Grand Canyon University

M.A. in Higher Education Student Affairs


3300 W Camelback Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85017

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

M.A. in Higher Education Student Affairs

Format: Online

Program Description:

Study Advanced Administration Concepts With This Higher Education Student Affairs Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs degree program at Grand Canyon University (GCU) can prepare you to position yourself for a possible career in student affairs administration at higher education institutions. Coursework is designed to teach graduates how student affairs administrators directly contribute to the social development, academic success and overall well-being of students.

You will be taught to manage resources and seek new opportunities that support the institution’s mission and vision. Within this field, a strong emphasis is placed on cultivating collaborative relationships with students, families, colleagues, school professionals and community members. These relationships may contribute to the promotion of a supportive, challenging and modern higher education environment, fostering student growth and facilitating professional advancement.

Graduates from this master’s in higher education student affairs degree program will be taught:

    Foundational knowledge that encompasses student development theory
    The history of student affairs, leadership, community and student engagement, organizational structures and processes
    Understanding of topics relevant to the major service areas within student affairs
    A focused knowledge of operations management, campus community, health and safety and crisis management
    Competence in areas of spiritual life, housing, legal aspects of student affairs and campus partnerships — comprehensive areas that affect impactful practices of an educational community and outcomes of individual students

Benefits of Earning a Master’s in Higher Education Student Affairs Degree From GCU

The master’s degree in higher education can be a great fit for professionals looking to have an impact within various student populations in postsecondary settings. Establishing and maintaining positive relationships through servant leadership is a focal point throughout the program, as relationship building helps better meet the needs of postsecondary students. In addition, you may have the opportunity to learn about crisis management and intervention, operational resource management, and laws and ethics; these subject matters can prepare you to make sound decisions within a higher education setting.

Pursue Your Master’s Degree in Higher Education Student Affairs Online

At GCU, you can choose to take your higher education student affairs graduate program in the evening or online. With online learning, you may be offered the flexibility and convenience that can be more appropriate for adult learners and busy professionals. As an online student, you have access to a range of online learning resources, including tutoring for new students, support services, as well as the opportunity to interact with your instructors and fellow classmates.

In the College of Education, courses are led by professionals in their respective fields who share their knowledge and experience in all areas of higher education student affairs. Coursework from this student affairs program may cover course topics such as:

    Servant leadership
    Student development and student leadership development
    Building team culture
    Laws and ethics

    Managing operational resources
    Crisis management
    Community development and engagement

Gain Experience in the Higher Education Student Affairs Practicum Internship

Develop Personal Ethics and Servant Leadership Skills

Career Opportunities for Higher Education Student Affairs Graduates

This master’s in higher education degree may serve as a step to potential career advancement for teachers and education professionals who wish to take on a leadership role at the administrative level. Graduates of this program may go on to pursue various education administration roles, including postsecondary education administration.

1 Candidates must have access to an institute of higher education to complete program assignments. GCU is unable to offer/guarantee practicum/field experience access to institutions of higher education.

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Postsecondary Education Administrators, as of May 2021, retrieved on May 23, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as postsecondary education administrators. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career.  You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.

3 Best College Reviews (2022, Oct, 12). What is Student Affairs? Retrieved on June 2, 2023.

4 Professional Competencies Task Force (August 2015). Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators. Retrieved on June 2, 2023.

5 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well.  Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators, retrieved on May 23, 2023.

If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint/background clearance is required.


North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Facts & Figures

Classification: Master's College or University I

Loans Offered: Perkins Loan, Stafford Student Loans, PLUS Loans, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) State Grant, Arizona Post-Secondary Education Voucher Program State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 0-999

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