A new online option for the Master of Arts (MA) degree in postsecondary education: student affairs will deliver the same high-quality curriculum taught by the same dedicated faculty, with the added flexibility of an online format.

Offered in conjunction with the UNI College of Education and UNI Online & Distance Education, the online student affairs MA program scheduled to begin Aug. 23 is specifically designed for working professionals in higher education. The program focuses on preparing students to advance in residence life, student activities, admissions, financial aid, career services and multicultural affairs careers within colleges and universities. Students will complete classes on a part-time basis over the course of seven semesters, including summers. Degrees for the fall 2021 cohort will be awarded at the completion of the fall 2023 term.

“The online program fulfills a growing need - over the past few years, the UNI College of Education has had a number of interested students working full-time in the field, but needing flexible options to continue their education,” said David Schmid, assistant professor and coordinator of the program. “By delivering the program online, UNI provides a unique, flexible opportunity for placebound students who have work and/or family commitments, while maintaining the caliber of coursework, experiences and networking opportunities that accompany the on-campus program.”

The first fully online cohort will begin this fall; however, over the past year, students in the traditional student affairs master’s program had the opportunity to take several online courses, due to COVID-19. MA candidate Shelby Kaingu described the benefits of being able to complete the courses online: “The online option provided additional flexibility in my schedule that allowed me to better balance various commitments in my personal life with those as a working professional and full-time student. While the COVID-19 restrictions proved to be a unique barrier, it was evident in the structure and style of the classes that participation, collaboration and discussion were encouraged.” 

“Because of the success of our solid residential graduate program, we know there is interest in the student affairs field. As we emerge from the pandemic, we're pleased to offer this option and expand the reach of this program at the same time," said Colleen S. Mulholland, dean of the UNI College of Education. 

Applications for the August 2021 cohort are being accepted through July 23. Coursework will be offered entirely online through a combination of Zoom and Blackboard, a learning management system designed to enhance students’ learning experience and build community with peers. 

“Not only does the program include a flexible and engaging program format, but UNI also has a well-developed system of student support services in place that are designed to support the success of our adult learners,” said Dean of Continuing Education Kent Johnson.  "We survey our students every term with regard to their experiences, and nearly 100% of our degree-seeking students would recommend their program to a friend or colleague. We understand the needs of online learners and work tirelessly to ensure the experience of our students is positive." 

In addition to the online program, the College of Education’s in-person student affairs MA program is also available to students who are interested in a full-time schedule and traditional on-campus experience. For more information about the new online option, visit distance.uni.edu/student-affairs or call 319-273-7206. For information on the overall MA graduate program, visit the program website.