Degrees & Programs

higher education & student affairs

Our graduate program in higher education and student affairs is one of the oldest programs in the United States. We started offering courses more than 50 years ago. For many years we have been considered one of the leading graduate programs in the country. We are consistently ranked among the top ten graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report. 

Our faculty possess a unique blend of strong scholarly records and extensive experience in senior administrative roles. As a result they bring a rich understanding of leading research in their areas of expertise along with the ability to translate their ideas into the practical world of public and institutional policymaking. Collectively our faculty resources include expertise in the areas of assessment and evaluation, comparative education, economics and finance, enrollment management, institutional research, policy studies, student affairs, student development, student engagement and teaching and learning.

Read the HESA Highlights Newsletter >>

Overview

The Higher Education & Student Affairs (HESA) program at Indiana University is a pioneer in the study of higher education and student affairs administration. Among the first departments in the country to offer degree programs in this field of study, the HESA program has a distinguished history and continues to be nationally recognized as a leader in the development of higher education scholar-practitioners. Our graduates serve as administrative leaders in postsecondary institutions throughout the country, researchers, as well as faculty members that continue to cultivate new insights and understandings in the field.

We encourage you to explore our website and learn more about our degree programs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or to learn more about our program.

Degrees

The School of Education offers the following certificates and degrees in Higher Education & Student Affairs:

Certificate in Higher Education and Student Affairs (online)

Download the Certificate in Higher Education and Student Affairs brochure.

This online certificate is designed for full-time employees currently working in student affairs, without a student affairs degree, who are interested in learning more about the field, application of theory to practice, and the current issues and trends facing our profession. This twelve (12) credit hour program consists of four online courses and can be completed over the course of one or two summers. Each student who successfully completes the courses will receive verification from the faculty that confirms successful completion of the certificate program.

The certificate can be combined with the online Adult Education master's degree offered through Indiana University. Students interested in completing the adult education master's degree online can also complete the HESA Certificate as part of that program.

Core Courses (9 credit hours)

  • U544: Introduction to Student Affairs Work in Higher Education (3 cr.)
  • C565: Introduction to College and University Administration (3 cr.)
  • U556: Applying Student Development Theory to Practice (3 cr.)

Elective course (3 credit hours)

Select one of the following courses:

  • D505: Adult Learning through the Lifespan (3 cr.)
  • D506: Adult Education Planning and Development (3 cr.)
  • U550: Topical Seminar in Higher Education and Student Affairs (3 cr.)
  • U590: Independent Study in Higher Education and Student Affairs (3 cr.)

All courses will be taught online and will require students to have regular access to technology. Students will be encouraged to engage in online video and written communication.

Certificate in Institutional Research

This residential certificate program is designed for students currently pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in higher education or other relevant field, as well as working professionals. The eighteen (18) credit hour program consists of four required courses and two elective courses.The curriculum offers a combination of foundational knowledge, technical skills and competencies, and guided professional practice in the evolving field of institutional research. 

You will gain: 

  • Foundational knowledge about the institutional research profession and the practice of institutional research within higher education institutions
  • Integrative understanding of the external and internal contexts and cultures within which higher education institutions use institutional research to plan, evaluate and improve higher education programs and services
  • Extensive knowledge about the core management functions of higher education institutions, (e.g., academic program administration, enrollment management, institutional management and resource allocation, governance, student affairs, higher education policy and finance, and institutional advancement), with more in-depth knowledge of at least one of these areas
  • Advanced skills in adapting, reformulating and employing the principal concepts and methods of institutional research in multiple applied research projects 

Core Courses (12 credit hours)

  • C661: Foundations of Institutional Research (3 cr.)
  • Y502: Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education (3 cr.)
  • C565: Introduction to College and University Administration (3 cr.) or C664: Higher Education Organization and Administration (3 cr.)
  • C678: Capstone in Institutional Research (3 cr.)

Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

Select two of the graduate-level Higher Education courses offered through the School of Education. You may also choose other relevant graduate-level courses with the approval of your program advisor. 

Course descriptions can be found in the IU Bloomington School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs

Study with widely known faculty members and prominent higher education practitioners. Coursework is completed through four fundamental elements: basic core, counseling and counselor education, foundations, and electives. These elements are designed to enhance professional development of our students. Most full-time students need two academic years and one summer session to complete the degree requirements. To complete courses in the preferred sequence, students need to begin coursework in the fall semester. Students may take courses at either Bloomington (IUB) or Indianapolis (IUPUI). The program of study totals 41 credit hours, and 9 credit hours per semester is considered full-time. All students are required to hold a graduate assistantship in higher education and student affairs.

Mission Statement
The Indiana University Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) master's program is designed for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, competencies, and philosophy required for exemplary professional practice in 21st century postsecondary educational institutions and other settings.

Program Overview
The master's program is designed to help you achieve desired learning outcomes, which will prepare you well for a career in higher education and student affairs.

Basic Core (20 cr.)

  • C565 Introduction to College and University Administration (3 cr.)
  • U546 Diverse Students on the College Campus (3 cr.)
  • U548 Student Development Theory and Research (3 cr.)
  • U549 Environmental Theory and Assessment (3 cr.)
  • U553 College Student and the Law (2 cr.)
  • U580 Issues and Problems in Higher Education and Student Affairs Admin (Capstone) (3 cr.)
  • U547 Professional Development Seminar (3 cr.)

Counseling and Counselor Education (3 cr.)

Select one G prefix course from the following:
IUB Campus:

  • G502: Professional Orientation and Ethics
  • G509: Counseling College Student Athletes
  • G522: Counseling Theories
  • G552: Career Counseling Theory & Practice
  • G575: Multicultural Counseling
  • G580: Topical Seminar in Counseling and Guidance
  • G584: Asian American Mental Health

IUPUI Campus:

  • G502: Professional Orientation and Ethics
  • G522: Counseling Theories
  • G552: Career Counseling Theory & Practice
  • G575: Multicultural Counseling
  • G580: Topical Seminar in Counseling and Guidance

Foundations (6 cr.)

  • Y520 Strategies for Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • One course in the history and philosophy of education (H-prefix courses) (3 cr.)

HESA Electives (12 cr.)

Students are required to complete 12 hours of elective credits. A minimum of three (3) credit hours must be completed outside the HESA program (not EDUC-C or EDUC-U courses). Your electives must be approved by your academic advisor and be aligned with your own interests in higher education and student affairs.

Thesis Option (up to 6 cr.)

Students who opt to complete a thesis may have up to 6 credit hours subtracted from electives.  

Course descriptions can be found in the IU Bloomington School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

Admission Requirements
Learn more about admission requirements and apply to the program (Domestic - International).

Ed.D. in Higher Education

Welcome from the Program Chair

Printable Copy of Ed.D Higher Education Program

The Ed.D. degree is a 60 credit hour post-masters degree program designed for doctoral students who are planning a career as a senior-level college or university administrator. 

The Ed.D. program requires a set of core courses that focus upon most of the major areas of expertise in which effective college and university administrators are required to be knowledgeable. These include administration, governance, law, and finance. In addition students can choose courses in a variety of areas including:

  • Assessment, economics and finance of postsecondary education
  • Enrollment management
  • Institutional research
  • Public policy
  • Student development
  • Teaching and learning

The doctoral dissertation for the Ed.D. can be focused on a more action-oriented aspect of research. Many full-time students in the Ed.D. program who are able to identify a dissertation topic by the end of their second year can finish their degree in a three- to four-year time period.

Degree Requirements

A student's program of study is planned with the help of an Advisory Committee composed of two members from the higher education major including the student's faculty advisor, and one faculty representing the minor field. A meeting with the Advisory Committee is required to approve the program of studies. (Printable copy of Ed.D program.)

Major (27 cr.)

  • Required Courses (18 cr.)
    • C620 Pro Seminar in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C654 Higher Education in the United States (3 cr.)
    • C664 Higher Education Organization and Administration (3 cr.)
    • C788 Seminar in Research in Higher Education (3 cr.) (inquiry linkage course–C788 should be taken near the end of program of study)
  • Choose at least two of the following:
    • C655 Higher Education and Public Policy (3 cr.)
    • C661 Foundations of Institutional Research (3 cr.)
    • C670 Problems in Financing Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C705 Legal Aspects of Higher Education (3 cr.)
  • Other Courses (9 cr.) - Choose from among the following:
    • C655 Higher Education and Public Policy (3 cr.)
    • C656 American Community Colleges (3 cr.)
    • C661 Foundations of Institutional Research (3 cr.)
    • C670 Problems in Financing Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C678 Capstone in Institutional Research (3 cr.)
    • C680 Philanthropy in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C695 Academic Problems in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C705 Legal Aspects of Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C750 Topical Seminar: variable titles (1–6 cr.)
    • U544 Introduction to Student Affairs Work in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • U546 Diverse Students on the College Campus (3 cr.)
    • U548 Student Development Theory and Research (3 cr.)
    • U549 Environmental Theory and Assessment in Higher Education (3 cr.)

The following arranged courses may also count toward the major:

  • C675 Supervised College Teaching (1–6 cr.)
  • C690 Independent Study in Higher Education (1–3 cr.)
  • C760 Internship in Administration (1–6 cr.)

Other courses can count toward the major with the approval of the student's Advisory Committee.

Minor (9 cr.)

The minor should provide an alternative perspective on educational problems and processes. After consultation with their Advisory Committee, students should select courses that ground them in the basic concepts that provide a useful perspective from which to reflect on administrative functions and processes.

Inquiry Core (9 cr.)

  • Required Courses
  • *Y521 Methodological Approaches to Educational Inquiry or Y520 Strategies for Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
  • Y535 Evaluation Models and Techniques (3 cr.)
  • Y502 Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education (3 cr.) or its equivalent is required as a pre-requisite for the Ed.D. and may be counted among electives)

*Although either Y520 or Y521 can meet this requirement, Y521 is highly recommended because it is intended for doctoral students.

  • Additional course: 3 credit hours
  • Y510 Action Research I (3 cr.)
    Y525 Survey Research Methodology (3 cr.)
    Y527 Educational Assessment and Psychological Measurement (3 cr.)
    Y604 Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research (3 cr.)

Except for Y521/Y520, approved inquiry courses may be substituted with the approval of the Advisory Committee. A list of approved inquiry courses is available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Electives: (6 cr.)

With Advisory Committee approval a student may use courses from the School of Education or other academic areas consistent with the student's particular professional objectives.

Dissertation: (9 cr. minimum)

  • C795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3 cr.)*
  • C799 Doctoral Thesis in Higher Education (6 cr.)

* Note: C795 should be taken near the end of program of study.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

FIRST YEAR REVIEW FOR HESA DOCTORAL STUDENTS

At the end of the first year (18 credit hours of course work), doctoral students shall participate in the
First-Year Review process. Instructions for this review can be found on the HESA web site. The advisor
will assess performance to date and future program plans. The focus of the review is assessing a
student’s ability to: 1) clearly articulate thoughts and ideas in an organized manner (writing and oral), 2)
analyze and synthesize research in order to formulate an opinion or argument, 3) successfully complete
program requirements, including the dissertation.

PROGRAM PLAN

Students are strongly encouraged to finalize their program of studies no later than the end of their second year if they are full-time students or by the time they have completed 36 hours of coursework (See School of Education Graduate Programs Bulletin for specific guidelines regarding transfer of courses for an Ed.D.).

INQUIRY LINKAGE COURSES

An inquiry linkage course “is a course in which research relevant to the major field of specialization is
studied” (School of Education Graduate Bulletin). The HESA-designated inquiry linkage course is listed
below. Note that credits for this course only count once, as part of the major.

C788 Seminar in Research in Higher Education

Note: There is no early inquiry requirement for the 60-credit hour Ed.D. program

QUALIFYING EXAM

"Prior to beginning a doctoral dissertation and at or near the time of completion of all course work, all doctoral students in the School of Education must pass a qualifying examination in their major area of study. In effect, this examination process is intended to determine if a student is qualified to begin work on a doctoral dissertation." (see Bulletin).

The qualifying exam, with written and oral components, is taken at or near completion of course work in
the major. The written section is comprehensive, covering the knowledge base of the field and issues
faced by the profession. Questions are broad and will require students to integrate theories and
substantive issues from the courses they have taken. Qualifying exams for the minor are determined by
the minor advisor in consultation with the student. Following review by the faculty, the student must
defend the written examination in a meeting with the Advisory Committee.

HESA and School of Education Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must have an appointed Advisory Committee and a program of studies approved by
  • the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Students must have Advisory Committee approval.
  • Students must be in good standing and have no more than 6 credit hours of incompletes.
  • Students must meet other requirements stated in the School of Education Graduate Bulletin

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

The Ed.D. residency requirement can be satisfied by taking either two consecutive semesters of nine
credits or three consecutive six-credit hour terms at the Bloomington-Indianapolis core campus.
Dissertation credit hours (C799 or G901) may not be used to fulfill residency requirements.

DISSERTATION

Students are required to design, conduct, and orally defend an original piece of research. Refer to the
Graduate Bulletin checklist of doctoral program milestones and other program resources for further
details.

Ph.D. in Higher Education

Welcome from the Program Chair

Printable Copy of Ph.D. Higher Education Program

The Ph.D. degree is a 90 credit hour program designed for doctoral students who are planning careers as institutional researchers, policy analysts, and as faculty members in higher education programs. 

The Ph.D. program has fewer required courses, thus allowing students more freedom to specialize in areas where they envision themselves doing research. There is also a stronger set of inquiry (research) courses required. A strong background in inquiry is essential for careers in institutional research, policy analysis, and faculty careers.

Doctoral dissertations are required to have a strong theoretical orientation. Ph.D. students conduct dissertation research in a wide variety of topical areas, but many of them select research aligned with the strengths of the faculty. These areas of strength include:

  • Assessment
  • College choice
  • Economics and finance of postsecondary education
  • Retention
  • Student development
  • Student engagement
  • Teaching and learning

Students should anticipate spending an average of 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 years in the Ph.D. program to complete the coursework requirements and dissertation.

Degree Requirements

A student's program of study is planned with the help of an Advisory Committee composed of two faculty members from the higher education major including the faculty student's advisor, and one faculty member representing the minor field. A meeting with the Advisory Committee is required to approve the program of study. (Printable copy of Ph.D in Higher Education Program)

Major: (36 cr)

  • Required courses (18 cr.)
    • C620 Pro Seminar in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C654 Higher Education in the United States (3 cr.)
    • C664 Higher Education Organization and Administration (3 cr.)
    • C750 Topical Seminar: variable title (6 cr.)
    • Two required; three recommended
      • C788 Seminar in Research in Higher Education* (Inquiry Linkage) (3 cr.)
      • *C788 should be taken near the end of program of study.
  • Other Courses (18 cr. minimum)
    • C655 Higher Education and Public Policy (3 cr.)
    • C656 American Community Colleges (3 cr.)
    • C661 Foundations of Institutional Research (3 cr.)
    • C670 Problems in Financing Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C678 Capstone in Institutional Research (3 cr.)
    • C680 Philanthropy and Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C695 Academic Problems in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C705 Legal Aspects of Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • C750 Topical Seminar: variable title (3 cr.)
    • U544 Introduction to Student Affairs Work in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • U546 Diverse Students on the College Campus (3 cr.)
    • U548 Student Development Theory and Research (3 cr.)
    • U549 Environmental Theory and Assessment in Higher Education (3 cr.)
    • The following arranged courses can also count toward the major:
      • C675 Supervised College Teaching (2–3 cr.)
      • C690 Independent Study (1–3 cr.)
      • C760 Internship in Administration (1–6 cr.)
      • Other courses may be included in the major with the approval of the Advisory Committee.

Minor (12 cr. minimum)

Course work should focus on the research and scholarship of an academic discipline that provides a useful perspective on the study of higher education. This perspective often influences the topic or methodology used in the dissertation. The minor may be any Graduate School approved minor, or four courses that form a single interdisciplinary minor may be approved by the Graduate School. For this alternative a faculty member from outside the higher education program (e.g., Sociology, Law, Educational Inquiry, Educational Policy, and Organizational Studies) must be a member of the Advisory Committee and a memo must be provided by the student and approved by the faculty member representing the interdisciplinary minor that provides a rationale for minor. Student Affairs cannot be used as a minor.

Inquiry Skills and Techniques (12 cr.)

  • Required Course (3 cr.)
    • Y521 Methodological Approaches to Educational Inquiry* (3 cr.) or Y520 Strategies for Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
    • Y502 Intermediate Statistics Applied to Education (3 cr.) or its equivalent is required as a pre-requisite for the Ph.D.
  • Other Courses (9 cr.)
    • Three additional inquiry courses approved by the Advisory Committee are required (see Y-prefixed courses in catalog for examples). A list of approved inquiry courses is available from the Office of Graduate Studies. Typically, these courses are of the following:
      • Y515/H510 Foundations of Educational Inquiry (3 cr.)
      • Y525 Survey Research Methodology (3 cr.)
      • Y527 Educational Assessment and Psychological Measurement (3 cr.)
      • Y535 Evaluation Models and Techniques (3 cr.)
      • Y603 Statistical Design of Educational Research (3 cr.)
      • Y604 Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research (3 cr.)
      • Y611 Qualitative Inquiry in Education (3 cr.)
      • Y612-Y613 Critical Qualitative Inquiry I and II** (6 cr.)
      • Y617 Psychometric Theory (3 cr.)
      • Y635 Methodology of Educational Evaluation (3 cr.)
      • Y637 Categorical Data Analysis (3 cr.)
      • Y639 Multilevel Models (3 cr.)

Special topics courses in inquiry methodology or courses important to particular types of dissertations (e.g., H601, Historical Inquiry in Education) may also be applied. Three of the four inquiry courses should be taken prior to the qualifying exam.

*Y604 is recommended for those considering a quantitative dissertation, and Y611 and/or Y612-613 is recommended for those considering a qualitative dissertation.

Electives or Second Minor (15 cr.)

Fifteen hours can be used for further study into an appropriate field, complete a second minor (minimum of 12 credit hours), or to gain other professionally relevant knowledge. Students are encouraged to enroll in six credit hours that provide a breadth of understanding of higher education as a field of study. Typically the six hours come in two of the following areas: anthropology, history, philosophy, political science or policy studies, psychology, or Sociology. With Advisory Committee approval a student may use courses from other academic areas appropriate to research interests and professional objectives.

Dissertation (15 cr. minimum)

  • C795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation* (3 cr.)
  • C799 Doctoral Thesis (12 cr. minimum)

* Note: C795 should be taken near the end of program of study.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

FIRST YEAR REVIEW FOR HESA DOCTORAL STUDENTS

At the end of the first year (18 credit hours of course work), doctoral students shall participate in the First-Year Review process. Instructions for this review can be found on the HESA web site. The advisor will assess performance to date and future program plans. The focus of the review is assessing a student’s ability to: 1) clearly articulate thoughts and ideas in an organized manner (writing and oral), 2) analyze and synthesize research in order to formulate an opinion or argument, 3) successfully complete program requirements, including the dissertation.

PROGRAM PLAN

Students should finalize their program of studies no later than the end of their second year if they are full-time students or after completing 36 credit hours of coursework (excluding courses transferred from other institutions).

EARLY INQUIRY EXPERIENCE

The Graduate Bulletin states:  “In addition to the inquiry core course work, 6 credit hours of inquiry course work are required in the major. One of these inquiry courses must be an early inquiry experience, during which a student carries out an actual research project, including the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question, and the writing of a research manuscript.”

A course (typically C750 or C690) that the instructor designates as providing an early inquiry experience must have the following requirements:

  1. There must be a written product as a result of the early inquiry experience.
  2. The product should be suitable for presentation and/or publication. This can include professional conferences or institutional presentations/publications.
  3. The syllabus of a Special Topics course will clearly state the requirements that must be completed to fulfill the early inquiry experience.

In most cases, the student should (a) look for Special Topics (C750) courses that the instructor designates as fulfilling the early inquiry experience or (b) fulfill the requirement through Independent Study (C690).

INQUIRY LINKAGE COURSES

The Graduate Bulletin further states: “The second of the major area inquiry courses is an inquiry linkage course. This is a course in which research relevant to the major field of specialization is studied.”

The HESA-designated inquiry linkage course is listed below. Note that credits for this course only count once, as part of the major.

C788 Seminar in Research in Higher Education

 

QUALIFYING EXAM

The Graduate Bulletin states: “Prior to beginning a doctoral dissertation and at or near the time of completion of all course work, all doctoral students in the School of Education must pass a qualifying examination in their major areas of study. In effect, this examination process is intended to determine if a student is qualified to begin work on a doctoral dissertation.”

The qualifying exam, with written and oral components, is taken at or near completion of course work in the major. The written section is comprehensive, covering the knowledge base of the field and issues faced by the profession. Questions are broad and will require students to integrate theories and substantive issues from the courses they have taken. Qualifying exams for the minor are determined by the minor advisor in consultation with the student. Following review by the faculty, the student must defend the written examination in a meeting with the Advisory Committee.

HESA and School of Education Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must have an appointed Advisory Committee and a program of studies approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Students must have Advisory Committee approval.
  • Students must be in good standing and have no more than 6 credit hours of incompletes.
  • Students must meet other requirements stated in the School of Education Graduate Bulletin.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

Ph.D. students are required to enroll in 9 credit hours in two consecutive semesters at the Bloomington-Indianapolis core campus to meet the Graduate School requirement. Dissertation credit hours (C799 or G901) may not be used to fulfill residency requirements.

DOCTORAL DISSERTATION

Students are required to design, conduct, and orally defend an original piece of research. Refer to the Graduate Bulletin checklist of doctoral program milestones and other program resources for further details.

Faculty

Our faculty combine excellence in research with practical experience as university and college administrators.

Students

View a list of current Master's students »

View a list of current Doctoral students »

HESA News and Events (including the HESA Highlights Newsletter)

IUSPA Journal

Awards and Recognition

Masters Student Resources

Doctoral Student Resources 

Careers

More than 2,000 HESA alumni are working at institutions across the United States as faculty members, senior-level administrators, and student affairs professionals.

In the last five years, placement of our graduates has been close to 100 percent, with almost all entering positions in student affairs. Many alumni, now in prominent positions in the field, are eager to hire IU graduates.

View a list of current Alumni and corresponding institutions >>

Contact

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Prospective Doctoral Students Interested in Visiting IU: Personal Visit & Visitation Program

For more information about our degree programs, please contact:

Kathy Murphy, Student Services Support Coordinator
Higher Education and Student Affairs Program
W.W. Wright Education Building, Room 4228
201 North Rose Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-1006
Phone: (812) 856-8372
Email: murphy65@indiana.edu