• Applicants must self-certify on the Columbia Southern University (CSU) application for admission successful high school completion or equivalent and provide the school’s name, city, state, and year of graduation.
  • Applicants must meet and provide evidence as required by programmatic accreditation.
  • First-time freshman must submit the official high school transcript (or equivalent). In some cases, the admission decision may take into consideration high school GPA and other academic performance indicators to determine appropriate action that will lead to student success while enrolled in a CSU program.
  • Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions. Those with less than twelve (12) semester hours completed successfully at a post-secondary institution must also submit the official high school transcript (or equivalent).
  • There may be additional documentation required for certain programs. Please refer to the CSU Catalog for programmatic requirements.
  • Homeschooled applicants must demonstrate successful completion of the homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law in which the high school credential is earned. A detailed guide for meeting the CSU admission requirements is available in the CSU Homeschooled Admission Guidelines.
  • Master’s applicants must submit an official transcript issued by an accredited post-secondary institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education indicating a conferred bachelor’s degree. In some cases, undergraduate prerequisites may be required to ensure the success of the student and will be added to the degree plan.
  • Doctoral applicants must submit the following documents:
    • Official transcripts issued by an accredited post-secondary institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education indicating a conferred bachelor’s and master’s degree
    • Statement of Purpose describing steps the student will take to ensure successful completion in the doctoral program, a summary of academic and business experience, and insight into the proposed area of research (minimum three paragraphs)
    • Specific Doctoral Pre-requisites may be required as determined by the appropriate College Dean.
  • International applicants must provide an appropriately authenticated official transcript issued by a governmental authority that attests to the successful completion of the requisite program for admission, equivalent to U.S. Department of Education. Transcripts not in English must be evaluated by an appropriate third party and translated into English. A detailed guide for meeting the CSU admission English proficiency requirements is available in the CSU International Admission Guidelines.
  • To be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) to attend CSU, applicants must meet all FSA eligibility requirements described at http://www.columbiasouthern.edu/tuition-financing/federal-student-aid/eligibility.
  • Students who are utilizing Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits, must submit all official transcripts from previously attended post-secondary institutions and military transcripts.


All documents submitted for review to determine admission status are subject to verification. Applicants selected for verification must provide evidence of high school completion, which may include an official transcript or GED transcript, certificate of high school equivalency, documentation of completion of a state approved home school program, DD-214, or any other documents requested by the university to complete verification, such as sources of identification documentation and post-secondary transcripts from previously attended institutions. Verification may also be required if the U.S. Department of Education selects a student for verification and requests validation of high school graduation. Those selected for verification are not authorized to use the Transcript Request Service and are fully responsible for providing requested documents. Failure to comply with verification procedure or submission of fraudulent documents at any time may result in denied admission or immediate dismissal from the university and forfeiture of credits.

Copies/Official Documents

CSU must receive official transcripts from post-secondary institutions previously attended where transfer credit is considered. Students may send copies of transcripts or documents during the initial admission period and enroll as a student on conditional status. The student must provide official transcripts prior to completing 12 undergraduate or 6 graduate credit hours. Official transfer credit will not be awarded until official transcripts are received by the Office of the Registrar. If a student is not able to provide official transcripts for courses that have received conditional transfer credit, the student will be required to complete those courses to satisfy program requirements. Transcripts from universities or programs not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency may not satisfy transfer credit criteria.

Exceptional Cases

In the event that an applicant is not able to provide official transcripts/documents due to extenuating circumstances, such as a natural disaster, the registrar will review an admission petition to determine admission eligibility. In these cases, the student may be admitted conditionally as a non-degree seeking student and must successfully complete 12 semester hours approved by the academic advisor before officially admitted into a degree program. Please submit supporting documentation to registrarappeals@columbiasouthern.edu.

Petition for Exceptional Case Form (pdf)

The Dean of the College, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, or Provost must approve exceptions to the Admission Documentation Guidelines.

Note: All documents provided to CSU for admission become the sole property of CSU and will not be returned at any time, nor is CSU permitted to forward them to a third party.

Homeschooled & International Guidelines

Homeschooled Admission Guidelines

CSU will require First-time freshman and transfer homeschooled students with less than 12 semester hours completed successfully at a post-secondary institution to show proof that they successfully completed their state’s requirements for high school graduation. Homeschooled students are responsible for compliance with all requirements for their state. An official transcript is required to demonstrate that high school graduation requirements are met. The following are examples of the required transcript:

  • GED, if required by state in which high school was completed
  • Accredited official transcript provided by authorized third-party
  • Authorized official transcript provided by a family source that includes detailed course descriptions with curriculum, grades, and records of attendance. The person in charge of the home school program will be responsible for verifying the transcript as official. Students who submit documents provided by a family source and have successfully completed the ACT with a minimum composite score of 18, or SAT with minimum score of 440 Math and 440 English will be admitted. If the ACT or SAT is not provided with family source transcripts, the student will be enrolled conditionally as described below.

Conditional Status

All undergraduate applicants are reviewed by qualified evaluators in the Office of the Registrar. Those who do not meet the specific requirements above or who only have documents provided by a family source may be eligible to enroll conditionally as a non-degree seeking student (not FSA eligible). While on conditional status, students will be required to successfully complete all of the following courses with a minimum grade of “C” in each, or the student will be subject to academic dismissal:

  • LSS 1300 Learning Strategies for Success
  • EH 1010 English Composition I
  • Math
  • Science or History

International Admission English Proficiency Guidelines

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not earned a degree from an appropriately accredited institution where English is the principal language of instruction must demonstrate college-level proficiency in English through one of the following for admission:

  • Undergraduate
    • A minimum score of 500 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT), or
    • 61 on the Internet Based Test (iBT), a 6.0 on the International English Language Test (IELTS), or
    • 44 on the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic Score Report
  • Master’s Degree
    • A minimum score of 530 on the TOEFL PBT, or
    • 71 on the iBT, 6.5 on the IELTS, or
    • 50 on the PTE Academic Score Report
  • Doctoral Degree
    • A minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL PBT, or
    • 80 on the iBT, a 6.5 on the IELTS, or
    • 58 on the PTE Academic Score Report
  • A minimum grade of Level 3 on the ACT COMPASS English as a Second Language Placement Test
  • A minimum score on the College Board Accuplacer ESL Exam Series as follows:
    • ESL Language Use: Score of 85
    • ESL Listening: Score of 80
    • ESL Reading: Score of 85
    • ESL Sentence Meaning: Score of 90
    • ESL Writeplacer: Score of 4
    • Comprehensive Score for all exams of 350 and ESL Writeplacer 4 or better
  • A minimum grade of Pre-1 on the Eiken English Proficiency Exam
  • A minimum B-2 English proficiency level identified within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) standards and assessed through various ESOL examinations, including the University of Cambridge
  • A transcript indicating completion of at least 30 semester credit hours with an average grade of “C” or higher at an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or accepted foreign equivalent that is listed in the International Handbook of Universities where the language of instruction was English. A “B” or higher is required for master’s degree or doctoral degree
  • A transcript indicating a grade of “C” or higher in a 3-semester hour English Composition course from an appropriately accredited/recognized college of university (as verified by the International Handbook of Universities (21st ed.).

Transcripts not in English must be evaluated by an appropriate third party and translated into English or evaluated by a trained transcript evaluator fluent in the language on the transcript. In this case, the evaluator must have expertise in the educational practices of the country of origin and include an English translation of the review.

Student Visas

CSU is an online university and does not issue I-20 Forms (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Certificates of Eligibility for student visas) and, therefore, cannot fulfill requests for student visas.