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).

About the Program

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.