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Educational Leadership

Student Affairs Administration

MA in Student Affairs Administration

A new master’s program for current or aspiring student affairs professionals with a special emphasis on issues of diversity, equity, and social justice.


View the full schedule.

Why “student affairs”?

Higher education is rapidly changing and diversifying. Whether you are new to the field or are seeking to improve your practice and advance your career, you will be prepared to take on responsive leadership roles in higher education institutions that support organizational change and challenge the status quo.

Social justice focus

Rather than focus on student affairs as “customer service,” we focus on the ways that learning and development occur beyond the classroom, in all dimensions of life on a college campus. Our graduates foster understanding and respect for diversity and become advocates for the full and equal participation of all students in higher education, removing barriers to success. They embody a professional identity that demonstrates a commitment to legal, ethical, and professional responsibilities of the student affairs profession.

Cohort program

You will complete courses in rigorous, small-group settings, together with a small cohort of your peers. This structure provides extensive support for students during the program, and leads to lifetime friendships and extensive professional networks.

Practioner-scholar focus

Our program integrates theory with practical experience through coursework and two supervised practica that give you hands-on experience and valuable feedback on your developing professional skills.

Students are also encouraged to apply for available graduate student worker positions.


Through coursework, your practica, and a capstone project, you will learn about student development and leadership, organizational management, legal issues, professional ethics, assessment, advising, and equity, among other topics. Sample courses include:

  • Equity and Social Justice in Higher Education
  • Student Development Theory I and II
  • Critical Pedagogies in Student Affairs Practice

View the sequence of study.

Expert faculty

Faculty are actively involved in student affairs leadership and represent a variety of professional fields. They bring deep theoretical grounding in the history and foundations of higher education.

Career outcomes

Read more about career outcomes for student affairs professionals on our Outcomes page.

National standards

The curriculum of the M.A. in Student Affairs Administration is designed to prepare students in the 2010 Professional Competency Areas jointly developed by the ACPA and NASPA, which set out the “broad professional knowledge, skills, and, in some cases, attitudes expected of student affairs professionals.” These include:

  • Advising and Helping
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Research
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Ethical Professional Practice
  • Human and Organizational Resources
  • Law, Policy and Governance
  • Leadership
  • Personal Foundations
  • Student Learning and Development


Program Details

Total credit hours: 39 semester hours
Program start date: September (July 15 or August 1 for students with graduate student worker positions)
Program length: Two years (part time 3-year option available). Classes are scheduled in evenings and weekends to accommodate working professionals.
View the program of study
about available graduate student assistantship positions



Student Spotlight

  • Siosifa Tonga

    “Student Affairs helps me understand structures, policies, and practices in Higher Education and how to better those means.” #CSAM17

  • Miiko Taylor

    “Student Affairs develops the full potential of students by creating pathways to apply knowledge from the classroom to the world around them.” #CSAM17

  • Lainie Sowell

    “While the classroom prepares students to be scholars and professionals, programming and support from student affairs prepares students to be productive citizens in their communities, both locally and globally.” #CSAM17

  • Arianna Figueroa

    “Student Affairs gives students space to explore their potential in a multitude of ways.  It advances the meaning of leadership and advocates for changes on campus towards equality.” #CSAM17

  • Gavin Holdgreiwe

    “Through training, resources, and support, good Student Affairs inspires and empowers students to achieve more than they ever thought possible.” #CSAM17

Alumni spotlight

  • Connor Adams

    “As a result of this program I have become a more critical thinker, asking more intellectual questions that lead to stimulating conversation topics. This program has also allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to think about social issues in the world and higher education differently.”

Program Faculty

  • Anna Gonzalez

    Learning is a shared and collective process. This type of participatory learning can occur when students and teachers are reflective about who they are in relation to others, and that it is important to understand social inequities and how higher education and student affairs practitioners can play a role in dismantling systematic oppression in order to create socially just learning environments.   

  • Mollie Galloway

    I believe in working collaboratively with schools and educational organizations to find generative solutions that bring forward silenced voices and compel social change.


  • Scott Fletcher

    Our growth as individuals and members of society demands that we engage in sustained critical reflection, thinking deeply about who we are, where we come from, what we value, and what we want to accomplish. The potential benefit of such reflection grows exponentially when we undertake it in collaboration with others. Learning communities should facilitate these relationships in everything from the environment of the classroom to the content of the curriculum. 

  • Mark Figueroa

    Institutional research acts as a hub in higher education institutions, bringing historically siloed areas together. We get to help people frame questions, identify opportunities, and determine whether solutions are having expected impacts.

  • David Ellis

    Leaders in student life need to understand the legal environment in which colleges and universities exist. That environment is continuously changing, and not getting simpler but more complex.  



How to Apply

No tests are required for admission.
Visit the admissions website for full details on  requirements, deadlines, financial aid information and more.
Program cost—we do everything we can to help make your education affordable

Contact faculty coordinator Anna Gonzalez with questions about the program.