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.
UWL fall student life

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

Associate Professor
345C 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 (payable to UWL) 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.
  • Note that you will be asked to submit a "personal statement" in the UW System application. At that point, you may simply write "See personal statement essay submitted in the Program Applicant Dashboard." Then, you can upload your statement once you have access to the SAAL Program application dashboard.
Watch your email

Following UW System Application submission, you will receive two emails.

The first email is an invitation to your WINGS Student Center and includes information about your NETID/WINGS Username.  Access your WINGS Student Center to check the status of your application fee and transcripts.

The second email provides login information for your Applicant Dashboard. This email will be sent within 3 business days of submission of your UW system application; you may need to check your junk/spam email folders.  You will use your Applicant Dashboard to submit the supplemental application materials described below (including reference requests) for this program. If you have problems with the Applicant Dashboard, please contact

WINGS (example) 

Applicant Dashboard (example)

WINGS example App Dashboard example
Submit transcripts expanding section

Request that ALL* previously attended institutions of higher education send official transcripts to the UWL 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:

UWL Admissions Office
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

  • Applicants can check transcript status via their WINGS account.
  • Applicants who are current UWL undergraduate students/alumni do not need to request formal transcripts for UWL coursework. Admissions can access your UWL transcript.
  • It may take a week or more for transcripts to be received/uploaded to your application file. Please plan accordingly in order to meet application deadlines.

*Notice of transcript policy change
Effective for applications started after June 1, 2020 - If a student enrolled in fewer than 10 undergraduate semester credits at an institution, official transcripts are not required unless the courses complete are prerequisites for the graduate program to which the student is applying. Additional transcripts may be required at the university or graduate program's discretion. All graduate transcripts must be submitted.

Log in to Applicant Dashboard to submit supplemental application materials expanding section

All supplemental application materials listed below (including recommendation requests) will be submitted via your Applicant Dashboard. You will receive an email invitation to login to your Applicant Dashboard within 3 business days of UW System Application submission. Contact with questions.

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 by providing the name and email address for each reference.  The system will automatically send the reference an email, including a link through which their recommendation should be uploaded to your application file. Your reference(s) should receive the emailed link within one business day of your request.

It is your responsibility to notify your reference(s) of the emailed request (they may need to check spam/junk folders) and provide information regarding deadlines for completion of the recommendation. 

You will be able to monitor the status of your recommendation requests, resend requests, and change reference information on Applicant Dashboard. 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

Additional requirements for international applicants expanding section

In addition to the application requirements listed above, international applicants will need to submit the following items:

  • Transcript information - As noted above, official, certified or attested transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be submitted. Additionally, documents issued in languages other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
  • Proof of English language proficiency: Non-native English speakers must submit evidence of one the following language proficiency requirements for admission:
    • TOEFL score (within last 2 years) of at least 79 iBT or 550 pBT - Institution Code: 1914
    • IELTS score (within last 2 years) of at least 6.0
    • Duolingo English Test (DET) score of at least 110
    • 60 PTE score
    • A bachelor’s or higher degree from UWL or another approved institution where English is the sole language of instruction.
      • Degree must be earned within two years of expected enrollment in this UWL graduate program.
      • Applicant must have attended the institution for a minimum of two years.
  • Proof of funding: Submit a bank statement and completed Affidavit of Support form.
    • Applicants who require F-2 visas for dependents (spouse and/or children) must submit additional proof of funding and passport copies for each dependent.

  • Passport information: Submit a photocopy of the photo page of your passport. 

Please contact International Admissions at if you have questions.  Each of the items listed in this section "Additional requirements for international applicants" can be sent directly to the UWL Admissions Office.

UWL Admissions Office
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601

* Special note regarding F-1/J-1 Visas: UW-La Crosse (UWL) is unable to issue immigration documents for an F-1/J-1 visa to international students in this online program [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)]. International students must either complete the program outside the U.S. or have a valid visa that permits online study in the U.S. If you have further questions please contact UWL's International Education & Engagement (IEE) at


Applications for the 2022-2025 cohort are now open.

Important Application Dates:

  • Fall 2021 - Accepting applications for the 2022-2025 cohort
  • Dec. 15, 2021 - Priority deadline for application to the 2022-2025 cohort
  • Feb. 1, 2022 - Submit 2022-23 FAFSA for financial aid consideration
  • May 23, 2022 - Classes begin for 2022-2025 Ed.D. cohort
  • ALL application materials must be received by the deadline.
    • Please be aware that it may take a number of weeks to complete a graduate program application.  Specifically, you will want to allow additional time for the receipt of transcripts and recommendations. Please plan accordingly.