Florida State University

College of Education

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

M.S. in Higher Education - Student Affairs

  • M.S.
Program Emphasis: 
  • Administrative Leadership
  • Student Learning & Development


Jimmy Pastrano
1114 West Call Street
1209 Stone Building
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Program Statement

Established in 1957, the Florida State University Higher Education Program boasts a long tradition of excellence in preparing students for successful careers in higher education and in disseminating research on higher education policy issues at the national, state, and institutional level. Our mission is to draw upon and apply knowledge from the broad areas of organizational theory, student development, public policy, as well as teaching and learning to improve the quality of practice in college and universities.

The Florida State University Higher Education Program prepares individuals for careers in administration, management, and leadership in public and private, two-year and four-year colleges, universities, and other institutions. A student’s program of study is designed around required core courses as well as elective courses. Other learning experiences, such as internships and graduate assistantships, add practical experience to the learning process. Each student is encouraged to pursue their own educational and professional goals to the extent possible within a wide range of curricular choices. In general, the curriculum is designed to provide students with appropriate knowledge about the professional field while grounding students in the theoretical framework necessary to guide current and future study and career development in higher education. Many courses use practical examples, case studies, and simulations to facilitate theory to practice learning opportunities and applications.

The master’s degree program is the Master of Science (M.S.) in Higher Education with emphasis in Student Affairs. The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 39 hours of course work. All courses taken for the Master’s degree must be graduate courses.

Core Values
We value and attempt to create a learning community in which students develop a framework of knowledge that enables them to think critically, articulate values, and put their knowledge and skills to use.

We value and seek to develop collaborative relationships in which faculty, students, staff, and practicing professionals identify and share in the realization of mutually valuable learning outcomes.

We value and try to create an open community based upon democratic ideals in which freedom of expression is protected, civility is affirmed, and appreciation and understanding of individual differences are honored and respected. In this light, we value a caring community in which the well-being of each person is important, and a life-net supports every member.

Learning Outcomes

Student Affairs Emphasis

This emphasis is designed to prepare students to work in student affairs positions in a variety of settings. Graduates are employed in all aspects of student affairs including housing, Greek life, student activities, orientation, career development, academic advising, union administration, judicial affairs, services for students with disabilities, and generalist positions. The emphasis of this program is on the administration of student affairs and student development. Students who plan to work in the student affairs field should enroll in this program.

A graduate of the M.S. program in Student Affairs will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of higher education and student affairs, including knowledge of the history and philosophy of higher education, theories of student development, and the effects of college on students.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional practice, including organization and administration of student affairs; advising, counseling, instructing, leading, and managing techniques; and fundamental uses of assessment, evaluation, and research in understanding organizational and individual behavior.
  • Communicate an understanding of the diverse cultural backgrounds of college students and the characteristics of college students.
  • Delineate a personal code of professional ethics and philosophy of student affairs that would guide action.
  • Demonstrate the acquisition and use of knowledge, skills, values, and competencies through supervised practice in the form of internships, assistantships, or a full-time position in a higher education setting, and through applications such as case studies, case problems, and simulations.


The Master's Program is a two-year program if attending full-time.

The Master of Science in Higher Education requires:

Minimum of 39 semester hours of coursework, which must include:

30 hours of core courses, including:

6 hours of internship credit or thesis**
3 hour practicum course
3 hour capstone course

9 hours of elective courses
3.00 minimum GPA

Master of Science in Higher Education (Student Affairs Emphasis)

Based on the 2018-2019 Doctoral Student in Higher Education Handbook. Degree requirements are subject to change.

Core Courses (33 hours)

EDH 5051       Higher Education in America: Basic Understandings (3)
EDH 5045       Student Development Theories (3)
SDS 5040        Introduction to Student Affairs (3)
EDH 5046       Diversity in Higher Education (3)
EDH 5078       Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education I: Study Design (3)
EDH 5931       Leadership Education and Learning (3)
SDS 5804        Practicum in Student Personnel (3)
EDH 5079       Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education II (3)
EDH 5630       Capstone in Higher Education (3)
EDH 5944       Internships or Thesis (6** see note below)


Electives (minimum 6 hours)

EDH 5042       Student Success in College (3) – recommended elective
EDH 5405       Legal Aspects of College (3) – recommended elective
EDH 5639       Management in Higher Education (3) – recommended elective
EDH 5054       The American Community College (3)
EDH 5506       College & University Business Administration (3)
EDH 5055       Introduction to Institutional Research (3)
EDH 5305       College Teaching: Instruction (3)
EDH 5309       Technology in Higher Education (3)
EDF 5519        History of Higher Education (3)
EDH 5005       Sociology of Higher Education/Sociology of Education (EDF 5630)  (3)
EDH 5506       College and University Business Administration (3)
EDH 6067       International Perspectives in Higher Education (3)
EDH 5095       Strategic Planning in Higher Education (3)
EDH 5507       College and University Budgeting (3)
EDH 6505       Finance in Higher Education (3)
EDH 6064       Women in Higher Education (3)
EDH 5089       Black and Latino Education: History and Policy (3)

(Other higher education courses may be substituted with consent of advisor)

** Internships/Thesis: Students with three (3) years of full-time professional experience in their current higher education management position may, within one year of starting classes, petition the faculty to forego 3 internship credit hours and take another course (elective) in its place. Students seeking an intensive research experience in the field may, within one year of starting classes, petition the faculty to pursue 6 hours of thesis credit in place of the internship requirement.

Meets ACPA Commission for Professional Preparation Standards: 
Meets CAS Standards: 

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
2 years

Visitation Program

  • February 9, 2020 to February 11, 2020


Entrance Exam: 
  • GRE
Assistantship Required: 
Assistantship Placement Assistance: 
  • Full time
  • Part time
Program Delivery: 
  • In-person
Course Schedule: 
  • Day
  • Evening
Comprehensive Exam Required: