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Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education: M.Ed. - Master of Education

This 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.

At a Glance

Program Results

M.Ed. - Master of Education

Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education 

Program Type

  • Full Time
  • Part Time


  • In-Person

Estimated Length

  • Full Time: 1 year 
  • Part Time: 2-3 years 

Application Deadline

Full-time: (summer entry only)

  • February 1 (priority deadline)
  • May 1 (final deadline)


  • Spring entry: November 1
  • Summer entry:
    • February 1 (priority deadline)
    • May 1 (final deadline)
  • Fall entry: 
    • February 1 (priority deadline)
    • July 1 (final deadline)

Note: Applying by the priority deadline helps ensure admitted applicants' earlier internship placement



About This Program

Our 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

Program Overview

The M.Ed. in Higher Education is designed to prepare students for success in entry- and mid-career level professional positions within a variety of postsecondary education contexts. This flexible program emphasizes the integration of theoretical foundations, principles of practice, and reflective professional experiences.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:

  • 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:
    • ​For applicants currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at the time of application: a recent writing sample;
    • 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.
  • 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
  • Given the accelerated nature of our one-year program, many of our applicants have professional experience in higher education or a related field.
  • If not already part of the submitted materials above, the faculty may request a writing sample to round out an application.

Visit our Graduate Admission page for the full admission process.

Information for Current UVA Undergraduates
If you are a current UVA undergraduate, view our Information for Current UVA Undergraduates page for info on admission into this program.

Graduate Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the graduate admission process, please visit our Graduate Admission page.

Flexible Program Length

The M.Ed. in Higher Education program offers both full-time and part-time options, although most students pursue the degree full time.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Build a Network of Support

A group of five graduate students linking arms and smiling at the camera

The 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 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.

Hands-on Opportunities

All full-time M.Ed. in Higher Education students are required to complete an administrative internship in a post-secondary 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 the 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 program coordinates with offices at the University of Virginia and local institutions to provide over 50 internship sites for its students.

Our internships pay students directly for the hours worked, (as opposed to assistantships, which tend to pay students through tuition remission). See a list of current internship sites, below.

  • We expect students to work 15-20 hours per week at their internship throughout the academic year.
  • Most of our full-time cohorts include 40 students, and we typically have around 50 internships available for admitted students to apply for.
  • Once admitted to the program, we will send information regarding Interview Day to able apply for and interview with various offices.

Administrative Internship Opportunities

The program coordinates with offices at the University of Virginia and local institutions to provide a wide variety of internship sites for its students. This list is a sample of internships that cohorts have had the opportunity to fill. Internship site placements may vary from year to year, depending upon availability. 

Please note: Internship opportunities change from 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
  • Career Center – Pre-Health Careers
  • Darden Graduate Business School – Office of Admissions
  • School of Data Science – Office of Admissions
  • School of Data Science – Office of Student Affairs
  • Dean of Students Office – Student Engagement
  • School of Education and Human Development - Office of Admission and Student Affairs
  • School of Education and Human Development – Office of Research
  • 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 
  • Judicial Affairs Office
  • Madison House Volunteer Programs
  • Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center
  • McIntire School of Commerce - Student Life
  • School of Nursing - Admissions and Student Services
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College - Student Success
  • Summer and Special Academic Programs
  • UVA Clubs and Global Engagement
  • ZTA Sorority House (live-in position)

Additional Program Details

In 2024, the UVA School of Education & Human Development is ranked #8 for best graduate schools of education in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The school is ranked #18 in higher education for graduate schools of education.

Higher Education News

Program Faculty

Juan C Garibay

Juan C. Garibay

  • Associate Professor
Karen Inkelas

Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas

  • Professor of Education
Alan Leffers

Alan Leffers

  • Assistant Professor
Brian Pusser

Brian Pusser

  • Associate Professor
Gerald D Starsia

Gerald D. Starsia

  • Associate Professor (Retired)
Christian L Steinmetz

Christian L. Steinmetz

  • Assistant Professor

Contact Us


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=55&poid=7286.