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Master of Education: Student Affairs

Our graduate programs at Clemson University build on the rich experiences and expertise of faculty and students to provide an educational environment in which both groups share in research, exploration and inquiry. The result of this synergy is impact — on our community and beyond.

Specialty Concentrations

  • Overview

    The M.Ed. Program in student affairs at Clemson University—affiliated with the CACREP-accredited counselor education unit—is consistently regarded as one of the top programs in the Southeast, if not the nation. The program is designed to produce student affairs generalists, defined as competent practitioner-scholars who:

    • Understand how divisions of student affairs function as interconnected working units, and how divisions of student affairs complement the academic mission of institutions of higher learning.
    • Learn and apply a multitude of practitioner-based competencies (modeled on the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies for Student Affairs Practitioners) in a student-centered manner.
    • Can contribute to higher education in a variety of ways, in a variety of positions, and in a variety of institutional settings.
  • Program Goals

    Counselor Education Department Mission Statement

    The faculty of the Counselor Education Program is dedicated to educating counselor education professionals as scholar practitioners to function in culturally diverse settings. This program utilizes an experiential and theory-to-practice model emphasizing development, prevention and intervention. The program areas are designed to provide challenging, yet supportive environments that promote professional orientation, commitment to inquiry and self-awareness.

    The faculty is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and education of diverse professionals. In order to prepare counselor education professionals, the faculty, through a program of planned educational experiences, attempts to develop in each graduate:

    • Respect for the dignity and worth of all individuals.
    • Commitment to the fulfillment of human potential.
    • An understanding of educational and counseling processes.
    • Knowledge in the counseling program area.
    • Ethical competencies.
    • Commitment to inquiry.
    • Self-awareness.
    • Advocacy dispositions.

    Students in this program can expect to integrate and apply knowledge through a variety of complementary experiences, including:

    • rigorous coursework founded on cutting edge professional standards (CAS, ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies);
    • graduate assistantships and 400 total hours of required field experiences (a 100 hour practicum and two 150 hour internships, selected by the student and his/her advisor and providing an individually-tailored plan of study that enhances the student's professional development interests);
    • professional development opportunities through professional conferences and graduate student organizations; and
    • an overall immersive learning environment that emphasizes a comprehensive model of higher education leadership, built on intentionally-blended theoretical and practitioner experiences.

    Please see the Student Affairs Graduate Student Handbook for general information.

    Program Evaluation Data
    Each year, the program conducts an "Exit Survey" that assesses recent graduates' learning outcomes and perceptions of impactful program experiences. The 2015-16 exit survey results for EDC student affairs are available. Consistently, over the past several years, recent graduates have noted they appreciate the following components of Clemson's program:

    • the student-centered faculty who take time to get to know students as individuals;
    • the ability to work with their faculty advisor to design a course of study that is unique and that furthers their professional goals;
    • the rich variety of practicum and internship experiences—in varying functional areas and at different institutional settings—that allow them to personalize their scholar-practitioner experience;
    • the high level of involvement by program alumni who are committed to giving back to the program and helping current students connect with prospective employers;
    • the collaborative spirit between the student affairs M.Ed. program and the Clemson University Division of Student Affairs, which facilitates learning in and out of the classroom;
    • the general "prestige" of the program and how student affairs practitioners around the country respect the "Clemson name;" and
    • the high job placement rate of the program and the assistance they receive from the faculty to effectively search for, acquire and transition into their first professional position.

    The program also periodically collects data in the form of alumni surveys, which are collected from program graduates one and three years after graduation. The 2015-16 alumni survey results are available.

  • Admission Requirements

    Applications are due by February 1 with preference given to students with graduate assistantships or who are working full-time in higher education; for spring admissions (reserved for part-time students only), October 1 is the deadline. Application files that are complete by February 1 and October 1 will be reviewed for admission. Final decisions will be made typically by mid-February for fall admission and mid-October for spring admission.

    Application Requirements:

    • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale)
    • Completed online application to the Clemson Graduate School (Be sure to answer all essay questions on the application.)
    • Competitive GRE scores
    • Two references who can speak to the applicant's overall intellectual capacity, including academic and professional experience. The student affairs program does not accept transfer students per se. That is, individuals who have started working on a graduate degree in student affairs or a related degree at another institution must apply to this program in the same way as any applicant. Clemson can accept up to 12 graduate course credits from another institution. Transfer courses must meet the requirements of a Clemson graduate course, must be approved by your Clemson University academic advisor and have been taken within six years from the date you will complete your graduate degree.

    The application process can be started by clicking the "Apply" link. Most materials can be submitted online, but any supporting materials must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions so that they can be officially processed and added to your file.

    Mail all documents to:
    Office of Graduate Admissions
Clemson University

    E-209 Martin Hall

    Clemson, SC 29634

    The student affairs graduate program is designed for students who obtain a graduate assistantship in a student affairs or student services functional unit; these assistantships are competitive and are typically obtained through the CUGARS process. The program is also designed for professionals already working in higher education settings who intend to maintain their full-time student affairs/student services employment while they complete their coursework. Because the size of each cohort is determined by (a) available assistantships and (b) faculty capacity, applicants who do not receive an assistantship with Clemson University or who are not full-time employees in higher education settings should NOT expect to have a space in the cohort. The program faculty feel strongly that students’ academic coursework should be accompanied by hands-on, concurrent work experience, as students’ practitioner experience is constantly referenced through the program curriculum.

    Student Affairs Assistantships: click here

    Helpful Tips for Student Affairs Program Applicants
    The student affairs program faculty seeks to admit a diverse cohort from the applicant pool, thus we review applicant files comprehensively. The admission process for this program is highly competitive. The stronger your application, the better chance you have of being offered admission. The applicant pool varies from year to year, however, so it is not possible for us to convey specifics regarding test scores or other factors.

    We want to admit students who have the potential to succeed in graduate school. Strong applicants show evidence of academic success (e.g., undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and above), potential for success in graduate school (e.g., evidenced by GPA, GRE scores, and recommendation letters) and analytical thinking skills (e.g., analytical writing section of the GRE).

    We also look for individuals who have an ability to work well with others, possess leadership skills, have a passion to work with college students and possess a desire to become culturally competent. Application essay questions provide an opportunity for applicants to address these areas.

    Finally, we expect applicants to have some knowledge of student affairs and to be able to articulate their specific interest in the profession. Applicants are encouraged to chat with or briefly shadow people who are currently working as student affairs professionals on a campus.

  • Program Requirements

    The Master of Education degree in student affairs prepares students for positions in all areas of student development services in higher education. The program consists of course work related to student development theory, counseling and programming for student services. Please download and read the Student Handbook and the Student Affairs Field Experience Manual.

    Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education (42 semester hours)

    I. Area of Specialization (33 hours):
    EDC 8030 Student Development Services in Higher Education
    EDC 8040 Theories of Student Development in Higher Education
    EDC 8060 Student Affairs Issues
    EDC 8080 Legal and Ethical Issues in Student Affairs and Counselor Education
    EDC 8090 Higher Education Administration
    EDC 8100 Theories & Techniques of Counseling
    EDC 8110 Multicultural Counseling
    EDC 8140 Development of Counseling Skills
    EDC 8190 Contemporary College Student
    EDL 7650 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
    EDL 8550 Applied Research in Higher Education

    II. Field Experiences (nine hours):
    EDC 8340 Student Affairs Practicum (prerequisite 8030 or 8040 and permission of instructor)
    EDC 8440 Student Affairs Internship (prerequisite 8340 and permission of instructor)

    More Information about the Field Experiences:
    Through the two field experiences courses (i.e., practicum and internship) listed above, students must complete a minimum of 400 hours in student affairs and higher education settings.

    Download a current version of the student affairs program field experience manual.

    Students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. The full-time program can be completed in two years. All students must complete the program in six years. Courses are taught late afternoons and evenings, Monday through Thursday, at 3:30 or later. Most of the courses are taught at Clemson University.

  • Tuition and Fees

    Applicants can review information about tuition and fees for our program. Please also see the Financial Aid website for up-to-date information regarding financial aid options, and contact that office directly with questions.

    Additional fee specific to the student affairs program requirements is approximated below:

    Graduate Assistantships
    Graduate Assistantship positions exist across the University in a variety of departments and centers that enhance and complement the academic experience students receive in the classroom. The selection process is coordinated to be highly competitive and identify the best experience for both the students and departments.

    Assistantships are available to full-time students (enrolled in at least nine credit hours per semester) and typically require a 30-hour per week work commitment. The work assignments will vary depending on the assistantship. Students who obtain these positions will receive an extensive tuition reduction as well as a monthly stipend.

    Candidates for the Master of Education in student affairs program may submit applications for Graduate Assistantships stating in mid-November. Applications are due no later than February 1. Please note this is a separate application from the Graduate School application, which also has a deadline of February 1.

    Once candidates are admitted to the graduate program, they will be invited to participate in the on-campus interview days. During these days, admitted students will have the opportunity to interview with departments seeking graduate assistants. The two-day process allows candidates to learn about Clemson University and the Master of Education student affairs program. Candidates will also have the opportunity to meet other candidates, faculty, staff and current students.

    At the conclusion of the interview process, candidates will have the opportunity to rank their assistantship opportunities. These rankings will assist the hiring supervisors in identifying the best candidate for each position. Candidates receiving an offer will receive one offer for an assistantship at Clemson. Candidates will have until April 15 to make a final decision.

    Click here for the Graduate Assistantship Application.

    Click here for the complete listing of open assistantships.

  • Faculty

    Boettcher, Michelle Counselor Education, Student Affairs 864-656-1446
    Cawthon, Tony Counselor Education, Student Affairs 864-656-5100
    Croom, Natasha Higher Education/Student Affairs 864-656-1485
    Havice, Pamela Counselor Education, Student Affairs; Higher Education 864-656-5121
    Phelps-Ward, Robin Higher Education/Student Affairs 864-656-4278
    Wagner, Rachel Higher Education/Student Affairs 864-656-5111
  • International

    The faculty of the student affairs program recognizes the increasing emphasis on international higher education catalyzed by globalization. As such, the faculty has worked to create two distinctive types (see below) of international experiences for students.

    • International internships: the student affairs program has relationships with several institutions in Europe. These experiences are available for students during the summer session between their first and second year; approximately six students (roughly two per site) go overseas each year.
    • Comparative higher education study abroad experience: the student affairs program has a tradition of offering, when feasible, a two-week study abroad course over the summer for students interested in examining how United States' higher education differs from that of our counterparts in the UK and Ireland. The course is open to graduate students from any institution in the U.S., providing a great opportunity to network and make friends in an immersive, professional development setting. Having a comparative emphasis, the course includes travel to multiple institutions within the host country (either England, Ireland or Scotland) that vary in type, size and geographic location.
  • Our Students

    The student affairs program faculty encourages students to be involved outside of the classroom and therefore supports the following organizations:

    Student Personnel Association (SPA)
    SPA is open to all graduate students in the student affairs program as well as student affairs practitioners and Ph.D. students interested in student affairs.

    Chi Sigma Alpha – Edward Grandpre Chapter 
    This is an honorary society for student affairs graduate students and practitioners to which one must apply and be accepted.

    This video was produced for our graduate assistantship selection process so it gives a great overview of the program from our students’ perspectives.

  • What Alums Say About Our Program

    You will find in this section testimonials from alumni of our student affairs graduate program. We hope you find this information useful as you explore our master’s program.

    Read the testimonials.

  • Find Out More

    For more information, please fill out this form or visit the Clemson University Graduate School website. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact Alison Search.