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Student Development in Higher Education

Student Development in Higher Education


The next application period is for Fall 2022, and will begin October 1, 2021. The Fall 2022 application is due December 1, 2021. Please review all details about the Fall 2022 Application Process regarding what is required for the application, how to submit transcripts, and what to expect from the review process. 

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Program Overview

Student Development in Higher Education (SDHE) is a unique field of professional practice in U.S. higher education. The program prepares graduates to work in two- and four-year colleges and related institutions. The profession is focused on student-centered learning, drawing upon an established and growing body of research, based in traditional disciplines, emerging theoretical perspectives, and principles of human diversity and potential. The SDHE program seeks to develop reflective, scholar-practitioners with an understanding of  

  • The multiple needs of college students
  • The interaction of the learners with the college environment
  • Learning styles
  • Diversity and multicultural issues
  • Program development
  • The use of developmental and counseling theory in assisting students
  • The role of the student development educator in collaborative relationships with faculty and others to support the holistic development of students
  • Assessment and evaluation

Graduates of the program enter the profession able to apply theory to practice and to integrate research using the tenets of counseling, student development, administration, leadership, and multicultural issues in education. Our graduates assume positions in two- and four-year colleges and related institutions. Typical offices of employment include: leadership development, financial aid, career counseling, student activities, residential life, educational opportunity, mentoring, academic advising, orientation, and learning communities.

Learning Outcomes

The SDHE curriculum is aligned with the mission of the CSULB College of Education and is tied to specific learning outcomes. Through courses in research methods, counseling and student development, fieldwork, and capstone experiences, SDHE students gain knowledge, build skills, and enhance the dispositions to equip them to serve as administrators and counselors in higher education settings.

Graduates of the SDHE Program:

  • Draw upon a deepened understanding of themselves, diverse others, and institutional structures to develop educational programs that promote educational access and success for all students, especially those from historically underrepresented populations.
  • Apply fundamental counseling skills, theoretical orientations, and treatment plan steps to student development cases and practicum/ fieldwork experiences.
  • Draw upon an analysis and evaluation of the historical and philosophical foundations of the student affairs profession and key student development theories (psychosocial, cognitive, moral, life span, and typological) to create and evaluate educational programs that promote student development and learning.
  • Apply leadership and organization theory along with management skills (e.g., planning, legal compliance, risk management, technology, budgeting, and human resources) to the practice of student affairs.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of student affairs scholarship in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of current research as well as in the design and implementation of formative evaluations and research projects.

Employment Outlook

Career opportunities in postsecondary administration are growing at a faster than average pace for all occupations. For more inormation about careers in higher education, including required knowledge and skills, working conditions, and earnings, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Student Organization: Association of Professionals in Student Affairs (APSA)

APSA is the student organization for SDHE students. The members participate in academic, professional, and leadership development activities with the faculty, alumni, and CSULB community.

Cynthia S. Johnson Endowment

Aligned with the mission of the SDHE program, the Cynthia S. Johnson Endowment promotes progressive social change in higher education by nurturing a community of scholar practitioners, providing them with opportunities to reflect on their practice, and engage with colleagues who are committed to advancing student access, equity, and success for first generation students and those from under-resourced communities across a diverse, multicultural landscape.

Explore the website to learn more about events and opportunities as well as how to contribute to the Endowment