The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) M.A. prepares students for careers in higher education including student affairs or higher education administration and policy. The 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.

Program Overview

The HESA M.A. program is a highly-ranked, higher education and student affairs program. The program is cohort-based, meaning students are admitted alongside peers with whom they will take a majority of their classes. A graduate internship (or full-time job) is required while taking coursework. Internships are paid placements with different higher education and student affairs units at the University of Iowa. Students also have the option of completing multiple practica while at Iowa, gaining supervised work experience in offices other than their internship. Our program focus is a blend of counseling and administration, highlighting the history of the founding of the HESA program. For a complete list of courses and requirements, please visit the General Catalog:

Program Requirements



Want to learn more about the HESA M.A. program? Watch our information session!


Funding Opportunities

A graduate internship is required for full admission. MA students who are fully admitted and do not work full time are awarded fellowships, and partial tuition scholarships. 

In rare circumstances, M.A. students may hold quarter or half-time graduate assistantships. Graduate assistantships for M.A. students typically involve research, such as with the special graduate assistantships (SGA). M.A. students may also hold graduate assistantships in administrative settings that are core to the University’s function, but are housed outside the Division of Student Life. A M.A. student holding this type of position would still be required to gain experience working with students through direct substantive interaction.

 Graduate internships at the University of Iowa are designed to provide students with work experience, while providing the University with the benefit of an innovative work force. Internships are closely related to specific departments or fields, and all require specific skills or aptitudes. 


The availability of internships varies each year. Some common areas include: Residence Life, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Orientation, and Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. This list is not all-inclusive, and is not a guarantee of particular availability. While additional positions sometimes become available later in the process, a list of available positions will be provided to individuals invited for Campus Visit Days.


Funding for HESA M.A. students in approved internships typically includes:

  • $15,000 per year, dispersed over nine months
  • 50% coverage of tuition*
  • Health benefits


*If students receive an internship, they are charged in-state tuition. For instance, in Fall 2020, a total semester’s tuition (in-state_ for a first-year HESA student cost $5,945. Thus, M.A. students pay roughly $2,973 out-of-pocket for tuition.

Accurate information about tuition and fee rates can be found on the Office of the Registrar Tuition and Fees page. Select the appropriate session and select the Graduate College. Then under “Filter by Curricular College,” select the College of Education. Assistantship rates (salary and tuition scholarships) for graduate assistantships that honor the COGS union collective bargaining agreement are available on the Office of the Dean's Finance page.


  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (in both undergraduate and graduate work)
  • GRE not required for HESA MA. 
  • Evidence of significant leadership or work experience, writing ability, and fit with the program
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international students)

These are general criteria; the admissions committee considers each applicant's entire portfolio. Applicants will not be considered until they have submitted a complete application packet.

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • A statement of purpose (1-3 pages) that describes your professional interests and goals, whether you plan to enroll full- or part-time, and how your goals and experiences are consistent with the HESA program’s mission and values.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter should be from a college professor or instructor.*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.

Students admitted to the program will be invited to this year’s virtual Campus Visit Days. Our virtual visit days will take place over three afternoons: February 24 – 26th. On February 24th, you will visit with the program faculty, talk to current students, and take a sample class. The afternoons of February 25th and 26th will be reserved for internship interviews. More information will be provided to those invited.

Application Process

Please review the required supplemental documents above before starting the general graduate application. There is a $60 application fee for students residing in the United States. There is a $100 application fee for international applicants. To begin the general graduate application process, set up an account with an existing email address and password here:


After you submit your application, we'll send you a HawkID and password to review the status of your application online using our MyUI

Employment Opportunities
  • Academic administration
  • Policy analysis
  • First-year programs
  • Student activities and leadership
  • Enrollment management
  • Program evaluation
  • Multicultural affairs
  • Academic and career advising
  • Residence life
  • International student services
Application Deadlines
  • December 15 (Fall semester)

Application Questions

Sue Cline
Office of Student Services