all 4 years at CSU - just do 1-2 years at most. I think 120 credits at CSU wouldn't be a wise decision - just transfer in what you can from elsewhere - they take just about anything relevant."
  • Reviewed: 5/2/2016
  • Degree: Psychology
"NOT REGIONALLY ACCREDITED!....which leaves a lot to be desired. I wasn't aware it wasn't accredited before attending it was only after I had completed majority of my courses that I found out. I should have checked but I assumed the school being highly recommended by the Education office and one of the top 10 universities being attended by veterans using their education benefits that it would be but it's not. I do have to accept some personal of the responsibility in that because it is up to the student to choose their school. The school seems not to want to answer questions regarding the accreditation outside of "we're working on getting regionally accredited and it's a long process." I have had multiple members of the faculty give me this answer verbatim. If you are looking to continue your education onto a masters degree or get a job with the degree outside of the government (which most times will take any degree from any school) it greatly limits your opportunities. I haven't heard of anyone graduating from here that went onto attend an accredited public university everyone continues with online private colleges with similar programs. Some of the professors are very helpful able work with you. I found that mostly I made the same grades regardless of the effort I put into my assignments with a few exceptions. It's good because it offers flexibility but I would say if you are serious about having a career or continuing your education do not attend here. They are good with getting your financial aid and other benefits set up to attend. The student advisors leave a lot to be desired. My advisor would always recommend classes I had already completed so I only contacted them when I had a questions outside of my degree progression. I would say the biggest issue is the accreditation because you spend all that time and money to come out with a useless degree that no one accepts especially if it is in a filed where you need to continue your education to be able to use your degree as mine is but other than that it isn't a bad school. If they fix the accreditation issue I would recommend it to others."
  • Reviewed: 4/26/2016
  • Degree: Business Administration
"Great 1st semester...the professors will help and will work with you. Only thing...have to make sure you schedule the final and a proctor...if not you will get an F. I like the school and plan on finishing my MBA. I can do this and still work as a busy Director of Operations for a restaurant group... Go Knights!!!"
Almost Done Grad Student
  • Reviewed: 4/23/2016
  • Degree: Healthcare Administration
"Great school for working adults, great price, Great feedback from counselor, I had gotten behind on one of my classes, I received a call out of the blue from my counselor encouraging me, made sure I was in touch with my professor, and offered to assist in any way he could. (Thank You). Price is Right, Some college professors are delayed with a response but I found if I send a request or response to them in the "Ask the Professor" they generally get right back to you. Overall I am very satisfied with my level of education received. It has definitely prepared me for my advanced career."
Grad student
  • Reviewed: 4/15/2016
  • Degree: MBA in Finance
"I ended up switching to another school. Reason I chose CSU, cheap tuition, books included, work at your own pace. Reasons I left CSU: Student advisor is a waste of time, if I asked her for something she would refer me to a link. Professors, disengaged, take forever to respond to emails, takes for ever to grade papers, no feedback on work submitted, syllabus unclear and obviously cut and pasted for every class, grading not accurate to rubic, submitting papers half the time was easy, other half was a mouse maze of links. Also the advertised special pricing discount for military but never applied it or refunded me for the over price. Some of the books are really e-books and I personally don't like e-books. Book shipping is unpredictable. It took weeks before the even shipped them, you'll have to schedule your classes around the book shipping department and not the other way around."