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The PhD in Counseling and Student Personnel Services (College Student Affairs Administration) provides you with the knowledge and skills to create and enhance the educational environments of colleges and universities.

Through research, coursework, discussion, and out-of-class experiences, this program helps foster intellectual, psychosocial, and professional growth. We prepare you to advance professionally as faculty members and college student affairs educators.

Program Highlights

  1. Department is consistently ranked in the top three in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  2. All faculty members have served as practitioners
  3. Graduates find rewarding careers as faculty members and student affairs administrators
  4. Teaching internships available in the CSAA master's program
  5. Opportunities for individual research

Deadline to Apply

Faculty and Curriculum

The PhD in Counseling and Student Personnel Services uses a theory-to-practice-to-theory philosophy and model. This design educates scholar-practitioners and professionals engaged in evidence-based work contributing new knowledge to the field.

Coursework readies students for advanced positions in college student affairs administration, faculty positions in graduate student affairs preparation programs, and positions in student affairs assessment, evaluation, and outcomes research.

Full-time students generally complete the PhD in three to four years. While the program admits both full-time and part-time students, all doctoral students meet weekly in a doctoral seminar.

In this program, you will:

  • Take courses related to theoretical foundations and practical applications of student affairs work
  • Select additional courses in relevant areas to support research and other interests
  • Receive training in both quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Partner with faculty as part of a research team
  • Complete at least one teaching internship
  • Prepare both an initial independent research project and a dissertation involving original research

Students entering the program with less than five years of full-time professional experience also complete an administrative internship.

Required coursework topics for the PhD in Counseling and Student Personnel Services includes:

  • Equity and inclusion in student affairs
  • Student affairs administration
  • Advanced theories of college student development
  • College student characteristics and issues
  • Organization development, policy development, and consultation
  • Environmental and facilities management
  • Outcomes assessment and program evaluation
  • Research methods

The research and evaluation core includes:

  • Applied analysis of variance
  • Applied correlation and regression methods in education
  • Qualitative research in education

You will also take part in elective courses and internships. These experiences lay the groundwork for completing your dissertation.

As a student in the PhD program, you benefit from the guidance and instruction of our faculty. Faculty members have broad experience in student affairs as practitioners, researchers, and teachers. Research and teaching interests include college environments, gender issues, identity development, assessment, poverty, supervised practice, and access and inclusion.

The PhD program is a community of practice. Students represent diverse backgrounds and while they take courses together, each is crafting the experience to best meet their needs as a student. Limited enrollment ensures students receive ample individual attention and meaningful personal interaction with faculty throughout the program. The intentional community of practice model helps students develop professional relationships with each other.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Tuition rates Browse financial aid

Meet Your Advisor

Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.

Find your advisor

Student Life

Full-time students can apply for graduate assistantships to receive both a tuition waiver and stipend.

In addition to pursuing an individual research agenda, you may be an active member of one or more research teams during your time in the program. You will co-teach a master's level student affairs administration course with a full-time faculty member. Some students pursue the Interdisciplinary Certificate in University Teaching to gain additional experience.

As a student, you may join the University of Georgia Student Personnel Association, which coordinates social events, professional development, and community service.

Book a campus visit

See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.

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Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia


  1. Submit an online application to the Graduate School
  2. Test scores (depending on your program)
  3. Unofficial transcripts (native language and English for international applicants)
  4. Three letters of recommendation

Part 2: Apply to this program


The program faculty may request additional materials from applicants. As you complete your application for the UGA Graduate School, you will be able to attach the following documents:

  1. Curriculum vita (CV) or resume
  2. Statement of purpose (short essay)
  3. Official transcripts
View full admissions requirements

Program Resources

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