Student Affairs Administration
M.A. 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.
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.
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.
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 assistantships (see FAQs for more info).
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 full program of study.
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.
Job placement rates for graduates of master’s programs in student affairs are robust. In the Western region, the average placement rate for 15 top programs is 94.5%. The field is expected to grow at least through 2020, as colleges experience increased enrollments.
Graduates obtain jobs as coordinators, assistant directors, and directors in a wide range of student affairs settings, including:
- Multicultural student affairs (e.g., Director of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement)
- Student activities (e.g., Assistant Director of Student Life)
- Career services (e.g., Program Coordinator in Career Services)
- Residence and Greek life (Residence Hall Director)
- Academic advising (e.g., Academic Advisor)
- Disability services (e.g., Assistant Director of Student Support Services)
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
- Personal Foundations
- Student Learning and Development
Total credit hours: 39 semester hours
Program start date: September (July 15 or August 1 for students with graduate assistantships)
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
Learn about available graduate assistantships
Spotlight on Faculty
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.
I believe in working collaboratively with schools and educational organizations to find generative solutions that bring forward silenced voices and compel social change.
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.
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.
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.
Kevin Wright, M.A. ’16
Kevin is a first-generation college and graduate students. “My biggest goal is to become a college president in order to fight for a more affordable and accessible education for all students.”
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
- Current tuition
- Financial aid loan information
- Look for scholarships and grants
- Learn about managing your student loans