Student Affairs Administration and Leadership (Ed.D.)

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We are no longer accepting applications for the 2018-2021 cohort. Applications for the 2019-2022 cohort will open in September, 2018.

The Ed.D. in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership is designed to prepare currently employed student affairs professionals for senior-level positions in student affairs units and divisions. The program is designed for individuals who are working in student affairs at the post-secondary level while pursuing this degree. Courses are delivered online in a cohort model on a year-round basis. The program is designed to be completed in three years.

Admissions 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 (like D2L or Blackboard) 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.

Important Dates:

  • Fall 2017 - Now accepting applications for the 2018-2021 cohort
  • Jan. 1, 2018 - Priority deadline for application for the 2018-2021 cohort
  • May 21, 2018 - Classes begin for 2018-2021 Ed.D. cohort
  • May 2020 - First EdD cohort will graduate!

Applying to the SAA Ed.D. program is a two-part process:

Part 1

Apply to UW-La Crosse Graduate Studies:  UW-La Crosse Admissions Office - Graduate Admissions.  International applicants apply at the Office International Education.

  • Please make sure that you select the Doctoral program and not the online Master's program.
  • Once you complete this application, you will receive access to WINGS.  Here, you can monitor your application status.
  •  Questions about transcripts should be directed to Brandon Schaller ( in the Admissions Office.

Part 2

Submit the following materials as pdf attachments in one email to The subject of the email should be "Ed.D. application materials":

    1. Professional resume or vitae

    2. Names and contact information of three professional references

    3. Essay (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.
      1. 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.

      2. 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?

For questions about your UW System application or transcripts, contact Brandon Schaller ( For all other questions, contact SAA ADA (