Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs

Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs

This program is designed for aspiring higher education administrators in academic advising, residential life, student advocacy, campus activities and athletic programs.

Student affairs professionals are at the front lines of higher education. Prepare to transform education systems to advance equity, student development, and the student experience.

Program Overview

The Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs (PASA) program will equip you with a broad understanding of the key aspects of higher education administration, including student affairs, student development, legal issues, identity and diversity and the history of higher education. You will select three focus courses that align with your interests or career goals.

Through this program, you will:

  • Prepare for a variety of roles in higher education.
  • Learn to advance educational equity for historically marginalized students. 
  • Interact with one of the most diverse cohorts on campus. 
  • Learn from leading professors and practitioners who will support your professional growth and challenge your perspective.


The PASA program prepares you to meet industry-established competencies for student affairs professionals developed by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). The curriculum includes core courses, a variety of focus courses and a capstone project.

Component Courses Purpose
Core courses 6 Understand the theory and practice of student affairs work.
Focus courses 3 Gain depth in focus courses on a variety of topics.
Capstone 1 Apply research and learning from other program components to address a problem of practice.


The capstone project will strengthen your ability to use evidence-based arguments to influence others and advocate for student needs. During your first semester, you will select an existing problem in student affairs to address. After conducting research in the research methods course, you will complete your project during the capstone course. Your work, which will be peer-reviewed and receive regular feedback from your professor, will culminate in an oral presentation at a symposium.

Graduate Assistant Positions

Graduate assistant positions provide hands-on experience in higher education settings and preparation for your desired career. While the majority of PASA students obtain graduate assistant positions on the USC campus, the city of Los Angeles is home to many colleges and universities. Graduate assistant positions are often compensated by an hourly wage, tuition remission, or, in the case of residential education, room and board.

With the support and guidance of our team, you can select and apply for paid and unpaid opportunities tailored to your personal goals throughout your time in the program. However, we recommend that you first interview for opportunities at the annual USC Rossier Preview Day for incoming students.


As an applicant, you will be automatically considered for several USC Rossier scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. There is no need to submit a separate application for these scholarships. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated dedication to the USC Rossier mission and other distinguishing characteristics. Priority consideration is given to those who apply in rounds one and two.

View USC Rossier’s scholarship finder to identify other scholarships and funding opportunities. You do not have to be admitted to apply to these scholarships. Carefully note the scholarship application deadlines, which may occur before the final program application deadline.

Financial Aid

The USC Office of Student Financial Aid provides information regarding various types of financial aid and financing options.

To be considered for financial aid, you must apply by filing the FAFSA by May 6, 2022. After you apply, the financial aid office will determine your financial need and inform you of the federal or private loans that are available to you.

Career Outcomes

Our graduates work at public and private colleges and universities in a variety of departments and roles. Other graduates enter PhD and EdD programs immediately, often working in the field full-time or part-time as they earn their doctorate.

Our graduates work in programs and departments including:

  • Academic advising
  • Orientation and new student programming
  • Residential life/housing
  • Student advocacy and judicial affairs
  • Greek life 
  • Campus activities and student organizations
  • Athletic programs
  • Student life and leadership 
  • Multicultural affairs 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion programs 

Program Details

Degree Awarded

Master of Education (ME)

Estimated Length

Full time: 12 months
Part time: 24 months



Program Cost


  • On Campus

Next Deadline

March 15th, 2023

See all deadlines

Start Date

Week of August 21, 2023

Class Times

 Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. or 7 to 10 p.m. Pacific Time

Take the Next Step

Meet Our Student Ambassadors

Our student ambassadors can provide you with helpful insight through the lens of their own experiences. Connect with a student of your choice by email, and set up a time to talk.

Nicholas Alonzo

Nicholas Alonzo

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Rocklin, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: California State University Sacramento
“I’m a non-traditional student earning my bachelor’s eight years after high school. I have vast experience and knowledge in local government, events, nightlife, and the EDM music industry.”

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Carlos Arturo Garcia

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Visalia, CA
Undergraduate Institution institution: California State University, Northridge


“My persona has grown with the guidance I have received from my cohort and my professors. I take pride in being a first generation minority student and will be the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree.”

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Talia Guiragossian

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Whittier, California
Undergraduate Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
"At first, I thought USC Graduate School would be impossible to accomplish, but after starting, my imposter syndrome dissipated with my professors' and cohorts' support. We are a community here helping each other become the best versions of ourselves."

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Nikki Howell

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Arleta, California
Undergrad Institution: California Lutheran University
“The Mission and Values of Rossier to prepare leaders to achieve educational equity aligned wholeheartedly with my goals of being a student affairs professional. The faculty and staff make it their priority to help you advance your professional development through their coursework, workshops, and events.”

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Jennifer Kang

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Buena Park, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
"I love being part of the PASA program and the Trojan family! I'm learning so much from my professors and enjoying every moment of my graduate assistantship. Big shout out to my cohort!"

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Alexis Karakas

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Glendale, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine

"Hello! My name is Alexis (she/her), and I am a first-year, full-time PASA student. I graduated from UCI in Spring 2022. I work as a Graduate Residential College Coordinator for USC Residential Education."

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Ashlyn Kirkpatrick

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Undergraduate Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
“My favorite things about the PASA program are the faculty and students. My professors are so knowledgeable and supportive of me as a person. I love getting to know my classmates and learning from their diverse experiences.”

image of student ambassador

Nadine Quiñonez

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
"The faculty are knowledgeable, supportive, and genuinely happy to interact with current and prospective PASA students. I have been taken by surprise by my cohort. All my cohort mates are loving, caring, and supportive. They make the journey easier."

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Mia Kirsten Santos

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Lomita, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Davis

"As a first generation student, the amount of support from the cohort, faculty, and staff has helped me to grow so much. Everyone here is dedicated to see each other succeed, it is truly a community like no other."

Program Outcomes


of PASA graduates work at USC or UC or CSU

31 states where PASA alumni work 136 Institutions employing PASA graduates


of PASA alums said their USC Rossier education prepared them to be more effective in their career


of PASA alums said their USC Rossier education prepared them to be more effective in their career


of PASA alums said their studies at USC Rossier prepared them well for future employment


Less than 12% of alumni took more than six months to find a job after graduating from USC Rossier

From Our Alumni

Alex Burden

"My time in the PASA program was a truly formative experience. I was given the opportunity to explore my passions for fundraising and athletics, while getting a holistic view of the higher education administration landscape. I use some aspect of my education and experience every day in my current fundraising role at Kellogg, and I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without Rossier."

Alex Burden, ME ’16

Associate Director, Leadership Giving, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

News and Insights

STEAM books for children reflect a diverse community

Three USC Rossier alums collaborated with USC Scientists and a non-profit publisher Room to Read to author book series, "STEAM-Powered Careers"

Survey reveals how teachers engaged with students in 2022, offers insights for 2023

GoGuardian and USC Rossier School of Education Center EDGE partnered on the 2022-2023 State of Engagement Report

This OCL grad is bringing a reformer’s zeal to government service

As director of the Dream Keeper Initiative, Saidah Leatutufu-Burch EdD ’21 is leading efforts to promote prosperity in San Francisco’s Black communities.

Two USC Rossier grads partner to reimagine military training

Victor Castro MEd ’19 and Richard DiNinni EdD ’22 are creating new educational programs at West Point that blend virtual reality and game-based training technologies with research-based pedagogy

Teaching in a time of war: An update from alumna and Board of Councilors member Elana Glasenberg

In 2021, Glasenberg EdD ’21, working with educational foundation U21, opened an inclusive school in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Program Contact

Beverly Yanuaria

Beverly V. Yanuaria, ME

Assistant Director, Office of Admission and Scholarships

Student taking notes

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