Master of Arts in Counseling, Higher Education and Student Affairs


Offers a concentration in higher education and student affairs that prepares counselors to lead and make a difference in higher education, with an emphasis on serving culturally diverse and underrepresented students. The program is the only one in the state with a strong focus on development and success for diverse students with equity and inclusion as key emphases.

The Program at a Glance

School: School of Education & Human Development Campus: CU Denver Classroom: Online and on campus classes Recommended completion time: 2 to 3 years Credits required for completion: 39

The Details

What you'll learn

CU Denver’s Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in higher education and student affairs is grounded by a strong foundation in understanding diversity and inclusive exellence for students in higher education. In this concentration you will gain knowledge in areas that impact higher education today: access and equity, cultural diversity and ethnic identity, civic engagement and organizational leadership. You will also develop skills from the counseling field for supporting the development and success of students in higher education.

Our students pursue careers in student affairs and college student services including:

  • Academic advising
  • Residence life
  • Student programming
  • College/university administration
  • Greek life
  • Career services

American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA); the two major student affairs professional organizations have been calling for higher education professionals to have counseling and human services skills. This program will prepare you to support and counsel the next generation of students in higher education.

Choose CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development

You can trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare you for excellence in your career in higher education. The university and school are recognized for preparing leaders of distinction who value educational excellence and social justice. Additionally, CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development is counted among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” making us one of the top schools in the country.


Successful completion of the MA in Counseling with a HESA concentration requires a minimum of 39 graduate credits. The curriculum encompasses broad themes in the history and development of higher education and includes the study of counseling/advising, diversity, higher education, policy, student development theory and leadership/organizational development.

We support the needs of talented students from all backgrounds, including nontraditional and underrepresented students. HESA courses are aligned with the Counsel for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

Please note: This specific concentration does not lead to a counseling license.

Admissions Requirements

Diversity Statement

We encourage applications from persons from a variety of sociopolitical contexts, such as racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, veterans, sexual and gender minorities, and individuals from a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds. The couple/family faculty provides open and supportive learning environments where students are invited to engage in personal and reflective processes about their own and others’ experiences, beliefs and values. We seek to train counselors/therapists who can approach clients with integrity, respect and sensitivity for differences in beliefs, values, and lifestyles.

Application Deadlines

Due to the competitive nature of this program, faculty are only able to review complete applications; this includes letters of recommendation, transcripts and all other required elements of the application. In order to secure your application as “complete” in sufficient time for faculty review and consideration we highly recommend submitting your application at least one to two months prior to the deadline to ensure we have ample time to work with you on your application should items be missing. To avoid your application remaining incomplete at the time of the posted deadline please be sure to complete the steps below as early as possible.

Fall Semester: January 15

Spring Semester: September 15

Application Requirements

  • 3 recommendation letters
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Resume/CV
  • Written Statement
  • $50.00 application fee
  • Admissions Interview: Upon successful completion and review of your file, qualified applicants are invited to attend a REQUIRED half-day interview on the Denver campus approximately one month after the deadline date. During this interview applicants will be oriented to the program, participate in small group interviews, large group exercises and will engage in a spontaneous writing assignment. Participation in the interview is mandatory and you will not be accepted into the program without attending. We do not conduct individual interviews for admission to our program. Final selection of the applicants will be based on their performance in the interview.
  • International Applicants only: Proof of English Language Proficiency (International applicants should review the following information regarding English language proficiency)

For more information, email or call 303.315.6300.