California Southern University: Online

About California Southern University

California Southern University is a regionally accredited, private and 100 percent online university. CalSouthern was founded in 1978 as Southern California University for Professional Studies (SCUPS) by Dr. Donald Hecht. His desire was to “bring the education to the student” using available technology and what he called, a “humanistic touch”.

As a result, CalSouthern became a pioneer in distance learning. It was among the first to use three terms often linked to online degree programs. These are, ‘one-to-one faculty mentoring’, ‘active self-learning’, and ‘personalized distance learning’.

California Southern University online graduate programs

Today, the technology at CalSouthern has evolved from its early use of correspondence learning. Courses are self-paced and delivered anywhere with internet access. Look for online degrees in psychology, business, law, criminal justice and nursing at the masters and doctoral levels. Find more than 30 degree and certificate programs using current best practices.

Mission, Vision and Values

CalSouthern has one central mission. That is to make quality higher education both convenient and affordable for non-traditional students, typically working adults. It remains dedicated to Dr. Hecht’s original vision: to offer distance education of the highest quality through faculty mentoring, delivered with a personal touch.

CalSouthern Graduation Rates

Based on data from 2016, CalSouthern reports the following graduation rates.i

  • School of Behavioral Sciences: MA 41%, MS 53%, PsyD 36%
  • School of Business: MBA 56%, DBA 43%
  • School of Criminal Justice: MSLEEL 100%
  • School of Law: MSL 25%, JD 21%

What is the job placement rate from California Southern University?

Overall, 86% of undergraduate respondents and 84% graduate respondents said they were employed in the field 6 months after graduating from their respective degree programs in 2015.

Financial Aid

While CalSouthern does not participate in Federal Financial Aid, it does believe in affordable tuition. For those who qualify, CalSouthern may offer locked in tuition, and various payment plans with zero interest.

CalSouthern Enrollment: ‘10 Easy Steps’

Applying to California Southern University is a streamlined process. There are no entrance exams. Future students fill out and submit their form online, then potentially enroll, in ten steps.

  1. Fill out online form
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Include a copy of a government issued ID
  4. Submit a short personal statement (If applying to graduate programs)
  5. Pay the application fee
  6. If accepted, receive email and personal letter
  7. Once accepted, review the degree plan
  8. Choose a payment option
  9. Sign agreement
  10. Begin orientation

International students are welcomed at CalSouthern. Learners may have to show TOEFL and IELTS scores.

Start Dates

CalSouthern courses start monthly, all year long. Most courses run in eight week sessions, although students are free to self-pace. Once they have finished a course, they can start the next one on the first day of the following month. This means no closed courses and no having to wait for the next semester. Plus, students can take up to three months off each calendar year.


California Southern University faculty mentors are typically both credentialed educators and experienced practitioners in the fields in which they teach. Faculty mentors work to get to know their students and provide personalized feedback on their assignments. They are also responsive by email, phone or Skype to answer their questions, provide extra support and offer guidance.

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Why Consider CalSouthern?

CalSouthern offers a unique blend of academic quality, flexible learning methods, and personal support. This means that courses of study may be continually enhanced to reflect any latest trends or best practices.

  • California Southern University is a candidate for accreditation of its business programs through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • The master program in nursing at California Southern University is a new applicant pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
  • California Southern University School of Law's degree-granting authority, in connection with learners qualifying to take the California Bar Examination and obtain admission to the practice of law in California, is based on its registration as an unaccredited law school with the Committee of Bar Examiners.

Program Model: 100% Online

CalSouthern uses a proprietary 100% online learning platform. There are no group projects and no required log-in times. This means students can study on their schedule, helping afford a balance with work and family duties. Extra convenience may be provided by a cloud-based suite of tools. Through this, students access coursework, research tools, productivity software and study resources. This can be done anytime, anywhere, on virtually any device. All that is needed is an Internet connection. Plus, CalSouthern’s IT support team provides any technical help needed along the way.

Student Support Services

In addition to faculty mentors, a team of advisors and academic staff is in place to provide support. Each student is provided with an academic advisor and learning success advisor.

CalSouthern students also have access to an online library. This provides research tools and databases, along with multimedia resources. Students may even tap into research and writing help from an ALA-certified librarian.

Other resources include a Master Lecture Series offered each year. Students are invited to attend in person, via live streaming video or on-demand viewing.

Services and Programs for Service Members and Veterans

CalSouthern extends several benefits to qualified service members and veterans.

  • Discounted tuition for military service members, military spouses and veterans
  • Waives application fees for active-duty military service members, their spouses and dependents
  • Accepts education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as military spouse education benefits
  • Offers credit for military training and experience
  • Provides a dedicated support team

CalSouthern Accreditation

CalSouthern is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission.

CalSouthern Academics and Degree Programs

CalSouthern has five schools, each offering ‘applied’ degrees. They are intended to be relevant, practical, and develop skills and knowledge that can be applied to their respective fields. Choose from behavioral sciences, business, criminal justice and law enforcement, law and nursing. Some California Southern University degrees may satisfy state educational requirements for licensure in several fields.

Program Highlights: Online Psychology Degrees (MA, MS, PsyD)

CalSouthern’s School of Behavioral Sciences offers degree “developed by practitioners, for practitioners”.

Online MA in Psychology

Do you aspire to counsel others? CalSouthern’s online Master of Arts in Psychology (MA) is a 60-credit program. It is designed to provide a solid base for those interested in marriage and family therapy or clinical counseling. Taken on a full-time basis, students may complete their degree in 4 years.

  • Learning OutcomesThe MA program satisfies the educational requisites for licensure as a marriage and family therapist (MFT) and licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in the state of California.
  • Courses: Students take a series of required core courses and fulfill a 9-credit practicum. They fulfill their clinical experience in a clinical setting approved by California Southern University. A sample of core courses, like: Counseling theories and strategies, Psychopathology, Systems of family therapy, Psychopharmacology, Crisis and Trauma.

Online M.S. in Psychology

If you are looking for a more focused option, CalSouthern’s online Master of Science in Psychology (MS) is a 42-credit program. It may be completed in 2 years of full time study or, in up to four years. Students in the MS program take a series of six core courses. Among these are counseling theories, social psychology and psychopathology. At the end of their program, students complete a masters thesis.

  • Learning OutcomesThe MS may be used as a stepping-stone to CalSouthern’s PsyD program. The PsyD satisfies the education requisites for those seeking licensure as a clinical psychologist in California.
  • Areas of Emphasis: Once enrolled in the MS program, students focus their studies through an area of emphasis, such as: Sports Psychology, Chemical Dependency, Industrial Psychology, Pastoral Counseling, and General Psychology

Online PsyD

Are you looking for an alternative to the PhD in Psychology? The Doctor of Psychology is a 66-credit applied degree that is clinically focused. The program is capped off by a doctoral project on a topic chosen by each student. Based on full-time study, the coursework may be completed in four years. A practicum is done at approved local sites.

  • Learning OutcomesAs a terminal degree, the online Doctor of Psychology meets education requisites for licensure as a clinical psychologist in California.
  • Courses: Aside from clinical practice and the doctoral project, PsyD students take 36 credit hours of required core courses. Some of these include statistics and advanced personality theory. Students also take 15 credit hours of elective courses. Choices span applied sports psychology, hypnosis, and dream analysis, among others.

Program Highlights: Online Business Degrees (MBA, DBA)

CalSouthern’s School of Business offers programs “designed by business professionals, for tomorrow’s business leaders”.

Online MBA

Are you interested in fine tuning your ability to devise business strategies? CalSouthern’s online MBA is a 36-credit program, designed to help prepare graduates to pursue leadership careers in all business sectors. In addition to taking courses in basic business concepts, students may tailor the program. This can be around a specific area of interest, around prior work experience, career goals or past education. It may take 2 years of full time study to complete the MBA online. However, students with transfer credits may take as few as 18 months. Students are also given up to four years should they need it.

  • Areas of EmphasisAside from core courses, students may take 15 elective credits in a specific business field. These are: Management, Finance, Healthcare Administration, International Business, Project Management, and Human Resources

Online DBA

Do you aspire to launch your own venture or cultivate business expertise? Are you hoping for that extra edge over MBA graduates? CalSouthern’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a 60-credit program. As a possible next step to an MBA, DBA students may develop quite focused business skills. This is done through an advanced course of study which is followed by an exam. In the final year, students work on a doctoral research project.

  • CoursesDBA required courses are taken in the first 3 years. Topics span managerial economics, technology for managers and global business strategy among others.

Choose a Program at California Southern University

Browse more of CalSouthern’s 100% online masters and doctorate degree programs below. Click an icon to read on. Use the on-page button to submit a form for more information. Take the next step today!


School Headquarters: California Southern University 3330 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, California 92626


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