Master of Arts (MA) in Higher Education Student Affairs

Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs

Offered By: College of Education

What is MA in Higher Education Student Affairs?

Grand Canyon University’s Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs degree program prepares professionals for a career in student affairs administration at higher education institutions. Coursework is designed to ensure that graduates of this program understand how student affairs administrators directly contribute to the social development, academic success and overall well-being of students.

The study of student affairs provides an understanding of leadership as service to positively influence the educational community. By identifying student and organizational needs, student affairs professionals can develop goals, create and implement plans for achieving those goals, assess results, and evaluate effectiveness and efficiency. Further, students will learn to manage resources and seek new opportunities that support the institution’s mission and vision in this master’s in higher education student affairs degree. This field also emphasizes cultivating collaborative relationships with students, families, colleagues, school professionals and community members to promote a supportive, challenging and modern higher education environment, student growth and professional advancement.

Graduates from this MA degree program in higher education student affairs will possess:

  • Foundational knowledge that encompasses student development theory
  • The history of student affairs, leadership, community and student engagement, organizational structures and processes
  • Understanding of topics relevant to the major service areas within student affairs
  • A focused knowledge of operations management, campus community, health and safety and crisis management
  • Competence in areas of spiritual life, housing, legal aspects of student affairs and campus partnerships—comprehensive areas that affect impactful practices of an educational community and outcomes of individual students

Earn Your Master’s in Higher Education Student Affairs Degree at GCU

The MA in Higher Education Student Affairs is perfect for professionals looking to have deep impact within various student populations in postsecondary settings. Establishing and maintaining positive relationships through servant leadership is a focal point throughout the program, as relationship building helps better meet the needs of postsecondary students. In addition, students will learn about crisis management and intervention, operational resource management, and laws and ethics; these subject matters prepare graduates to make sound decisions within a higher education setting.

Also, as a Christian university, GCU programs are values-oriented and based on a Christian worldview, so students can develop personal ethics and servant leadership practices that are relevant to student affairs. This Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs degree empowers students to lead with kindness, compassion and justice for making the greatest difference.

Topics Covered in a Student Affairs Master of Arts Degree

Coursework from this master’s degree in higher education student affairs includes:

  • Servant Leadership
  • Student Development
  • Developing Student Leaders
  • Culture and Team Building
  • Laws and Ethics
  • Operational Resource Management
  • Crisis Management and Intervention
  • Community Development and Engagement
  • In the College of Education, courses are led by experts in their respective fields who share their knowledge and experience in all areas of higher education student affairs.

    In order to gain experiences within higher education student affairs departments, students will be required to complete 100 hours of practicum/internship hours in the last three courses of their program of study. These experiences will directly relate to the concepts learned throughout the program and help inform a culminating capstone course. During an on-campus internship, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. Students must have access to an institute of higher learning to complete program assignments.

    Prepare for a Career in Higher Education and Student Affairs

    Graduates may pursue high-level occupations such as education administrator, academic affairs administrator, academic affairs vice president, academic dean, dean or registrar. This graduate degree program serves as an ideal next step in career advancement for teachers and education professionals who wish to take on a leadership role at the administrative level.

Get More Information!

Loading Form

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Program Credits: 32
Online: 6 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
PROGRAM TUITION RATE:
Online: $565 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
32 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
32 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Education. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

Candidates survey the responsibilities and functions of the departments of student affairs in a higher education setting. This survey includes developing a broad understanding of how foundational knowledge of the theories of student affairs apply to the functioning of student affairs on a higher education campus. Focus is placed on the scope and delegation of the functions of student affairs, and the responsibilities of student affairs professionals. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

In this course, candidates examine laws applicable to higher education, including HIPPA, FERPA, Title IX, and ADA. Coursework focuses on ethical application of laws and policies in the higher education setting as well as preparing to navigate ethical decision making in a Higher Education Student Affairs setting. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

In this course, candidates focus on servant leadership in the area of higher education student affairs, and examine how this connects to ethics, accountability, and being a responsible leader. Candidates will learn to lead with kindness, compassion and justice for the good of all stakeholders within the campus community. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

This course examines theories of student development and multicultural diversity. Candidates will develop programming to engage students in building and maintaining university community, and to promote individual self-efficacy that meets the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Candidates will identify strategies to assist students in developing their worldview and personal potential.

Course Description

In this course, students will identify the legal, ethical, logistical, and psychological implications of student crises within the context of a Higher Educational setting. Candidates will learn proactive and reactive risk management resources and strategies to respond to student crises on campus and address the implications of student crisis specific to Student Affairs within the context of a Higher Educational landscape. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

In this course, candidates will develop strategies to model and coach student leaders, equipping them to engage their peers in building and maintaining healthy campus community. Candidates learn to effectively select and train potential student leaders, and provide opportunities for student leaders to participate in leadership experiences within the higher education community. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

In this course, students will learn how to ethically identify and utilize university resources while maximizing effectiveness within Student Affairs. Students will gain a working knowledge of how to advocate for needed resources and track expenses. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

In this course, candidates identify the importance of building effective teams stemming from a healthy organizational structure and emotionally intelligent culture in student affairs. Candidates initiate and participate in strategic team development for the benefit of student affairs, as well as the higher education community. Practicum/field experience hours: 26. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: All previous coursework must be completed.

Course Description

In this course candidates will deepen their understanding of the structure of the university system, providing leadership to ensure effective application of initiatives that enhance and maintain the campus community. Candidates will collaboratively establish and maintain an effective educational environment and evaluate the effects of professional decisions and actions on students, families, and other professionals in the learning community. Practicum/field experience hours: 26. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: EDU-578. Practicum/field experience hours: 26. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: EDU-578.

Course Description

This is the culminating course in the Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs. This course combines the information and skills presented in prior courses in the program. In a 48-hour on-campus practicum/field experience, candidates apply their knowledge and skills in a specific area or department within student affairs. Candidates have the opportunity to synthesize and practice what they have learned in the program. Emphasis is on critical thinking and problem-solving skills through leadership and collaboration. Practicum/field experience hours: 48. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: EDU-587.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.

Scroll back to top