California Southern University was born out of necessity.

The 100% online university was founded in 1978 by an engineer who struggled to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees while juggling a full-time-job, 40-mile commute, and family commitments.

Dr. Donald Hecht was convinced there had to be an easier and more affordable way for working professionals to supplement their education and earn a degree to meet their personal and professional goals.

So, he set out to create a new type of university designed for fully-employed adults with busy lives. After seeing firsthand the power of one-to-one mentoring, Hecht committed to providing all students with a personal touch not often associated with online education, and one that remains a hallmark of the CalSouthern learner experience.

The University established itself as a pioneer in distance learning through the 1980s and 1990s, growing its curriculum to more than 25 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and certificate programs in the behavioral sciences, business, nursing, education, and criminal justice. Responding to the expanded offerings, learners came from across the country – and the world.

Also during this period, CalSouthern faculty more than tripled, attracting not only credentialed educators, but also experienced practitioners in every field of study.

By 2007, the University was among the first to offer an all-online format. It incorporated the latest technologies to create one of the largest research databases in distance education along with a master lecture series that allowed learners to interact virtually with leading scholars, authors and practitioners.

Accreditation followed, first by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and then by the prestigious WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

CalSouthern Campus

Today, CalSouthern is comprised of the Schools of Behavioral Sciences, Business and Management, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Education, and Nursing. Academic support staff, an institutional effectiveness team, and a university-wide culture of assessment and continuous improvement ensure that, even as the University grows, the singular focus on learner satisfaction and success remains.

CalSouthern remains true to Dr. Hecht’s original vision: offering affordable, accessible and uniquely personalized distance education of the highest caliber to propel working professionals to achieve their dreams.

And, thanks to a current, university-wide Renaissance in academics, enrollment, student programs, and faculty and administrative leadership, the culmination of that promise has only just begun.

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