Columbia Southern University

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Coordinates: 30°19′45.26″N 87°39′9.4″W / 30.3292389°N 87.652611°W / 30.3292389; -87.652611

Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern Seal.jpg
Motto Superior Service. Flexible Programs. Extraordinary Value.
Established 1993
Type Private
President Robert Mayes, Jr.
Provost Jeffrey Barksdale, Ph.D.
Dean John Hope, Ph.D.
Students 20,185[1]
Undergraduates 14,853
Postgraduates 5,332
Location Orange Beach, Alabama, United States
Colors Navy Blue and Gold
Nickname Knights[2]
Columbia southern logo.gif

Columbia Southern University is a private university located in Orange Beach, Alabama, United States. Offering various degrees in fields including business administration, criminal justice, fire protection, human resource management, information technology, leadership studies, occupational safety and health, and psychology, Columbia Southern's distance education programs are among the most affordable options in the United States.[3][4]


Columbia Southern University was founded in 1993 by Dr. Robert G. Mayes, Sr.[5][6] The university developed its first degree programs in Environmental Engineering and Occupational Safety and Health in 1994.

By 1996, the infrastructure to administer these programs was firmly in place and additional degree programs were developed and offered. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration was the first to be offered before Computer Science, Criminal Justice Administration and Health Administration were also made available.[5]

Dr. Mayes headed the institution until his death in 2005, when his son, Robert Mayes, Jr., assumed the presidency.[6]


Columbia Southern has been accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC), formerly the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), since 2001.[7][5] DEAC is an accreditation agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Columbia Southern is also a member of the Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA), a voluntary group of accredited institutions that are concerned with the importance of student mobility, enhancing success in transfer of credit, and affirming the responsibility and prerogative of individual institutions with respect to acceptance of transfer credits. It was one of the few accredited institutions selected by the DEAC to start offering accredited online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA), but the program was discontinued in March 2014.[8][9]

Faculty and agreements with other institutions[edit]

Currently, Columbia Southern has more than 1,000 full-time faculty and staff. It enrolls and graduates thousands of students annually on both national and international level. Columbia Southern also established agreements with University of North Alabama and Waldorf College to offer creative online degree programs through these traditional universities.[10] The university is one of six Academic Partners of Delta Air Lines and one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer up-front tuition assistance through the U.S. Army’s centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.[11]


Columbia Southern consists of three colleges, offering a total of twenty four degrees and seventeen certificate programs online. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a degree program in the area of psychology, as well as a general studies program, allowing students to complete core classes prior to declaring a specific degree. The College of Business features nine of its own degrees, including eleven concentrations within the business administration program. The College of Safety and Emergency Services consists of thirteen specific concentrations, along with seven certificate programs.[12]


  1. ^ National Center for Education Statistics
  2. ^ "University adopts mascot". Columbia Southern University. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "2014 Most Affordable U.S. Online College Rankings". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Golden, Daniel, [1] "For-Profit Colleges Target the Military", Bloomberg Businessweek, December 30, 2009
  5. ^ a b c Barron's Guide to Distance Learning: Degrees, Certificates, Courses by Pat Criscito (2002), ISBN 0-7641-1791-2, page 179
  6. ^ a b History of CSU, Columbia Southern University website (accessed February 24, 2008)
  7. ^ Distance Education and Training Council Directory of Accredited Institutions 2007-2008, June 18, 2007, page 11
  8. ^
  9. ^ Six Institutions gain Accreditation Distance Education and Training Council website (accessed May 24, 2010)
  10. ^ Online Degree Program ,, Retrieved 23 Feb 2014
  11. ^ List of GoArmyEd partner Colleges, GoArmyEd website (accessed March 28, 2009)
  12. ^ "Online Degree Programs". Columbia Southern University. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 

External links[edit]