Help Students and Engage Communities with a Master's in Student Affairs
Impact the success of individual students and the culture of an entire campus with a Master of Arts in Student Affairs. Earning an MA in Student Affairs helps you become a practitioner-scholar, fostering growth and success in college communities. Participate in a program offering a foundation in counseling and theory, teaching you how to work one-on-one with students while also inspiring entire communities.
Explore your passions and interests through electives; you can pursue interests in areas such as addictions, trauma and crisis response, advanced counseling, and management. You may also work to help serve populations of students such as LGBTQ, first-generation, and those of color.
The MA in Student Affairs emphasizes relational practice and leadership, providing a unique model for training student affairs professionals. Relational practices in education and relationship leadership are based on Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) (Jordan, 2010; Miller & Stiver, 1997), which suggests that people grow through relationships rather than in isolation. RCT requires you to consider the cultural context in which both education and leadership exist. Here at Carlow, you will strengthen and deepen your understanding of this intersection to become a more conscientious professional.
“Knowing how to develop and engage in healthy growth-fostering relationships is essential for the student affairs practitioner. This pursuit is central to our master’s program. Mental health concerns are more prevalent than ever among college students. By situating this program in a psychology department we offer students a versatile set of tools and in-depth theoretical understanding to handle the range of challenges they will see.”
- Harriet Schwartz, PhD, MA in Student Affairs program chair
Read Dr. Harriet Schwartz's article Relational Practice: The Currency of Student Affairs on the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) website.
Read MA in Student Affairs student Loretta Ellis's "Change the Way You Look at Things and the Things You Look at Change," published on NASPA's homepage.
MA in Student Affairs Program Highlights
- A 36-credit program
- Part-time or full-time options
- Includes core courses, electives, internship, and an optional supervised research project
- Dual degree option: MS in Professional Counseling
Students who wish to work in a college counseling center and/or pursue professional licensure to potentially work in other mental health settings or private practice are invited to pursue the dual degree option (60 credits). Earn your MA in Student Affairs and MS in Professional Counseling
, complete with all coursework, practicum, and internship needed for licensure.
MA in Student Affairs Curriculum
For a list of every course available in the MA in Student Affairs program, click here. For details about the curriculum and courses, please visit the Course Catalog section of our website or request more information.
STA 703: Foundations of Student Affairs
The heart of students affairs work is being in relationship with
others. In this course, students will begin to explore relational
theory and practice. This course also traces the history of
the student affairs profession and its evolving role within higher
education. Current and future trends in student affairs practice will be
examined. Special attention will be paid to the social
justice mission as it is practiced and modeled within student
STA 704: Relational Practice and Leadership
Students will explore mentoring and relational practice
literature to develop greater intentionality regarding their work
with students and their role as positive contributors in the
workplace. Students will also explore leadership with special
attention on social action and change. Students will reflect on
their own leadership style and professional ethics and study
relevant professional discourse. Students will also consider their
own career development, self-care, and other challenges for new and
STA 711: Legal Issues and Administration of Student
This course examines the current legal issues in student affairs
practice and teaches students basic tools to navigate the
ever-changing legal landscape. Students will learn the basics of the major laws
that apply to student affairs work (Title IX, Clery, Campus Save,
HEOA, FERPA, etc.), and how to write compliant campus policies that
safeguard student rights and responsibilities as well as protect
the institution. Students will examine the student affairs role within
university-wide compliance and crisis response teams and create crisis
and compliance plans for a student affairs division. Students
will also learn to use legal and public resources to keep up with
evolving legal requirements.
STA 725: Co-curricular Programming and Assessment of
This course will focus on the principles and elements of
effective co-curriculum design. This will include an exploration of
different models of curriculum design; the importance and role of
"intended outcomes"; the incorporation of evidence-based practices;
and the benefits and challenges of different forms of assessment
(e.g. needs assessment, operations assessment, learning
assessment). Putting all of this together, this course will provide
an understanding and appreciation of curriculum design and
assessment skills critical to the effective development of
co-curricular programming within the field of student affairs.
STA 745: Internship in Student Affairs and
This course is a graduate-level 300-hour internship experience
in postsecondary student affairs and administration (e.g.,
Admissions, Financial Aid, Institutional Research, Residence Life).
The focus of the course will be in applying theory in the practice,
as students take on the roles and functions of professionals in the
field. To that end, students will be provided with a variety of
experiences that will promote an increased awareness of the various
roles and skills required of a student affairs professional.
Students will meet with their onsite supervisor weekly and attend
seminars through the university.
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