Graduate Catalog 2023-2024

Student Affairs in Higher Education, Master of Arts in Education (145)

Department website:

Program Coordinator

Aaron W. Hughey,, (270) 745-4849

The Master of Arts in Education program in Student Affairs in Higher Education is designed to prepare students to obtain entry and mid-level student affairs professional positions. Through a theory-based and applications-oriented program, students gain skills and competencies necessary to succeed in a variety of student affairs and post-secondary settings. Program content covers three broad areas: theoretical foundations, professional practice, and administrative effectiveness. Students are provided opportunities to focus on specific student affairs functions that are consistent with their interests.

Joint Undergraduate Master's Program (JUMP)

This degree offers a Joint Undergraduate Master's Program (JUMP) which provides academically outstanding students the opportunity to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in an accelerated timeframe. Contact the graduate program coordinator for additional information.

Program Faculty

Monica Burke
Aaron Hughey

Program Admission

Application Deadline is October 1 for spring admission; and March 1 for fall admission.  Review of completed applications begins October 2nd and March 2nd for spring and fall, respectively. Reviews employ a holistic approach to evaluate applicants' potential to be successful as students and, upon graduation, counseling or student affairs professionals. This approach involves the submission of materials that allows department faculty members to develop a more complete picture of applicants in terms of academic aptitude for graduate-level study, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, respect for cultural differences, and relevance of career goals to their prospective programs of interest. Faculty rate applicants' application materials and rank the applications according to these categories. Highly ranked applicants are invited to interview with faculty and current students in an individual or group setting. 

After completion of the interview, admissions decisions are made based on application ratings and interview evaluations collectively.  The application process is competitive with a limited number of openings.


Completed applications include various application materials that must be completed by the application deadlines.  Application portfolios should reflect thought, attention to detail, and appropriate effort.  You are applying to a competitive graduate program; it is important that your portfolio represents you in a positive yet realistic manner.  Please allow yourself at least a few weeks to complete the entire process.

All of the following materials should be submitted directly through the Graduate School application:

  1. Graduate School Application Form - requirements include a non-refundable application fee and official transcripts
  2. Statement of Interest
  3. A background check
  4. Resume

In addition to the Graduate School application process, students entering the Student Affairs program may be asked to submit a Case Study Writing Sample. Once the completed application is received, separate instructions will be sent for completing this process.


Based on the review of the application portfolio, highly ranked applicants will receive notification of their eligibility for an individual or group interview.  Applicants who completed Step 1 with moderate rankings may be placed on a waiting list depending on the number of students admitted each term. Eligible applicants will be scheduled for interviews on campus with faculty, current students, alumni and/or experienced professionals.  Participation in the interview process does not guarantee admission but is a prerequisite for admission. Interviewees who are unable to travel to campus interviews may arrange an online interview with the Program Coordinator. Based on the interview assessment, faculty will make offers for admission for the most highly rated candidates.

Applicants with moderate or lower rankings from the interviewers may receive letters indicating they will be placed on a waiting list or are not eligible for admission based upon the review.  If you are on a waiting list, the average time to be notified of your eligibility may be up to 6 weeks. Program Coordinators will oversee the application process.

Graduate School Admission

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (36 hours)

Required Core
CNS 571Introduction to Student Affairs in Higher Education3
CNS 574Student Development in Higher Education3
CNS 577Counseling Concepts and Applications for Student Affairs Professionals3
CNS 585Leadership and Administration in Student Affairs3
CNS 594Research Methods in Student Affairs3
CNS 595Internship6
CNS 604Resource Management in Student Affairs and Higher Education3
CNS 605Social and Cultural Diversity in Higher Education3
CNS 610Assessment and Accountability in Student Affairs and Higher Education3
CNS 670Parameters of Law in Student Affairs and Higher Education3
Select 1 course (3 hours) from the following:3
The College Student Experience
International Students and Services in Higher Education
Group Dynamics in Student Affairs and Higher Education
Career Development in Student Affairs and Higher Education
Critical Issues and Strategies in Student Affairs and Higher Education
Advanced Career Counseling and Services Administration
Total Hours36

All students must pass a final comprehensive examination. Comprehensive examinations are given in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.  Students must meet the criteria established by the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences in order to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination. The comprehensive exam policy and application may be found at