Higher Education Student Affairs, Master of Science in Education

Offered by Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Family Science

Program Information and Admission Requirements

Counseling and School Psychology Mission Statement

The Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) promotes a field-based scientist/practitioner model in order to prepare culturally competent and compassionate professionals at the graduate level to provide service and leadership in student affairs. The focus of the scientist/practitioner model within the CSP department is to create practitioners who understand, critically evaluate and effectively use the research base within their profession in order to make decisions and guide practice. CSP is an interdisciplinary department committed to work towards equity and social justice within the College and University, our professions, and throughout the broader society.

Admission Requirements

Those planning to be full-time students in the Higher Education Student Affairs programs should obtain full admission to their chosen program of study the semester prior to their enrollment by completing the following steps:

  1. Complete the UNK Graduate online application. All materials listed below are uploaded with the online application:
    1. $45 non-refundable application fee.
    2. Academic history-official transcripts of all previous academic work.  If your GPA falls below the UNK Graduate Studies minimum expectation of 2.75, please upload a Low GPA Statement with explanation for your past academic performance, how you be successful academically at the graduate level (minimum 3.0 GPA), and why you should be admitted as an exception to the GPA requirement.
    3. Resume with requested information.
    4. "Motivation for becoming a higher education student affairs professional" essay.
    5. Three electronic professional references.  Forms are automatically sent to recommenders when application is submitted.
  2. When all materials have been received, the Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach will conduct an initial evaluation. Applicants meeting admission requirements for graduate study will be forwarded to the Department for consideration and recommendation.
  3. Applicants must participate in the CSP Department admission interview/intake process which occurs each semester. When the application is complete, the CSP Department secretary will send the applicant a confirmation of this meeting via electronic mail to the preferred email address indicated on the application. Applicants to the Higher Education Student Affairs program do not participate in the interview/intake process.
  4. Department recommendations for admissions are submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.
  5. Letters with admission decisions (i.e. an unconditional/full status, conditional/provisional status, or denial) are mailed from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach.


All students are assigned an academic advisor within the department upon admission.

Application for Candidacy

To be eligible for candidacy (i.e. approval to continue coursework and "stand" as a candidate for the degree), the student must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. If you were conditionally admitted, this condition must have been met.
  2. Application for Candidacy must be made prior to completion of half of the required credit hours on the student's program of study.
  3. A grade of B or higher in CSP 855 with a B or higher.
  4. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
  5. Demonstrate professional fitness and competencies.
  6. Adhere to ethical standards.

Failure to meet any of these conditions can result in denial of the Application for Candidacy.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students seeking degrees and/or endorsements are required to complete comprehensive examinations. The examinations may be written, oral or both. Additionally, in order to successfully complete a degree program, students must meet the expectations outlined in department academic progress and ethical conduct policies (see respective Program Handbook for more detailed information).

Higher Education Student Affairs Program Mission and Objectives

Counselor Education Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Counselor Education Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is to graduate knowledgeable and clinically skilled professional counselors who are competent to work with and advocate for diverse clients in a variety of settings, with special emphasis in rural mental health. The program helps students develop a strong counselor professional identity through ethical and competent practice as well as expanding self-awareness. Thus, graduate students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal development.

The general objective of the Master of Science in Education Degree in Higher Education Student Affairs is to prepare professional student affairs practitioners to deliver services in a wide variety of college and university settings. The Higher Education Student Affairs major will:

  1. Be aware of significant events and relationships in the development of higher education and student affairs.
  2. Understand the role of student affairs in higher education and be aware of the student personnel point of view.
  3. Develop a personal position and rationale for student affairs practice and be able to justify the student services field to other university personnel and the public.
  4. Know the major professional associations in higher education student affairs and their role in the development of the profession.
  5. Possess an understanding of the current challenges and trends in higher education student affairs.
  6. Be familiar with higher education student affairs services and should develop a rationale for each of these services.
  7. Be familiar with the current literature and research in higher education student affairs practice.
  8. Understand legal and ethical practice in higher education student affairs.
  9. Be able to conceptualize, administer, and evaluate a higher education student affairs program.
  10. Be familiar with student development theories.
  11. Be familiar with the characteristics of college students, the diversity of the college population, and higher education environments.
  12. Be familiar with procedures for assessing the needs of college students and the atmosphere of the college environment.
  13. Develop knowledge and skills in working with the students leaders, at-risk students, diversity and inclusion, and other specific college populations.

This program is offered online only.

All students are required to complete an exit survey during the semester of graduation or program completion.

Required Courses
CSP 802Research Methods In Psychology and Education3
CSP 855Techniques of Counseling3
CSP 856Multicultural Counseling3
CSP 864Student Affairs Organization & Practice3
CSP 865Group Counseling3
CSP 868Student Development Theory3
CSP 869PFoundations of Student Affairs3
CSP 875Career and Lifestyle Development3
CSP 885Practicum in Counseling and Guidance3
CSP 895Internship in Student Affairs3
Select two of the following:6
Global Perspectives in Higher Education Student Affairs
Theories of Counseling
Marriage and Family Counseling
Total Credit Hours36