Students traveling along Trousdale Parkway
Through the combination of coursework, supervised fieldwork, and either the Master’s Seminar or Thesis option, PASA students acquire the knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential for success in a range of higher education settings.


Component Units Purposes
Core Courses 26 Ground students in the theory and practice of student affairs work
Electives 9 Provide depth in areas of career interest
Fieldwork 3 Facilitates supervised professional experience in functional area of interest
Seminar or Thesis 3
(4 for thesis)
Summative experience, integrating learning from other program components


Fieldwork provides students with an opportunity to gain supervised professionally relevant experience in a higher education setting, which could include academic or student affairs departments on the USC campus or at nearby institutions. The program requires enrollment in 3 units of fieldwork (1 unit = 70 fieldwork hours), which typically begins after the second semester in the program.

Seminar or Thesis

PASA students completing their course of study can choose to enroll in a Master’s Seminar course or complete a Thesis.

Students who choose the Master’s Seminar will have a forward-looking experience that synthesizes their learning and experiences in the program, while also preparing them to enter the professional work of postsecondary administration.

Students who choose the Thesis option will work closely with a faculty committee and conduct original scholarly inquiry, culminating in the write-up and oral defense of their work.