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 created in 1967. In 1974, LSUA was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. This accreditation was reaffirmed in 1984, 1994, and 2004.
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 that the university continues to offer including:
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 in 1982-83.
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, SACSCOC approved a substantive change request from 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 is comprised of the departments of Arts, English and Humanities; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biological Sciences; and Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The College of Professional Studies is comprised 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 produced its first bachelor's degree graduates in December 2003.
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. In 2008 the university began offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Communication Studies, and History, along with Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Nursing.
In addition to the Department of Education offering courses that lead to an Associate of Arts in The Care and Development of Young Children 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 university’s first student housing complex, opened in the fall of 2007. The complex, which includes four apartment buildings and a community center.
LSUA hired its first athletic director in January 2007 and began competing in NAIA men’s baseball and women’s fast-pitch softball in Spring 2008. In January 2010, LSUA’s new on-campus baseball-softball complex was unveiled in an opening day dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The complex is located on the north side of campus adjacent to the Fitness Center and features seats transferred from the famed Alex Box Stadium on the Baton Rouge campus.
LSUA added five sports in 2014 including men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams along with women’s tennis. LSUA joined the Red River Athletic Conference in 2014. The RRAC includes Bacone College (Okla.), Huston-Tilloston University (Texas), Jarvis Christian College (Texas), Langston University (Okla.), LSU-Shreveport, Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas), Paul Quinn College (Texas), Texas College, University of St. Thomas (Texas), University of Texas-Brownsville, University of the Southwest (New Mexico) and Wiley College (Texas) in addition to LSUA.
The university’s newest building, Mulder Hall, was opened in August 2011. The building is a 70,000 square-foot facility that provides 18 classrooms, 4 academic department office suites, 52 faculty offices, 2 conference rooms, a computer lab and a writing lab, a painting and drawing studio, a ceramics studio, a photography suite, and a black box theater that seats 175 people.