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MPA + MS Student Affairs Administration
Dual-Degree Program

Public Administration and Student Affairs Administration

The MPA + MS Student Affairs Administration Dual-Degree Program prepares students for administrative positions in college and university settings. 

To be an effective leader in student affairs, professionals must first be knowledgeable of how students grow and develop during the college years and how institutions can be intentional in facilitating the growth process. Leaders in higher education need to employ proven managerial strategies in order to be successful and must pay careful attention to the management of human resources, finances, information technology, and physical infrastructure. In addition to this, leaders should know how to adjust their administrative style if problems are encountered and be able to ground both successes and shortcomings in administrative theory.

By carefully structuring the sequence of courses, recognizing comparable course offerings, and using courses in one program to count as electives in the other, students are often able to complete both degrees in three years of full-time study without compromising the professional standards of either program. 

Successful completion of the dual-degree programs results in two degrees: a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) and a Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration.

Graduate Degrees Offered

  • MPA + MS Student Affairs Administration

Related Degree Programs

Application Deadlines

Students must apply to both the MPA program and the MS Student Affairs Administration program by their individual deadlines. Applicants need to create two separate online (Embark) accounts in order to submit the two separate applications. Each application requires an application fee to the Graduate School. In order to participate in the dual-degree program, students must be admitted to both programs concurrently.

  Fall Admission Spring Admission
MPA January 15 (funding)
April 15 (regular) 
October 15
April 15 (funding)  November 15

Program-Specific Admission Requirements*

The standards maintained by The Graduate School and individual departments and programs are applied to ensure that applicants admitted to the University are well qualified and trained to study at this institution and have a reasonable expectation of successfully completing a graduate program, and who, with the benefit of graduate education, are most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields.

To be eligible, you must have and provide:

  • A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
  • Complete set of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. At minimum, a 3.0 GPA is required. See details.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Online graduate degree application and application fee
  • Transcripts from each college/university you have attended
  • Letters of recommendation (see details below)
  • Personal statement (2-3 pages) describing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Official GRE scores. GMAT scores can be submitted in lieu of GRE scores.

And, for international applicants:

  • International Student Financial Statement form (PDF)
  • Official bank statement/proof of support
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores

You must also meet the following program-specific requirements:


  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who know the applicant in a professional capacity, such as professors, work supervisors, and professionals from organizations where the applicant has served as a volunteer or in another capacity. When evaluating the letters of recommendation, the admissions committee looks for evidence of academic achievement, community involvement, and personal characteristics that suggests the applicant has the capacity to foster an institutional culture that advances democratic administration and governance.
  • Personal statement
    • The personal statement should be no more than 500 words or two (2) double-spaced, typed pages and should answer the question,"Why do I want an MPA?" You may wish to describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in public administration, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee. In the personal statement, the committee assesses the student's commitment to public and/or nonprofit administration as well as his/her ability to communicate in writing.
  • Significant work experience (5 or more years in the public and/or nonprofit sectors) can earn applicants a positive adjustment to their admissions scores. However, the lack of work experience does not result in a penalty.


  • Personal statements should specifically address the applicant's interest in the program, career goals, and current skills and experiences relative to their current or intended career in student affairs
  • Three letters of recommendation, which should come from instructors or professors who can attest to the applicant's academic ability for graduate study
    • Applicants who have been out of college for at least three (3) years may submit current letters of reference from employment supervisors or others affiliated with their employment who can attest to their ability to perform successfully and professionally and to the likelihood of success in a graduate program
  • A signed copy of the Student Affairs Administration Contract
    • By signing the above document, you agree, if admitted to the program, to abide by the professional standards of student affairs administration as set forth by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards that govern our profession.
    • Review the Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards before signing the contract. 
  • A signed copy of the Student Affairs Administration Certification of Information

*This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to keep it accurate and up-to-date, we recommend you contact the department for program-specific requirements.

How to Apply button


Brianna King, Coordinator of Student Services (MPA)

Mary Ann Swain, Professor and Department Chair (MSAA)

MPA-MSAA Dual-Degree Program

College of Community and Public Affairs website


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Last Updated: 1/19/15