Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, M.A.

Saint Louis University's Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESAA) emphasizes the interplay of theory and practice in higher education.

The degree requires the completion of 33 credits of coursework and a comprehensive written examination. 

Curriculum Overview

The Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESAA) from SLU is a nonthesis program grounded in a social justice framework. The M.A. program includes site-based activities aligned with coursework as well as a three-credit internship.

The M.A. prepares individuals for professional, entry-level and middle-management positions in academic, administrative, institutional, public policy, and student affairs offices in two- and four-year colleges and universities, multicampus systems, foundations and government agencies.

Social Justice Framework

Our programs are grounded in our social justice framework. Social justice has been a “significant lens” for Jesuits since 1965 and is also vital for higher education and student affairs professionals, educators and community stakeholders. While the definitions of social justice are numerous, David Hollenbach, S.J., wrote that “social justice concerns institutionalized patterns of mutual action and interdependence that are necessary to bring about the realization of distributive justice.” 

In an education setting, distributive justice is the claim that everyone should have access to the public good of education. Toward that end, we strive to find ways to address experiences of systemic injustice, displacing oppressive structures with those that provide for all.

As educators, we understand our particular obligation is to prepare leaders for higher education who will dismantle systems of oppression and help shape colleges and universities that create vital educational spaces for all, with an intentional focus on those who have been targets of bias and injustice. With these goals in mind, our program is informed by the Jesuit, Catholic perspective on social justice and is guided by the Universal Apostolic Preferences adopted by the Society of Jesus in 2019 for the decade ahead.

The Jesuits encourage specific approaches to bring about reconciliation and justice. Our program’s framework is specifically guided by two approaches: “Walking with the Excluded” and “Journeying with Youth” (The Society of Jesus, 2019).

The approach “Walking with the Excluded” guides our program’s framework. Our students are personally and professionally challenged to address both higher education and society’s systemic inequities through an understanding of reconciliation and justice.

The approach “Journeying with Youth” encourages the Jesuit community, including our work in the University and the School of Education, to be open to formation by those who are new to our community or those who are younger, including students, faculty and staff. 

As scholars and educators, we aim to co-create a learning environment where students are holistically prepared to:

  1. Identify and analyze processes that dehumanize any persons and assist all in collectively and proactively dismantling oppression.
  2. Reflect on the socialization that shapes each student and faculty member.
  3. Give voice to particular groups’ experiences.
  4. Contextualize the history and context that each person brings to our work by incorporating sociopolitical perspectives into dialogue.
  5. Reflect upon and ask critical questions regarding the systems, structures and impact of higher education.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

The M.A. program includes internships and offers research opportunities in existing areas of higher education.


Graduates of SLU's master's program in higher education and student affairs administration work in many areas of student affairs, including enrollment management, advising and student development at two- and four-year institutions.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.

Application Requirements

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  • Transcript(s)
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Interview
  • Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.
  • WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.
  • In order to be issued an I-20 for your F-1 visa application, students must submit financial documents. Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University

Please note that application deadlines for this program differ for international students.

Application Deadline

Domestic students should apply for the fall semester by June 15, the spring semester by Nov. 1, and the summer semester by April 1. International students should apply for the fall semester by May 1, the spring semester by Oct. 1, and the summer semester by Feb. 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed upon completion by a committee. Graduate assistantships in student development and partner offices are also available. The priority deadline for these applications is Feb. 1. 


Tuition Cost Per Credit
School of Education Master's programs and Graduate Certificates $680

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

For more information about Saint Louis University scholarships and financial aid, please visit the Office of Student Financial Services online at www.slu.edu/financial-aid/.  

  1. Graduates will use student development, organizational and environmental theories to analyze issues related to students and higher education student personnel administration practice.
  2. Graduates will interpret and apply research to higher education and student affairs administration practice.
  3. Graduates will apply leadership, communication, organizational, financial, assessment and management practices to professional work in higher education student affairs administration functional areas. 
Required Courses
EDR 5000General Research Methods for Education3
EDH 5700Assessment and Evaluation in Student Affairs3
EDH 5350Student Development Theory I3
EDH 5360Student Development Theory II3
EDH 5470Leadership in Higher Education3
EDH 5600Foundations in Higher Education3
EDH 5640Social Justice and the College Student3
EDH 5650Intervention Skills3
EDH 5915Internship in Student Personnel Administration (required to take twice for 2 hrs total)2
EDH 5910Internship: Higher Ed Admin1
EDH 5950Special Study for Written Comprehensive Exams0
EDH 6050Disability in Higher Education & Society3
Total Credits33

Non-Course Requirements

  • Students must pass a comprehensive written examination.
  • Students must complete an exit interview.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
EDH 5350 Student Development Theory I 3
EDH 5600 Foundations in Higher Education 3
EDH 6050 Disability in Higher Education & Society 3
EDH 5360 Student Development Theory II 3
EDH 5640 Social Justice and the College Student 3
EDH 5915 Internship in Student Personnel Administration 1
EDH 5915 Internship in Student Personnel Administration 1
Year Two
EDH 5650 Intervention Skills 3
EDR 5000 General Research Methods for Education 3
EDH 5470 Leadership in Higher Education 3
EDH 5700 Assessment and Evaluation in Student Affairs 3
EDH 5910 Internship: Higher Ed Admin 1
Elective 3
EDH 5950 Special Study for Written Comprehensive Exams 0
Exit Interview  
 Total Credits33

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Saint Louis University School of Education