Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Concentration Admissions Requirements

Please review the HESA website to learn more about the program and our goals. You are encouraged to contact HESA at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu before or during your admission processMany questions about graduate assistantships, length of the program, full-and part time status, internships, where students find jobs, and more are answered under frequently asked questions.

group of students standing in front of WMU statue

2018 HESA Cohort


Generally, HESA admission is for Fall semesters only. The priority deadline for applications and to be eligible for graduate assistantships (GAs), scholarships and other financial opportunities is Dec. 15 each year.  Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered only on a space available basis.  The first round of admissions decisions will be made by the middle of January.  Students who apply after priority deadline are encouraged to contact the HESA at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu the regarding review process. 

HESA leadership interview days program

HESA leadership interview days will be held Thursday, February 20 through Friday, February 21, 2020 Applicants who wish to participate in the HESA leadership interview days’ program and interview for graduate assistantship must submit all admission materials, including reference forms, by Dec. 15 annually.   This two-day program is designed to help students become familiar with WMU, learn more about HESA, speak with faculty, higher education professionals, and current and prospective students and have the opportunity to interview for graduate assistant (GA) positions. Details about the curriculum and registration will also be discussed. All full and part-time students are invited to attend; whether participating in GA interviews or not, we strongly encourage students participate in the activities. 

Please view this document for more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the HESA Leadership Interview Days program. 


How can I find out more about HESA LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW DAYS


WMU HESA Admissions criteria

In accordance with the Western Michigan University and Graduate College policies, all applicants are expected to meet the same academic standards required for admission consideration. The minimum academic requirements vary, however, by degree level, discipline and admission type. International applicant requirements are addressed below.

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, indicated on an official transcript.

  2. An official transcript from the institution from which you received your Bachelor degree is required, as well as a transcript from institution(s) where any graduate level courses or degrees have been taken/completed.

  3. An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work. Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may be considered but, if admitted, will be admitted on a conditional status with the expectation of receiving and maintaining a 3.0 GPA after the first semester and maintaining that GPA.

  4. Evidence of having met any additional admission requirements stipulated by the individual degree program.

  5. Acceptance by the academic unit offering the master's program and endorsement of the acceptance by the graduate dean.

  6. No conditional admissions will be considered for international applicants.

Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: HESA application requirements

GRE - HESA does not require exams (i.e. GRE) for admission into the master’s program. Students from any academic major are encouraged to apply. Full and part-time students are also welcomed.

GPA - The minimum GPA requirement is generally a 3.0. A student who does not meet this requirement is encouraged to speak to the faculty coordinator about their concerns. Generally we are looking for a record of improved and/or steady academic performance and we need to feel confident in your ability to not only manage challenging coursework but also the demands of a graduate assistantship and field experiences. Many times we will ask students who fall below this requirement should provide in writing an attachment to their written statement, information regarding their academic performance and anything they may have done to more recently address the previous academic issues (taken courses, etc).

The application process is now online. Find us under Master of Arts in Educational Leadership - the concentration is higher education and student affairs. The application for graduate admission requires the following parts:

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  1. Resume: A resume is required and must be submitted within the online application.

  2. Written statement: Please prepare a written statement which covers the following information, and submit it within the online application; this is also viewed as a writing sample. In three (3) typed, double-spaced pages or less, address the following areas:

    • Explain why you are interested in pursuing the higher education and student affairs (HESA) leadership master’s degree
    • Address how HESA'S emphasis on preparing reflective, practitioner-scholars committed to the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness in higher education fits your educational and career goals
    • Share how the HESA program will help you in meeting your career and professional goals;
    • Discuss experiences you have had to help prepare you for the HESA program;
    • Describe any challenges you anticipate if admitted to the HESA program, and how you plan to address them.
  3. Education history information and official transcripts and request for unofficial transcripts

    • Applicants must list all previously attended higher education institutions.
    • An official transcript from the institution from which you received your Bachelor degree is required, as well as a transcript from institution(s) where any graduate level courses or degrees have been taken/completed.
    • HESA applicants (including WMU graduates) are highly encouraged to submit the unoffical transcript from the institution where the undergraduate degree was awarded.  This will speed up the review of your application due to the extended time needed to process official transcripts.  This unofficial transcript can be uploaded in the application portal under the transcripts section.
    • HESA does not require GRE test scores.
  4. Three recommendations 

    • These must be obtained from three different individuals in a position to address the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the HESA graduate. (view a sample of the online form here)
    • Once in the online application system, applicants are asked for names, title, and contact information of three recommenders. The online system will send those individuals an email link. The recommenders will respond through the online system.  
    • The online application system does not require a letter of reference.  However, HESA strongly recommends that all applicants request that their recommenders submit completed letters of reference into the online system. Students who do not have letters may be at a disadvantage in the application process.
    5.  English language proficiency requirements (international applicants only)

Questions about the application process or the online graduate application form can be directed to the graduate admissions coordinator Ms.Linda Walters (linda.walters@wmich.edu) in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology graduate at (269) 387-3893.

Visit the higher education and student affairs website (HESA) for more information including program mission, courses and answers to frequently asked questions.


Applications for international applicants may be due sooner to the Office of International Admissions. See below for admissions criteria. For the higher education and student affairs leadership (HESA) program, there are no conditional admissions for international applicants.

  • For international applicants, English proficiency scores may be reported within the online application system and official scores must be sent to WMU.
  • Desired minimum English language proficiency scores for this M.A. include: 6.5 on IELTS; 227 on TOEFL (CBT), 567 on TOEFL (PBT), or a 86 on TOEFL (iBt), with the following minimum subscores on the TOEFL (iBT): 20 in reading, 20 in listening, 24 in speaking, and 22 in writing.
  • No conditional admission for international applicants in HESA.
  • English language proficiency requirements (international applicants only)
    • As required by WMU, international applicants must provide proof of English competency, unless they have successfully completed either four years of upper secondary school or one year of full-time tertiary (university-level) education. See WMU English language requirements for more information. There are no conditional admissions for international applicants.