Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University

At CSU we designed our programs for busy professionals just like you. Our online self-paced programs are designed to be completed in the comfort of your home or office at times that are convenient to you. The goal of CSU`s Environmental Management program is to provide students with a solid foundation in federal and state EPA rules and regulations and cutting edge concepts concerning environmental use and protection. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science presents the theoretical foundations for leadership and administration of fire service organizations.

Company details

21982 University Lane , Orange Beach , AL 36561 USA
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Business Type:
Industry Type:
University / Academia / Research
Market Focus:
Internationally (various countries)
Year Founded:


Columbia Southern University is an online university based in Orange Beach, Ala., that strives to change and improve lives through higher education by enabling students to maximize their professional and personal potential.

A subsidiary of Columbia Southern Education Group, CSU offers online degree programs at the associate, bachelor and master degree levels in a multitude of areas such as occupational safety and health, fire science, criminal justice, business administration, information technology, human resource management and health care administration. CSU also features undergraduate and graduate certificate programs to provide focused training in specialized areas for adult learners.

CSU provides student-centered support services that are personal, responsive and geared toward assisting students in achieving their educational goals. Caring, highly trained faculty and staff generate innovative educational programs that incorporate the latest instructional technology with dynamic curriculums and teaching methods. CSU focuses on affordable, quality online instruction with a general education core that promotes life-long learning and the success of degree graduates.

As a good corporate citizen, CSU participates in various community and charitable endeavors and supports the partnerships enjoyed with numerous businesses, organizations and institutions.


One of the nation’s first completely online universities, Columbia Southern University (CSU) was developed to meet the demand for alternatives to the traditional university experience. Established in 1993, Dr. Robert Mayes founded the university to offer individuals with demanding and unpredictable schedules a way to achieve their dreams of higher education. Through the years, features such as open enrollment, flexible course structures, and maximum transfer credit have allowed thousands of students worldwide to fit their education around career and family commitments.

CSU began its venture into online education with environmental management and safety degrees. After two years of increasing enrollments and satisfied students, degrees in business administration, computer science, criminal justice administration, and health administration were soon added to the list. By 2001, CSU was granted accreditation through the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Five years later, CSU was approved by the DETC to offer a Doctor of Business Administration degree, becoming the first accredited doctoral program offered by the university.

Following the accreditation of CSU, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) and Veterans Affairs approved tuition assistance for all active-duty and retired military members. Nearly half of the student body is currently comprised of active-duty military. CSU is also one of approximately 140 schools approved to offer upfront tuition assistance through the U.S. Army centralized tuition assistance portal, GoArmyEd.

Since 2004, CSU has developed Learning Partnerships with hundreds of corporations, municipalities, police and fire organizations around the world. Partner benefits range from tuition discounts to application fee waivers and also extend to the spouses and children of employees. Other advantages include promotion of the organization on the CSU website, marketing materials, and at conferences and speaking engagements. Delta Airlines, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and New York Fire Department are just a few of the organizations affiliated with CSU.

While the popularity of CSU online degree programs continued to climb, 2005 began an era of change for the university. In September, Dr. Mayes passed away after 19 weeks of hospitalization. This transition triggered restructuring of the administration including the appointment of Robert Mayes, Jr., Dr. Mayes’ son and former executive vice president of CSU, to assume the role of president.

Today, CSU is one of the most rapidly growing universities in the U.S. with a record enrollment of more than 25,000 students. At the beginning of 2009, a new 67,000-square-foot facility was completed to accommodate the growth. Dr. Mayes’ vision of creating a university designed to give educational opportunities to those trying to build a better future lives on. CSU remains committed to its three core values – providing excellent student service, a flexible learning format for the working professional, and a family oriented working environment for staff and faculty.


Our Mission

Columbia Southern University provides diverse learning experiences and affordable, flexible distance education programs at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels to a global student body, delivered by qualified, student-centered faculty committed to teaching and student learning. The university is dedicated to providing exceptional academic and student support services.


As we change lives for the better, we live by these values:

  • Organizational Health
    We foster a family culture that provides a stable and enjoyable work environment of care and respect with open and clear communication.
  • Humility
    We model a leadership style that is modest, humble, operationally oriented, and hands-on. No job is beneath us, and we work as a close team to accomplish our mission.
  • Exceptional Service
    We focus on providing exceptional service through student-centered support services that are personal, responsive, and geared toward assisting students in achieving their educational goals.
  • Flexibility
    We embrace change, work hard, and relentlessly strive to continuously improve.
  • Excellence
    We are a first-class organization that places a high value on quality, accreditation, and doing what is right.
  • Relationships
    We focus on building long-term relationships with industries, governmental agencies, students, alumni, and members of the community.


The vision of Columbia Southern University is to change and improve lives through higher education by enabling students to maximize their professional and personal potential.