In 1959, the Louisiana Legislature authorized the establishment of LSUA as a two-year commuter college under the governance of the LSU Board of Supervisors. LSUA registered its first students in September of 1960. The first degree program, an Associate in Nursing degree, was initiated in the Division of Nursing in 1964.
The additional academic divisions of Liberal Arts, Business Administration, and Sciences were developed in 1967. In 1974, LSUA was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award associate degrees. This accreditation was reaffirmed in 1984 and 1994.
Only one associate degree was available at LSUA from 1964 to March 1986, when the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science transfer degrees were approved. Over the next 15 years, several associate degree and certificate programs were added. These new programs included:
- Associate of Science in Computer Information Technology (1988)
- Associate in Criminal Justice (1994)
- Associate of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science (1996)
- Associate in Paralegal Studies (Fall 1999)
- Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education (Spring 2001)
- Certificate in Pharmacy Technician (Spring 2001)
- Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology (Fall 2001)
From 1976 through Spring 2003, Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College offered the upper-level course work for select bachelor's degree programs on the LSUA campus through a program known as LSU Senior College. Initially, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of General Studies were offered. The Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education was added in1982-83.
On June 5, 2001, following approval by the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Legislature passed legislation (Senate Bill 853) allowing Louisiana State University at Alexandria to offer baccalaureate degrees. In December 2002, SACS approved a substantive change, level change request for LSUA, thereby accrediting the university to award both associate and baccalaureate degrees.
In Fall 2003, LSUA was reorganized into colleges and departments rather than divisions. The College of Arts and Sciences consists of the departments of Arts, English and Humanities; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biological Sciences; and Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The College of Professional Studies consists of the departments of Allied Health, Business Administration, Education, and Nursing.
LSUA began offering four baccalaureate degrees in Fall 2003: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and Bachelor of Liberal Studies. Because there were students at LSUA who had completed upper-level course work through LSU Senior College, LSUA was able to produce its first bachelor's degree graduates in December 2003. Additional bachelor's degrees are being developed.
A Bachelor of Science in Psychology, approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors in March 2005, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, approved by the LSU Board in June 2006, are now offered. Additional baccalaureate degrees are being developed.
At present, students pursuing a Bachelor of Liberal Studies can major in one of the following areas: Business, Communication Studies, English, History, Psychology, or Theatre.
In addition to the Department of Education offering courses that lead to an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education and the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, courses are offered for alternative certification in the following areas: Elementary Education, Grades 1-5; Health and Physical Education, Grades K-12; and Secondary Education, Grades 6-12 for the areas of biology, English, history, and mathematics. Students who major in biology, English, history, or mathematics may declare Secondary Education as a minor in these areas of study, earning certification to teach that subject in Grades 6-12. Add-on certifications are available for Early Childhood Education (PK-3) and Special Education in area of existing certification(s).
The “Oaks,” the first on campus student housing consisting of four apartment buildings (88 units) and a community center will open in Fall 2007. The one, two, and four bedrooms units will provide housing for 256 students.
LSUA hired its first athletic director in January 2007. The University will begin competing in NAIA men’s baseball and women’s fast-pitch softball in Spring 2008. A new on-campus baseball and softball complex is scheduled for completion in 2009.