Wisconsin Student Affairs & Development Campus Programs

Through Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus, professionals may learn how to navigate the dynamic world of one of higher education’s most critical components: student affairs. Best of all, they may get to do so through in-person interaction while accessing campus resources such as libraries, study groups, office hours, and campus programming. Students might even gain more opportunities to witness firsthand the power of student affairs as they navigate its many components across campus.

What is Student Affairs?

Students affairs typically comprises of a set of departments that help make sense of a dynamic educational system. Those departments, such as admissions, financial aid, counseling, advising, student activities, residence life, advocacy services, developmental learning services, and others, are generally designed to help students meet their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Some key areas of student affairs include advising, counseling, management, and administration. Within those areas, student affairs professionals may create programming and provide services that support student growth and development. They’re intentions are typically to promote students’ social, intellectual, and emotional opportunity and well-being on campus and beyond. They often strive to create a campus environment that is safe, inclusive, and conducive to success. As employees of the school, student affairs professionals may be required to be adept at fulfilling the school’s mission while acting as advocates for students.

Student affairs graduate programs, also referred to as student development graduate programs, may help professionals learn how to lead, manage, or supervise in various areas of student affairs or specialize their knowledge in a particular area.

Who Might Pursue a Graduate Degree in Student Affairs On Campus?

Some students may

prefer traditional education on campus. Perhaps they learn better through in-person instruction or manage their time more effectively when they have scheduled classes and an obligation to show up. They might also prefer connecting with classmates and professors face-to-face and enjoy exploring—in-person and in real time—everything on campus: the students, the clubs, the program departments, the student union, and so much more.

Regardless, many people who pursue a graduate-level certificate or degree in student affairs may have a particular set of interests. Many of them already have experience in education—either as teachers, in student affairs, or in another capacity—and most of them are interested in working as leaders or in more specialized capacities. They’re commonly passionate about students’ rights and providing students with access to resources, and they want to make the process of education as safe, educational, and life-enhancing as possible.

What On-Campus Graduate Programs Are Available in Student Affairs?

Both master’s degree and doctorate degree student affairs programs are available on campus. Certificate programs may also be available on campus, but those are more commonly offered online. Here’s a bit more information about certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree programs: 

Certificate Programs in Student Affairs On Campus

Again, these types of programs might be rare. However, if they are offered on campus, they may be offered through graduate classes at the master’s or doctorate level. That means that students pursuing certificates might engage in class and coursework with students in other graduate degree programs.

Certificate programs in student affairs are generally designed for people who already work in student affairs or have a master’s degree and want to delve into student affairs’ historical and philosophical contexts. Students in certificate programs also commonly study theories and practical application broadly or in specific areas of student affairs. In most cases, students earn their certificates through one year of fulltime study.

The On-Campus Master’s Degree in Student Affairs

Students commonly pursue one of three types of master’s degrees in student affairs: the Master of Education (Ed.M.), the Master of Science (M.S.), or the Master of Arts (M.A.). Through their programs, they commonly learn how to act as leaders, supervisors, and managers in the field of student affairs. They might also gain advanced knowledge in an area of student affairs and discover how to apply theory to practice to affect change. Students typically earn a master’s degree in student affairs through one to two years of fulltime study. At the ends of their programs, they might complete an internship, write a thesis, or take a comprehensive exam. 

The Doctorate Degree in Student Affairs

Students typically pursue one of two types of doctorate degrees in student affairs: the Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Either of these degrees may help students learn how to manage, supervise, or lead in various areas of student affairs. They might also help students develop highly specialized knowledge in an area of student affairs or learn how to conduct research, analyze results, and apply solutions to affect change. However, there may be some differences between these two types of degrees. For example, the Ed.D. typically emphasizes practical application and helps professionals pursue jobs in student affairs departments, and the Ph.D. emphasizes theory and research and may help professionals pursue jobs teaching and conducting research in higher education institutions. Yet the emphasis, goal, and objective of any student affairs doctorate program ultimately depends on the program.

Students commonly complete their doctorate degree program by taking a comprehensive exam, writing a dissertation, or completing an internship. Most doctorate degree programs in student affairs require three to six years of fulltime study.   

What Might I Study in an On-Campus Student Affairs Graduate Program?

First, no matter your Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus, you’ll likely take both core and elective courses. Those courses may help you get a sense of the field of student affairs and develop your knowledge in theories and principles of leadership and specific areas of student affairs. More specifically, you might study subjects such as: 

  • The history, sociology, and philosophy of student affairs
  • Student affairs administration and leadership
  • Student advocacy and development
  • Campus programming and content design
  • Politics, sociology, and economics of higher education
  • Research methodologies and analysis (including ethnographic research)
  • Student and campus diversity

Through the study of these and other subjects, you may begin to hone your knowledge and skillset in student affairs.

How Can I Find Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus?

You can begin your search for Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus right here. Below you’ll find a list of on-campus programs at various levels. You can browse the full list or narrow your Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus search by program level or location. Once you find a program you like, you can use our form to contact the program directly to request additional information or to register.

Now may a great time to explore your Student Affairs Graduate Programs on Campus options for advanced education in student affairs. Good luck!

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  • Capella University offers doctoral programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.
  • Competency-based curriculum delivers both foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.

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