The University of West Georgia offers a graduate program in College Student Affairs. This is a concentration within the Professional Counseling master's program located in the department of Communication Sciences and Professional Counseling. Courses will be taught by both full-time faculty and practitioners, with meaningful assistantships in the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.  The CSA program uses the CAS Standards and ACPA/NASPA professional competencies for student affairs practitioners as guidelines for program development and assessment. 


To prepare and develop the next generation of student affairs professionals.


The UWG College Student Affairs program will prepare graduate students for careers serving students in higher education by providing opportunities to:
  • Develop advising and helping skills
  • Develop competencies as outlined by the NASPA/ACPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Practitioners
  • Understand and appreciate the student development experience and student diversity in higher education
  • Understand the historical and theoretical context of higher education
  • Understand and apply the practice-to-theory-to-practice model
  • Gain focused practical experience through assistantships, internships, and practica to prepare graduates for successful careers in higher education

For more information, please see the Academic Catalog. A program brochure is available for download in the Courses tab below.

  • Overview

    The College Student Affairs program at the University of West Georgia is unique due to the benefits we provide to students as well as the relationships you're able to gain attending our program. The University of West Georgia College Student Affairs program guarantees an assistantship upon full admission. Therefore, there is no additional application process and when you interview with faculty for admission, prospective students are also interviewing with prospective employers. Along with an assistantship, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management provides $300 in travel funds that is matched by the graduate students' home department within the Division. This means students receive $600 in travel funds to attend professional conferences.

    Students are also encouraged to visit with other professionals on our campus to help expand their network. We are a mid-size institution with a small school feel. We encourage students to meet the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, or have coffee with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students. The layers are minimal here at UWG. Our partnership with Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has become seamless in order to provide our students with the best experience possible.

    Finally, from a curricular standpoint, our program is a counseling program with an emphasis in College Student Affairs. Our students graduate our program with the skills they need to not only be successful administrators, but also have the skills to work with troubled students. Today, troubled students are becoming more and more prominent on our college campuses and it is becoming vital for student affairs professionals to have some counseling skills. Our program will provide our graduates with the skills they need to help distressed students and be able to appropriately refer them to other professionals.

    For more information regarding assistantships, plan of study, and other requirements, please visit

    Program Location

    Carrollton Campus

    Method of Delivery

    Due to the residential nature, and experiential requirement, a majority of classes are taught face-to-face. Some classes are offered online, especially during the summer. This method of delivery allows students to travel during the summer to gain additional experiences at other institutions. For a complete list of courses and descriptions, please review the courses tab.


    The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    Credit and transfer

    Total semester hours required: 42
    A transfer credit evaluation will be completed by the UWG Transfer Team ( Course application to a program is subject to review by the department.

  • Cost

    The College Student Affairs program requires students hold either a Graduate Assistantship or Fulltime position in higher education. The Graduate Assistantship provides a full tuition waiver for in and out-of-state students and monthly stipend. Students are responsible for all other fees.

    For the most up-to-date and accurate cost information, see the Bursar's Office website at

    This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.

    Save money

    UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.


    • Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
    • The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
    • Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
    • Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
    • Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
    • One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
    • For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Bursar's Office website

    There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.

  • Courses


    Program is mostly in class with some online work (about 25% online/75% face-to-face). The courses below include core courses as well as potential electives. You can find a current plan of study here.



    • CEPD-6131 - Counseling Theories

      An introduction to selected, prominent counseling theories. Focus is on relating theory to practice and on comparing and contrasting the key concepts, techniques, counselor and client roles, counselor-client relationships, methods of assessment and the contributions and limitations of each theory.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

    • CEPD-6140 - Basic Counseling Skills

      An overview of basic, therapeutic interviewing skill building through practice and feedback to develop personal strengths in counseling. This course also provides students with an orientation to professional counseling organizations, the developmental history of the counseling profession, as well as ethical, legal and professional issues.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

    • CEPD-6160 - Group Counseling

      Studies that provide both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group approaches. This course also includes 10 hours of experience as a group member.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

    • CEPD-7145 - Advocacy and Leadership

      This course emphasizes 'theory to practice' by providing experiences that allow students to assess and develop their personal leadership while emphasizing the values, knowledge and skills required for effective advocacy and brokering of services through consultation and collaboration Special emphasis is placed on the development of skills in planning, organizing, coordinating and delivering programs that generate systematic change. Use of data to identify needs, remove barriers and mobilize resources from schools and communities in order to increase options for students and clients are primary themes throughout the course.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

    • CEPD-7152 - Research and Program Evaluation

      This course is designed to provide counselors with the research knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate individual and group counseling interventions, as well as educational programs. An emphasis will be placed on the collection and use of quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate programs. Counselors in training will also learn how to communicate data and findings to others to effect change and to act as advocates for students/clients.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

    • CEPD-7153 - Crisis Intervention

      This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of crisis intervention and trauma counseling. Students will be prepared to recognize, understand, and respond to the needs of individuals who are experiencing or have experienced individual, family, or community level crises, disasters, or trauma.

      View Instructors, Syllabi and Other Details

  • Faculty
  • Admissions

    Guidelines for Admittance

    • All graduate applicants must complete the online Grad Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
    • Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process.
    • International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See Procedures for International Students.
    • Official transcripts from a regionally or nationally accredited institution are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Admissions Office.

    Program Specific Admittance Guidelines

    Admission Criteria:

    • 2.7 undergraduate GPA
    • Two letters of recommendation (i.e., one from a faculty member and one from a current or former supervisor or professional colleague)
    • Written personal narrative describing the reasons for applying to the program, an analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses related to career goals and anticipated benefits from the program.
    • Résumé
    • Interview with program faculty

    For more information on admissions requirements, please visit our program site.

    Application Deadlines

    Specific program deadlines are available via the Deadlines page. 

    Admission Process Checklist

    The Graduate Studies Application Process checklist is available here.


    Program Information or Questions:

    Dr. Dena Kniess
    Assistant Professor
    (678) 839-6122
    Education Annex: 247

    Application Questions or Status:

    Graduate Admissions
    (678) 839-1394

  • Dates

    The College Student Affairs priority deadline is February 1st. However, we continue to review applications until all assistantship positions are filled.

    Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

  • Objectives

    Graduates will demonstrate:

    1. An understanding of the historical, philosophical, ethical, cultural, and research foundations of higher education that informs student affairs practice;
    2. The ability to apply ethical principles to practice; 
    3. An understanding of, and respect for, human diversity and the special needs of minority students;
    4. The ability to apply basic counseling skills and appropriate development theory to understand, support, and advocate for student learning and development;
    5. Knowledge of the impact of student characteristics and collegiate environment on student learning and learning opportunities;
    6. Knowledge and skills required to design and evaluate effective educational interventions for individuals and groups;
    7. The ability apply leadership, organizational, and management practices that assist institutions in accomplishing their mission; and
    8. The ability to identify and apply assessment, evaluation, and research skills in an ethical and legal manner.