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Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs (MA HESA)

Meet Carly Halverson, UP School of Education's MA HESA alumnus. Carly has been working in the higher education and student affairs field for over 4+ years. She is currently working for a University in the state of Washington.


Application for Graduate Admission | MA HESA Statement of Goals

The master of arts in higher education and student affairs (MA HESA) program offers a professional pathway to advance your career goals as an effective administrator, educator, and leader in higher education. Whether currently employed in higher education or seeking a new career, the MA HESA provides professional faculty experts, real-world experiences, and opportunities to explore career options. Designed for working students and professionals, evening programming options include full-time (two-year completion) or part-time study options, rolling admissions to meet your start date needs, and courses in three semester terms: fall, spring, and the July summer session. Meeting face-to-face with faculty, you will be mentored and advised according to your individualized study plan. The MA HESA program is aligned with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) professional competencies.

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MA HESA Program Overview and Strengths

Credits and Length: The 30-semester-hour program is designed to be completed in 2 years. Students enroll in 6 semester hours of credit in three contiguous semesters (fall, spring, and summer) during consecutive years of study. Part-time options may be planned individually based on consultation.

State-of-the-Art MA HESA Curriculum: All students in our program experience a learning model that bridges theory, best practices, and applied research for immediate impact on the profession.

Accessible and Affordable: Courses are delivered on the UP campus one evening a week. The School of Education offers programs at some of the lowest tuition rates in the metropolitan area; all programs are eligible for federal financial aid, and no application fee is required. Current graduate program tuition rates may be found here.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Option: If you have already earned a master's degree and your goal is to become a HESA professional, you may apply to the EdD program and, if accepted, select HESA as your area of concentration. The EdD program offers an innovative program for advanced leadership with areas of concentration options based on career goals of applicants. For more information about doctoral studies with a HESA concentration, consult the EdD program page.

Post Master's Certificate Option: If you have already earned a master's degree and your goal is to become a HESA professional but you do not wish to pursue an EdD degree, you may apply to the post master's HESA certificate program.

Information, Consultation, and Advising Sessions: Applications are reviewed throughout the year, as this program has a rolling admissions process. Applications deadlines by term are August 1 (fall entry), December 1 (spring entry), and June 1 (summer entry). Check this MA HESA program page for updates on dates and times of information sessions. For general questions about the MA HESA program, to RSVP for an upcoming information session, or to schedule an individual consultation and advising session with the program faculty advisor, please contact Chris Greene at or 503.943.8534.

Dedicated Faculty and Professional Network: Program faculty hold advanced degrees and have executive work experience in higher education.

Eddie Contreras MA HESA profile

Eduardo Contreras, Jr., Ed.D.

"Eduardo Contreras, Jr., Ed.D., serves as the Director of Studies Abroad program and an affiliate faculty member for the MA HESA program. He holds an Ed.D. from Graduate School of Education at Harvard. Dr. Contreras' expertise in international education and his experience in studies abroad will contribute to the advancement of UP's School of Education MA HESA program. "

Bobbi Lindahl MA HESA profile

Roberta "Bobbi" Lindahl, MBA

"Roberta "Bobbi" Lindahl, M.B.A., serves as the Registrar and an affiliate faculty member for the MA HESA program. As the Registrar, she is responsible for comprehensive data systems and policies regarding course registration, transcripts, class rosters, classroom requests, and graduation requirements. "

Click here for our full faculty page.

MA HESA Program of Study & Curriculum

The MA HESA program includes coursework in each of the following four strands:

1. Administration-Leadership: Develop leadership and team skills
Leadership development and philosophy | Legal issues | Higher education history | Organizational practice | Personnel

2. Student Affairs: Learn to support and counsel students
Student development and diversity | Career planning | Counseling | Spirituality | Student identity

3. Program Evaluation: Improve programming effectiveness
Program management | Social support and entrepreneurism | Goal setting | Program measurement and evaluation

4. Integration: Gain experience through a practicum or project
Career interest exploration | Applied projects | Practicum opportunities | Starting the job search

The MA HESA program is designed to prepare students to be impactful higher education practitioners through: professional skill development, practical experiences, practica, program development, evaluation, and assessment based on best practices. Forming the next generation of visionary leaders for postsecondary education, the program educates the mind and heart in service to the world in the Catholic and Holy Cross tradition.

MA HESA Degree Requirements

The courses listed below are required to complete the MA HESA degree requirements.

Administration-Leadership Strand (12 semester hours)

BUS 512 Leadership and Higher Level Management (3 sem hrs)
ED 520 History, Organization, and Student Personnel in Higher Education (3 sem hrs)
ED 522 Legal Issues in Higher Education (3 sem hrs)

Choose One:
BUS 515 Social Venture Management (3 sem hrs)
BUS 541 Human Resources Management (3 sem hrs)
BUS 571 New Venture Management (3 sem hrs)

Student Affairs Strand (9 semester hours)

ED 521 Student Career Development and Planning (3 sem hrs)
ED 523 Developmental Theory, Identity, and College Populations (3 sem hrs)
ED 528 Foundations of Counseling and Student Affairs (3 sem hrs)

Program Evaluation Strand (3 semester hours)

Choose One:
ED 555 Teacher as Researcher (3 sem hrs)
ED 558 Educational Research for Improved Student Learning (3 sem hrs)

Integration Strand (6 semester hours)

ED 527 Applied Studies in Higher Education and Student Affairs (6 sem hrs)

Course descriptions are available in the University of Portland Bulletin.

Potential Careers in Higher Education

College unions | Student senate | Orientation | Student activities | Service learning/civic engagement | Multicultural programs | Identity diversity programs | Financial aid | Program counseling | Leisure and recreational sports programs | Women's programs | Veterans programs | Support centers for students with disabilities | Art galleries | Career placement | Study abroad programs | Residence life and housing | Recreation/fitness centers | Student conduct | Campus Ministry | Commuter student offices | Student government advising | Graduate student association | Student employment office | First-year student programs | Leadership programs | International student centers | Academic event management

Program Admission and Application

Application for Graduate Admission | MA HESA Statement of Goals


Application Requirements
To be considered for admission, the online application form and all supporting materials must be received by the Graduate School on or before the published application deadline. All applicants to the MA HESA program must submit the following:

1. Application Form
Complete the Application for Graduate Admission form online. There is no application fee.

2. Official Transcripts
An official transcript sent directly to the University of Portland Graduate School showing all college credit attempted and/or completed from each college and university previously attended. Transcripts from foreign universities must be in English or be accompanied by an English translation certified as authentic. Evidence of possession of a undergraduate's degree from a national accredited institution is required. All official transcripts submitted become the property of the University and cannot be copied or returned to the applicant.

3. Statement of Goals
Please provide a narrative statement about your academic goals, professional goals, and the importance of the MA HESA program in achieving those goals. MA HESA Statement of Goals Form

4. Grade Point Average
Evidence of scholastic background that indicates ability to do satisfactory graduate work. Usually this is considered to be a minimum of a B average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).

5. Resume
Submit a current professional resume listing positions that you have held for three months or longer, including your current position.  

In the event that your application requires further reviewing, qualified applicants may be invited to interview with members of the School of Education faculty.

Please note: All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate School. To begin your application, go to the Graduate School's website.

Technology Requirement
Candidates accepted into the program are expected to have their own computer and access to the internet.