Master of Education with a Major in College Student Affairs
The University of West Georgia offers a graduate program in College Student Affairs Administration. Courses will be taught by both full-time faculty and practitioners, with meaningful assistantships in the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management. The CSA program uses the CAS Standards and ACPA/NASPA professional competencies for student affairs practitioners as guidelines for program development and assessment.
To prepare and develop the next generation of student affairs professionals.
The UWG College Student Affairs Administration program will prepare graduate students for careers serving students in higher education by providing opportunities to:
- Develop advising and helping skills
- Develop competencies as outlined by the NASPA/ACPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Practitioners
- Understand and appreciate the student development experience and student diversity in higher education
- Understand the historical and theoretical context of higher education
- Understand and apply the practice-to-theory-to-practice model
- Gain focused practical experience through assistantships, internships, and practica to prepare graduates for successful careers in higher education
For more information, please see the Academic Catalog.
The College Student Affairs program at the University of West Georgia is unique due to the benefits we provide to students as well as the relationships you're able to gain attending our program. The University of West Georgia College Student Affairs program guarantees an assistantship upon full admission. Therefore, there is no additional application process and when you interview with faculty for admission, prospective students are also interviewing with prospective employers. Along with an assistantship, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management may possibly provide $300 in travel funds that is matched by the graduate students' home department within the Division. This means students could possibly receive $600 in travel funds to attend professional conferences.
Students are also encouraged to visit with other professionals on our campus to help expand their network. We are a mid-size institution with a small school feel. We encourage students to meet the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, or have coffee with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students. The layers are minimal here at UWG. Our partnership with Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has become seamless in order to provide our students with the best experience possible.
Finally, from a curricular standpoint, our program is based on the competencies recommended by the ACPA/NASPA professional competencies. Our program includes courses on student development theory, higher education administration, and basic counseling skills to prepare students to be successful practitioners in student affairs.
For more information regarding assistantships, plan of study, and other requirements, please visit http://www.westga.edu/csa
Method of Delivery
Due to the residential nature, and experiential requirement, a majority of classes are taught face-to-face. Some classes are offered online, especially during the summer. This method of delivery allows students to travel during the summer to gain additional experiences at other institutions. For a complete list of courses and descriptions, please review the courses tab.
The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Credit and transfer
Total semester hours required: 42
This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.
UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.
- Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
- The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
- Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
- Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
- Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
- One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
- For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Student Accounts and Billing Services website
There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.
Program is mostly in class with some online work (about 25% online/75% face-to-face). The courses below include core courses as well as potential electives.
Program Sheet [pdf, 115 Kb]
An introduction to selected, prominent counseling theories. Focus is on relating theory to practice and on comparing and contrasting the key concepts, techniques, counselor and client roles, counselor-client relationships, methods of assessment and the contributions and limitations of each theory.
An overview of basic, therapeutic interviewing skill building through practice and feedback to develop personal strengths in counseling. This course also provides students with an orientation to professional counseling organizations, the developmental history of the counseling profession, as well as ethical, legal and professional issues.
Studies that provide both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group approaches. This course also includes 10 hours of experience as a group member.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of student affairs and its role within the context of American higher education. The course will examine the philosophical, historical, and theoretical foundations of the profession, and students will learn about the cultural and organizational contexts of student affairs work. It will introduce students to the various functional areas within student affairs, diversity of institutional types and student populations, and contemporary issues of the profession, and provide them with a broad foundation of knowledge to which subsequent study, practitioner skills, and research strategies may be added.
This course will introduce students to human development theories that most affect college students. The course will examine psychosocial, cognitive, structural and typological theories, with a focus on learning to use theory to improve our work with students. It also examines how race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and religious beliefs can influence development.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to higher education, with an emphasis on understanding the practical skills necessary to be a successful administrator.
We are changing the prefix of our college student affairs and higher education courses with a new prefix that better identifies the courses as higher education/student affairs courses rather than professional counseling courses. Courses with the CEPD prefix are being deleted and new courses with the HESA prefix (Higher Education and Student Affairs) are being added.
This course will introduce students to legal and ethical issues confronting student affairs practitioners, including key concepts, federal law, and court cases. This course also provides a brief introduction to the theory and practice of crisis intervention and trauma counseling as it relates to crisis response on college campuses. Students will be prepared to recognize, understand, and respond to the needs of individuals who are experiencing or have experienced community level crises, disasters, or trauma.
The purpose of this course is to focus on the dimensions of human environments as tools for understanding the effects of colleges and universities on students. Theories of human environments will be applied to an understanding of various educational settings, with consideration given to the policies that guide and applications that shape educational practice.
This course will introduce students to the theoretical and research literature with respect to student characteristics and the effects of college on students.
This seminar is designed to promote the integration of the core curriculum and practitioner experiences of the master's degree program in College Student Affairs and to prepare students for their transition to professional positions within student affairs upon graduation. Students will develop and present a professional portfolio.
This course emphasizes 'theory to practice' by providing experiences that allow students to assess and develop their personal leadership while emphasizing the values, knowledge and skills required for effective advocacy and brokering of services through consultation and collaboration. Special emphasis is placed on the development of skills in planning, organizing, coordinating and delivering programs that generate systematic change. Use of data to identify needs, remove barriers and mobilize resources in higher education in order to affect change.
This course is designed to provide college student affairs candidates with the research knowledge and skills necessary to understand and conduct research for practical implications in a higher education environment. An emphasis will be placed on the collection and use of quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate programs.
Tommy Jackson, Ph.D., MBA, MPA, M.Ed.
Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration and College Student Affairs
Dena Kniess, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration and College Student Affairs
Shanna Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management
Matt Varga, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School
Guidelines for Admittance
- All graduate applicants must complete the online Grad Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
- Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process.
- International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See Procedures for International Students.
- Official transcripts from a regionally or nationally accredited institution are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Graduate Admissions Office.
Program Specific Admittance Guidelines
- Official university transcripts from all schools attended
- An undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 2.7
- Letter of intent articulating professional goals
- Two letters of recommendation
- Interview with faculty
Specific program deadlines are available via the Deadlines page.
Admission Process Checklist
The Graduate Studies Application Process checklist is available here.
Program Information or Questions:
Dr. Dena Kniess
Application Questions or Status:
The College Student Affairs priority deadline is February 1st. However, we continue to review applications until all assistantship positions are filled.
Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School
- This program aims to teach students an understanding of the historical, philosophical, ethical, cultural, and research foundations of higher education that informs student affairs practice.
- Additionally, students will gain an understanding of, and respect for, human diversity and the special needs of minoritized students. Students who graduate this program should be able to apply leadership, organizational, and management practices that assist institutions in accomplishing their mission.
- Our students will also be able to identify legal issues and changes that affect practice in higher education.
- Finally, students will be able to identify personal values and ethics as it influences their professional practice.