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Student Development Administration, MA & MEd

Seattle University's Student Development Administration program is designed for those passionate about working with college students beyond the classroom and advancing social justice.

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About this Program

Become an Equity-Minded Leader in Higher Education

Earn your degree at Seattle University, one of the nation’s top programs for developing highly skilled, culturally responsive student affairs and higher education practitioners.

Learn Practical Skills:

  • Develop student-centered programs that improve college access and success
  • Foster identity-conscious supervision and student leadership development
  • Direct strategic change
  • Advocate for just policies and practices in higher education
  • Lead campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Assess and evaluate programs
  • Engage in scholarly research, grant writing and fundraising

Program Highlights:

  • Build a Lasting Network on a Local and National Level, with colleagues for life, enriching your professional journey beyond graduation.
  • Intern with Top Student Affairs and Higher Education Administrators gaining hands-on experience.
  • Choose Specializations or Create Your Own, with a focus on transformative justice, leadership, or college access and equity.
  • High Placement Rate where 100% of graduates are promoted or working in new higher education jobs within 3 months.
  • Flexible Starts, Tailored for Working Professionals, beginning in summer or fall with a mix of primarily in-person and some online course opportunities.
  • Affordable Tuition that makes quality education accessible (with graduate assistantships and institutional scholarships.)
  • Engage with a Team of Faculty Scholar-Practitioners who teach and mentor.
  • Publish research and writing in peer-reviewed journal.

Master's in Student Development Administration at a Glance

Learn how Master's in Student Development Administration will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University master's can be.

The Master of Arts option allows you to take three credits of electives while completing your degree. This degree also requires an independent graduate project before graduation.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education option allows you to take six credits of electives while completing your degree. Unlike the MA in Student Development Administration, the graduate project is not required with the MEd option.

Degree Requirements

The Student Development Administration program has ten learning outcomes. They are:

  1. Understanding the foundations and emerging nature of the Student Affairs profession and higher education.
  2. Understanding students and student issues.
  3. Exhibiting professional integrity and ethical leadership in professional practice.
  4. Understanding and fostering diversity, justice and a sustainable world formed by a global perspective and Jesuit Catholic tradition.
  5. Adapting student services to specific environments and cultures.
  6. Developing and demonstrating skills in leadership and collaboration.
  7. Utilizing assessment, evaluation, technology, and research to improve practice.
  8. Communicating effectively in speech and in writing.
  9. Understanding issues surrounding law, policy, finance and governance.
  10. Establishing and enhancing professional identity.

Through our holistic mentorship approach, our nationally recognized and dedicated faculty will work with you to gain the experience and skills necessary to serve students in a variety of educational environments, including community colleges, 4-year colleges, college access organizations and high-tech companies (university recruiting and leadership development).

Assistant Professor Paige Gardner, '11 MEd, PhD, co-program director of the Student Development Administration program, has more than 12 years of practitioner experience and offers students a unique perspective as a scholar-practitioner. Read more about Dr. Gardner in this Seattle University Magazine profile.

Associate Teaching Professor Erin Swezey, MPS, MA, Program Director of the Student Development Administration program has more than 30 years of practitioner experience and guides students through their career discernment through internship placement process.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Designed for Your Success

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Empowering Your Growth for a Career in Student Affairs

Learn about the Student Development Administration program from two SDA alumni.

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Real-World Experience for Your Career

Internship partnerships provide experience at:

  • Community colleges.
  • 4-year public and independent colleges.
  • College access organizations.
  • University recruitment and leadership training in tech and other companies.

Unique Graduate Assistantship opportunities offer leadership roles within campus and student life.

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Flexible Schedule That Fits Your Life

With evening classes and both part-time and full-time course schedules available, you’ll be able
to find the course load that’s right for you.


SDA alumni have gone on to careers in college admissions, career development, multicultural affairs, student housing, academic advising, student leadership and activities, student financial aid, student union, university athletics and recreational sports, new student programs, advising,international student services, educational tech and a variety of other educational programs.

You will also find alumni in a variety of roles in private companies, nonprofits or government organizations. Here are just a few of the places our alumni can be found:

  • American University
  • Amherst College
  • Boston College
  • California State University
  • Harvard University
  • John Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Stanford
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Wellesley College

Hear From Our Alumni

SU Alumni Sofia Bactol

Sofia Lopez Bactol

"Each SDA faculty member has genuine care for my well-being and success in the program, as well as my professional role. I appreciated their willingness to connect me with professionals in the field to further my development."


Featured Faculty

  • Paige Gardner, PhD
    Paige Gardner, PhD

    Interim Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Success and Development
    Co-Program Director for Curriculum and Instruction Design
    and Student Development Administration (SDA)
    Assistant Professor, Student Development Administration (SDA)

  • Erin Swezey, MPS, MA
    Erin Swezey, MPS, MA

    Program Director, Student Development Administration (SDA)
    Associate Teaching Professor, Student Development Administration (SDA)
    Internship Coordinator, Student Development Administration (SDA)

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the program or application, we’re here to help!

Ashley Miller

Senior Admissions Counselor

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