The 30-credit Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs (MA HEASA) program is 100% online and instructor-led. Its convenient format enables students to maintain a full-time work schedule and directly apply what’s learned in the classroom to their current and future work environments.

Developed by higher education administrators who work with a unique student body that encompasses residential, urban-commuter and online undergraduate, graduate, and professional certificate students, the MA HEASA curriculum aligns with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) competencies and provides current and aspiring higher education and student affairs leaders with a comprehensive overview of the field and the structures that hold it in place.

MA HEASA students study development theories that inform and guide best practices in student affairs. From college student retention theory to the legal implications of benchmark cases, the curriculum presents a sound framework for using historical analysis to interpret and present solutions related to leadership roles in higher education.

The curriculum prepares higher education practitioners to handle the increasing pressure universities are facing in regard to demonstrating the effectiveness of programs and to meeting specific performance objectives tied to accreditation and funding. Students will gain practical experience creating assessment plans and presenting this information to their peers and professors.

Program Walkthrough

Delve into the online MA in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs program with Shawn O’Riley, EdD, vice president, professional education, interdisciplinary and professional programs; Program Coordinator Amy Greis; and Admission Advisor Tashea Nichols.

Watch the Program Walkthrough Video

Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs Courses

Core Courses (27 Credits)

This course is designed to provide students who are new to the study of higher education an overview of the field, its challenges, and opportunities. For those persons who have worked in university settings, it is an opportunity to engage in an examination of structures and fields within higher education yet outside of the university. The focus is primarily the higher education system in the United States; however, we welcome those in the class who come from outside the US to share the variations from these other systems as options for new ways of thinking about the work of the academy. While the course introduces some of the historical background of higher education, its ultimate aim is to be contemporary in coverage and future focused.
The research strategies employed by educational researchers are extremely diverse, which is fitting given the extraordinary diversity of the research questions educational researchers pursue. We will examine the main concepts of quantitative research design. Among the specific methodologies we will explore are true experiments, quasi-experiments, ex post facto designs, correlational studies, and secondary data analysis. We also will cover other fundamental concerns related to quantitative methods such as measurement, reliability, validity, sampling, hypothesis testing, internal and external validity, and statistical analyses. The course aims to provide students with the introductory skills to both evaluate and carry out research in education and other social sciences. Students will acquire the skills required to recognize research problems, review literature that informs the problem, interpret results and draw conclusions about research problems, and apply research methods in the broader context of one’s professional work. We will discuss design, analysis, and interpretation in detail.
This course provides an overview of the economics and finance of higher education in the United States, with an emphasis on the analysis of financial policies, funding sources, and current issues at the national, state, and institutional levels. The purpose of this course is to apply concepts, models, and methods of economic theory in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of issues, problems, programs, policies, and behaviors related to the finance of higher education.
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of development theories to inform and guide their practice in student affairs. The content of this course will provide an overview of the theories—including their evolution, supporting research, criticism, and limitations. The goal of the course is to develop students as informed users of student development theory, both as practitioners and consumers.
The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of how college students make and implement persistence decisions, and how institutional structures, policies, and practices impact those decisions. To accomplish this purpose, we will read and discuss theory and research on college student retention in addition to recruitment, admissions, and enrollment. We will consider who compromises the college-going population and the issues these constituents bring to campus, examine retention theory’s history, and conduct a critical examination of various theories of retention. Throughout the course, students will make connections between readings and discussions and their experiences in the field of education, focusing on the role of leadership in creating environments that promote retention for the diverse student populations in higher education today. The course will also introduce students to the enrollment management roles and functions necessary to support the institutions needs and requirements.
This graduate seminar focuses on major issues affecting historically under-represented populations such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx (Hispanics), women, international students, students with disabilities, and LGBTQIA students in higher education. Scholarly literature from higher education, sociology, psychology, and other relevant social sciences are critically reviewed to address multi-level theoretical, methodological, policy, and practical issues.
This course is designed to teach a process of legal analysis. Benchmark cases have been chosen to illuminate basic issues. Updates on particular issues will be provided. The course has been designed to expose the student to a range of administrative problems at the postsecondary level that entail legal implications. The course experiences aim to help current and prospective administrators to envision the legal dimensions of collegiate-level decision processes.

This course introduces students to the subject of assessment and program evaluation in colleges and universities. Interest in these topics has increased as colleges and universities have come under increasing pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs and to make themselves more accountable to a variety of internal and external constituencies. Student affairs divisions are being challenged to demonstrate how their programs add to the learning process and to student retention. Colleges and universities are being asked to meet specific performance objectives set by state governing bodies and to demonstrate what students are actually learning. In some cases, a portion of the university’s funding may be tied to the achievement of these performance objectives.

Students in this course will have the opportunity to explore assessment for accreditation and accountability as well as assessment and evaluation for continuous improvement and demonstration of effectiveness. This course will be practical in nature, with an emphasis on preparation to engage in assessment in a meaningful way. Accreditation will be covered in brief, and students will have the opportunity to focus on institutional engagement, student affairs engagement, and the assessment of student learning. Students will create an assessment plan for an on-campus unit, as well as gain experience presenting information related to assessment, which is an important component of the assessment process.

The Capstone Seminar is a culminating requirement for students in the MA in Higher Education Administration program. Capstone students engage in a project that demonstrates the practical application of their knowledge and skills in real-life higher education leadership activities and responsibilities. The course involves significant leadership work in partnership with a supervisor/mentor in an appropriate higher education site. Selection of the focus and scope of the project will be tailored to students’ area of focus and their current work responsibilities.

Elective Courses (3 Credits)

Students can choose to take EHA 607 History of Higher Education in America (3 credits) or one of the special elective options (3 credits). Special elective options will vary each term, and the options for graduate electives from other programs will be selected individually and approved by the program director.

Understanding the way American higher education works today requires a thorough understanding of how the system and structures of higher education developed over time in this country. This course is designed to help students think about colleges and universities and the historical and social forces that have affected their development in the United States. Reading, discussing, and thinking about colleges and universities and the students that attended them in the past are key elements of the course.

*Students can choose to take EHA 607 or one of the special elective options. Special elective options will vary each term, and the options for graduate electives from other programs will be selected individually and approved by the program director.

  • Opportunity for an internship for those not currently working in higher education
  • Special topics courses that focus on emerging critical topics in higher education
  • The ability to choose from other graduate level education courses per program director’s approval

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