Student writing at a table

About Higher Education Administration

Do you like the idea of working with college students? Do you see yourself serving in such high-level roles as dean of students, student life director, or financial aid director? Does the idea of shepherding college students toward their ultimate goals excite you? Then you may be a perfect candidate for Buffalo State’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESAA) master of science program.

With a master’s degree in HEA, you would be prepared for high-level positions at community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. Graduates of the HESAA program have also excelled in careers within non-profit organizations, human resources, and social services.

Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, M.S.

Assessment in Student Affairs, GCP

Data Management and Storytelling

Degree Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, and the median annual pay for HEA employees with a master’s degree was $95,410 in 2019.  
There are myriad professional positions within higher education administration, some of these require education beyond a master’s, such as a doctorate in education:


  • Career Counselor
  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Dean of Admissions 
  • Director of Academic Advising
  • Director of Career Counseling
  • Education Consultant
  • Executive Director of a Non-profit Organization 
  • Financial Aid Director
  • Human Resources Director
  • Provost
  • Student Affairs Director 
  • Vice President of Enrollment Management

Recent graduates have been hired for positions in universities and colleges all over the country and some internationally, however, our graduates also obtain positions in other administrative areas, non-profit organizations, or even hospital administration. As a professional preparation program that is rooted in administrative and helping skills, our graduates are prepared for many different work environments and enjoy about a 95 percent employment rate. 

HESAA students are encouraged to join professional associations, attend professional conferences, and participate in networking events

Internships, graduate assistantships, and full-time employment in a higher education setting may count as a supervised practice experience. HESAA students may intern at Buffalo State or any of the local colleges and universities in the Western New York area. 

HESAA Collective: The HESAA Collective aims to maintain a support system that will incorporate the academic, social, and professional needs of the students of the HEA department. 

Professional Associations: HESAA students are encouraged to become affiliated with a professional organization within the field of Student Affairs or Higher Education. These organizations provide access to professional development, mentoring, networking, and leadership opportunities.

First of Its Kind

Founded in 1970, Buffalo State’s HESAA Program is one of the most diverse programs of its kind in the United States. It is focused on serving the educational needs of a diverse student body through a flexible program with evolving and updated curricula. 

Scholarship Opportunities

A number of scholarships are available directly to HESAA students:

Robert A. Davis Scholarship

Graduate Scholarships

GSA Scholarships

Flexible Schedule

Our programs are convenient and accessible for full-time working professionals. The HESAA program offers all its courses in the evening. The Assessment in Students Affairs certificate program is designed as a fully online program.

Stellar Faculty

Our faculty possess a balance of strong scholarly accomplishments, along with decades of collective experience in college and university administrative settings. HESAA faculty members believe that mentoring and coaching are integral to a graduate student’s success and cultivate a family-like environment where students will develop the competence and confidence for success in the field. 

Small Class Size

Classes generally have 15 students or fewer, which means you will receive plenty of individualized attention.

Supervised Practice

All HESAA students acquire hands-on learning through two supervised practicums. This work is typically completed through a traditional internship.

Credit for Work Experience

Students who are employed full-time in higher education may use that experience to fulfill one of the supervised practice requirements with approval from the department.

Networking Opportunities

HESAA graduates gain mentoring, networking, and professional development support through national, regional, and local organizations.

“Through the HESAA program I was able to learn and grow into a competent, confident professional. The skills and connections I made have been invaluable in my career and form the basis for how I work with students.”

- Daniel Islam,' 16 Alumni

“Buffalo State has made me who I am today. It wasn’t until I got engaged with the campus and the community that I realized I love working with college students. I was thrilled to discover I could pursue a master’s degree to prepare me for that field right here.”

- Kaicherise McRae, '17 Alumni

“I was able to gain experiences that I think really elevated my options when job searching and helped me to stand out in applicant pools.”

- Julia Strada Alumni

“Students who are able to participate in professional development events are able to discuss the latest trends and issues in higher education and meet current professionals in the field. All of which can help shape or influence their career paths.”

- Amy Wilson, Chair, HEA Department
Hermen Diaz III Assistant Professor
Jonathan D. Hulbert Lecturer
Kimberly A. Kline Professor
Patrick S. McDonald Lecturer
Amy B. Wilson Chair and Associate Professor