Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Program

master of arts

Admissions requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with GPA of 3.0 or higher in last two years of undergraduate work.
  • Resume of curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Three-page, double spaced written statement.
  • Three reference forms (via online system).
  • More information

Student testimonial

  • "I enjoyed learning about student development concepts in classes, and then having the opportunity to practice or witness them in my graduate assistantship. It really brought everything full circle and inspired me to continuing pursuing a HESA degree."Kendra Coons, program coordinator of success, Purdue University


Program Overview

This program is offered in-person with some online and hybrid courses.

The higher education and student affairs (HESA) concentration in the Educational Leadership program 39-credit hour master's degree that emphasizes a practitioner-scholar model. The curriculum combines a student development and leadership theory core, diversity and inclusion electives, and individualized field experiences. Curriculum and experiences highlight intercultural development and advocating for historically marginalized and underserved student populations in all areas of professional practice.  Complete your HESA leadership ePortfolio emphasizing professional competencies, in lieu of thesis or exams. Graduate assistantships (GA) are available in multiple areas focused on student development and higher education. Students from all undergraduate majors are welcome and the program serves full-and part-time students.

The Fall 2023 priority deadline is January 15, 2023 though applications for HESA are reviewed annually and on a space available basis. To ensure priority review of your HESA application and to be eligible for HESA Info and GA Interview Days, please complete all parts of your application, including references, and make sure they reach us by the priority deadline.  Visit the admissions section of the website for details and information. If you are inquiring after the priority deadline please contact us at elrt_hesa@wmich.edu to see if there is space available in the HESA program for your application to be considered.

More information for prospective students can be found on the prospective HESA students page and full-time working professionals flyer. 

Why HESA at Western Michigan University?

HESA at WMU is a cohort-based program providing you an individualized experience that includes:

  • High-quality education at a research university
  • Accessible faculty, focused on student success
  • Choice of diversity cognate courses with advisor support
  • Emphasis on intercultural development through coursework and co-curricular engagement
  • Personal coaching in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)
  • Global engagement opportunities through courses and study abroad focused on higher education in Malaysia, Singapore and Canada
  • Choices of experiences such as co-teaching, research, or presenting at conferences
  • Meet administrators and intern at several local public, private and community colleges
  • Create your HESA Leadership ePortfolio for future employers, highlighting competencies and transferable skills
  • Integrative learning projects offered through the WMU Signature, which includes special designation on your diploma
  • Funding sources available to attend conferences and support research

Who should apply?

Are you committed to diversity and inclusion and seeking and entry- and mid-level positions in higher education.  Students from all undergraduate majors are welcome. We welcome applicants considering full-or part-time attendance. GA positions are available for full-time students. Employees working in higher education at WMU or other college campuses encouraged to apply. Students interested in applying are encouraged to explore additional sections of the website:  WMU HESA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and WMU HESA Admissions.

Career opportunities

WMU HESA graduates hold student affairs positions all over the country and have secured these and other positions upon graduation.  

  • Academic advisor, Fordham University (NY)
  • Academic coach, University of Tennessee (TN)
  • Admissions counselor, Kalamazoo Valley Community College (MI)
  • Career services specialist, Purdue University Northwest (IN)
  • Coordinator of pre-college programs, Ferris State University
  • Coordinator for admissions & student engagement, Michigan School of Psychology (MI)
  • Financial aid specialist, Grand Rapids Community College (MI)
  • Graduate program coordinator, Emporia State University (KS)
  • Student development coordinator, New Mexico Highlands University (NM)
  • Student leadership coordinator, Purdue University (IN)
  • International student advisor, University of Texas-Austin (TX)
  • Peer advocate leader, University of Colorado (CO)
  • Program advisor, Indiana University (IU)
  • Residence hall director, San Diego State University (CA)
  • TRIO student support services, Grand Valley State University (MI)

Current students

For program information visit the current HESA masters students resources page.

Cost & Funding

Helpful links


Dr. Ramona Lewis, Program Coordinator
Dr. Ramona Lewis, Program Coordinator 

For more information about the student affairs profession or about the program visit the WMU HESA FAQ pageWMU HESA Admissions page or email us at elrt_hesa@wmich.edu.