Student Affairs Administration and Leadership (ED.D.)

Admission Requirements

Ideal candidates for this program are student affairs professionals who have excellent social and professional support networks, are highly motivated, familiar with online learning, and can commit to an academically challenging program. Familiarity with course management systems (particularly Canvas) is helpful. A strong academic record at the master's degree level is expected.

Admission to the Ed.D. in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership is competitive and requires:
1. A master's degree in student affairs, higher education, or related field.
2. A minimum of three years' professional experience in a post-secondary educational institution.
3. Current employment in a student affairs related professional position in a post-secondary educational institution or related setting with the expectation of continuing that employment while in the Ed.D. program.
4. Complete application (see below).


  1. Candidates may be asked to submit additional application materials and/or participate in an interview process. 
  2. To determine if you are eligible to be an online student in Wisconsin, see NC-SARA.

How to apply

Contact the graduate program director expanding section

We encourage you to make contact with our program director to introduce yourself and ask any questions you might have about the program.  This contact also helps to alert us to your interest in the program.  Complete the form below to get the process started!

Student Affairs Administration and Leadership (EdD)

Becki Elkins  Profile of Becki Elkins  Office hours

Assistant Professor
345 Morris Hall

Specialty areas:

Higher education organization and governance; higher education history; student affairs law and policy; assessment of student learning and program efficiency; social class identity; and college students in recovery.

Submit a UW System application expanding section
  • Follow the link to the UW System application. Register as a new user, unless you already have an account.
  • The email you enter on this application will be used to send you important information related to completing your graduate school application. You should use an email address that you monitor on a regular basis. 
  • There is a $56 UW System application fee, which you can pay online at the time of application. Alternatively, you can send a check to the address below.  *Application fee assistance is available to McNair Scholars. 

Graduate Admissions Office
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

  • Please make sure that you select the Doctoral program and not the online Master's program.
Submit transcripts expanding section

Request that ALL previously attended institutions of higher education send official transcripts to the UW-La Crosse Admissions Office.  This includes transcripts for courses taken for college credit during high school. UWL accepts transcripts mailed directly from the issuing institution(s) or through an electronic secure document sending service.  Transcripts should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions Office
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

*Current UWL undergraduate students and alumni: Admissions can access your UWL transcript, so you do not need to request a formal copy to be sent.

Submit required supplemental application materials expanding section

After your UW System application has been submitted, you will receive two emails. The first email is an invitation to your WINGS Student Center and includes information about your NETID/WINGS Username.  Visit WINGS to check the status of your application fee and transcripts.

The second email serves as an invitation to log in to your Applicant Dashboard. You can expect this email 2-3 business days after the submission of your application. You will use the Applicant Dashboard to submit the additional required application materials (as described below) for this program.

*If you do not receive the email about your Applicant Dashboard, check your junk and clutter folders.  If you are unable to locate the email within 4 business days of application submission, contact

Program application form expanding section

This program has an additional program specific application.

Recommendation letters expanding section

3 professional and/or academic letters of recommendation are required. 

You will submit your recommendation request(s) using the Applicant Dashboard. Please provide the name and email address for each reference. Notify your reference(s) that a recommendation request and upload link has been emailed. *Your reference(s) should receive the link within one business day of your request (they may need to check their spam/junk folders).

An email confirmation will be sent to you each time one of your references submits a recommendation to your application file.  Additionally, you will receive an email alert 14 days after your initial request if your application is missing recommendations.  Please contact with questions.

Personal statement expanding section

This program requires submission of an essay made up of two parts.  Each part should be a maximum of three pages and written in APA style (double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman). Include a title page that identifies your name, current position/institution and date.

  • Part I - Personal statement: The SAA Ed.D. program is committed to offering all cohort members a challenging and diverse learning environment in which they are exposed to peers who represent a broad spectrum of viewpoints, professional backgrounds, life experiences, and career goals. In this context, please tell us what professional, academic, and personal perspectives you would bring to the program.

  • Part II - Critically reflective practice essay: Describe a recent (within the last five years) issue or concern you encountered in a student affairs context in a higher education setting. You might share information about the issues that surfaced, the challenges you experienced in your role, and the lessons you learned. How might you respond differently today? How do you hope the SAA Ed.D. program could prepare you to respond more effectively?
Resume expanding section

This program requires submission of a professional resume or curriculum vitae.

Selection process expanding section

Completed applications are reviewed early in the spring semester. The selection process follows this general outline:

  • Completed applications will be reviewed by UWL SAA faculty in January. Eligible applicants are invited to interview virtually with faculty in late January / early February.
  • Offers of admission will be made no later than March 1, 2020.
  • Applicants who are waitlisted and those who are denied admission also will be notified of their status in late February.
  • Admitted students will be asked to accept or decline offers by March 15, 2020.
  • If space allows, waitlisted students may receive offers of admission. These offers will be made between March 16-25, 2020.
  • The entering cohort will be finalized by April 10th.

Online orientation for the program will begin April 20, 2020. Classes will begin on May 26, 2020.

Please direct any questions about this process to or, the Ed.D. Program Director, Dr. Becki Elkins at

International applicants expanding section

International applicants seeking graduate admission to UWL should also complete these steps, in addition to those outlined above.


Applications for the 2020-2023 cohort will open Sept. 15, 2019.

Important Dates:

  • Fall 2019 - Accepting applications for the 2020-2023 cohort
  • Dec. 15, 2019 - Priority deadline for application to the 2020-2023 cohort
  • May 26, 2020 - Classes begin for 2020-2023 Ed.D. cohort