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Educational Leadership

Student Affairs Administration

MA in Student Affairs Administration

Lewis & Clark’s Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration prepares graduates to address issues of social justice, access, equity, inclusion, and diversity within institutions of higher education. Through theory and practical experience, students learn to be responsive leaders who remove barriers to success, advocate for full and equal participation of all students, and support organizational change.

Why student affairs?

A 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.

Our 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.

The practioner-scholar model

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.


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.

National standards

The curriculum of the MA 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

Contact faculty coordinator Mark Figueroa with questions about the program.



Alumni Spotlight

  • Adam Connor MA '16

    “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.”

  • Hollie Elliott

    “I really appreciated my cohort members.  We were all very different from one another and we had very different experiences, both in life and in student affairs.  I learned more than I ever expected to about the fields that my peers were most interested in like Greek life, disability support services, athletics, inclusion, career services, and residence life.”

  • Katie Harvey

    “One of the focuses of the program is student development theory, which has been hugely helpful for me in my professional work outside the classroom. As an academic advisor, knowing about and applying different student development theories to my work with students has been paramount to their success.”

  • Briana Stansbury

    “I use what I learned from the program daily! Whether I’m engaging in critical conversation, delving deeper into a potential program, organizing floating parts, or operating on a team – I learned so much during my tenure as a graduate student that helps me in my role now.”

  • Kevin Wright

    “Because of this program, I have a better understanding of advocating for students, developing intentional relationships with colleagues, and mastering one of my passions, which is leadership development and education.”