Higher Education and Student Affairs (M.Ed.)

Front of the Education Building


The Beverly Taylor Sorenson College of Education and Human Development’s online M.Ed. major in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) will prepare you for a career in student affairs through a curriculum taught by faculty who are both scholar practitioners.

Program Overview

This program is for individuals seeking administrative and advising positions at the college and university level.

Through our HESA coursework, you will acquire professional competencies needed to be successful in a wide range of settings on college and university campuses, including:

  • Academic Advising
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Housing and Residential Life
  • Student Involvement and Leadership
  • Testing and Tutoring

Education Core (15 Credits)

EDUC 6030 - Principles of Practitioner Research 3 Credit(s)

The study of current psychological principles of teaching and learning as they apply to positivist and constructivist research paradigms. Principles and techniques for studying one’s professional practice. The use of educational measures for evaluation and planning processes.

EDUC 6410 - Social Foundations of Education 3 Credit(s)

History and philosophical foundations of curriculum and teaching in American schools emphasizing cultural influences and concepts shaping education in today’s society.

EDUC 6620 - Critical Pedagogy 3 Credit(s)

This course examines key concepts and principles of critical theory, critical pedagogy, and social justice education. Different pedagogical models will be studied in order to examine and evaluate socialized ideas of what teachers are and how teaching should be conducted.

EDUC 6740 - School Law 3 Credit(s)

This course provides an introduction to legal foundations for public education, investigating district policy, state board rule, state and federal statutes, and case law.

EDUC 6915 - Becoming a 21st Century Master Teacher 3 Credit(s)

In the 21st Century, schools are tasked with offering students a holistic education that emphasizes life skills such as communication, cross-cultural collaboration, and critical thinking. This course provides teachers and administrators with opportunities to ponder, reflect and improve upon their professional practice and the learning environments they create for students. The implications of these changes for curriculum and instruction will help educators develop the skills and concepts necessary to provide just and equitable 21st century schooling for all students.


Higher Education and Student Affairs Core (12 Credits)

PADM 6540 - Higher Education Law and Policy 3 Credit(s)

This course provides the background for understanding the law and policy of higher education in the United States, particularly in Utah. It covers policy topics including the governance of higher education as well as legal issues relating to college employees, faculty, and students.

PADM 6550 - Student Affairs in Higher Education 3 Credit(s)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the Student Affairs profession. Historical, ethical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations are explored. Core competencies and functional areas within the profession, diversity of institutional type, student populations, characteristics of today’s college students, and contemporary issues are examined.

PADM 6560 - Organization and Administration in Higher Education 3 Credit(s)

This course explores the types of learning environments and different models of organizational functioning that currently exist in American colleges and universities. Students analyze and examine the influence environments have on individual behavior and how environments can be shaped and created to encourage students learning and engagement.

PADM 6570 - Student Development in College, Theory, and Practice 3 Credit(s)

Understanding the psychosocial development of college students is necessary for designing student affairs programs and developing a student affairs practice. This course is designed to help graduate students effectively integrate theories of student development with the day to day practice of being a student affairs professional, and learn to become both and administrator and a “helper.”

PADM 6580 - Global Higher Education 3 Credit(s)

This course explores higher education administration from an international comparative perspective, including social, cross-cultural, and political events of historical significance. Students will develop context from which to appreciate the ever-changing landscape of global higher education as well as the impact societal expectations have on higher education.


Capstone Requirements (6 Credits)

EDUC 6650 - Practitioner Research I 3 Credit(s)

This course builds upon the practitioner research proposal begun in EDUC 6030 - Principles of Practitioner Research by applying action research tools to classroom study. Candidates finalize research questions, conduct a literature review, determine their research methodology, and obtain IRB approval.

EDUC 6933 - Practitioner Research II 3 Credit(s)

Student completes and presents a Practitioner Research Thesis based upon a previously selected topic and question. Advisor approval required and advisor will complete registration.


Additional Information

Please note that some students may ultimately earn more credits than listed above for the master’s degree. If the capstone cannot be completed within one (1) semester, students must be enrolled continuously in the following course until completion.

EDUC 6931 - Capstone Master of Education SeminarStudents must be continuously enrolled in at least one (1) credit hour of EDUC 6931 until their Capstone professional project, thesis, or portfolio is completed. Advisement of capstone chair is required. Advisor approval required and advisor will complete registration.