The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) MA 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 MA 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


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. 

Funding for HESA MA students in approved internships typically includes:

  • $12,000 fellowship per academic year
  • 100% tuition scholarship
  • 100% student fees scholarship
  • Health benefits

The availability of internships varies each year. Some common areas include: Residence Life, Academic Support and Retention, Orientation, and Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. This list is not all-inclusive, and is not a guarantee of particular availability. A list of available positions will be provided to individuals invited for Campus Visit Days, and students interview for open internships as part of Campus Visit Days.

A graduate internship is required for full admission.

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.


  • 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.

The HESA MA admissions committee, consisting of both faculty and campus partners, will review all applications submitted by the December 15 deadline. In mid-January, we invite selected students to Campus Visit Days (CVD), which occurs in late February or early March. During CVD, the invited students visit with the program faculty, participate in a sample class, and tour campus with a focus on internship sites. Students then interview for internships and attend a student affairs community social. More information will be provided to those invited.

Apply Now

Please review your specific degree requirements before starting the general graduate application. To begin the general graduate application process, set up an account with an existing email address and password.

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

Contact Us

General program questions

Becky Vargas
Academic Program Management Specialist

Admission/Application questions

Anne Sparks
Coordinator of Graduate Student Admissions and Graduate Student Support