Students traveling along Trousdale Parkway
With an emphasis on educational equity, the PASA program will prepare 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). In addition to your core courses, you can tailor your program to your unique career objectives with a variety of higher education focus courses and graduate assistantship opportunities, on or off the USC Campus.

As a student, you will experience interactive and dynamic classroom discussions that weave planned lectures with conversations about issues in higher education and society as they occur. You’ll enjoy interacting with one of the most diverse cohorts on campus and benefit from relationships with faculty who are invested in your personal and professional growth.

Component Units Purpose
Core Courses 18 Understand the theory and practice of student affairs work
Focus Courses 9 Gain depth in areas of career interest
Capstone 3 Apply research and learning from other program components to address a problem of practice


The capstone project is designed to demonstrate your accumulated learning in the PASA program. The 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 original project of your choice that addresses a problem of practice in student affairs. After conducting research in the research methods course in the spring, you will complete your project during the capstone course in the summer. Your work, which will be peer reviewed and receive regular feedback from your professor, will culminate in an oral presentation at a symposium.

Comparing the PASA and EC Programs

USC Rossier’s Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs (PASA) and Master of Education in Educational Counseling (EC) programs differ in focus and outcomes. The PASA program provides broader experience that can be applied to a variety of student affairs roles, while the EC program provides more depth in academic counseling specifically.