Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Concentration Admissions Requirements

HESA 2015 with Vice Presidents of Student Affairs: Dr.Diane Anderson, WMU and Dr.Sarah Westfall, Kalamazoo College

Please review the higher education and student affairs (HESA) website to learn more about the program and our goals. You may also contact the faculty coordinator, Dr. Ramona Lewis, before or during your admissions process at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu.


Applications to the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership concentration are accepted on an ongoing basis until the number of available openings in the program are filled. However, there are fixed deadlines in place for graduate assistantships (GAs), scholarships and other financial opportunities. In order to participate in the HESA leadership interview days program, a student must be accepted into the HESA concentration. To ensure full review of the application and to be eligible for interview days, please complete and submit all parts of the application, including references, by Dec. 15 each year. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only on a space available basis. The first round of admissions decisions will be made by the middle of January.

Higher education and student affairs (HESA) leadership interview days program

Applicants who wish to participate in the higher education and student affairs interview day program and apply for higher education and student affairs (HESA) graduate assistantships must submit all admission materials, including reference forms, by Dec. 15 annually. For the next admission cycle of fall 2019, HESA leadership interview days will be held in February/March 2019. This two-day program provides an opportunity for incoming students to become familiar with the campus and higher education and student affairs program, as well as interview for graduate assistantship (GA) positions. In order to participate in the higher education and student affairs leadership interview days program, a student must be accepted into the higher education and student affairs leadership concentration.  

International applicants

Applications for international applicants may be due sooner to the Office of International Admissions. See below for admissions criteria. For the higher education and student affairs leadership (HESA) program, there are no conditional admissions for international applicants. 

Admissions criteria

In accordance with the Western Michigan University and Graduate College policies, all applicants are expected to meet the same academic standards required for admission consideration. The minimum academic requirements vary, however, by degree level, discipline and admission type. See details further below this section.

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, indicated on an official transcript.

  2. One official transcript from each institution attended since high school.

  3. An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work. Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may be considered but, if admitted, will be admitted on a conditional status with the expectation of receiving and maintaining a 3.0 GPA after the first semester and maintaining that GPA.

  4. Evidence of having met any additional admission requirements stipulated by the individual degree program.

  5. Acceptance by the academic unit offering the master's program and endorsement of the acceptance by the graduate dean.

  6. No conditional admissions will be considered for international applicants.

Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership application requirements

GRE - The higher education and student affairs (HESA) leadership program does not require exams (i.e. GRE) for admission into the master’s program. Students from any academic major are encouraged to apply. Full and part-time students are also welcomed.

GPA - The minimum GPA requirement is generally a 3.0. A student who does not meet this requirement is encouraged to speak to the faculty coordinator about their concerns. Generally we are looking for a record of improved and/or steady academic performance and we need to feel confident in your ability to not only manage challenging coursework but also the demands of a graduate assistantship and field experiences. Many times we will ask students who fall below this requirement to provide in writing, as an attachment to their written statement, information regarding their academic performance and anything they may have done to more recently address the previous academic issues (taken courses, etc).

The application process is now online. Our program can be found under Master of Arts in Educational Leadership - the concentration is higher education and student affairs. The application for graduate admission requires the following parts:

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  1. Resume: A resume is required and must be submitted within the online application.

  2. Written statement: Please prepare a written statement which covers the following information, and submit it within the online application; this is also viewed as a writing sample. In three (3) typed, double-spaced pages or less, address the following areas:

    • Explain why you are interested in pursuing the higher education and student affairs (HESA) leadership master’s degree and address how our emphasis on preparing reflective, practitioner-scholars committed to the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness in higher education fits your educational and career goals;
    • Share how the higher education and student affairs program will help you in meeting your career and professional goals;
    • Describe what experiences you have had to help prepare you for the program;
    • Describe any challenges you anticipate if admitted to the  program, and how you plan to address them.
  3. Education history information and transcripts

    • Applicants must list all previously attended higher education institutions.
    • Applicants must submit an official transcript from every higher education institution they have ever attended. All applicants - including WMU graduates  are highly encouraged to submit an "unofficial" transcript from the institution where the undergraduate degree was received. Applicants can submit this as supplemental material in the online WMU application system. This helps speed up the application review process; at times official transcripts may be delayed due to holiday breaks.
    • The application process for the HESA M.A. does not require GRE test scores.
  4. Three recommendations 

    • These must be obtained from three different individuals in a position to address the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the master’s program concentration in higher education and student affairs. (view a sample of the online form here)
    • Applicants must request such recommendations from within the online system. The recommenders will respond through the online system.  
    • Applicants should request letters of recommendation from their references, those letters will be submitted into the online system. Please note: The online application system does not require a letter of reference. However, the HESA leadership program strongly recommends that all applicants request that their recommenders submit completed letters of reference into the online system. Students who do not have letters may be at a disadvantage in the application process.
    5.  English language proficiency requirements (international applicants only)
    • As required by WMU, international applicants must provide proof of English competency, unless they have successfully completed either four years of upper secondary school or one year of full-time tertiary (university-level) education. See WMU English language requirements for more information. There are no conditional admissions for international applicants.
    • English proficiency scores may be reported within the online application system and official scores must be sent to WMU.
    • Desired minimum English language proficiency scores for this M.A. include: 6.5 on IELTS; 227 on TOEFL (CBT), 567 on TOEFL (PBT), or a 86 on TOEFL (iBt), with the following minimum subscores on the TOEFL (iBT): 20 in reading, 20 in listening, 24 in speaking, and 22 in writing.
    • Students not meeting these minimum desired scores will not be considered for conditional admission.

Questions about the application process or the online graduate application form can be directed to the graduate admissions coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology graduate at (269) 387-3893.

Visit the higher education and student affairs website (HESA) for more information including program mission, courses and answers to frequently asked questions.