May 18, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Postsecondary Educational Leadership and Student Affairs, M.A.

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(Major Code: 08271) (SIMS Code: 331917)

The Master of Arts degree in postsecondary educational leadership and student affairs (PELSA) is intended for students who desire to enter and advance in postsecondary education positions, student services, or other administrative careers. Students will become grounded in the theoretical foundation of student learning, development, and success. Students will apply theory to practice to positively influence student success and to work towards embodying equity-mindedness, social justice, and mindful compassionate leadership to transform educational contexts.

A single application is be required to apply to this program and it may be submitted through Cal State Apply. All applications must include a curriculum vitae or résumé, a 500-word personal statement, and at least two letters of recommendation. All applicants should note that previous academic degree and experience required varies with the career goals of the student. Upon admission to the university and the program, all students will be assigned a faculty adviser during their first semester in the program. Only students who show reasonable promise of success in student affairs leadership positions will be admitted to this program. In order to continue in the program, the student must demonstrate ongoing academic, personal, and professional growth.

For more information about the PELSA program, contact:

Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education


Specific Requirements

A minimum of 36 units to include:


Selection of Plan A or Plan B.

Six units selected from the following:

Plan A: Thesis

Plan B: Comprehensive Exam

Additional Information

In general, students will be programmed for Plan B, the Research Seminar plan. After the student is approximately halfway through the program, permission to transfer to Plan A may be requested. Requests for transfer to Plan A must be prepared as an official change in program for the master’s degree, countersigned by the faculty adviser, and submitted to the Office of Graduate Programs in the College of Education. The Plan B option provides students the opportunity (1) to have experiences that emphasize research and writing, (2) to participate actively in the projects of other members of the seminar, and (3) to subject their own work to critical evaluation by the other seminar members. Both plans require the ability to formulate and define research or assessment problems, to assemble data pertinent to the problem, to draw conclusions, and to present the study in acceptable written form. Both require a formal presentation upon the project’s completion.

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