HESA students
Meet a few HESA folks.

The University of Vermont's nationally selective Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESA) graduate program enrolls approximately 18 students per year. This relatively small cohort size encourages strong and enduring relationships among students and faculty.

Working closely with faculty and in-place practitioners, graduate students in the program are challenged to experience an unparalleled learning experience.

Is the UVM HESA program a great fit for you?

Personalized Academic Advising from Faculty

HESA students have an assigned academic advisor from our faculty. The academic advisor serves as a resource for academic guidance, issues or concerns. The academic advisor also meets with the HESA student and the assistantship supervisor to evaluate how things are going, and to discuss how theory is being practiced through the assistantship position.

Graduate Colleagues

Each first-year HESA student is paired with a second-year student who serves as his or her Graduate Colleague (GC). GCs serve as resources for first-year students regarding all aspects of the HESA program experience — academics, assistantship, practicum internship, UVM, and the greater Burlington community. GCs often invite their first-year students to sit on their Comprehensive Exam defense committee in the spring.

Fall Orientation

Our fall orientation allows first-year HESA students the opportunity to become more acquainted with UVM, the HESA program, and their cohort of fellow students. Workshops are held to address the adjustment to graduate school, and a concluding barbecue is held in the Green Mountains.

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities are available to students through assistantships, full-time work, and graduate travel stipends to professional and academic conferences. Scholarship opportunities are available to students through research with faculty and also through The Vermont Connection.

The Vermont Connection

The Vermont Connection, our student affairs journal, serves many purposes to the HESA community. The student-run scholarly journal provides a venue for students to publish and edit their own and others' writing. The Vermont Connection also maintains contact with a spirited and active network of HESA alumnx by maintaining a directory, sharing a newsletter, and hosting receptions at both ACPA and NASPA conferences each year.


While many UVM HESA students maintain an assistantship, each HESA student also gains experience in three other offices at UVM or another nearby school. These semester-long practicum internships allow HESA students to explore other role models, programs, and work settings while earning credit toward their degree.

Full-Time and Part-Time Options

Our 40-credit-hour program designed to be completed within two years for full-time students and within three years for part-time students.

Career Development

During the second year, all students participate in a career development seminar developed by Jackie Gribbons. Its purpose is to help second-year students clarify personal/professional aspirations and to enable each student to integrate theory and practice within a structured resume, cover letter, and interview format for their job search process.

Graduates from the HESA program pursue careers as professionals in colleges and universities, as well as in fields related to higher education throughout the country.

Many professionals in this field serve as policy makers, advisors, student service providers, researchers, programmers, consultants, and administrators. Common to each functional area in student affairs and higher education is the goal to design environments conducive to students' growth and development.

Mission Statement and Core Values

Mission Statement

To develop practitioner scholars through academic and professional preparation whose commitment to reflection and social justice will transform higher education and student affairs in the spirit of The Vermont Connection.

Core Values

Academic and Professional Preparation

Through partnerships between faculty and student affairs professionals, we promote excellence through academic and professional rigor. We cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the profession through the synergy between classroom and experiential learning as conceptualized by philosopher and UVM alumnus John Dewey.

Social Justice

We are committed to pursuing social justice as both a process and a goal to dismantle individual, institutional, and societal oppression. Grounded in the ethos of HESA, UVM, and the profession, we strive to transform student affairs for more equitable and inclusive opportunities in higher education.


We foster reflection of self, others, and contexts as a critical component of growth in professional practice. Through critical consciousness we strive to improve higher education and student affairs with an aim toward promoting individual, institutional, and societal change.

The Vermont Connection

The Vermont Connection is a collegial network of former and current students, faculty, and student affairs professionals with the shared vision of uplifting community through relationships. The spirit of The Vermont Connection weaves together the history, present, and future of UVM HESA.

Learning Outcomes & HESA Curriculum

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are developed from dimensions of each ACPA and NASPA (2015) competency area. (See our  Professional Practice page for more information about professional competency.) They are aspirational and strengths-based, encouraging developmental progression in the domains of knowledge, skills, and dispositions for effective practice, as determined by the literature and expert practitioners.

  • Identify knowledge about the evolving body of scholarship that guides student affairs practice.
  • Apply skills and knowledge-based expertise to actual situations in student affairs practice.
  • Synthesize dispositions about student affairs practice grounded in student’s values and motives.

HESA Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to promote self-directed, field-based experiences to complement academic learning through 300 hours of practicum experience and summer internship opportunities. With the assistance of a faculty advisor, each student builds an experience to meet his or her interests and professional aspirations.


The core curriculum enables students to gain understandings of the student affairs profession, student development, pluralism, history of American higher education, and administration of colleges and universities.

EDHI 385: Foundations and Functions of Higher Education and Student Affairs
EDHI 361: The (Un)Changing Academy
EDHI 362: The American College Student
EDHI 363: Controversies of the Academy
EDHI 364: Helping Skills in Student Affairs
EDHI 375: Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education
EDHI 380A: Program Evaluation and Assessment in Student Affairs
EDHI 380:  Current Issues in Higher Education
EDHI 380: Legal Issues
EDHI 380: Student Development Theory
EDHI 383: Higher Education Administration and Organization
EDHI 395: Practica Internships (3 semesters)
EDHI 396: Capstone Seminar: Theory and Practice