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About the program

Within the Student Affairs and Higher Education program at SFA, students will immerse themselves in the study of college student development and college administration. They will enter a community of emerging professionals who are dedicated to a similar career passion.

The mission of the Master of Arts in Student Affairs and Higher Education program is to develop and advance higher education professionals across the competencies of diversity, assessment, college student development and student success who will demonstrate leadership within the profession. 

The student affairs field is constantly changing and advancing, which offers new and exciting opportunities for growth. Our graduates work in employment settings such as: academic advising, accessibility services, admissions, student activities and leadership programs, fraternity/sorority life, campus recreation programs, career services, academic advising, orientation/transition programs, student conduct and residence life/housing. 

Distinctive curriculum

The program is framed by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), which ensures academic rigor and quality of learning. Our program curriculum also has a distinctive core which features an emphasis on: college student development, assessment and student success across the curriculum. These courses are also grounded in the student affairs/higher professional competencies. 

This master’s program comprises 42 hours of coursework specific to student affairs in the higher education sphere, such as college student development, leadership, administration and finance, ethical and legal issues, research and program evaluation. In addition to your classwork, you have the option to participate in a six-hour field experience course.

Students develop an individualized final project focused on contemporary or historical issues in higher education.  Graduation requirements also include a professional portfolio and the completion of practicum (internship) experiences.

Convenient part-time or full-time online study

Evening classes are offered in a fixed cohort model for full-time students and a fluid cohort model for part-time students. A mix of online courses are offered through synchronous (Zoom/livestream) and asynchronous. However, most classes are traditional, face-to-face instruction through Zoom.  

The program takes two years of full-time study including one summer or two and half years part-time including summer sessions as well.

Graduate assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available on campus. Many graduate assistantships are available to provide SAHE students with additional professional experience. Assistantships are available on a competitive basis for SAHE students at SFA in the Division of Student Affairs, Enrollment Management and Athletics. This special collaboration across campus provides preference to SAHE students for open positions, but positions are not guaranteed. A stipend is provided for assistantships and Residence Life/Housing positions also provide room and board. Some positions offer a partial tuition waiver for additional research project completion. For more information, please contact the program coordinator.

SAHE Graduate Program Handbook

How to apply

The SFA Student Affairs and Higher Education (SAHE) program considers applications on a rolling basis for fall, spring and summer semesters. 
To be admitted to the master’s program, you must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.5.

To be considered for admission, students will need to complete the required application materials and return them to the appropriate office. For students interested in graduate assistantships, they should apply to begin the fall semester. No GRE or letters of recommendation are required.

To Apply to the SAHE program: 

  1. Completion and submission of SFA Graduate School application on the Apply to SFA page.
  2. Official transcripts of all college/university credits
  3. Completion of an undergraduate degree.
  4. Current resume (include names, professional title, email address and telephone numbers of at least 3 references).
  5. Introduction video focused on career goals (5 minutes maximum length; guidelines found in the SAHE handbook).
  6. Personal statement (see this document for guidelines). 

Carefully review all application materials and forms to ensure completion of all required information. Then submit them as indicated below. 
Email program application, reference list, current resume, video link and leadership profile to the program coordinator: 

Dr. Hollie Smith, SAHE Program Coordinator 
Stephen F. Austin State University 

*Note: All materials inclusive of transcripts must be received prior to being considered for the program. Direct any questions on the application process to the SAHE program coordinator,, or by calling 936.468.1018

Personal Statement

 The personal statement consists of three sections: 

  1. A retrospective of leadership or student involvement experiences over time.
  2. Brief, autobiographical sketch that speaks to life and informs readers of personal and professional background or history
  3. A statement/summary of professional goals about career future in student affairs and higher education.  

The overall personal statement may include information on any formal education at the graduate and undergraduate levels, staff or professional development, technical training or professional experiences. The profile should convey a personal and professional history that enables SFA SAHE faculty members to know the person who is applying to the masters program. There is not a required specific format or structure, however, please type your profile, and use a double-spaced format.

Introduction Video

A video must accompany your application. This video should be no more than 5 minutes. Please introduce yourself in the video, discuss your career objectives and how this program will help you get there. Insert the video link into the personal statement to share your video and make sure it can be accessed.

Financial aid and cost of attendance

Students interested in applying for financial aid will need to complete the FAFSA and apply through the Financial Aid Services. There are no specific scholarships available through the program. A limited number of graduate assistantships are available through the SFA Graduate School and through the SAHE program. The estimated cost of full time (9 hours) attendance is approximately $3000 a semester, plus the cost of fees, books and materials.

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Hollie Smith

Program Administrative Support:

Kara McKneely
Office: 936.468.1234


Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership
Faculty Directory

Human Services Building
Suite 302

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13019, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962