Bridge Theory to Practice

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).

Hear from Our Students

Work Alongside Skilled Faculty

You'll 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.

Our program seeks to create an inclusive environment that celebrates the unique identities of our students and co-constructs a supportive learning community.

In the Classroom

Career Opportunities

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)

Affordable and Timely

In just 38 credit hours and a variety of courses to build the skills you want in higher education, the Higher Education/Student Affairs program is a cost-effective way to supercharge your career.

The competitive tuition and fee costs can be paid for by graduate assistantships and scholarships. And the great news is that more than 90% of students are able to get graduate assistantships in a variety of functional areas in Student Affairs.

HESA students receive the highest amount of scholarships given in the department.

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.

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).

Rolling Admissions & A Flexible Curriculum

With rolling admissions and no GRE requirement, getting admitted to the program is an easy first step into a new career.

With a mix of online (asynchronous, synchronous) and face-to-face class sessions and classes offered evenings and weekends to accommodate working professionals, you can complete the program while working.

Hands-on and portfolio-based learning leads you right to a career in student affairs, with the flexibility to take courses outside the program to fulfill personal career interests.

Ninety percent of students finish the program within 2 years.

Program Benefits

  • Faculty Interaction

    Our program provides:

    • Personalized faculty advising centering on a community of care
    • Opportunities to attend conferences with faculty
    • Faculty who have practical administrative leadership experience working in higher education/student affairs
    • Student-centered
    • Emphasis on the practitioner-scholar model
  • Career Preparation
    • Large alumni network with extensive professional experience
    • Active HESA alumni chapter
    • More than 90% of students get jobs in Higher Education after graduation
    • Two practical internships required
    • BEST (Basic Employment Skills Training) program offering professional skill development for career success
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice (DEIJ) is one of our core values
  • Student Life
    • Active HESA student organization
    • Graduate Assistantships offer opportunities for networking and practical experience
    • More about EMU Student Life

Request More Information

Department of Leadership & Counseling

304 Porter

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

[email protected]