Every M.S.Ed. student is assigned a faculty advisor from among the full-time faculty and instructional academic staff. Advisors reach out to students at least once per semester, providing guidance on electives (special topics courses, field experiences, etc.) and offering academic or career advice, as requested. Current students can locate their assigned advisor in the student information system, WINGS. Additional commonly asked questions (and answers) are below.

How long does it take to complete the SAA program? expanding section

All M.S.Ed. options (on-campus, online, and blended) are completed in two years.  On-campus and blended program students enroll in 9 credits each fall/spring for two years.  Online students enroll in 6 credits each summer/fall/spring for two years.  Students who need to adjust their program schedule are encouraged to talk to faculty advisors about options.

 

Am I required to complete a research project or thesis? expanding section

Students must complete a Capstone project as part of SAA 780 and SAA 790 to meet program requirements. 

How many classes are taught online? expanding section

In the on-campus cohorts, the vast majority of courses are taught face-to-face, though may have online content. The one exception is our 720 Special Topics courses, which are all taught completely online, and give students from all cohorts the chance to interact with each other. Students are in a face-to-face class roughly nine hours per week at the UWL campus.

In the blended cohort at UW-River Falls (UWRF), all classes are taught online, though faculty offer regular face-to-face instruction in most courses. Students are in a face-to-face class roughly three hours per week at the UWRF campus, and spend an additional six hours per week in online courses.*

In the online cohorts, all classes are taught online. Courses are designed as asynchronous (students are not required to be available at the same day/time), but most include synchronous (live) virtual meeting options.  Students are in online classes roughly six hours per week.*

*For every hour in class, students should plan on spending two-three hours outside of class on readings, projects, papers, etc.  Thus, on-campus and blended students commit roughly 30 hours per week to their studies during the academic year.  Online students commit roughly 20 hours per week to their studies year-round.

How can I obtain more practical experience while in the program? expanding section

SAA requires students to hold at least half-time employment in student affairs and higher education throughout their time in the program.  Those who are not working full-time in the field already are expected to hold graduate student assistantships or internships.

Additionally, students must complete a 1-credit practicum (SAA 775) in a different area than their primary position. Students seek these practicum experiences at an institution of their choice and should meet with their faculty advisor to discuss options. Each single practicum credit equals 70 hours of work. SAA 775 is graded on a pass/fail basis, and hours must be completed in the term the student registers for the credit(s).

Do the online classes "meet" at certain times during the week? expanding section

No. All online classes are taught asynchronously, where teacher(s) and learner(s) are not physically at the same place at the same time. Each course includes weekly due dates for discussions, assignments, or other course activities. Most online courses offer students the opportunity to interact with peers or their instructor(s) synchronously, using virtual rooms, to work on assignments or engage in course discussions. 

Are there additional degree requirements? expanding section

Yes, all students are required to participate in the SAA Capstone event to present their capstone project. This event typically takes place the Friday before Commencement weekend at UWL. Students who are unable to travel to La Crosse for our Capstone event, the SAA Graduation Celebration, or UWL Commencement may be allowed to meet the program requirement by presenting their Capstone research to the full faculty using a virtual meeting.

What happens if I don't complete the Capstone project in time for the May graduation but have completed all of my other coursework? expanding section

The Capstone Project has been designed so it can be completed over the two courses, SAA 780 & SAA 790, taken the final two semesters in the program. In case of communicated emergencies, students can request a grade of incomplete in the course and complete their final assignment after the course ends. This happens at the discretion of the faculty member in communication with the student.

Per UWL Graduate policy, students who have completed all coursework required for a graduate degree but who are still working on required research, comprehensive exams, or terminal projects (thesis, capstone or other culminating graduate project) must register for GRC 799 for up to two semesters of continuous registration. If students can complete their work in one semester, then only one semester is necessary. If students take more than one semester, they must take two and no more than two continuous semesters of GRC 799. Fees for GRC 799 will be equivalent to 1 in-state graduate credit each semester.

Is there a current student I can contact about their experience in the SAA program? expanding section

Absolutely.  Our ambassadors include:

On-Campus Program:

Online Program:

  • Katie: kmdenzin@gmail.com, Class of 2017, Associate Director of Academic Advising, UW-Madison Wisconsin School of Business
  • Christine: crmunson@gmail.com, Class of 2016, Advising, Diversity, and Success Specialist, Northcentral Technical College

UWRF Blended Program:

 

How can I schedule a visit to SAA? expanding section

To arrange a visit, please contact saa@uwlax.edu. Clarify if you are interested in the on-campus, online, and/or blended program at UW River Falls. The visit may include a meeting with current students, faculty, site supervisors, or an in-person or online class observation (depending on day and time of visit). 

Is there a time limit on completing the degree? expanding section

Per UW-La Crosse policy, students must complete their degree in seven years. The start of the first course in the first term starts this period. Please see the Graduate Catalog for more information.

What happens if I need to stop out of the program? expanding section

Please discuss your plans with your faculty advisor and/or the program director. If you leave while in good academic standing, you can apply as a re-entry student to return to the program. Since some courses are only offered once per year, you will work with your advisor to develop a revised degree completion plan.  

See Records & Registration for more information on course drop / add deadlines. If you need to withdraw after the drop deadline due to a health emergency, work with your advisor and the Student Life office to discuss medical withdrawal options. 

Does SAA accept any graduate credits from other programs (transfer credits)? expanding section

Per UWL policy, only courses completed within the past seven years can be considered for transfer credit. All transfer credits must be approved by the M.S.Ed. Program Director. For a course to be considered for transfer credits, the course must closely resemble a course in the SAA curriculum. 

Can I take classes as a special student even though I am not formally admitted in the program? expanding section

Decisions about allowing students to enroll in classes as a "special" or non-degree-seeking student are made on a case by case basis. Please contact the Program Director if you are interested in a particular SAA course.

Can I get scholarships or grants to help cover my student costs? expanding section

Currently, the UWL Foundation has some scholarships named after SAA alumni and friends. The application deadline is February 1 of each year.  Go to the UWL Foundation website for more information. 

Because online and blended program students do not pay segregated fees, they are ineligible for most grants offered by Graduate Studies or International Education

More information about additional options can be found on our financial information page.

What types of jobs are available for graduates of the program? expanding section

Students in our program have found jobs in student affairs or academic affairs at both 2- and 4-year institutions. This includes positions in Admissions, Academic or Career Advising, Residence Life, Multicultural Services, Student Centers and Student Unions, Financial Aid, Registrars Offices, Dean of Students Offices, International Education and more.

How quickly do SAA graduates find professional jobs? expanding section

Generally, most of our students find employment within a few months of graduation. Chances for employment increase exponentially when graduates increase the areas (geographic or functional) in which they're willing to consider employment. Those who are looking for positions in a small geographic community tend to take the longest time to find positions.