California Southern University


California Southern University was created in 1978 as a school for working adults and has since evolved into a 100 percent online university. It offers degree programs in psychology, business, law, criminal justice, and nursing. Cal Southern students can pursue associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees. California Southern University Online degree programs also allow students excellent convenience for learning.

The Cal Southern Online Degree Mission

California Southern University’s mission is to provide high-quality degrees and educational programs to adult learners. Striving to provide a rich, dynamic experience within the free and flexible form of online learning, California Southern University promotes an environment of academic integrity and strives to stimulate intellectual curiosity. It uses distance learning methodologies to reach students across the globe and cultivates an online space in which students and faculty exchange ideas and interact respectfully.  

Where Is Cal Southern?

California Southern University’s facilities are located in Costa Mesa, CA. The school invites prospective and current students to visit its facilities to meet faculty, talk to advisors, and get a better sense of the school. The current president of California Southern University is Dr. Steven Beazley, a renaissance man with a background in acting, singing, entertainment, physical fitness, psychotherapy, and education. California Southern is a private, for-profit school.

Unique Qualities of California Southern University Online

The founder of California Southern University, Dr. Donald Hecht, did so to provide a more effective way for working adults to learn. He created California Southern using the most advanced technology available at the time: traditional correspondence learning. Through mail and phone, students pursued education. Today, California Southern University uses a breadth of modern technology to meet its longest standing goal of providing flexible learning opportunities to working adults and others who are dependent on distance education.

Cal Southern Culture

California Southern University encourages and promotes a mentorship relationship between faculty and students. Students receive personalized instruction and one-on-one interaction with mentors to help support their online learning.  California Southern Online courses fit nicely into this culture. 

Available Resources for Students at California Southern University Online

Students have an abundance of resources available to them at California Southern University. Each student has a personal team of faculty members, an academic success advisor, a learning success advisor, and dean available to support them in pursuing their degree. Students can also access librarians to get help with research and writing and IT professionals to get technical support. The school wants students to feel supported and empowered as they pursue online education.  

Philosophy of Financial Assistance

California Southern University locks in tuition rates for students and provides options for them to graduate debt free. The school does not accept federal money by way of student loans or grants. Dr. Hecht fiercely believes that borrowing money from the federal government leads to higher-priced education and high levels of student loan debt. The University, however, does offer payment plans and self-proclaimed affordable tuition options (see the section below on tuition and financial aid). See more about this unique feature below.

Faculty at California Southern University 

The faculty at California Southern University have academic and professional credentials and experience in their fields. They work closely with students to help them apply the concepts they learn to current, real-world issues. Faculty mentors work closely with students and provide one-on-one personalized feedback on their assignments. They’re available by phone, email, and Skype to provide students with support and assistance. 

Admissions into California Southern Online Programs

California Southern University’s admissions process is straightforward. All prospective students, whether applying for associates, bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree programs, must:

  • Complete an enrollment application
  • Submit transcripts (from high school or other higher education institutions)
  • Provide a copy of their government-issued ID
  • Pay an application fee of $75.00

Graduate students must also submit a personal statement. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Their transcripts and courses will be reviewed to determine which ones can transfer in. International students must submit satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS scores (which vary by program level). Their credits and degrees from countries other than the U.S. may also have to be evaluated.

Once students are accepted into programs, they review their degree plans, choose a payment option, sign an enrollment agreement, and start their programs. There are no entrance exams, and classes have monthly starts. Because programs are self-paced, students can progress toward their degrees at a pace that works for them.

Tuition and Financial Aid at California Southern University

When California Southern University was founded in 1978, Dr. Hecht had a vision to make high quality education affordable and convenient for non-traditional students. Keeping that same vision in sight today, it strives to offer self-proclaimed affordable tuition and options for paying tuition.

Here are some of California Southern University’s tuition costs as of early 2017:

  • To pursue an associates of arts degree, students pay $375 per semester credit.
  • Students pursuing a bachelors degree in psychology, business administration, criminal justice, or applied science pay $375 per semester credit.
  • Nursing students pursuing a BS in Nursing pay $150 per semester credit.
  • Students pursuing a masters or doctorate degree in anything but nursing or Juris Doctor pay $495 per semester credit. Students pursing an MS in Nursing pay $425 per semester credit.

For students who register into classes and stay registered for the duration of their programs, California Southern University guarantees steady tuition rates until they graduate. Students pay additional money for books, fees, and other materials for courses.

To help students pay for their programs, California Southern University offers interest-free payment plans. Students can pay in full, one semester at a time, month-by-month, or using third-party benefits, such as those from the military.

California Southern University does not participate in any federal student aid plan, so students cannot apply for grants or loans through the federal government.

California Southern University Online Key Performance Indicators

In 2015, the majority of students, 74.7 percent, pursued degrees in the School of Behavioral Sciences. Nineteen percent pursued degrees in the School of Business, 4 percent pursued degrees in the School of Law, and 2 percent pursued degrees in the School of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. California Southern University’s PsyD, MS, DBA, and MA programs were its most popular. The majority of students were aged 41-50 (22.5 percent). Twenty-two percent were aged 31-40 and 14.9 percent were aged 51-60.

California Southern University’s 2016 graduation rates were as follows:

  • School of Behavioral Sciences: 57% for BA students, 47% for MA and MS students, 36% for PsyD students
  • School of Business: 71% for AALS students, 61.5% for BBA and BSAT students, 56% for MBA students, and 43% for DBA students
  • Schools of Criminal Justice: 67% for BSCJ students and 100% for MSLEEL students
  • School of Law: 25% for MSL students and 21% for JD students

In a 2015 Graduate Survey that polled 155 students (with 68 respondents), California Southern University found that 86 percent of students who had earned undergraduate degrees were employed within 6 months of graduating. Eighty-four percent of students who had earned graduate degrees were employed within the same time period.

In a 2016 Learner Satisfaction Survey, California Southern University polled 3,274 active learners. 850 students responded (26 percent). Ninety-seven percent said they had achieved or would achieve the goals they had set upon starting the course or program.

California Southern University Accreditation

California Southern University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. WASC is one of the six regional accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Because California Southern University has regional accreditation, it does not need national accreditation.

Regional accreditation is the highest and most recognized level of accreditation. It helps ensure that schools provide quality curricula and instruction and that higher education institutions operate with integrity and rigor. Accreditation also helps increase the chances that credits can be transferred from school to school, and that students can apply for professional licensure and other credentials.

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