Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education: Online - Master of Science in Education

A program for current professionals in higher education who want to advance their career. This innovative cohort-based program values course activities that involve sharing experiences from diverse perspectives of higher education settings across the country.


Admission to graduate study does not constitute admission to the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education Master of Science in Education Program. Priority consideration is given to applications received before February 1 each year. The application process for the SAA M.S.Ed. Program consists of three parts:

  1. The UW System online application along with official transcripts sent to UWL admissions office from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
  2. The required supplemental materialswhich include:
    1. Resume
    2. Personal statement
    3. Contact information for two references
    4. Program application
  3. The SAA program interview(s): finalists may be invited to participate in an interview for the academic program. Interviews with SAA faculty may take place on campus, by phone, or via virtual meeting options. Additional interviews for M.S.Ed. graduate assistantship (GA) or graduate student internship (GSI) positions are required for those who are not already working at least half-time in higher education.

Enrollment in SAA courses is restricted to graduate students in the SAA Program, unless given special permission by the department chair.

Students in the SAA M.S.Ed. Program are expected to complete at least half-time supervised field experience throughout their enrollment in the program. Some students  meet this requirement by being selected for a relevant graduate assistantship or internship as part of the admission process to the academic program. Other students may meet this requirement by working full-time in the field. This field experience requirement is in addition to the practicum requirement.


36 credits

SAA 700Professional and Ethical Foundations in Student Affairs 13
SAA 702Student Development Theory3
SAA 704Leadership and Organizational Theories3
SAA 705Higher Education Values, Philosophy, and History3
SAA 706Advising and Supporting3
SAA 708Social Justice and Inclusion3
SAA 730Law, Policy, and Governance in Student Affairs3
SAA 760Administration of Human and Organizational Resources3
Assessment and research
SAA 765Assessment and Evaluation in Student Affairs3
SAA 780Capstone Research and Proposal3
SAA 790Capstone Seminar in Student Affairs Administration3
Topics/Field experience
SAA 720Special Topics in Student Affairs Administration (two different 7-week special topics courses are required)2
SAA 775Student Affairs Practicum1
Total Credits36

Course requires students to work at least 50% time in student affairs/higher education setting. See also the field experience requirement.

Field experience

In addition to completing required coursework, students are required to engage in ongoing supervised practice. Most students will meet this requirement through a graduate assistantship or internship in a student or academic affairs setting. These positions are generally 20 hours per week, for two academic years. Some students will meet this requirement by working at full- or half-time in the field of student affairs in higher education. Additional information is available on the SAA Program website.

University graduate degree requirements

After being admitted to the program of one's choice, candidates for a graduate degree must:

  1. Complete any preliminary course work and deficiencies.
  2. Complete all courses and other program requirements, including residence requirements prescribed for the degree desired in the respective school or college within a seven-year period from the date of initial enrollment, with the exception of students enrolled in the Student Affairs Administration and Leadership Ed.D. (SAA Ed.D.) graduate program. SAA Ed.D. students must complete all degree requirements within ten years from the time of initial enrollment in the graduate program.
  3. Earn a minimum of 30 credits for a master's degree; 54 credits for a doctorate or post-master's degree. Earn at least one-half of the minimum number of credits required in the program in graduate-only level courses (700, 800, 900, and non-slash 600 level courses). Some UWL graduate programs require more than 30 graduate credits. Please review the individual program requirements listed in the catalog for the exact number of credits required.
  4. Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.
  5. Satisfy dissertation, thesis, seminar paper, terminal/graduate projects and internships, or comprehensive examination, where applicable. A dissertation or thesis approved by the committee must be submitted to Graduate & Extended Learning for editorial review and approval by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. The recommended initial submission date for review is two weeks before commencement. Ordinarily, a seminar paper or project report does not have to be approved by the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. However, if the seminar paper or project report is to be archived in Murphy Library, the student must follow the same rules as they apply to the dissertation/thesis requiring approval from the Dean of Graduate & Extended Learning. For further research/dissertation/thesis guidelines, see Graduate & Extended Learning.
  6. File a completed "Intent to Graduate" form online via the WINGS Student Center immediately following registration for the final semester or summer term in residence. December graduates and winter intersession should file by May 1. May and summer graduates should file by December 1.
  7. Pay the graduation fee and remove all other indebtedness to the university. Payment of graduation fees does not imply readiness for graduation and does not take the place of applying for graduation.
  8. Complete all requirements within 30 days after the official ending date of a term in order for a degree to be awarded for that term. (See #5 above for separate deadline for written capstone experience.)