Educational Studies

Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA)

The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program at The Ohio State University is one of the nation’s preeminent educational programs. Our rich heritage of research and practice, fueled by our renowned faculty, benefit students in the classroom and beyond. In fact, HESA has graduated distinguished scholars, presidents, provosts, deans and other leaders in higher education, the government, non-profit organizations and even the private sector.

The Student Personnel Assistantship Program (SPA) is a part of HESA. The SPA Program connects HESA students with assistantship opportunities across and even beyond Ohio State’s campus. Learn more about funding, interviews, and admissions processes.

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We invite you to join HESA and SPA as we continue our 65-year tradition of leadership in higher education and student affairs!

What Will I Research?

Students can research a variety of topics in the HESA program. College students’ identity and identity development, organizational theory, policy and governance, service-learning and leadership are just some of the areas in which students can develop expertise.

What Are The Admissions Requirements?

All students must take the GRE, and applications for the MA and PhD programs are due December 1 of the current year. Additional information is available in the program handbooks:

What Courses Might I Take?

Students take a variety of courses in the HESA program. Courses in college student development, law, policy and governance, organizational theory, administration of higher education, counseling, service-learning and leadership are among the offerings. You also take courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Download a curriculum sheet to learn more about the courses needed to complete this program:

What Can I Do With A Degree In This Program?

The MA and PhD in HESA prepare students for a variety of roles in and beyond higher education. These degrees enable students to work in colleges and universities, government, non-profits and even for-profit organizations as faculty members, administrators and policymakers, to name a few.

What Are Graduates Doing Now?

Graduates from the program work in a wide array of offices and programs in student and academic affairs, government, non-profits and for-profit organizations. Our graduates have roles including program coordinators, program directors, consultants, policy analysts, faculty members, vice presidents for student affairs, provosts and even college presidents. You can read alumni profiles or browse our newsletters to learn more about our graduates.

Why Choose This Program?

Our program has prepared leaders for higher education and student affairs for over six decades. This tradition is reflected in our numerous alumni, many of whom are senior leaders in the field. Our students, too, are recognized for their involvement and leadership in and out of the classroom. Above all, our comprehensive curriculum emphasizes rigorous research and professional development, which creates wonderful opportunities for learning, collaboration, and community-building.

Who Are The Faculty In This Program?

Affiliated Faculty

  • Cheryl Achterberg, Dean, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University
  • Javaune Adams-Gaston, Vice President for Student Life, The Ohio State University
  • Lance Kennedy-Phillips, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Student Life, The Ohio State University
  • Ben Williams, Coordinator, Special Projects and Ohio STEM Equity Pipeline Project Director, Columbus State Community College
  • Robert Holub, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Germanic Languages; Former Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst