About the Program: 

Founded in 1970, the higher education and student affairs administration (HESAA) program, formerly known as student personnel administration (SPA) program, is housed in the Higher Education Administration Department, has produced over 1,400 alumni, and continues to be one of the largest and most diverse programs in the country. The department/graduate program provides students with the theoretical background and practical experience for professional work in many academic, student personnel and higher education areas. The academic program includes an overview of knowledge, practice, problems, and administrative procedures related to institutions of higher education. It emphasizes the role of the student affairs professional in admissions, residence life, financial aid, registration, orientation, academic and personal advisement, counseling, international student activities, minority student services, career development, student union activities, athletics, alumni affairs, and student affairs administration. The program is relevant not only to individuals currently involved in college or university roles, but also to those interested in working in human services careers in community agencies.

Students may focus on courses and internships in four concentration areas: administration, counseling and student development, community education, research and evaluation or a general focus.

Internships: The professional training of the student affairs professional depends heavily on internships that provide practical experience in applying classroom theories.

The internship is a vehicle for diversified professional training that encompasses research, planning, and organization; the development of priorities; and principles of student affairs and higher education administration and services-oriented work.

Furthermore, the internship meets the student’s self-development needs, inspires selfconfidence and self-reliance, provides experience in ethical behavior when dealing with students and colleagues, and encourages a sense of responsibility to the profession.

Assistantships: Graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities are available in student affairs, academic affairs, and other areas at Buffalo State and area colleges and universities Recipients may receive a stipend, as well as waivers of tuition and room costs. For information about hall director positions, contact the director of residence life, Porter Hall; for information about other positions, contact the appropriate campus offices or the Career Development Center, Cleveland Hall 306.

Employment opportunities may be available, on a competitive basis, in nearby institutions of higher education or in community agencies. For college-wide assistantship opportunities, visit http://www.buffalostate.edu/graduateschool.

Professional Organizations: HESAA graduates gain mentoring, networking, and professional development support through several organizations, including the Buffalo State Graduate Association for Student Personnel Administrators (GASPA), the Buffalo State Student Personnel Administration (SPA) Alumni Chapter, the College Student Personnel Association of New York State (CSPA), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Information and applications are available through HESAA faculty or from the Higher Education Administration Department.

Graduation Requirements: A minimum of 36 credit hours are needed for degree completion: 27 credit hours of required coursework and 9 hours of electives. After completing 6 to 12 credit hours, students apply for degree candidacy and are subject to continuous review by the faculty to ensure adherence to professional standards in the classroom and internships. A written comprehensive examination must be completed during a student’s final semester (offered in November and April of each academic year).

Contact a program faculty adviser for details on course changes and assistance in choosing an area of concentration (9 elective credit hours and 6 internship/practicum credit hours), and to plan and complete the degree candidacy form.

Admission Requirements: 

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree but do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may be admitted if they either attain a minimum combined quantitative/verbal score of 1000 on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or enroll in adviser-designated graduate work as an accepted provisional student and achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.

2. Prerequisite academic work and skill development that provides evidence of the applicant’s capability to accomplish the master’s degree program requirements.

3. Consideration can be given to work-related experience and involvement in the field.

4. Three letters of recommendation.

5. A letter/essay indicating reasons for interest in the program. This will be evaluated as a writing sample.

6. A current resume.

7. An interview with HESAA program faculty is recommended and may be required.

In addition, all applicants should review the Admission to a Graduate Program
section in this catalog.

Program Requirements: 

Required Courses 27 credits
HEA 616 American Higher Education
HEA 617 Student Development and Learning
HEA 618 Student Personnel Administration
HEA 620 Planning and Finance in Higher Education
HEA 622 Techniques of Counseling I
HEA 624 Internship/Practicum I
HEA 625 Internship/Practicum II
HEA 650 Student Assessment Tests
HEA 689 Methods of Educational Research
Comprehensive Examination (offered in November and April; 0 cr)
Elective Courses * 9 credits
Select three courses from any of the following areas:
A. Administration
HEA 504 Community College Administration
HEA 619 Management Systems and Leadership in Higher Education
HEA 651 The Law and Higher Education
HEA 670 The College Student Movement 1955–1975

B. Counseling and Student Development
HEA 623 Techniques of Counseling II
HEA 630 Group Counseling
HEA 632 Vocational Development and Career Counseling
HEA 670 The College Student Movement 1955–1975
HEA 711 Seminar in Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy

C. Community Education
HEA 504 Community College Administration
HEA 619 Management Systems and Leadership in Higher Education
HEA 632 Vocational Development and Career Counseling
HEA 670 The College Student Movement 1955–1975

D. Research and Evaluation
HEA 690 Master’s Project
HEA 695 Thesis; may be substituted for Master’s Project (6)
EDF 520 Educational Statistics I (Descriptive and Inferential)

E. Any Concentration Area
HEA 590 Independent Study (if research-based)
HEA 690 Master’s Project

Other elective courses may be selected from related courses/workshops in
various disciplines or interdisciplinary areas with adviser approval.

** Can apply to other concentrations

Total Required Credit hours 36 credits

* Selected under advisement

All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

Career Preparation: Through collaboration with alumni in the field, college departments, professionals in the field, curricular and co-curricular activities support planning and preparation for a professional career in higher education.

Higher Education Administration

Buffalo State •  1300 Elmwood Avenue  •  Bacon Hall 214C
Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-3789 •  Fax: (716) 878-4856