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Program Description and Requirements

The Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education houses one graduate program offering the M.A. degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education.

Student Affairs is an applied science field and, as such, offers the following topic areas: personality and human development; research; specific skills and techniques for helping others learn, grow, and develop; organizational management theory and practice; and practice-oriented courses.

A minimum of 42 credits plus the passing of a comprehensive exam (or completing a thesis) and the equivalent of two academic years of full-time study are required for the M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education. These include a core requirement of 36 hours.

Required Courses and Credit Hours

GSR 615 - Elements of Research 3

SAHE 621 - History of Higher Education in the United States 3

SAHE 624 - Student Affairs Functions in Higher Education 3

SAHE 625 - Theories of Personality and Human Development 3

SAHE 631 - Student Development in Higher Education 3

SAHE 634 - Assessment and Evaluation in Student Affairs 3

SAHE 731 - Practicum in Student Affairs (x2) 6

SAHE 733 - Management of Organizational Behavior in Higher Education 3

SAHE 735 - Individual and Group Interventions 3

SAHE 737 - The American College Student 3

SAHE 741 - Contemporary Issues in Higher Education 3

SAHE 795 - Thesis 3-6 orSAHE Electives 3-6


Note: Students have the option of waiving the thesis requirement and taking six credits of electives.

SAHE Electives

(Note. Not every elective is offered every year)

SAHE 646 - Interpersonal Sensitivity

SAHE 638 - Topical Areas in Student Affairs

SAHE 640 - Cultural Pluralism in Higher Education

SAHE 713 - Legal Aspects of Student Affairs

SAHE 727 - Spirituality in Higher Education

Thesis or Comprehensive Exam

The SAHE curriculum provides the opportunity to either complete a thesis OR complete six hours of approved electives and sit for the comprehensive examination during the final semester. A successful thesis experience requires planning during the first year, refinement of those plans over the summer, and implementation early in the second year. The thesis committee will consist of three faculty members, including the student’s thesis committee chair. The comprehensive exam assesses students’ ability to understand, integrate, and apply the knowledge gained throughout their coursework and practical experiences in SAHE. Competence integrating conceptual and content knowledge and familiarity with the professional literature that informs it will also be required.

Students who choose and are successfully progressing toward a thesis, as demonstrated by completion of the Overview and Research Topic Approval Form by December 1 of their second year in the program, do not need to sit for the comprehensive exam. Failure to complete the thesis, however, will require that the student participate in the comprehensive exam during its next administration.

  • Student Affairs in Higher Education Department
  • Stouffer Hall, Room 206
    1175 Maple Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-1251
  • Fax: 724-357-7821
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.