Students will complete at least one practicum, consisting of enrollment in SAA 775 and completion of at least 70 hours of supervised practice in an area different than the one in which they hold their primary work experience, graduate assistantship, or graduate student internship.  The course credit is graded on a pass/fail basis, based on the site supervisor's recommendation.

The practicum allows students to deepen their experience, perhaps even working at/with different institutional types or professional organizations. Students should talk with their faculty advisors about their options, and most should plan on completing the practicum during the summer or fall of their second year in the program. 

While most practicum experiences are unpaid, students are encouraged to pursue any paid opportunities, such as ACUHO-I (housing) or NODA (orientation) summer internships.  Students who work full-time may be concerned about their ability to complete this requirement, and those with substantive full-time experience (two years) in two different areas can apply to substitute a third special topics course in lieu of the practicum (see substitution form below).  The practicum doesn’t have to be a one-day a week in another office.  It could be for working on a campus-wide committee or serving a professional organization, or even supporting the SAA department.

Students must enroll in SAA 775 for the term in which their hours will be completed.  Once enrolled, students will be asked to complete a Qualtrics survey to document their practicum plans. (All sections are fully online:  enroll in -411 for one credit, -412 for two credits, -413 for three credits, and -414 for a second single credit practicum in the same term).

Questions and notes for consideration are below:

What is the office / institution / organization at which you will be completing your practicum? 

The goal of the practicum is to provide you with a "distinctly different" experience than what you already do in your primary work position...whether that is a full-time position or a graduate assistant/intern role. Consider exploring different functional areas perhaps at different institutions if that is possible in your region.  

Who is supervising your experience? Please share their name, email, phone number.

Supervisors should be “appropriately qualified,” which generally means having at least a master’s degree (ideally in student affairs, higher education, or a related discipline) and one or more years of relevant professional experience.  

What are the start/end dates and anticipated hours of the practicum? 

Start/end dates should fall within the dates of the term students are enrolled in the credit, though it is acceptable to complete up to 10% of hours prior to the start of the semester. Each single credit represents 70 hours of experience.

What are your top learning objectives?  (provide 1-3 short statements, grounded in ACPA/NASPA competencies)

A primary goal of the practicum is to give students direct, hands-on experience in a distinctly different area. Learning objectives should describe the particular competencies students aim to develop. An example might be: "Develop the Advising & Supporting foundational skill of facilitating individual decision-making and goal-setting." 

What duties, tasks, or projects will you work on to achieve those learning objectives?  

Be as specific as possible. Rather than just writing “Advising students” as the task, you might write, “After shadowing an advisor for X weeks, the student will spend X hours per week providing 1:1 or group advising to students in X majors.”

How do you expect to track your progress on completing tasks and achieving learning outcomes? How will students know if they are meeting expectations, and how will supervisors know if students are achieving learning outcomes?

We expect that practicum students meet with their supervisors at least every other week to discuss their progress, surface any concerns, and give/receive feedback. We will not collect logs to track hours, but trust students and supervisors to collaborate to ensure the hours requirement is met. An example response here might be, "We will meet weekly to discuss performance, and the student will ask their supervisor for feedback on their Advising/Supporting e-portfolio reflection."

Students learning contracts will be approved by site supervisors and faculty advisors, and, near the end of the practicum, students will be asked to complete a self-evaluation of their learning experience.  That evaluation will be shared with supervisors, who are invited to add additional feedback and recommend a grade.  Supervisor feedback is shared back with students before grades are submitted.

  • If you would like to host a practicum student, please contact us at
  • If you are a current student with additional questions, please contact your faculty advisor. 
  • If you are a prospective student with additional questions, please contact our M.S.Ed. Program Director, Tori Svoboda, at 
  • SAA Practicum Substitution Form (to be completed by student, signed by faculty advisor, and submitted to program director for approval - allows those with significant experience in the field to substitute a special topics course for their practicum)