The Higher Education and Student Affairs program is committed to advancing knowledge and cultivating transformation in the practice and study of postsecondary education.

The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program coalesces around a shared sense of responsibility to produce research and spark innovative thinking and practice that address the contemporary challenges and persistent inequities permeating higher education. HESA offers educational leaders, scholars, and practitioners comprehensive expertise built from a range of intellectual traditions. Faculty have diverse philosophies, methods, disciplinary training, and personal backgrounds, ensuring students gain a deep understanding and interconnected view of the field.

A hallmark of the Iowa HESA program is its abundant opportunities for experiential learning; through assistantships, internships, practica, and more, HESA students have opportunities for leadership, service, teaching, and research.


Ph.D. Higher Education and Student Affairs

With its nationally known faculty, the HESA doctoral program is one of the country’s major doctoral-granting programs in the field of higher education and student affairs. HESA reflects a movement in the study and practice of American postsecondary education to integrate academic experiences with the co-curricular learning experiences of students, and to study the outcomes of both. Application deadline: Dec. 1 (Fall semester)


Ed.D. in Education Policy and Leadership Studies

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is designed for educators seeking a terminal doctoral degree to practice upper-level leadership in PK-20 educational settings. Based on the scholar-practitioner model, the Ed.D. differs from the Ph.D. in that it allows for a more practical-based approach, grounded in problem-based learning pedagogy, to use and perform applied research in educational settings.

Admission and Program Requirements

M.A. Higher Education and Student Affairs

The master’s program in Higher Education and Student Affairs prepares candidates for careers in higher education. The 40- semester- hour master’s program is comprised of coursework focusing on college students and their environments, current and emerging issues within higher education, research and assessment, and postsecondary administration. The curriculum integrates theory and practice and prepares students for careers in higher education including student affairs or higher education administration and policy. Application deadline: Dec. 15 (Fall semester).


M.A. Joint Degree HESA & Urban and Regional Planning

The joint master's degree between Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA)  and Urban and Regional Planning (M.A. or M.S.) fills a growing need for higher education academic administrators with knowledge and understanding of planning and sustainability principles and methods. The M.A. degree in HESA requires 40 hours. The joint-degree option in URP and HESA reduces the total semester-hour requirement for both degrees from 90 to 68. Students can complete the course work in 3 years.



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