MS in College Counseling and Student Development

APU’s M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development produces student affairs professionals who successfully engage college students across a broad range of institutions.

For more information: (626) 815-5485,

The Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development program prepares student affairs professionals who work effectively with college students at a diversity of institutions. The program encourages students to integrate their academic learning with their life experience in order to grow personally and professionally. The curriculum is based on developing competence in 10 areas through academic coursework, internship experience, and research opportunities.

Mission Statement

The graduate program in college counseling and student development at Azusa Pacific University prepares individuals to become student affairs educators whose special interest is college students and the environments that affect their development as whole persons and scholar-students.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Application Deadlines

Completed applications with all supporting documentation received by January 15 will receive priority consideration for fall admission. These applicants also will be given priority for on-campus graduate assistantship interviews.

Admissions Interview

Upon invitation, applicants complete an interview with at least one member of the faculty. The purpose of the interview is to discuss career and education goals, evaluate the match of the program to the student, and ascertain, at least initially, the applicant’s potential for success in the program.

Program Delivery

The program is a two-year, on-campus program for students attending full time. Classes are held weekly utilizing the university’s 8-week session schedule. Students pursuing this option who are employed three-quarters time or more are encouraged to complete their program over three years instead of two.

Career Opportunities

Program graduates pursue career opportunities in residential life, career development, campus ministries, admissions, counseling, academic support services, student activities, student financial services, service-learning, and many other co-curricular campus programs.

Student Outcomes

Because the specific roles of student affairs practitioners vary greatly across functions and institution types, this program seeks to prepare student affairs educators who have a generalist perspective of the profession and possess the basic competencies necessary to be successful in a wide range of circumstances. Specifically, upon completion of the program, students should be able to demonstrate competence in these areas:

  • Moral, Spiritual, and Ethical Foundations
  • Values, Philosophy, and History
  • Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
  • Law, Policy, and Governance 
  • Organizational and Human Resources
  • Leadership
  • Social Justice and Inclusion
  • Student Learning and Development
  • Technology
  • Advising and Supporting


In order to be admitted into the program, students should provide evidence of the following:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  2. Baccalaureate or master’s grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. Two references: one faculty and one student affairs professional preferred
  4. International students who have graduated from a college or university where English was not the principal language must meet requirements listed in the English Proficiency Requirements section


The program comprises 45 semester units of coursework. Of this total, at least 36 must be taken at APU; up to 9 semester units of appropriate graduate work may be transferred into the program with department approval.

The coursework is divided into three major components: foundational studies, professional studies, and integration. Foundational studies are those that explore the historical, philosophical, and theoretical bases of higher education and student affairs as well as assist students in the assessment of their personal leadership skills. Professional studies are those that assist students in developing competencies in program design and evaluation, administration, counseling, and research. The integration of the theoretical and practical is provided through supervised experiences and the capstone project.

Foundational Studies
CCSD 551Introduction to College Student Affairs3
CCSD 567The Role of Diversity in Student Affairs Practice3
CCSD 568Inclusive Diversity Practices in Student Affairs3
CCSD 575Quantitative Analysis in College Student Affairs3
CCSD 581Foundations of Higher Education3
Professional Studies
CCSD 543Legal and Ethical Issues in College Student Affairs3
CCSD 552The Process Of Adult Development3
CCSD 553Administration in College Student Affairs3
CCSD 562Qualitative Research with Today's Diverse College Students3
CCSD 563Counseling: The Helping Relationship3
CCSD 571Student Learning in the Cocurriculum3
CCSD 573Career Counseling and Development3
CCSD 583Counseling Issues and Practice3
CCSD 592Program Evaluation in College Student Affairs3
CCSD 595Capstone Project in College Student Affairs3
Integration and Supervised Practice
Capstone Project and Colloquium
750 hours of supervised field placement in at least two practice areas
Total Units45


All students are required to complete a minimum of 750 hours of supervised fieldwork in student affairs practice in a college or university. This fieldwork must be completed in at least two distinct areas, with at least 150 hours of supervised fieldwork in each. Graduate assistantships (see next section) can be used toward fieldwork hours.

Graduate Assistantships

Azusa Pacific University provides a number of graduate assistantships for students enrolled in the program. A student who receives a graduate assistantship (GA) is required to enroll full time in the program each term. Students who drop to part-time status in the middle of the academic year will have GA eligibility evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Graduate assistants are expected to work 600 hours over the course of the academic year, for which they are compensated with a stipend.

Capstone Project

During the final semester, students are required to complete a professional portfolio that contains evidence of competence in 10 aspects of student affairs practice. The presentation of the portfolio should be before a committee of at least one faculty member and two student affairs professionals who will evaluate and reflect with the student regarding the effectiveness of the project. Successful completion of this project is required for graduation.


Students are also eligible for consideration for a program-funded scholarship. Program-funded aid is awarded based on financial need and/or merit.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Obtain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop and maintain integrity in one’s life and work; this includes thoughtful development, critique, and adherence to a holistic and comprehensive standard of ethics and commitment to one’s own wellness and growth. (For our program at APU, the emphasis is both a personal and professional “compass” of honesty, truth-telling and servant-oriented approach to one’s work with an ability to articulate a Christian worldview that reflects the values, ethics and principal teachings of the Christian faith.)
  2. Obtain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that connect the history, philosophy, and values of the student affairs profession to one’s current professional practice. (This competency area embodies the foundations of the profession from which current and future research, scholarship, and practice will change and grow.)
  3. Design, conduct, critique, and use various AER methodologies and the results obtained from them, to utilize AER processes and their results to inform practice, and to shape the political and ethical climate surrounding AER processes and uses in higher education.
  4. Learn the policy development processes used in various contexts, apply legal constructs, compliance/policy issues, and understand governance structures and their impact on one’s professional practice.
  5. Manage institutional human capital, financial, and physical resources. (This competency area recognizes that student affairs professionals bring personal strengths and grow as managers through challenging themselves to build new skills in the selection, supervision, motivation, and formal evaluation of staff; resolution of conflict; management of the politics of organizational discourse; and the effective application of strategies and techniques associated with financial resources, facilities management, fundraising, technology, crisis management, risk management and sustainable resources.)
  6. Embody the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required of a leader, with or without positional authority; understand that leadership involves both the individual role of a leader and the leadership process of individuals working together to envision, plan, and affect change in organizations and respond to broad-based constituencies and issues. (This can include working with students, student affairs colleagues, faculty, and community members.)
  7. Create learning environments that foster equitable participation of all groups while seeking to address and acknowledge issues of oppression, privilege, and power. (Social Justtice and inclusion is defined as both a process and a goal. Student affairs educators must have a sense of their own agency and social responsibility that includes others, their community, and the larger global context. This involves seeking to meet the needs of all groups, equitably distributing resources, raising social consciousness, and repairing past and current harms on campus communities.)
  8. Apply the concepts and principles of student development and learning theory. This includes the ability to apply theory to improve and inform student affairs and teaching practice.
  9. Use digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success, as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. (Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities as a whole.)
  10. Provide advising and support to individuals and groups through direction, feedback, critique, referral, and guidance. (Through developing advising and supporting strategies that take into account self-knowledge and the needs of others, student affairs professionals play critical roles in advancing the holistic wellness of ourselves, our students, and our colleagues.)