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College of Education

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Higher Education & Student Affairs

The Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) combines a rigorous program of study with opportunities for in-depth, practical experience suited to dedicated individuals seeking professional careers in the administration of college student development services and activities.

Are you interested in what makes the college experience truly rewarding for students? The HESA program prepares you for transformative leadership roles in higher education organizations.


The HESA program is designed to prepare entry level and mid-level professionals for successful administrative careers in a variety of postsecondary education contexts. Students are prepared to apply theory learned through challenging classroom studies to real life experiences, effectively blending theory, research, and best practices in becoming transformational leaders in 21st century higher education.  


What sets the USC HESA program apart from other academic programs?

  • Exceptional faculty: Program faculty include both full-time faculty members and affiliate faculty who are practicing administrators. As a result, program faculty bring both their scholarly knowledge and practical experiences into the classroom. The coursework blends theory, research, and practical application, allowing for comprehensive learning and engagement in higher education and student affairs.
  • Strong partnerships with campus leaders: The University of South Carolina is home to one of the strongest Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Support in the nation that is invested in the success of the HESA program. USC is also home to the number one ranked University 101 program  and internationally recognized National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. You will have opportunities to work with top leaders in the country through graduate assistantships, practica, and internships.

  • Expansive alumni network: The HESA program is one of the most established programs in the nation and as a result, we have a large network of alumni across the globe. Our alumni are leaders in higher education, with many serving as vice presidents, deans, and directors in higher education institutions and professional associations. The alumni network continues to support the career and professional development of both our graduates and current students.

Upon completing the HESA program, graduates have accepted positions at colleges and universities around the world and become part of a network of knowledgeable and experienced alumni that stretches across the more than 50-year history of the program.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.