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Master of Education: Student Affairs

M.Ed. Student Affairs

Student Affairs

The Master of Education in Student Affairs program provides students with a transformative learning experience founded on theory-to-practice. In producing practitioner-scholars, the faculty combine in-class learning with graduate assistantships / full-time employment enhanced with practicum and internship experiences. The programs strong network of alumni help foster connections across the field and in and beyond the region. Students leave with the skills they need to successfully support students with strong collaboration, leadership, and communication skills based in theory and ethical practice.

Specialty Concentrations

The M.Ed. Program in student affairs at Clemson University is consistently regarded as one of the top masters programs. 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 and enhance student learning in higher education.
  • 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.
  • Contribute to higher education in a variety of ways, in a broad range of positions, and in diverse institutional settings.

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.

Applications for fall admissions are due by January 15. The deadline for spring admission applications (reserved for part-time students only), is October 1. Application files that are fully complete by January 15 and October 1 will be reviewed for admission. Final decisions are typically made by mid-February for fall admission and mid-October for spring admission.

NOTE: This program is listed on the Graduate School application as Counselor Education (Student Affairs)

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. This application includes three essays students must complete.
  • Two references who can speak to the applicant's ability to be successful in completing graduate level work. This ability includes but is not limited to: overall intellectual capacity, academic background, and professional experience. It is preferred that one of these references be from faculty member who can speak to the students’ academic performance and ability in higher education. 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. However, 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 must have been taken within six years from the date you will complete your graduate degree.

To begin the application process, click the  "Apply" link. link. 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

Full-time students are required to have a graduate assistantship in order to be in the program. The student affairs graduate program is designed for students who obtain a graduate assistantship in a student affairs or student services functional unit in order to emphasize the theory to practice philosophy of this program. Graduate assistantships are competitive and are typically obtained through the Clemson University Graduate Admissions Recruitment and Selection CUGARS process. The program is also designed for professionals already working in higher education settings who intend to maintain their full-time 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 have designed this program on the belief 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, 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.

The Master of Education degree in student affairs prepares students for positions in all areas of student development services across 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):
EDSA 8030 Student Development Services in Higher Education
EDSA 8040 Theories of Student Development in Higher Education
EDSA 8060 Student Affairs Issues
EDSA 8080 Legal and Ethical Issues in Student Affairs and Counselor Education
EDSA 8090 Higher Education Administration
EDSA 8100 Advising and Supporting
EDSA 8110 Social Justice
EDSA 8190 Contemporary College Student
EDL 7650 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
EDL 8550 Applied Research in Higher Education
EDL 9770 Diversity Issues in Higher Education

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

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.

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

The faculty of the student affairs program recognizes the increasing emphasis on international higher education catalyzed by globalization. As such, the faculty currently offers 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.

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.

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.

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.

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Masters in Education Student Affairs