M.S. in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs (HEPSA)

Dear WCU Students,

Welcome to the West Chester Master of Science degree in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs.

More than likely, you are seeking out this degree program so you can make a difference in the lives of college students. If you are like me, you want to place students at the center of your work and do what you can to help them succeed! As higher education changes, so must the support programs, student services and policies change to meet the needs and wants of the current college student – especially as they relate to issues of equity and access.

The M.S. in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs seeks to prepare student affairs professionals and higher education policy-makers to genuinely comprehend, analyze and meet those changing needs – working to assure that institutions of higher learning fulfill their stated missions as welcoming and supportive spaces for all students.

We designed this program to provide you with a theoretical foundation in higher education policy and student affairs. Each course is grounded in the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies. We have intentionally included experiential opportunities into the curriculum to allow you to put theory into practice in the field. The college campus will become your "lab," and you will have many learning experiences outside of the classroom.

I encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns you have about the program so that I might be able to help you actualize your goals. I am happy to meet with you and answer any questions you might have. I am very excited to meet you!

With warmest regards,

Jacqueline S. Hodes signature

Dr. Jacqueline Hodes

Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration

Program Director, Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration


Email Jacqueline S. Hodes

Program Highlights

Mission, Goals, and Outcomes

The focus of this program is on preparing graduate students to work as educators, practitioners and policy-makers in student affairs, student services and higher education. The program will help students comprehend, analyze and meet the changing needs and wants of the current college student. Students will learn how to use interpersonal skills and strategic interventions, especially as they relate to issues of equity and access, that lead to success for ALL students. Employing an Action Research Methodology, graduates of this program will be prepared to analyze current higher education practices and policies and create programs, services and interventions that generate positive impact and student success.

The program is aligned with the CAS (Council on the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education) Standards and the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies.

Program Description/Courses

This program is a 39-credit program that can be completed in 2 years on a full-time basis. Students wishing to pursue the degree on a part-time basis can be accommodated by speaking with the Program Coordinator for an individualized graduation plan. 

View course catalog

  • The classes will be held in the evenings starting at 4:25 M-Th in West Chester.
  • Students are eligible for graduate assistantships on campus and in Academic Departments.
  • Students will have two internship classes and opportunities totaling 400 hours in the field. Internship 1 will focus on developing the interpersonal, listening and referral skills necessary for work in the field of higher education and student affairs. Internship 2 (Completed in EDH550/Summer) will focus on developing an understanding of strategic planning and institutional structure as well as planning for and creating policy changes.
  • All students in their second semester will take a course on Critical Action Research where they will have an opportunity to ask a question about student affairs/higher education that they would like to understand. Throughout their program they will answer that question through their course work. The capstone project will result in a publishable thesis answering that question. This process will help to position students as experts on their topic of interest as they move to a professional or new role.
  • The course listing for this program is available from the Graduate Catalog.
  • WCU has a chapter of the Chi Sigma Alpha Student Affairs Honor Society. Students are eligible to join after their first semester. 

Professional Resources