The doctoral curriculum in Student Affairs prepares student development educators and administrators for professional work in institutions of higher education. The doctoral concentration is enriched by our alignment with the Higher Education and International Education Policy Concentrations in our degree program, as well as the unique resources in the Washington, D.C.- Baltimore area including government agencies, professional associations, and a variety of higher education institutions.
The concentration is designed to assist doctoral students in developing as expert practitioners, administrators, researchers, and university faculty. Entrance requirements include a Master's degree in college student personnel/student affairs, higher education, counseling, or a closely related field.
For more information visit the graduate admission requirements webpage. Select an area of interest from the various offerings in the College of Education to determine the admission requirements and deadlines. If you are unsure of your area of interest you may request information by submitting an Inquiry Form.
Information about applying to the Student Affairs Concentration can be found here.
Also, please refer to the University of Maryland Guide to Applying for guidance on the steps to follow and how to apply for graduate admission. If you have questions or concerns about the administrative process, we ask you to first review their list of Frequently Asked Questions. For questions about the application process, or to check on the completion of your application please contact:
After you apply for graduate admission you may check your application status by logging into the online graduate application using your user name and password. Graduate faculty in the Academic Department you applied to will review your completed application for graduate admission.
Admissions Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply? What is required?
The Graduate School requests that you apply online. You can access the application from the UMD webpage. http://www.gradschool.umd.edu/application. We require a resume, personal statement, GRE scores, transcript(s), and three letters of recommendation. Typically statement of goals/experiences are about 4-5 pages for a doctoral applicant. Additional information about graduate admissions can be found here: http://www.education.umd.edu/studentinfo/graduate_info/Admissions.html
When will I find out whether or not I have been accepted?
We usually notify applicants about admission decisions in February.
Didn’t you used to be called CSP? Where do you exist in HESI/CHSE?
Yes! We have been the Student Affairs Concentration since 2011. We are a concentration/program within the broader program of Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy (HESI), which exists in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE).
What can I do to strengthen my application?
Use your personal statement to show us more than just your resume. We appreciate reflection on meaningful personal or professional/academic experiences (something that has made you who you are today), as well as reflection on social identities such as race, class, gender, or sexual orientation, etc. It is strongly recommended that Ph.D. students discuss research interests, as well.
What is the difference between the Student Affairs and Higher Education concentrations in the HESI program?
The Higher Ed concentration broadly considers all activity that takes place on a college or university campus or has broad implications for higher education. Student Affairs is focused more specifically on student learning, experiences, and outcomes. Students commonly take classes across the concentrations. In selecting one, we encourage you to review the curriculum and faculty in both concentrations.
What are some unique features of your program?
Overall all of the faculty’s work addresses issues related to race, social identities, diversity, and inequality, and we often attract students who are interested in these issues. We also have affiliate faculty who work full-time in the Division of Student Affairs who serve as mentors for our students. Our location near Washington, DC offers a plethora of opportunities to do internships at local associations, think tanks, or the government. Our strong partnership with the Division offers additional opportunities to connect theory, research, and practice.
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
At least two of the three references should be from academic sources (faculty who have had you in class). Having all references from academic sources is fine as well. If you are unable to submit at least two academic references, you may offer an explanation in your statement of goals/experiences. Applicants may submit more than three letters of recommendation but we can only guarantee that three will be reviewed due to the high number of applications we receive.
What about assistantships, stipends, and tuition?
Admitted students are invited to the Preview Program. Employers review resumes, students review job descriptions, and both send in preference lists. Interviews are scheduled during Preview. Over 60 assistantships were posted this year. You do not need to apply for assistantships prior to notification of admission. Ten-month assistantship remuneration ranges from $11-16,000 plus full tuition remission and health benefits. Twelve month assistantships are also available with higher stipends. Assistantships are available for all students.
GRE Scores, GPA, and Provisional Admission
SAC considers a broad range of application criteria in making its admissions decisions, and all parts of the student's application are reviewed carefully and holistically. Scores older than five years from date of application will not be accepted. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required, along with a graduate program GPA of 3.5 for doctoral applicants. However, students who do not meet one of these requirements, but show other evidence of outstanding potential, may be considered for provisional admission. Provisional status is removed when students maintain a graduate grade point average of 3.5 or better after 12 credits of course completion.
Part-time vs. Full-time
We aim to admit the strongest group of students regardless of status, so we fully consider applications from part-time Ph.D. students, although we encourage full-time enrollment when possible.
Can I take classes without being admitted to the program?
Yes, you can take several classes without being admitted to the program. If you contact Graduate Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org), they can advise you as to how to be admitted as an "advanced special student" so that you can take any course that is open enrollment or with instructor permission. You can view open courses at testudo.umd.edu. Some, but not all courses, may not be open to you.
Master's Degree for Ph.D. Students
Generally we expect that Ph.D. students have a Master's degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education, Counseling, or another Behavioral Science or Education-based field. However we understand that people come to student affairs from a diversity of backgrounds. If admitted, you may need to plan a course of study with your advisor that may incorporate some Master's-level courses or a schedule of independent readings. (For example, taking Student Development Theory before taking Advanced Student Development)
Work Experience for Ph.D. Students
We encourage several years of full-time work experience for Ph.D. applicants. In rare cases, we may consider students who are coming straight from a masters program if they demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and aptitude. This trajectory is usually only recommended for those who desire to pursue a research-related position following the Ph.D. position. If an applicant's general goal is to work as a student affairs practitioner following graduate study, we generally discourage going straight into a Ph.D. program (or applying with limited work experience) from a Master's program due to the dilemma of being "over-prepared but under-qualified."
Please feel free to email SAgrad-GA@umd.edu if you have additional questions.
Please refer to the Guide to Applying for instructions on how to apply for graduate admission. If you have questions or concerns, we ask you to first review our list of Frequently Asked Questions. International applicants should visit the International admissions webpage for additional information. For questions about the application process, or to check on the completion of your application please contact:
Judy Foster, Coordinator of Graduate Admissions
Office of Student Services, College of Education
After you apply for graduate admission you may check your application status by logging into the online graduate application using your user name and password. Graduate faculty in the Academic Department you applied to will review your completed application for graduate admission. Questions regarding application reviews and decision recommendations should be directed to Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE). Please contact:
Carol Scott, Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education
Academic advisement for graduate students is provided by the graduate faculty in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE). For advising information, please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Carol Scott at (301) 405-8384 or email@example.com.
Our students are largely funded through graduate assistantships. These assistantships offer students high quality professional experiences, complimenting their student affairs graduate curriculum. Twelve-month assistantship remuneration ranges from $18-20,000 plus tuition remission and health benefits. Ten-month assistantships are also available. Some doctoral students may be recommended for fellowships.
Admitted students are invited to participate in our Preview Program, which offers students a structured opportunity to apply for graduate assistantships across campus. Student submit resumes and cover letters, and employers review applicants' materials, with both students and employers submitting preference lists. Interviews are scheduled during the Preview visit, with students receiving offers shortly after the program has ended.
The PhD Program in Student Affairs requires 66 credits post Master's degree. The doctoral curriculum has a central core, including courses that explore college student development and student learning at an advanced level. The student and advisor will determine the range of research methods and methodology courses that lead to successful dissertation research. Electives and a professional concentration allow for an individually designed academic experience including additional methods courses. In addition to Concentration requirements, students are strongly encouraged to select other courses outside of the College of Education when possible, especially in disciplines such as psychology and sociology, which serve as foundations for student development theory and student affairs practice.
Required Core Courses - 9 credits
EDCP 870 Doctoral First-Year Seminar (3 credits)
EDHI 672 Modes of Inquiry in Education Research (3 credits)
EDHI 895 Research Critique Seminar (3 credits)
Research Methods Courses - 12 credits
At least 3 credits of which are quantitative, at least 3 credits of which are qualitative and two additional research courses. Choose from the following list of research methods courses or alternative research methods courses approved by advisor:
Quantitative research methods courses to choose from:
EDHI 778Y State-Level Higher Education Research
PUAF 610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy
PUAF 611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
PUAF 798R Quantitative Research Methods and Public Policy
ANTH 630 Quantification and Statistics in Applied Anthropology
SOCY 601 Statistics for Sociological Research I
SOCY 602 Statistics for Sociological Research II
SURV 615 Statistical Methods I
SURV 616 Statistical Methods II
COMM 702 Intermediate Quantitative Data Analysis in Communications Research
EDPS 703 Quantitative Applications for Education Policy Analysis
GVPT 622 Quantitative Methods for Political Science
GVPT 722 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Political Science
Qualitative research methods courses to choose from include:
EDHI 700 Qualitative Research Methods in Education
COMM 714 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Communication Research
COMM 715 Advanced Qualitative Methods
EDPS 730 Seminar on Case Study Methods
EDPS 735 Phenomenological Inquiry I
EDPS 736 Phenomenological Inquiry II
EDCP 773 Designing Qualitative Research in Counseling & Student Affairs Contexts
FMSC780 Qualitative Methods in Family and Health Research
EDCI 791 Qualitative Research I: Design and Fieldwork
EDCI 792 Qualitative Research II: Analysis and Interpretation of Data
Cognate Courses - Up to 24 credits
Courses in support field (Master's degree or electives)
Domain Knowledge - 18 credits
Choose at least six courses from among the following:
EDHI 660 Retention Theories and the Impact of College
EDHI 662 Research on Ethnic Minorities and Demographic Trends
EDHI 664 The College Experience
EDHI 665 College Access and Choice
EDHI 666 The Academic Profession
EDHI 667 Women in Higher Education
EDHI 676 Ranking Systems in Higher Education
EDHI 752 State Systems in Higher Education
EDHI 754 Higher Education Finance
EDHI 755 Federal Policies in Post-Secondary Education
EDCP 770 Service Learning and College Student Development
EDHI 788 State-Level Higher Education Research
EDHI 853 Leadership in Higher Education
Disciplinary Perspectives - 15 credits
Disciplinary courses will be selected from Department, College, and University offerings to meet the individual needs of the student.
Dissertation research – 12 credits
Total credits beyond Bachelor's Degree – 90
Academic deadlines are provided by the Office of the Registrar for the academic year. Students should refer to the deadlines listed in Important Dates prior to the beginning of the degree completion semester.
Students should check with their Department or Program for any deadlines it may have. Please contact:
Carol Scott, Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education
The student affairs program handbook is available here.
Visit the Department of Counseling, High Education and Special Education program handbooks and forms page.
The Graduate Student Life Handbook provides information on academics, campus resources, finances, health, job opportunities, and information on how to get involved as a graduate student.
Graduate students in the College of Education are responsible for meeting University and the Graduate School policy, and for meeting Program requirements. The Graduate Catalog is the official listing of Policiesgoverning graduate education at the University of Maryland. The schedule adjustment policy is available from the Office of the Registrar and provides information on adding and dropping courses, penalties, and refund schedules.
Graduate students are required to submit various forms at specific points in the program and as part of the degree clearance process. Please refer to Steps Toward Graduation to determine the steps and forms that are required. Click here to access forms used by graduate students.