Requirements for the Student Affairs Administration Master’s Program
In consultation with their advisors, students must complete 40 credits. Students must also complete two (2) distinct praticum placements and a certifying examination. For more detailed information on each of these requirements, please see the below.
- Major Courses (25 credits) Course Descriptions
Course Course Name Credit EAD 805 Administration in Higher Education 3 EAD 870 Foundations of Postsecondary Education 3 EAD 871 Collegiate Contexts for Teaching and Learning 3 EAD 873 College Student Development 3 EAD 874 Introduction to Student Affairs 3 EAD 875 Issues and Strategies in Student Affairs 3 EAD 889 Research and Assessment in Student Affairs 3 EAD 893 Professional Development Seminar in Student Affairs 1
- Support Courses (6-9 credits)
Choose two or three of the following: Course Course Name Credit EAD 801 Leadership and Organizational Development 3 EAD 802 Building a Learning Organization 3 EAD 860 Concept of a Learning Society 3 EAD 861 Adult Learning 3 EAD 863 Training and Professional Development 3 EAD 864 Adult Career Development 3 EAD 866 Teaching in Post secondary Education 3 EAD 872 Legal Issues in Higher Education 3
Note: While 900-level courses in EAD are encouraged, students may also enroll in support courses in other departments within the university. Students may also complete up to 3 credits in upper division undergraduate courses with the approval of their academic advisor.
The practica component of the Master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration is designed to give students the opportunity to apply theory to practice and to engage in professional behavior in a work setting. Students gain insight into the nature of postsecondary organizations, explore applications of student learning and development theory, observe different administrative styles, and further enhance their praxis of student affairs and higher education administration.
Every student must complete two distinct practica, gaining a broad view of the Student Affairs profession. The first practicum, typically occurring in the spring term of the first year, will be a guided experience in which the SAA MA Coordinator supports students in locating and securing a position. The second practicum, typically occurring after a student’s first year, will be independent in nature as students will often find their own position.
The SAA program relies on the generosity of our many Practicum Providers and the quality performance of our students to sustain this essential component of the degree program. The extent to which students become actively involved in the development of specific skills varies by experience. Most practicum experiences include hands-on or applied projects; however, in some settings, the emphasis is on observation and analysis rather than service delivery.
The goal of the practicum experience is to provide students exposure to a specific functional area, administrative process, and/or procedure for them to gain/enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- A hands-on experience in which one performs the tasks and duties related to a specific functional areas in student affairs (e.g., Academic Advising, Student Activities, Career and Professional Development Services, Residential Life, International Student Services, Student Conduct, Graduate Student Services, Admissions, and Outreach).
- Observation and analysis of a functional area in student affairs in order to create, implement, and/or improve student services and programs.
Practicum is not:
- A support role in which duties and tasks are primarily administrative assistance. While some aspects of work in the Student Affairs profession require engaging in administrative tasks, the primary function of the practicum experience should be significantly related to direct services to students. Practicum students should not be simply making copies, ordering supplies, creating fliers, updating social media accounts, or other such tasks.
- Research assistance solely focusing on collecting and analyzing data. While practicum experiences are not exempt from integrating research into praxis, the primary function of the role must be tied to direct service.
Successful completion of the Student Affairs Administration Master’s Program requires that students engage in two distinct practicum experiences in which:
- Students must complete a total of 300 practicum hours. Students are encouraged to work a minimum of eight but no more than 12 hours/week during an academic term, and a minimum of 15 hours/week for a 10-week summer practicum to complete all required hours.
- At least one semester of EAD 893 must be successfully completed prior to the start of a practicum.
- Students must also be in good academic standing (at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA) to enter a practicum experience.
Selection and Placement
At the start of the first term, the Coordinator will assign students a faculty advisor with whom they should discuss a plan for the kinds of experiences they’d like to pursue. Since practicum agreements are made on a semester-by-semester basis, students should review the list of current Practicum Sites which will be shared in the fall semester. While these sites have been first approved by the SAA MA Coordinator, students can certainly pursue opportunities outside of those listed upon advance planning and approval from the Coordinator.
In selecting a practicum experience, students may choose a setting where they will enhance or develop a current skillset or area of emphasis. However, many will engage in experiences that will supplement their learning and/or expose them to a new functional area. Students should keep in mind that it is not the specific functional area but the opportunity to work in a professional Student Affairs setting and develop the competencies of the profession that is at the core of the practicum requirement.
After a review of practica opportunities, students will meet Practicum Supervisors at the Fall Practica Fair and, then, apply during the designated time.
Expectations and Evaluation
The SAA Master’s program provides a broad understanding of postsecondary educational systems from social, historical, cross-national, and normative perspectives, as well as an understanding of central issues in student affairs administration connecting theory to practice. Students will have opportunities to develop and use skills needed in practice through practicum experiences and, therefore, are expected to be prepared to work in and to cultivate educational environments receptive to diversity and multiculturalism.
Students should be clear about the level of engagement needed to ensure the learning outcomes pursued and should negotiate a practicum experience with the elements that are essential to their learning. All practicum experiences must be approved by the SAA MA Coordinator.
Designed in accordance with the CAS Standards, students are expected to understand and will be evaluated on their ability to:
- Provide a broad understanding of student affairs administration in the context of postsecondary institutions from philosophical, social, historical, cross-national, and normative perspectives;
- Provide students with an understanding of central issues in student affairs administration;
- Convey inquiry skills and to provide opportunities to use these skills on representative and crucial problems of student affairs administrative practice;
- Connect theoretical understanding of student development, Student Affairs Administration, and leadership to student affairs administrative practice through coursework and related experiences;
- Develop and demonstrate a flexible capacity to use skill sets (e.g., technology, distance learning, and communication) to deliver programs and services that engage students and foster student learning and development;
- Demonstrate the ability to use appropriate theory (e.g., student development, organizational, learning, leadership, etc.) and data-based decision-making to assist institutions in accomplishing their missions.
The certifying examination is a 36-hour written take-home exam providing an opportunity for students in the Student Affairs Administration Program to articulate their knowledge about information and issues in the field of Student Affairs and Higher Education. Students are challenged to integrate information from various sources and apply this information to situations that relate to Student Affairs.
Students must successfully complete a certifying examination during the semester they intend to graduate. To sit for the exam, students must have completed SAA MA core courses (EAD 805, 870, 871, 873, 874, 875, 889), maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.00, and have completed at least one practicum experience.