M.Ed. in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education

This 34-credit, 1-year M.Ed. program is designed to prepare students for success in a variety of professional positions within higher education: student affairs, intercollegiate athletics administration, general administration, and more.

The M.Ed. program prepares students for professional practice in higher education by focusing on:

  • Theoretical Foundations: An integration and application of the theoretical foundations of higher education; this may include sociology, psychology, politics, economics, leadership and organizational theory
  • Principles of Practice: Coursework that develops and refines core competencies for a diverse variety of postsecondary settings
  • Reflective Professional Experience: Professional internships that lead to successful work in specialized functional areas of higher education.

After completing initial required coursework, students in the M.Ed. program work with their advisor to choose their own specialization within higher education, in areas such as:

  • Higher Education Administration
  • Student Affairs
  • Intercollegiate Athletics Administration
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Assessment
  • And many other options!

All through their Master’s program experience, students meet with their advisor to select coursework that will meet their academic and professional goals.

Full- & Part Time Options:

The M.Ed. program offers both full-time and part-time options, although most students pursue the degree full time. Full-time students complete the program in ten months, with the program beginning after July 4th each year and concluding by mid-May of the following year. Students who are enrolled part time typically complete the program within two to three years. The M.Ed. is awarded upon completion of 34 credit hours.

Cohort Model:

Our M.Ed. Program is comprised of a diverse cohort of students from across the U.S., who start the program at the same time and form a community of learners. One of the best features of the master's program is the cohort itself—it's a built-in support system, social group, and network. After graduation, cohort members often stay in touch with each other as friends and colleagues.

Job Placement:

With a 96% job placement rate after graduation, our M.Ed. graduates work across the U.S. and abroad in exciting positions across the higher education spectrum, including:

  • Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement, School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Virginia
  • Assistant Director of Academic Affairs and Student Experience, Brandeis University
  • Manager for Faculty Affairs, School of Data Science, University of Virginia
  • Assistant Director of the Women’s Community Center, Stanford University
  • Program Manager of Executive Education, Harvard University Business School
  • Dean of Students at Hampden-Sydney College
  • Director of Assessment, Research, & Data Analytics in Student Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Director of Nondiscrimination and Title IX, Barnard College 
  • Quarterback Coach, College of William & Mary
  • Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Success and Compliance, Emory University
  • Athletics Operations and Events Coordinator, San Diego State University

Program Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    Admission to the Higher Education master's program is based on the potential for academic and professional success using the following criteria:

    • Record of academic achievement as evidenced through 3.0 GPA or better for the last two years of undergraduate study.
    • Record of potential for academic achievement as evidenced through one of the following:
      • ​Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are no more than 5 years old. For reference, GRE scores for MEd, MT, EdS students admitted for the 2014-15 academic year were at or above the 150 (verbal), 145 (quantitative), and 4.0 (analytical writing); OR
      • For applicants currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at the time of application: SAT or ACT scores AND a recent writing sample; OR
      • For applicants who have graduated from an undergraduate degree program: an interview with program faculty and/or successful completion of courses in the program as a non-degree student prior to admission.
    • Strong writing skills and clear professional goals demonstrated in the Statement of Purpose (typically 500-700 words)
      • In your statement, please address the factors that have encouraged you to seek an M.Ed. from the UVa Higher Education-Student Affairs program.  This is also an opportunity for you to describe your background, significant personal and professional experiences, important aspects of your academic record, and professional and/or further academic goals upon completion of the program.
      • If an additional writing sample is not submitted in lieu of the GRE, the faculty may request a writing sample to round out an application.
    • Excellent academic and professional references via two (2) letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, and/or professional colleagues.
    • Resume outlining your professional or para-professional experience, leadership roles, experiences in undergraduate organizations, and/or volunteer work
    • Unofficial test scores and transcripts may be submitted with the application. However, official scores and transcripts will be required once an offer of admission is accepted.

    Given the accelerated nature of our one-year program, many of our applicants have professional experience in higher education or a related field.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Application Due Date

    Full-time students are only admitted to begin study in the summer.  The deadline for summer admission is December 1.  Admitted students will be invited to attend Internship Interview Day in mid-to-late February to meet faculty, current students, and members of their prospective cohort group and interview for internship positions.  Applications may be considered until May 1 on a space-available basis; however, prospective applicants should contact us to discuss the late application process.

    Prospective part-time students are encouraged to complete their application for admission using the following deadlines:

    • Summer admission: December 1st for the first review of applications. Applications may be accepted until May 1st on a space-available basis.
    • Fall admission (part-time only): April 15th, applications will be accepted on a space-available basis until July 1st
    • Spring admission (part-time only): November 1st

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Current UVA Undergraduate Information

    If you are a current UVA student and hold a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher, you may qualify for direct admission. For more information, please visit: The School of Education and Human Development Direct Admit Graduate Programs webpage.

  • Funding Opportunities

    Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on the School of Education and Human Development's Financial Aid webpage. Because some internship sites require students to have work study, we recommend all students indicate they would like to be considered for work study on the FAFSA.

    Currently, the program is unable to provide tuition remission or health insurance to students. However, most internships are paid positions. The University of Virginia offers affordable and convenient options for student health insurance. Visit the Department of Student Health website for more information.

    Administrative Internships

    All full-time M.Ed. students are required to complete an administrative internship in a postsecondary domain. The internship gives students an opportunity to synthesize and apply the theoretical aspects of their area of specialization in practical administrative settings and in turn to enrich, complicate, and complement their theoretical understanding. Additionally, internships permit students to develop competencies required of new professionals in the field. Internship openings vary from year to year; most are paid positions but do not include tuition remission or health insurance.

    Full-time students can interview for an internship during Interview Day. The M.Ed. program coordinates with offices at the University of Virginia and local institutions to provide over 50 internship sites for its students. For a list of internship sites, see below:

    2022-2023 M.Ed. Higher Education Program Internship Opportunities


    Please note: Internship opportunities change year to year. New opportunities may become available and past opportunities may be eliminated.


    Athletic Compliance Office

    Athletic Academic Affairs – Community Engagement

    Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy – Student and Career Services

    Career Center - Career Counseling

    School of Education and Human Development - Admissions and Student Affairs

    School of Education and Human Development – Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    School of Engineering and Applied Science – Center for Diversity in Engineering

    School of Engineering and Applied Science - Undergraduate Programs

    Hereford Residential College

    Housing and Residence Life

    McIntire School of Commerce - Student Life

    Piedmont Virginia Community College - Admissions & Student Services

    Piedmont Virginia Community College - Student Success

    School of Nursing - Admissions and Student Services

    Summer and Special Academic Programs

    UVA Clubs and Global Engagement - University Advancement 

    Virginia Athletics Foundation


    Previous Internship Opportunities


    Academic Advising & Student Success Office

    Athletic Academic Affairs – Academic Support Services

    Athletic Academic Affairs – Learning Services

    Athletic Academic Affairs – Student Athlete Development

    Athletic Football Recruiting

    Athletic Football Video Operations

    Athletic Strategic Marketing & Fan Engagement

    Athletics External Operations

    Career Center

    Center for Teaching Excellence

    Darden School of Business – Admissions

    Echols Scholars Program

    International, Summer and Special Academic Programs

    Madison House 

    Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center

    McIntire Student Life

    McIntire Undergraduate Admission

    Multicultural Student Center

    Multicultural Student Services

    Office of African American Affairs

    Office of Dean of Students - Case Management

    Office of Dean of Students - First Generation-Low Income

    Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life

    Office of Health Promotion & Wellbeing – Violence Prevention

    Office of the Dean of Students - Fraternity and Sorority Life

    Office of the Dean of Students - Student Engagement

    Piedmont Virginia Community College – Career Services

    Office of the President

    Provost Office – Academic Administration

    School of Data Science - Admissions

    School of Data Science - Diversity

    School of Data Science - Student Services

    School of Education and Human Development - EDLF Department Administration

    School of Education and Human Development - Education Online and Canvas Support

    School of Education and Human Development – Higher Education

    The College of Arts and Sciences

    UVA Office of Undergraduate Admission



  • Degree Requirements

    Note: the requirements listed are for students entering the program in Summer 2023. Students currently enrolled in the program should consult with their advisor about course selection.

    All students are required to take 24 core credits. The remaining 9 elective credits will be tailored to meet student academic and professional goals. Student will work with their advisor to choose an area of specialization.

    Required Coursework

    The following courses are required of all students (24 credits – 8 courses)

    • EDLF 5810 Introduction to Higher Education (3)
    • EDLF 5820 Organization & Management of Colleges & Universities (3)
    • EDLF 5830 College Student Experience (3)
    • EDLF 7610 Research in Higher Education (3)
    • EDLF 6010 Financial Management & Budgeting in Higher Education(3)
    • EDLF 7132 Legal Aspects of College Administration (3)
    • EDLF 6020 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Higher Education (3)
    • EDLF XXXX Higher Education Policy (3)*

    Culminating Portfolio (1 credit)

    • EDLF 7110 Professional Seminar

    Students can select from the following elective courses based on their area of specialization (9 credits, 3 courses):

    • EDLF 7130 College Student Development
    • EDLF 5425 Governance of Collegiate Athletics
    • EDLF 6030 Student Affairs in Higher Education
    • EDLF 5410 Strategy in Higher Education
    • EDLF 6040 Intercollegiate Athletics Administration
    • EDLF 7134 Research on Teaching & Learning in Higher Education
    • EDLF 5160 Life Span Development
    • EDLF 5310 Data Management for Social Science Research
    • EDLF 5470 Motivation in Achievement Contexts
    • EDLF 7402 Program Evaluation
    • EDLF 7602 History of American Education
    • EDHS 5230 Women, Work, & Wellness
    • EDHS 7290/7291 Essential Counseling Skills & Lab
    • DS 3003 Communicating with Data
  • Typical Length of Study

    Full-time students complete the program in one calendar year (June - May). Part-time students typically complete the program within two to three years.

    Semester of Entry:

    Full-time students begin the program during Summer Session (early June of each year). Part-time students may begin the program in any semester (summer, fall, spring)

  • Course Overview

    Note: the requirements listed are for students entering the program in Summer 2023. Students currently enrolled in the program should consult with their advisor about course selection.

    Summer (3)

    Introduction to Higher Education (3)

    Fall (15)

    Organization & Management (3)

    College Student Experience (3)

    Research in Higher Education (3)

    Financial Management & Budgeting (3)

    Elective (3)

    Spring (16)

    Legal Aspects of College Admin (3)

    Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (3)

    Higher Education Policy (3)

    Elective (3)

    Elective (3)

    EDLF 7110 Professional Seminar (1) -- portfolio


  • Frequently Asked Questions


    1. What is the GRE alternative?
      If you are applying while you are an undergraduate student, you have the option of submitting SAT or ACT scores and a writing sample in lieu of submitting GRE scores.
      If you are not an undergraduate student while applying, you are able to schedule a program interview with faculty members in lieu of submitting GRE scores. Please contact the EDLF Programs Associate, Alicia Cowan-Brown, at adc3y@virginia.edu if you seek to schedule a program interview.
    2. Where should my letters of recommendation come from?
      This is your decision to make. We do like to see one recommendation from a faculty member, particularly if you have remained in contact. Mainly, we like to hear from individuals that know you well, like a supervisor, colleague, or mentor, who can speak to your potential with graduate level work.
    3. When will I receive a decision regarding my application?
      If you apply by the December 1 deadline, you should expect to receive a decision by the end of January. If you apply after the deadline, it typically takes a few weeks to receive a decision.
    4. Is direct admission available for current UVA students?
      Yes, if you are a current UVA student and hold a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher, you may qualify for direct admission. For more information, please go to the Direct Admit Graduate Programs webpage.
    5. How much is tuition?
      The cost of tuition will change every year. Find a list of this year’s tuition and fees.


    1. What is the difference between an internship and an assistantship?
      Our internships pay students directly for the hours worked, as opposed to assistantships, which tend to pay students through tuition remission.
    2. How many hours do students work at their internship?
      We expect students to work 15-20 hours per week at their internship throughout the academic year.
    3. How many internships are available?
      Most of our full-time cohorts include 40 students, and we typically have around 50 internships available for admitted students to apply for.
    4. How do I apply for an internship?
      Once admitted to the program, we will send information regarding Interview Day to apply for and interview with various offices.


    1. I want to be a full-time student, but I cannot start classes in the summer. Can I start the program in the fall?
      Unfortunately, all full-time students must start the program in the summer. Students may start part-time then switch to full-time status, but there is less flexibility for part-time students due to course sequencing.
    2. How many students will be in my classes?
      You can expect to have around 20 to 30 students in each class. Summer and core courses will have more students enrolled within them, whereas electives will have a small number of students.

    Part-time Status

    1. As a part-time student, should I have an internship?
      No, we do not ask part-time students to have an internship. Most part-time students are full-time employees and therefore cannot add 20 hours to their work schedule.
    2. I am a part-time student and I do not know how classes will fit into my work schedule. When classes are typically offered?
      During the academic year, most classes are offered in 2.5 hour blocks once a week, either from 3:30-6pm or 6:30-9pm. Certain classes are offered during the day, but tend to meet mid-day an hour and fifteen minutes twice a week. Summer courses are scheduled in late afternoon.
    3. I am a UVA employee. What kind of funding opportunities are available?
      The School of Education and Human Development education benefits program provides funds to waive application fees and reduce tuition charges to $400 per credit hour for courses taken by salaried, benefits-eligible employees of the University of Virginia, who have been employed at least 90 days while enrolled part-time in graduate degree and non-degree programs during the spring, summer or fall semester, or enrolled in courses for professional development. For more information, visit: the Employee Funding webpage.
    4. I am unsure if this program is right for me. Can I enroll in a class before applying?
      Students may enroll in up to two 3-credit courses as a non-degree seeking/professional learner before applying to the program. If you decide to apply to the program, up to six credits may be transferred in. You can find more information on the Professional Learner webpage.


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.