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Columbia Campus    
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  Jul 23, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Higher Education and Student Affairs, M.Ed.

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The master’s degree in higher education and student affairs is designed to prepare individuals for positions in higher education institutions in areas such as admissions and records, academic administration, alumni affairs, career development and employer relations, international student programs, new student orientation, student activities, student advisement, student financial aid, student housing, and student judicial programs.

Learning Outcomes

  • Cultural Competence. Advanced program candidates demonstrate a high level of competence in understanding and responding to diversity of culture, language, and ethnicity.
  • Knowledge and Application of Ethical Principles. Advanced program candidates demonstrate in-depth knowledge and thoughtful application of the Code of Ethical Conduct and other guidelines relevant to their professional role.
  • Communication Skills. Advanced program candidates possess a high level of oral, written, and technological communication skills, with specialization for the specific professional role(s) emphasized in the program. For programs for the advanced preparation of teachers, candidates meet ISTE standards.  For doctoral programs, candidates are prepared to publish and present at conferences.
  • Mastery of Relevant Theory and Research. Advanced program candidates demonstrate in-depth, critical knowledge of the theory and research relevant to the professional role(s) and focus area(s) emphasized in the program.
  • Skills in Identifying and Using Professional Resources. Advanced program candidates demonstrate a high level of skill in identifying and using the human, material, and technological resources needed to perform their professional roles and to keep abreast of the field’s changing knowledge base.
  • Inquiry Skills and Knowledge of Research Methods. Using systematic and professionally accepted approaches, advanced program candidates demonstrate inquiry skills, showing their ability to investigate questions relevant to their practice and professional goals.
  • Skills in Collaborating, Teaching, and/or Mentoring. Advanced program candidates demonstrate the flexible, varied skills needed to work collaboratively and effectively with other adults in professional roles.
  • Advocacy Skills.  Advanced program candidates demonstrate competence in articulating and advocating for sound professional practices and public policies for the positive development and learning of all students.
  • Leadership Skills. Advanced program candidates reflect on and use their abilities and opportunities to think strategically, build consensus, create change, and influence better outcomes for students, families, and the profession.

Specialized Competencies

  • Higher Education and Student Affairs graduates should understand the history of higher education in America and how history shapes and informs the practice of higher education and student affairs administration today.
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs graduates should be able to use developmental theory to increase their understanding of students’ needs and plan appropriate learning interventions.
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs graduates should select and be familiar with a sanction code of ethics that provides a foundation for their work.
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs graduates should be able to conduct a sound research study or program evaluation.
  • Higher Education and Student Affairs graduates should be able to identify students who need to be referred for additional resources and assistance, especially counseling.


The faculty of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program make recommendations for admission to The Graduate School based upon five criteria: academic record, GRE or MAT scores, related work and/or leadership experience, letters of recommendation, and the personal statement. 

Degree Requirements (39 Hours)

All master’s degree candidates must complete at least 39 hours of course work. The curriculum includes 18 hours of required core courses. Students also select from one of two major program areas of concentration (higher education administration or student affairs administration) and must take 9 hours of required courses plus 9 additional hours in their area of concentration. Students must also complete 3 hours of elective coursework.

Course Work

2. Area of concentration (18 Hours)

Higher Education Administration:

Student Affairs Administration:

3. Electives (3 hours)

  • 3 additional hours selected with prior approval of the assigned academic advisor


Practicums and Internships

No more than 12 hours of practicum and internship courses may be taken for credit towards the degree program. 

Students who received the 18-hour Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership must complete the following 21 hours to earn the master’s degree:

Timeframe for Degree Completion

All 39 hours must be completed within six years.

Comprehensive Assessment

Each candidate must receive a passing evaluation of a portfolio submitted to the faculty that demonstrates mastery of program learning outcomes and competencies.

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