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Columbia Southern University

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By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/2/2023



Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private, fully online institution that features a variety of distance learning degrees. Some of the most well-attended programs include bachelor's and associate degrees in business administration, fire science, and occupational safety and health. With its open admissions policy, CSU accepts all candidates who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Nearly half of the university's students enroll part time.

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Rankings by Salary Score and Affordability

Salary Score for Online Degrees at Columbia Southern University

Associate's Degrees

Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities Not Reported $47,293 100
Criminal Justice and Corrections Not Reported $52,858 99
Health and Medical Administrative Services Not Reported $32,760 63
Fire Protection Not Reported $69,482 23

Bachelor's Degrees

Criminal Justice and Corrections Not Reported $57,427 99
Natural Resources Conservation and Research Not Reported $65,149 97
Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions Not Reported $79,188 85
Business Administration, Management and Operations Not Reported $52,194 77
Health and Medical Administrative Services Not Reported $45,490 61
Human Resources Management and Services Not Reported $48,915 51
Homeland Security Not Reported $57,125 44
Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management Not Reported $55,329 38
Fire Protection Not Reported $72,619 34
Computer and Information Sciences, General Not Reported $46,882 18

Master's Degrees

Homeland Security Not Reported $76,475 85
Criminal Justice and Corrections Not Reported $61,828 72
Public Administration Not Reported $56,491 52
Public Health Not Reported $52,515 42
Business Administration, Management and Operations Not Reported $63,186 39

FAQs About Columbia Southern University

Is Columbia Southern Legitimate?

Even though Columbia Southern only offers distance learning programs, it is a legitimate online college. Columbia Southern University is an accredited member of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency, and it's a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a nonprofit organization serving as a national advocate for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation. All of Columbia Southern's programs have been reviewed and approved by DEAC.

Institutional accreditation — formerly called regional or national accreditation — is one of the best indications of a school's quality. Earning accreditation requires colleges to meet and maintain rigorous academic and administrative standards.

What Is Columbia Southern Known For?

Degrees in Business and Quality Control

The most popular subjects at Columbia Southern are business and quality control, according to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. This includes the school's Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health, along with associate degrees in the same fields.

What Are the Career Outcomes for Columbia Southern?

According to College Scorecard, only 48% of Columbia Southern students graduate within eight years of starting their degree. This is below the median eight-year graduation rate of 59% for all schools combined. However, most students who graduated in 2021 reported that they were employed soon after, including 83% of bachelor's graduates who majored in business or occupational safety and health.

College Scorecard reports median annual wages of $74,398 for Columbia Southern graduates, which is higher than the $45,760 median yearly salary for all U.S. jobs combined. But this $74,000 doesn't tell the whole story, because the College Scorecard data is based on students who received federal financial aid. Only 56% of Columbia Southern students currently receive federal gift aid and 41% receive federal loans.

How Difficult Is It To Get Into Columbia Southern?

It's not difficult to get into Columbia Southern because the university has an open admissions policy. This means that all undergraduate applicants are admitted as long as they have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and graduate students can attend if they hold a bachelor's degree.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Columbia Southern?

All undergraduate and graduate degree candidates must complete an online application, which requires a social security number and contact information. Because Columbia Southern has open admissions, the university doesn't require entrance exams, letters of recommendation, or personal statements. Applying is free.

Bachelor's degree applicants submit an official high school transcript, GED transcript, or verification of homeschool completion consistent with requirements in their state. Prospective transfer students also need official transcripts from all postsecondary schools they've attended. 

Master's and doctoral degree candidates must submit official transcripts for all colleges they've attended.

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