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Appalachian State University enrolls over 1,500 students who are seeking graduate degrees at the Master, Specialist, or Doctoral level. With over 70 distinct programs to choose from, the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School offers students the opportunity to find the specialization that best suits their personal and professional goals. Many of Appalachian's graduate programs are recognized on the regional, national, and international level as premier preparation programs.

Appalachian State University offers two Master's programs to help prepare students for professional careers in Student Affairs. Both of these programs are recognized throughout the region and nation as premier programs. Both programs are housed in the Reich College of Education and are designed to integrate theory and practice. For assistance in determining which program meets your needs and future career goals, please contact the chair of the relevant department.

Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration

For almost 50 years, the Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration (SAA) has prepared reflective student affairs practitioner-scholars to serve students and institutions of higher education through collaborative, equitable, and inclusive practice in academic and student affairs. Students learn through an in-person, cohort-based model framed around a theory-to-practice curriculum - including 3-5 different practice-based experiences (assistantship, practicum, internship), and graduate with over 1700 applied hours of working with students, colleagues, and groups. There is an opportunity to study abroad and social justice is infused throughout the curriculum. SAA complies with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Guidelines for Master’s Level Higher Education and Student Affairs Professional Preparation Programs (2019) and frames the curriculum around the ACPA/NASPA (2015, 2016) Competencies for Student Affairs Educators. Recent graduates have secured employment in Academic Advising, Career Development, Diversity & Social Justice, First Year Student Programs, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Leadership Development, Orientation, Residence Life, Service Learning, Student Activities, Student Conduct, Student Learning Center, Study Abroad, and many other areas. By the August after their graduation, the employment rate for both the 2019 and 2021 cohorts was 100%. For the 2020 cohort, who were searching at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 85% were employed by August and 100% were employed by December.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Dena Kniess
Program Director
Student Affairs Administration
(828) 262-2055
[email protected] or [email protected]

Master of Arts in Higher Education

The Master of Arts in Higher Education program offers a variety of concentrations designed to prepare students for careers in higher education, community and technical colleges, and other postsecondary institutions and agencies. These programs are available at both the Master's and Educational Specialist's levels. Founded in 1968, the Higher Education graduate programs are designed to help persons obtain employment in their chosen fields, to strengthen the credentials of persons already working in the field, or to enter advanced graduate study. The programs include specializations in Administration, Adult Education, Developmental Education, and Teaching.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Stacey Garrett
Program Director
Higher Education
(828) 262-3112
[email protected]


Applying to Graduate School

In order to be considered for a graduate assistantship in the Division of Student Affairs, candidates must have applied to and subsequently be admitted to and enrolled in a graduate degree program at Appalachian State University. Applicants for the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School must:

  • Create an account
  • Complete the online application
  • Pay a $65 non-refundable, non-deductible application processing fee
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • Submit official test scores as required for the program selected (code 5010)
  • Submit official transcripts from all previous postsecondary academic work
  • Submit a résumé
Important Notes
  • Some programs may require additional application materials (i.e., a personal statement)
  • Preference will be given to candidates who have completed the Graduate School Application by the stated deadline
  • Additional Information to your questions, can be found on the Graduate School website.

A number of scholarships may be available to assist you with the finances of graduate school. You can find scholarship offerings on the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School website and decide which options may be right for you.