Click here for Site Map
Jump to Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

SAA Program

  1. Why do students choose to attend MSU and the Student Affairs Administration (SAA) program?
  2. What is the difference between the Masters in Student Affairs Administration and the Masters in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE)?
  3. Where do SAA students come from?
  4. Are there international students in the SAA program?
  5. What is the cohort model?
  6. How many students are in each cohort?
  7. What types of jobs do SAA graduates obtain after graduation?
  8. What are some of the unique components of the SAA program?

SAA Curriculum

  1. What are the SAA program curriculum components and graduationrequirements?
  2. How long does it take to complete the SAA program?
  3. Will I have an advisor?
  4. Are there online courses available?

Application and Admissions Process

  1. What are the criteria for admission into the SAA program?
  2. Do I need to take the GRE to be considered for the program?
  3. What is the SAA program code? What do I need this for?
  4. Can I set up a visit or speak with faculty and current students about theprogram?
  5. What should be included in my personal statement/statement of purpose?
  6. The online Graduate School application also asks for a personal statement. Can this personal statement be the same as the one I submit with my supplemental materials?
  7. Whom should I ask to write letters of recommendation?
  8. What needs to be included in the letter of recommendation?
  9. Do I need to submit an official transcript from every institution that I have attended?
  10. May a student transfer courses from another university or through MSU Lifelong Education?
  11. When will I be notified whether or not I have been accepted?
  12. When do I need to inform Michigan State University of a decision to attend the SAA program?

Assistantships and Funding

  1. Do I need an assistantship to be accepted into the SAA program?
  2. How do I obtain an assistantship?

Spartan Preview Days (Visitation Program)

  1. What is Spartan Preview Days?
  2. Do I need to attend Spartan Preview Days?
  3. Will there be an academic interview at Spartan Preview Days?
  4. What is the Graduate Research Colloquium?

Newly Enrolled Students

  1. Is there a new student orientation for incoming SAA students?
  2. What is SAGA?

SAA Program

1. Why do students choose to attend MSU and the Student Affairs Administration (SAA) program?

Michigan State has one of the oldest and most prestigious programs in the country. This history of excellence begins with our students and the ability to interact with one of the largest full-time faculty, who are nationally and internationally recognized scholars.

2. What is the difference between the Masters in Student Affairs Administration and the Masters in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE)?

Although both the SAA and HALE Masters programs will prepare students for leadership positions within higher education, the focus of the program varies based on your interests within higher education. Students in the SAA program are focused on working directly with students in areas including advising, residence life and housing, student activities, Greek affairs, orientation, multicultural services, student development, career exploration, and leadership development. Students in the HALE program are focused more on working for students, in areas including higher education policy, budget and finance, and curricular development.

3. Where do SAA students come from?

The SAA program attracts students from all across the United States and world. There are students from California to Rhode Island and Montana to Texas and everything in between. International students are also attracted to the SAA program and bring with them a global context of issues in higher education and student affairs. Students have attended everything between large research universities and small private liberal arts colleges as undergraduates and have degrees in Accounting to Zoology. Most students have also held undergraduate leadership positions or have full-time student affairs professional experience. Our goal is to create a class of students who bring with them diverse experiences.

4. Are there international students in the SAA program?

Yes, the SAA program has attracted international students, helping to provide students with a global context of issues in higher education and student affairs.

5. What is the cohort model?

Each incoming class of new students comprises a cohort of students to provide a shared learning experience and community. Each cohort completes the two core classes and professional development seminars together.

6. How many students are in each cohort of the SAA program?

There are between 20-25 students in each cohort of the SAA program

7. What types of jobs do SAA graduates obtain after graduation?

Graduates of the SAA program at MSU obtain a variety of jobs in student affairs including residence life and housing, leadership development, academic advising, admissions, international student services, orientation and student activities. We have a 100%  placement rate for recent graduates.

8. What are some of the unique aspects of the SAA program?

The SAA program provides a broad understanding of postsecondary educational systems from social, historical, cross-national, normative perspectives and an understanding of central issues in student affairs administration connecting theory to practice. Students are provided opportunities to develop and use skills needed in practice through practica and field experiences. The SAA program also provides opportunities for students to be prepared to work in and to cultivate educational environments that are receptive to diversity and multiculturalism.

SAA Curriculum:

1. What are the components of the SAA program curriculum and graduation requirements?

The SAA program is a 40 credit program that also requires 2 practica (internships) experiences. The curriculum includes 6 credit hours of departmental core courses, 19 credit hours of major courses, 15 hours of support and supplemental courses, and a certifying examination near the end of the program.

2. How long does it take to complete the SAA program?

The SAA program plan was designed so that students could complete their coursework in 2 years by attending full-time; some students who work full-time typically take 3 years to complete the degree.

3. Will I have an advisor?

Yes, SAA students have faculty advisors to assist them in developing their program plan. Students are assigned a faculty advisor at the time of admission.

4. Are there online courses available?

The majority of courses in the SAA program are held on site, including all of the core courses. However, SAA students do have the opportunity to take some of their elective courses online.

Application and Admissions Process:

1. What are the criteria for admission into the SAA program?

The admissions committee considers the following criteria when recommending admission to the SAA program:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (students with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be admitted provisionally)
  • References that showcase your academic ability and commitment to the field of student affairs
  • Personal statement that addresses the following questions:
  1. What experiences led to your interest in pursuing a career in student affairs?
  2. What qualities, characteristics and skills do you possess that will make you a strong candidate for the SAA program?
  3. How will the SAA program at Michigan State help you meet your personal and professional goals?
  • Professional or paraprofessional experience (e.g., leadership role/involvement on campus or professional employment that demonstrates your fit and exposure to the Student Affairs field).
  • Proof of English language proficiency if English is not your first language.

2. Do I need to take the GRE to be considered for the program?

The GRE is not required for admission into the SAA program.

3. What is the SAA program code? What do I need this for?

The program code for the Student Affairs Administration program is 2246. Students will need this number for the online Graduate School application process.

4. Can I set up a visit or speak with faculty and current students about the SAA program?

We love to have prospective students come visit Michigan State University to learn more about our program. Prospective students can contact us to arrange an individual visit to campus, which would include the opportunity to talk with one of the faculty and a current student about the SAA program. If you are unable to visit campus, you may also request the opportunity to speak with faculty or current students to learn more about the SAA program and Michigan State University. While visiting campus you could take the time to set-up a tour of campus through the admissions office or participate in one of the many events held on or off campus. Contact us at haleadm@msu.edu to set up an individual visit or to request additional information about the SAA program.

5. What should be included in my personal statement/statement of purpose?

Your personal statement should address the three following questions:

  1. What experiences led to your interest in pursuing a career in student affairs?
  2. What qualities, characteristics and skills do you possess that will make you a strong candidate for the SAA program?
  3. How will the SAA program at Michigan State help you meet your personal and professional goals?

6. The online Graduate School application asks for a personal statement and an academic statement. Can I use the same personal statement for the Graduate School application as the one I submit with my supplemental materials?

The graduate school application asks for an academic statement and a personal statement. Under each field, please enter "Please see my personal statement uploaded on the Graduate Education applicant portal". Please do not submit an academic statement; we will only review your personal statement which you will submit on the Graduate Education Portal. See specific directions on the Admissions Criteria page

7. Whom should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

Recommendation letters should be written by individuals who can speak about your academic ability, your commitment to the field of student affairs, and attributes and experiences that will make you a successful student in a student affairs preparation program. You should include at least one letter of recommendation from a current or former faculty member who can speak directly about your academic ability. In order to present us with a well-rounded picture of who you are, you may want to ask each recommender to comment on the specific qualities or experiences that they know best.

8. What needs to be included in the letter of recommendation?

Recommendation letters should address your academic ability, commitment to the field of student affairs, and attributes and experiences that will make you a successful student in a student affairs preparation program

9. Do I need to submit an official transcript from every institution that I have attended?

Yes, you need to submit an official transcript from every institution that you have attended prior to submitting your application.

10. May a student transfer courses from another university or through MSU Lifelong Education?

Yes, students may transfer as many as 9 semester credits of graduate work from other accredited institutions, including graduate courses through MSU Lifelong Education. Transfer credits must gain approval through the College and the student's academic advisor. Only courses in which at least a 3.0 grade or its equivalent was received will be considered for transfer. A Credit Evaluation form (see forms section) must be completed, signed by the advisor and submitted to the unit secretary along with an official copy of the transcript. Transcripts that have "issued to student" stamped on them cannot be used.

Lifelong Education students who contemplate subsequent admission to degree programs must seek advice from the admitting department or school and college as to the applicability of courses/credits taken while in Lifelong Education status. There is no guarantee that these credits will be acceptable.

11. When will I be notified whether or not I have been accepted?

For prospective students who apply by the application deadline of December 15 for optimal consideration, you will be notified via email whether or not you have been accepted by the end of January.  At the time of acceptance, prospective students will be invited to attend Spartan Preview Days.

12. When do I need to inform Michigan State University of a decision to attend the SAA program?

You need to inform the Coordinator of the SAA program of your admissions decision by April 15th.

Assistantships and Funding:

1. Do I need an assistantship to be accepted into the SAA program?

No, although many students have an assistantship, you do not need one to enroll in classes. However, having a GA is very beneficial to SAA students. Not only are you able to directly connect course work to practical experiences, you are able to gain institutional insight and in-depth working knowledge of a functional area within the field of Student Affairs.

2. How do I obtain an assistantship?

Admitted students have an opportunity to interview for assistantships at Spartan Preview Days. Additional information about the assistantship application process will be provided to admitted students. You can learn more about potential graduate assistantships within the Division of Student Affairs and Services at http://www.vps.msu.edu/graduate-assistant-information.

For prospective students interested in assistantships with the Department of Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS), you should directly apply to REHS. For first consideration for these positions, please apply by January 10th. More information about assistantships in REHS can be found at www.liveon.msu.edu/employment.

Spartan Preview Days (Visitation Program):

1. What is Spartan Preview Days?

Students who have already been admitted to the Student Affairs Administration (SAA) program are invited to attend Spartan Preview Days (SPD) on the third weekend of February. SPD gives newly admitted SAA students an opportunity to meet faculty, current students, alumni, and other admitted students. You will find that SAA students learn, study, work, live, support, and experience as a community of scholars. At SPD, students will have the opportunity to interview with different assistantship or employment providers, and learn what it means to be a Spartan.

SPD highlights include:

  • Faculty information session
  • Student & alumni panel
  • Campus tour
  • Interaction with student affairs professionals and offices
  • SAA socials
  • Interview opportunities for assistantships
  • Graduate Research Colloquium with HALE community

2. Do I need to attend Spartan Preview Days?

Although you do not need to attend Spartan Preview Days, we encourage you to do so. At SPD you will have the opportunity to meet faculty, students, and student affairs professionals. You will learn more about the program and have the opportunity to interview for assistantships.

3. Will there be an academic interview at Spartan Preview Days?

No. You have been admitted to the program by the admissions committee. You will however have many opportunities to meet and talk with faculty beginning with the academic information session on Friday morning.

4. What is the Graduate Research Colloquium?

As a community of scholars, Student Affairs Administration masters students, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education masters students, and Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education PhD students gather once a year at the Graduate Research Colloquium (GRC) to share and present their research projects and highlights from their academic and professional development. The GRC provides an opportunity for students to support and educate one another. The GRC is a fast-paced event, covering a wide range of subjects and interests. By attending the GRC, prospective students receive a first-hand view of the current research and scholarship occurring within the HALE unit. The GRC occurs on the Saturday morning during SPD.

New Student Information:

1. Is there a new student orientation for incoming SAA Students?

There is not an orientation specifically for SAA students, but we strongly encourage all students to attend the Graduate Student Orientation and Resource Fair, sponsored by the Graduate School and held in the MSU Union Ballroom in late August. Exact date and time TBD.

2. What is SAGA?

The Student Affairs Graduate Association (SAGA) is the student organization providing educational, professional, and social opportunities for students interested in the field of student affairs. Activities of the organization encourage and enhance all facets of student growth and development. SAGA is a terrific way for students to enhance their professional and social experiences while at Michigan State University.