The M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education program will prepare students for positions in academic advising, campus leadership, diversity services, student life, career services, financial management, and other leadership roles within higher education institutions. This program uniquely combines educational leadership courses and student affairs courses to develop student affairs professionals who make a positive impact in higher education. Coursework focuses on leadership development; administrative functions; applying theory to practice; social and cultural diversity; organizational theory; assessment; and current principles, approaches, and practices in student affairs. Distance education practicum experiences will provide real-world experience at the culmination of the program.

In addition to integrated coursework, students select an area of concentration from one of the following options: campus leadership, academic advising, and career coaching and services. Student learning outcomes and curriculum are aligned to American College Personnel Association (ACPA), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) professional competency standards, depending on the concentration selected.

This program has specific admission requirements.

Degree Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Explain the history, values, and philosophy of student affairs as it connects to current professional practice.
  • Apply student development theories relevant to student learning.
  • Develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions relating to policy development, law, compliance, and governance structures in higher education.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and evidence-based strategies when advising diverse individuals and groups in higher education settings.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills through envisioning, planning, and affecting change in higher education settings.
  • Develop awareness and skills related to social justice and inclusion, which effect systemic change in higher education settings.
  • Use organizational, management, and leadership theories and skills relevant in higher education settings.
  • Demonstrate how to analyze current research, design research studies, use statistical methods, and interpret results accurately.
  • Analyze data to inform programs and services in higher education settings. 
  • Use digital tools, resources, and technologies to advance student learning, development, and performance as a student affairs professional.

Use ethical standards and commitment to personal wellness and growth to develop and maintain integrity in personal and professional life.

Programmatic Admission Requirements

The following documentation is required for admission into M.Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education program, and must be provided prior to course registration:

  • Official bachelor’s transcript showing conferral of degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, or a master’s transcript showing conferral of degree
  • Graduate writing sample
  • 3 Completed Character Reference Forms

Please visit our AMU or APU graduate admission page for more information on institutional admission requirements.

Need help?

If you have questions regarding a program’s admission requirements, please contact an admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Degree at a Glance

Core Requirements21
Select one of the following concentrations:12
Final Program Requirements3
Total Semester Hours36

Degree Program Requirements

Core Requirements (21 semester hours)

EDUC511Foundations of Higher Education 13
SAHE510Introduction to Student Affairs3
SAHE515The U.S. College Student3
EDUC517Ethics, Law, and Policies in Higher Education3
EDUC640Research Methods in Education3
SAHE501Student Development Theory3
EDUC628Social and Cultural Diversity Counseling3
Total Semester Hours21

Students must choose a concentration for this degree program and may select from a Concentration in Academic Advising, Concentration in Campus Leadership, or Concentration in Career Coaching and Services.

Concentration in Academic Advising (12 semester hours)

Focuses on NACADA’s core competencies and values associated with academic advising in higher education settings. Conceptual, informational, and relationship components of advising are covered and applied to real-world scenarios. Topics include history of advising, relationship building, decision-making, goal setting, examining outcomes, advising approaches, and student learning and assessment.


Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Develop a personal philosophy of academic advising in alignment with the core values, ethical standards, and core competencies of the profession.
  • Apply academic advising theories and evidence-based strategies through experiential activities and Practicum experiences.

Concentration Requirements (12 semester hours)

SAHE520Introduction to Academic Advising3
SAHE533Academic Advising Theory and Practice3
SAHE502Student Learning and Assessment3
EDUC645Career Counseling and Development3
Total Semester Hours12

Concentration in Campus Leadership (12 semester hours)

Focuses on theories, models, and effective practices to serve in leadership roles within higher education settings and influence transformational change. Studies include effective administration, management, leadership, and supervision of higher education departments. Coursework topics include organizational leadership, transformational leadership and change, financial management, strategic planning, and evaluation of programs and data-driven decision- making.


Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective leadership skills in managing and supervising student affairs departments.
  • Apply leadership models and theories in experiential activities and Practicum experiences.

Concentration Requirements (12 semester hours)

EDUC604Leadership in Higher Education3
SAHE508Organizations, Culture, and Change3
EDUC516Financial Management in Higher Education3
SAHE506Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation3
Total Semester Hours12

Concentration in Career Coaching and Services (12 semester hours)

Focuses on providing effective career coaching and services to students transitioning from educational settings into the world of work. Foundational coaching skills, theories of career development, and use of assessments associated with career coaching are covered.


Upon successful completion of this concentration, the student will be able to:

  • Apply theory and evidence-based strategies in career coaching/services through experiential activities and Practicum experiences.
  • Apply coaching approaches to assist in career development and exploration in higher education.

Concentration Requirements (12 semester hours)

EDUC536Foundations of Coaching3
EDUC633Emotional Intelligence and Coaching Assessments3
EDUC645Career Counseling and Development3
EDUC635Coaching Groups and Teams3
Total Semester Hours12

Final Program Requirements (3 semester hours)

Total Semester Hours3