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Student Affairs Administration


The Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration degree program is suited for those who wish to pursue careers in higher education.

The program is grounded in both student development theory and the concept of theory-to-practice-to-theory. Thus, an underlying goal of the program is to prepare professionals who have working knowledge of how student development theory is used in practice and how practice serves to inform future theory development.

The program seeks prepare administrative leaders and personnel who are comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds in positions that require decision-makers to respond to department/unit situations while taking into consideration how their decisions impact other systems (such as departments and/or divisions) within the institution.

The 45 minimum credit-hour program serves the needs of students who desire to pursue graduate studies in either full- or part-time tracks. The curriculum includes 15 credit hours of core student affairs required coursework, a 3-credit hour research methods course, 24 credits of electives and a minimum 3-credit hour internship.

Degrees Offered

  • MS in Student Affairs Administration
  • Dual Degree: Master of Public Administration and MS in Student Affairs Administration

Dual MPA-MS Student Affairs Administration

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration (MS SAA) programs both are housed within the College of Community and Public Affairs and are considered professional terminal degrees. By carefully structuring the sequence of courses, recognizing comparable course offerings and using courses in one program to count as electives in the other, the MPA-MS SAA dual degree program allows students to complete both degrees in three years of full-time study, without compromising the professional standards of either program. The 42-credit hour MPA program and the 45-credit hour MS in Student Affairs Administration program can be completed as part of a 64-credit hour program (rather than 87 credit hours required to complete the two programs without the benefit of the dual degree structure). Please click here to view the course sequencing template.

The MPA-MS dual degree will prepare students for administrative positions in college and university settings. The dual degree focuses on budgeting, program evaluation and human resources management, which will expand your job opportunities and marketability. The MS SAA program provides specialized training for students desiring to work in student affairs offices, while the MPA provides the knowledge and skills necessary for management. To be an effective leader in student affairs, professionals must first be knowledgeable of how students grow and develop during the college years and how institutions can be intentional in facilitating the growth process. This requires the study of organizational and student development theory as well as gaining hands-on experience in at least one student services office. Leaders in higher education also need to employ proven managerial strategies in order to be successful and must pay careful attention to the management of human resources, finances, information technology, and physical infrastructure. In addition to this, leaders should know how to adjust their administrative style if problems are encountered and be able to ground both successes and shortcomings in administrative theory.


Students must apply and be admitted to both the MPA program and the MS program. These are separate applications and each requires an application fee to the Graduate School. Students who begin one program and then apply to the other program later will need to meet with the appropriate advisors for both programs to develop a customized program of study; completion within three years may not be possible for students who do not begin the programs in the same semester.

Brianna King
Director of Admissions and Student Services
CCPA Student Affairs Administration

Professional Development

Through the program, students complete internships, which give opportunities to apply theory and acquire practical skills while working under the guidance of experienced practitioners. Students often also seek out graduate assistantships — which provide additional practical experiences through work in different offices on campus. These internships and graduate assistantships help students to explore specific areas of interest within the field of student affairs administration. The faculty encourages involvement and participation in professional organizations, conferences and trainings, which further immerse students in the field while they are completing their graduate studies.

The program also supports the Student Affairs Graduate Association (SAGA). This student-led organization aims to provide support and services that encourage personal, professional and community development to current students and alumni.

After You Graduate

Graduates of the program are prepared to enter careers in the full range of the field of student affairs: academic advising, admissions and enrollment management, career development and placement, financial aid, health services, judicial affairs, multicultural affairs, non-traditional and commuter student services, residential life, services for students with disabilities, and student development and involvement. Coupled with sufficient professional experience, the program may also serve as the foundation for students wishing to become deans of students or vice presidents for student affairs.

Last Updated: 3/14/18