Higher Education/Student Affairs

The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership - Higher Education/Student Affairs (HESA) offers a practice-based experience to prepare the next generation of higher education and student affairs practitioners. Recognized for its academic excellence across the region, the program is ideal for those seeking entry-level positions in the field and those aspiring to become student Affairs administrators. HESA offers a flexible course schedule, including several delivery formats (evenings, weekends, week-long, hybrid, online, and distance learning formats).


The program offers a practice-based experience for students. You will work with faculty skilled in connecting theory and practice, exploring leadership, diversity, assessment, legal, professional, and ethical issues in Higher Education/Student Affairs. While enrolled in the program, you will engage in-field experiences in one or more student affairs areas of interest through a supervised internship. The Program is guided by CAS (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education) standards for student affairs and ACPA (American College Personnel Association) standards. Our program seeks to create an inclusive environment that celebrates the unique identities of our students and co-constructs a supportive learning community. The program develops Student Affairs Professionals who:

  • Know and understand the leadership and administration of Student Affairs and higher education.
  • Know and understand how to cultivate educational environments promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Know and understand the organization of higher education.
  • Know and understand law and ethics as it relates to higher education and leadership.
  • Know and understand human relations, cultural diversity, and possess a global perspective.
  • Know and understand college student development and student characteristics.
  • Know and understand the concepts of applying and conducting research in the field.
  • Know and understand professional practice/development/personal growth.


HESA prepares professionals passionate about working directly with students, fostering student success and development. The following is a list of some of the career opportunities in Student Affairs:

  • Admissions
  • Academic Advising
  • Residence Life (Learning Communities)
  • Student Activities
  • Advising Student-Athletes
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Orientation
  • First-year Students
  • Career Services
  • Support Offices for Retention
  • Ombudsman
  • Historically Under-served Populations (Diversity, LGBT, Veteran, Women's Centers)

Graduate Assistantships

Many students admitted to the HESA program secure Graduate Assistant positions (which provide tuition remission and stipend). Through these positions across the university, students gain valuable professional experience while completing their degree.  The HESA program welcomes applications for full-time and part-time enrollment. 

Go to the Graduate School's page for Graduate Assistantships  for more information..

Graduate Assistant Interview Days

Most departments/ functional units on campus seek GA applications in February/March for fall appointments. In March, the University Advising and Career Development Center conducted Graduate Assistant Interview Days (GAID). Prospective students must have applied to the program (but do not need to have been admitted) to participate in interview days.

For more information, go to the University Advising & Career Development Center's page for Graduate Assistant Interview Days (GAID).