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Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership M.A. 

Professional Competencies, Leadership and Scholarship

UNC’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership (HESAL) program offers a Master’s of Arts (M.A.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Our curriculum focuses on developing core competencies necessary for professional advancement in higher education and student affairs, including student support services, academic careers, and policy work. Students have opportunities to work directly with award-winning, research faculty who all have higher education or student affairs administrative backgrounds. The HESAL faculty are dedicated to offering a program that values a practitioner-scholar model, mentoring and advising, and coursework that reflect theory, research, and practice. The HESAL program maintains a commitment to equity and social justice through the inclusion of multiple perspectives and pedagogies.

Degree Details

Credits Required:

39 Master's, 64 PhD


PhD-Greeley and Denver

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Degree Options

M.A., Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership

We offer both Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Higher Education and Students Affairs Leadership.

Master of Arts

Emphasizing practice, the 39-credit master’s program prepares student affairs professionals and college administrators. You’ll work as colleagues with faculty, gaining progressively higher levels of responsibility and expertise, in a community-of-scholars model to learning. As a graduate, you’ll be uniquely qualified to tackle the complex challenges facing educators today.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements. 

Greeley M.A. Program

Doctor of Philosophy

UNC’s Ph.D. program builds on the foundation of the master's degree, teaching you innovative ways to apply theory and research to solve real-world problems in higher education. You can pursue the doctoral degree full-time or part-time at our main campus in Greeley.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Greeley  PH.D. Program

Doctoral Minor

Our 15-credit doctoral minor allows you to gain an extra level of expertise in higher education and student affairs.

Doctoral Minor information

Related Programs

Your Future in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership

At UNC, you’re following in the footsteps of Colorado’s top educators. Our master’s and doctoral programs will position you to excel in a wide range of leadership positions in higher education, and will give you a broader, multicultural perspective that will serve you in your career and in life.

Consider UNC’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership programs if you:

  • Have a strong dedication to social justice
  • Desire to work with diverse groups of people to lead positive change in higher education
  • Want to gain multicultural perspectives
  • Are a full- or part-time student

You’ll learn:

  • Strong understanding of organizational dynamics
  • Excellence in professional practice and scholarly writing
  • Culturally inclusive perspectives related to research, practice and leadership
  • Research design and methodology
  • Ways to contribute to improving education systems

Sample courses:

  • Organization and Administration
  • Multiculturalism in Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Law and Higher Education
  • Culturally Responsive Aspects of Transformative Learning
  • Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Finance and Resource Management in Higher Education
Matthew Birnbaum


Matthew Birnbaum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership

Matthew Birnbaum, Ph.D., is an assistant professor for Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership degree. His research interests include trends in student culture, technology in higher education, higher education law and finance and organizational theory. 


Where can your degree take you?

The master’s and doctoral programs in Higher Education and Students Affairs Leadership will prepare you to lead in a variety of roles. These are just a few of your options:

  • Higher education administrator
  • Student affairs leader
  • Institutional researcher
  • Policy analyst
  • University faculty member

Ready for what's next? Here's what you need to know.

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Still not completely sold? We understand. Here's more information on costs and funding and how to apply.

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