Post-Masters Certificate Program


The rationale and need for the certificate program lies in the circuitous routes through which many individuals enter the Student Affairs profession. Basic entry-level requirements for a position in Student Affairs include a master’s degree – preferably in the field of counseling, student personnel services, higher education administration, or a comparable discipline. However, many individuals enter the profession with academic preparation in other disciplines and advance in the field based upon their experience. While these professionals are adept in their management skills, they may lack an educational/developmental focus in performing their duties. The certificate program is designed to educate student affairs professionals regarding “how” and “why” students develop during their college years. Equipped with this training these student affairs professionals will be better able to construct learning/developmental outcomes and design programs that will intentionally facilitate such learning and development.


The certificate program in College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) is designed as a professional development series for professionals working in Student Affairs on a college campus. It is a twelve credit-hour program comprised of courses that address the core knowledge, theories, and philosophical foundations of the Student Affairs profession. Student Affairs professionals who have completed a master’s degree in a discipline outside of CSPA are admitted to this program and introduced to the specialized knowledge and practice inherent in the profession. The certificate program is comprised of courses in college student development, student personnel services, professional issues in student services, and an approved elective in the area of either management or counseling/student development (based upon the student’s previous training). All classes are taught in a traditional classroom setting. No online options are available.

Courses of Study

  • PSYC 645 - Student Personnel Services
  • PSYC 646 - The American College Student
  • PSYC 649 - Multiculturalism, Diversity and Differences
  • And an Approved Elective

Application to the Certificate Program

Applicants are required to be currently employed in higher education or Student Affairs before application is submitted. Students who wish to apply to the Post-Master's Certificate Program in College Student Personnel Administration must submit the following items to the Office of Outreach & Engagement:

  • Application form Post Master's Certificate Application
  • Application fee
  • Transcript indicating completion of master's level degree
  • A letter of recommendation from a current supervisor
  • Submit your resume
  • Written responses to these four items:
    1. Describe your current position and how you interact with college students.
    2. Describe how you will benefit from completing the certificate program.
    3. Describe how the degree-seeking students (i.e. CSPA classmates) will benefit from your participation in class activities.
    4. Describe your future plans and the role of a CSPA certificate in those plans.

Applications are accepted once a year. The deadline for applications is January 15th for admission beginning fall semester.

Questions and additional information:

  • Dr. Cara Meixner
    Director, CSPA Program

    James Madison University
    MSC 7401
    Phone: 540-568-6522