About Student Affairs Administration

Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration (MS SAA)

Do you want to combine your leadership talents with your passion for working with students? Student affairs is a dynamic and rewarding field that allows individuals to make a difference in the lives of college students. Below is a description of the  master's degree in Student Affairs Administration (MS SAA) at Binghamton University, a 45-credit program.

Program Mission

The Master’s program in Student Affairs Administration prepares students to become student-centered, reflective practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively within positions in higher education, to be critical consumers and users of research, and to adapt to changes in the higher education environment. We are guided by a theory to practice approach, the ACPA/NASPA Competencies for Student Affairs, and by our commitment to principles of equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Our faculty is a blend of scholars and practitioners with distinguished academic credentials and a strong commitment to applied research. These experts in both theory and practice will instill you with knowledge and skills to be successful.

Program Goals

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

1. Describe and support college students

2. Analyze higher education contexts

3. Demonstrate foundational skills needed to be a successful student affairs educator 

Learning outcomes and academic content

The overall academic content of the program has been structured to enhance the students' ability to think reflectively, work independently and collaboratively with others, as well as be able to investigate and analyze situations in student affairs specifically and higher education in general, both verbally and in writing using technological aids where appropriate.

SAA 510 Introduction to Student Personnel Services

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Articulate the purpose, organization, and functions of various student affairs functional areas, and their relationships to the academic mission of various institution types
  • Describe essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of all student affairs educators, regardless of functional area or specialization within the field
    Identify relevant theories, literature, and philosophies on which to base informed professional practice
  • Synthesize, analyze, and communicate (verbally and written) issues and ideas salient to the student affairs profession
  • Develop practices for staying informed of current issues affecting the profession (e.g., building skills, attending conferences, and reading literature)
  • Describe who they are as student affairs educators

SAA 511 College Student Development: Theory, Research, and Practice

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Describe theoretical families (or clusters) of college student development and theories associated with each family (or cluster)
  • Articulate how social identities, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sex, age, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs, can influence development during the college years
  • Identify the strengths and limitations in applying existing theories and models to varying student demographic groups.
  • Apply theory to student affairs practice

SAA 512 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Student Affairs

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Analyze contemporary equity and diversity issues facing student affairs and higher education
  • Articulate and apply various theories and frameworks related to the scholarship and practice of equity and diversity in higher education settings
  • Develop strategies for addressing power, privilege, and oppression on college campuses
  • Articulate relationships between their own socially constructed identities in the context of their student affairs practice

SAA 513 Organization and Administration of Higher Education

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Describe the course policies for the semester
  • Synthesize course chapters with free-standing research articles
  • Analyze data from a college president’s office using course material. Identify and understand systemic and organizational constructs of “leader” and “leadership”
  • Describe the governance systems at one’s institution
  • Compare two different institutions from two different institutional types. Articulate the historical contexts of institutional types
  • Describe the roles of faculty, academic affairs, and student affairs educators in the institution
  • Verbally communicate connection to course readings and concepts

SAA 514 Law in Higher Education

The overall goal of the course is to teach students to recognize the legal issues that arise in a higher education context with an emphasis upon the student-institution relationship.

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic structure of the U.S. legal system and how to research, read and analyze judicial opinions
  • Properly identify and frame the legal issues that arise in the particular higher education law topics discussed
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of how law influences institutional policy in the practice of student affairs and in higher education generally

SAA 515 Research in Higher Education

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Select AER methods, methodologies, designs, and tools that fit with research and evaluation questions and with assessment and review purposes
  • Effectively articulate, interpret, and apply results of AER reports and studies, including professional literature
  • Consider rudimentary strengths and limitations of various methodological AER approaches in the application of findings to practice in diverse institutional settings and with diverse student populations
  • Participate in the design and analysis of quantitative AER studies including understanding statistical reporting that may include complex statistical methods such as multivariate techniques, and articulating the limitations of findings imposed by the differences in practical and statistical significance, validity, and reliability
  • Ensure all communications of AER results are accurate, responsible, and effective.
  • Explain the necessity to follow institutional and divisional procedures and policies (e.g., IRB approval, informed consent) with regard to ethical assessment, evaluation, and other research activities

From the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators ACPA & NASPA:

Domain: Assessment, Evaluation, and Research (AER) (p. 20 – 21).