Frequently Asked Questions | Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership

Frequently Asked Questions | Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership

Educational Leadership

Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership Concentration

Home | Courses | Frequently Asked Questions | Admissions | Contact Information

Frequently Asked Questions

question marks

What is the HESA Leadership concentration?
The Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership concentration is one of four concentrations in the Master of Arts Performance Driven Leadership program. It is designed to prepare reflective scholar-practitioners for careers in the field of student affairs in higher education.    Distinctive to HESA is an emphasis on the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness in higher education: one of the ways this is actualized is through a required and individually designed Diversity Cognate.    


What type of job can I get with a degree in HESA Leadership?
Graduates can obtain employment in a variety of student services and administrative positions in higher education including: admissions, academic advising, residence life, student services, financial aid, career services and offices designed to support historically underrepresented student populations.   Graduates of the program work in a variety of settings at community colleges, public universities and private universities. Visit some of the professional websites to learn more about careers in student affairs. 

When should I apply to the HESA program?
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until the number of available openings in the program are filled. However, there are fixed deadlines in place for graduate
assistantships, scholarships and other financial opportunities. In order to participate in the HESA Leadership Interview Days program, a student must be accepted into the HESA MA Leadership concentration. To ensure full review of your HESA application (certificate and cohort) and to be eligible for HESA Leadership Interview Days for the following Fall, please complete and submit all parts of your application (including references) by December 15 each year. Applications completed or received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis. To apply: visit the admissionss portion of the ELRT HESA website.

What exams are required for admission into the HESA Program?
The HESA Leadership concentration does not require exams (i.e. GRE) for admission into the master’s program.         

Which undergraduate majors are accepted into the HESA program?
Students from any academic major are encouraged to apply.

Are there assistantships or scholarships available for my education?
The WMU HESA Interview Days program, held each Spring semester is designed to help newly admitted full-time HESA students obtain a GA positions. The HESA Interview Days program provides an opportunity for incoming students to become familiar with the campus and HESA program, as well as interview for graduate assistantship (GA) positions. In order to participate in the HESA Leadership Interview Days program, a student must be accepted into the HESA Leadership concentration.
There are many opportunities available through the College of Education and Human Development, the Graduate College and Financial Aid to help with the cost of your education. Students in the program hold graduate assistantships (GA)  across campus and at other nearby colleges such as Kalamazoo College (Student Activities, Academic Advising, Residence Life, Greek Life, Career Services, Admissions, Multicultural Affairs, Upward Bound, Sieta Scholars, to name a few). Additional opportunities for campus positions are posted on WMU Bronco Jobs.


Will I have to write a thesis? 
A thesis is not required; however, all students are required to develop a portfolio highlighting growth and experience throughout the program.        

How long is the program?
The HESA program is a 39 credit-hour program including a diversity cognate and a 300-hour internship.   The program is designed to be able to be completed in two years, with the summer in-between the first and second year serving as time to complete the Field Experience/Internship and one course. For more information about the coursework visit the Courses section of the website.

Where do graduates get jobs?
Graduates from the program currently hold student affairs positions all over the country. WMU graduates hold the following positions:

  • Residence Director at Syracuse University
  • Director of Career and Assessment Services at Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • International Student Advisor at University of Texas-Austin
  • Academic Advisor at Western Michigan University
  • Area Coordinator at the University of Central Florida
  • Assistant Director of Student Activities at Nova Southeastern University
  • Academic/Retention Advisor at North Carolina A&T

How do I know if Student Affairs is the right field for me? 
The best way to know is to do some homework by exploring the field on your own and talking to others in the profession.

Explore your interests and consider some of these initial questions:

  • Do you enjoy working with students?
  • Do you enjoy the college or university campus environment?
  • Do you have the initiative and interest in pursuing further degree?
  • Do you believe in the value of higher education and lifelong learning?
  • Do you have a passion for increasing access and opportunity to higher education?
  • Do you have good planning, communication, and leadership skills?
  • Do you want to make a difference in other college students’ lives?

Seek out a mentor:

Find someone on your college campus or at your alma mater who works in student affairs. Invite them to lunch or to coffee and let them know you are considering applying to graduate school. They will be a valuable resource to you in the decision making and application process.

Do your homework:

There are many programs and web resources for those considering a career in student affairs. The resources we recommend are below, from these websites you will find links to the Directory of Graduate Programs in Student Affairs.


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
3571 Sangren Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5283 USA
(269) 387-3896 | (269) 387-3696 Fax