Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Admissions Requirements

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

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Applicants who wish to participate in the Virtual HESA Leadership Preview & Interview Days and be eligible for graduate assistant (GA) positions should submit all admission materials, including reference forms, by the priority deadline. The priority deadline for Fall 2022 is January 15, 2022. Please make sure all portions of your application (including your official transcripts reach WMU by this deadline).  Typically applicants expect to receive notification of admission within a few weeks of submitting a completed application. Generally, HESA admission is for Fall semester start only.  

Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered for admission on a space-available basis. If you consider applying after the priority deadline please contact HESA at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu regarding the review process.  


The HESA Leadership Preview & Interview Days Program held annually during the Spring semester offers admitted students a wide array of virtual opportunities to engage with HESA.  All newly admitted students are encouraged to attend HESA Days whether participating in graduate assistant (GA) interviews or not.  The program is designed to help newly admitted HESA students become familiar with WMU, learn more about HESA and the curriculum, and connect with potential GA employers.

Is HESA right for me?

Students from any academic major are encouraged to apply. Full and part-time students are also welcomed. Check out the HESA frequently asked questions  website for information about career options and how to know if HESA is right for you.

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 (see below).

  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  for admission into the master’s program.

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 (GA) 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). HESA students conditionally admitted, with a GPA under 3.0 will have certain conditional criteria applied to their admittance.

The application process is 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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HESA application instructions

  1. Please submit all portions of your application no later than Jan. 15 each year, after that applications are reviewed on a space available basis. If you wish to apply for GA positions please apply by this deadline. 
  2. In the online application system find HESA under  Educational Leadership - the concentration is higher education and student affairs.
  3. Resume: A resume is required and must be submitted within the online application.

  4. Written statement: Applicants will prepare a written a statement which covers the following information and attach it within the online application. The written statement is also viewed as a writing sample. In two to three, typed, double-spaced pages, address the following areas:

    • Explain why you are interested in pursuing the WMU HESA leadership master’s program

    • Address how HESA'S mission of preparing reflective, practitioner-scholars committed to the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness in higher education fits your educational and career goals;

    • Briefly discuss experiences you have had to help prepare you for the HESA program;

    • Briefly describe any challenges you anticipate if admitted to the HESA program, and how you plan to address them.

  5. Education history information and official transcripts and request for unofficial transcripts

    • 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 or completed.
    • All HESA applicants (including WMU graduates) are asked to submit an unofficial transcript from the institution where the undergraduate degree was awarded. The unofficial transcript can be uploaded in the application portal under the section for transcripts or other documents. Submitting your unofficial transcript will help speed up review of your application; this is due to the length of time it may take to receive and process official transcripts.  An unofficial transcript is a record of your academic work and usually available to you through the institutions web portal, or you may submit a copy from your own records. 
    • HESA does not require GRE test scores.
  6. Three recommendations via the WMU online recommendation form

    • Recommendations are required to be completed through an online form.
    • Recommendations must be obtained from three different individuals who can address your ability to successfully complete the HESA graduate program. View a sample of the online form here. Inside 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 to complete the online form.
    • Although recommendation letters are not required, we suggest that applicants request at least one positive letter from one of your recommenders to accompany the online from.
    5. Applications are considered complete once all the items have been submitted.  Please hit "submit" on your application, we are not able to view your application until you hit "submit".

Visit the HESA website for more information including program mission, courses and answers to frequently asked questions.

Contact elrt_hesa@wmich.edu for any questions.

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International applicants

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.