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Alumnus Amadou Fofana presents research

A Leadership Program with Heart


Leadership in Student Affairs

Designed through a collaborative effort of student affairs team members and program faculty, the Master of Arts degree in Leadership in Student Affairs prepares you to lead in higher education. Our program has a unique focus on leadership, social justice and theory-to-practice, providing an opportunity for broad application upon graduation. Student affairs professionals work side-by-side with faculty and staff to create a dynamic learning environment for students. Every day, they help to shape the mission and culture of their college or university.

The Leadership in Student Affairs (LSA) program is a general preparation program to enter the field of student affairs. Our program specifically focuses on leadership within student affairs administration, offering specific coursework in student development theory, organizational theory, administrative leadership, social justice theories, as well as electives in higher education law, feminist perspectives on leadership, and more.

On average, about 10-20 students enroll in a cohort every year. Students in the program have a variety of professional work and experience. Some students have little to no student affairs experience while others have a few to several years of experience as full-time professionals.

Where you’ll learn:

Online or in-person on Minneapolis campus

When to start:

A new cohort begins each fall.

How the Program Works

This is a 2-year (including the summer between) program. Students in the program complete several research papers, of course, but the primary focus is on the applied nature of the field. Many of the courses have an emphasis on personal, group and societal leadership, and as an applied program, students are required to complete 2 internships/assistantship experiences. Due to the required internship classes, students gain experience in at least 2 functional areas of student affairs throughout their 2 years in the LSA program.

Required Coursework

For full-time program status (in order to graduate in 2 years), students take 9 credits (3 classes) every fall and spring and enroll in 6 credits over January and/or summer terms (2 classes).

Total Credits: 42

EDLD 621 Research, Analysis, and Critique
EDLD 703 Introduction to Student Affairs
EDLD 707 Introduction to Higher Education
EDLD 806 College Student Development Theory
EDLD 785 Clinical Practice in Student Affairs I
EDLD 786 Clinical Practice in Student Affairs II
EDLD 760 Contemporary and Future Trends in Higher Education and Student Affairs
EDLD 801 Leadership and Organizational Theory
EDLD 804 Legal Issues in Higher Education
EDLD 855 Social Justice in Higher Education
EDLD 864 Leadership in Student Affairs Capstone
EDLD 715 Administrative Leadership in Student Affairs

Note: Graduate coursework in religion and spirituality is not required in the program. However, the curriculum encourages reflection on moral development; ethical leadership is discussed in Organization and Leadership Theory; and spirituality/making meaning is discussed in College Student Development Theory and the Contemporary Issues courses.

Graduate Assistantships and Internships

We offer multiple opportunities at a variety of institutions each year. In early January, we will begin to post positions to our program website. Internships may be paid or unpaid (the range is anywhere between $0 to $10,000). Graduate assistantships are paid an hourly wage or a stipend (again this varies by institution and functional area). Most assistantships offer a stipend of approximately $10,000 per year and most do not include tuition remission.

Open Positions for the 2024-2025 Academic Year:

Student holding a phone

Learn More Virtually

Online Info Session

To learn more about the MA in Leadership in Student Affairs degree:

Attend an Online Info Session where you'll meet LSA Program Director Dr. Jayne K. Sommers along with current students in the program. Get all your questions answered!

Register Today

Alumni Highlights

Amadou Fofana
2018 LSA graduate
LSA Graduate
Headshot of Amadou Fofana Headshot of Freesia, LSA Graduate

Amadou Fofana

"I am thankful for the LSA program and its faculty for preparing me to think critically. Educating the next generation of global citizens to think about the possibilities of an equitable, just and compassionate world with incredible staff and faculty has been quite the privilege."


"The LSA program gave me the structure and space to explore, mold and shape my advising and coaching approach. Through this program, I was given the platform to fine tune my leadership skills as a coach and advisor in the field of higher education. I was also connected to an incredible constellation of people in this field who have been guiding stars and large sources of inspiration. Since graduating from LSA, I've held various coaching roles that include work at Berklee College of Music, Simmons University, Bottom Line (non-profit educational organization), the University of Minnesota as well as the University of St. Thomas."