Student Affairs in Higher Education

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Graduate programs

Master of Science, Student Affairs in Higher Education

Nicole West, Program Coordinator
Hill Hall, Room 303; Phone 417-836-5223

Program description

The Student Affairs program has been developed at Missouri State to meet the staffing needs of colleges and universities throughout the nation. Our goal is the development of individuals to successfully enter the field of student affairs administration in higher education. Individuals who participate in this program will have both a theoretical understanding of the history and traditions of higher education, and the practical experience needed to address current issues which face campuses in the 21st Century.

Program admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the program, a student must submit a Graduate Application as well as the Student Affairs program application.

In addition to the Graduate College admission requirements, the Student Affairs program requires the following:

  1. A grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.00 scale, OR at least a 2.75 grade point average on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 hours of academic course work.
  2. A GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of 290 combined on the verbal and quantitative (875 under the old scoring system before August 1, 2011).
  3. A written “Statement of Purpose” containing long-term professional or personal goals, a statement regarding how this degree will contribute to the applicant’s long-term goals (minimum of 300 words) and an indication of what has been done to prepare for this profession.
  4. Submission of three “Applicant Reference Forms”;
  5. Completion of the “Technology Skills Checklist”.
  6. Access to the Internet and an active e-mail address.

Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Minimum scores of 550 on the paper-based or a comparable score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL are required for admission.

Candidates who meet the Graduate College minimum requirements will be placed in the pool from which applicants will be selected.  Prospective students’ applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.  Early submission by February 1 may enhance an applicant’s opportunities to obtain a graduate assistantship position.  Credential review will continue until the available spaces are filled.


The program follows the Council for Advancement of Academic Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and meets the College Student Educators International (ACPA) and Student Affairs in Higher Education (NASPA) respectively Professional Preparation Commission and the Graduate Program Directory.

Degree requirements

  1. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 45 approved graduate hours with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00.
  2. No more than 9 semester hours of 600-level course work may be applied to the degree program as approved by the program director.
  3. Qualification Exam and the E-Portfolio Project is the two part Comprehensive Examination for SAHE program.  Students will complete Qualification Exam/E-Portfolio in SAE 771, Capstone Seminar.  Students will begin the E-Portfolio during the first semester of the program.
  4. Research.  Successful completion of SAE 729, SAE 766 and SAE 767.
  5. Transfer Credit.  A maximum of 30% of the total hours may be accepted in as transfer credit toward a master’s degree.  All transfer credit must be “A” or “B” grade status from a regionally accredited college or university and must be approved by the program director.

Graduate assistantships

There is a strong possibility that candidates admitted into the student affairs program by February 1 will be offered employment as a graduate assistant within the Division of Student Affairs.  Students admitted by this date with at least a 3.00 GPA will receive priority consideration.  Students admitted to the student affairs program should have either a graduate assistantship or a full-time employment position with Missouri State University or a local post-secondary educational institution. 

Required courses

Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
SAE 721 Introduction to Student Affairs 3 hrs
SAE 723 Student Development Theory 3 hrs
SAE 726 Higher Education in the United States 3 hrs
SAE 729 Foundations of Research  3 hrs
SAE 732 Leadership and Administration in Higher Education 3 hrs
SAE 735 Governance and Finance in Higher Education 3 hrs
SAE 738 Legal and Ethical Issues in Student Affairs 3 hrs
SAE 747
SAE 748*
Supervised Practice
Special Projects: Reflective Moments in Higher Education and Student Affairs
6 hrs
SAE 749 Student Outcomes 3 hrs
SAE 766 Research Methods and Data Analysis 3 hrs
SAE 767 Assessment and Evaluation 3 hrs
SAE 771 Capstone Seminar 3 hrs
SAE 727 Creating Inclusive Campus Environmnents 3 hrs
SAE 728 Individual & Group Support Skills 3 hrs
  Total 45 hrs

*Full time employees at Missouri State University or area institutions may substitute this class to meet their Supervised Practice requirement for their degree.