Master's of Arts in Postsecondary Educational Leadership and Student Affairs

The master's program curriculum at San Diego State University is designed for student affairs practitionersthose who want to commit to supporting students through their college experiences from holistic, culturally competent, and compassionate perspectives. The program emphasizes student learning centeredness, integration of curricular and co-curricular learning paradigms, and considers the responsible practice of leadership in a justice-centered and global environment.

The program utilizes leadership theories to educate students to become savvy consumers of research, policy, and practice in order to apply ethical, evidence-based decision making to promote access, justice, equity, inclusion, and quality student development and learning.

Quick Program Facts

Program Focus
Student learning &

Face-to-face, on-campus

Cost of Tuition
Office of Admissions

Financial Assistance
Assistantships, scholarships, financial aid

Program Length
2 years (full-time)
2 ½-3 years (part-time)

Capstone Requirement
Reflective Learning Portfolio recommended 

Credits Required to Graduate

Faculty to Student Ratio

Average Cohort Size
25 students

Average # of Applicants/Year

Average # of Applicants Accepted/Year


We aspire to prepare compassionate and competent educational leader-practitioners who advocate for institutional equity and support the holistic success of students within postsecondary education.

Program Goals

The Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in Student Affairs (PELSA) Program is committed to supporting students by preparing them to:

  1. Enter and advance in entry-level careers.
  2. Become grounded in the theoretical foundations of student learning, development, and success.
  3. Apply theory to practice to positively influence student success.
  4. Embody equity-mindedness, social justice, and mindful, compassionate leadership to transform educational contexts.

View curriculum and degree learning outcomes.


MA Program Interview Days 2022

Candidates who are invited to campus will participate in a two-day interview process in which they will interview for available graduate assistantships and admission into the PELSA program. Upon the conclusion of the interviews, candidates and graduate assistantship sites will submit their respective preferences, and assistantships will subsequently be awarded on the basis of the best matches.

This coming year, interviews are scheduled for Wednesday, February 16th and Thursday, February 17th, 2022. To be considered for admission, you must submit all required documents and attend the interviews either in person or virtually.



Contact us and let us know how we can help you.

General Questions

Andrew Mutsalklisana

Andrew Mutsalklisana

Assistant Program Coordinator and Second Year Student

[email protected]

Contact Andrew for general inquiries, to arrange a meeting with faculty or current students, or to sit in on a PELSA class.


Melanie Falkenberg

Melanie Falkenberg

Manager of Admissions, Office for Student Success

[email protected]

Contact Melanie for admissions inquiries including application deadlines, requirements, and materials.

Faculty Director

Gregory Wilson

Gregory Wilson, Ph.D.

PELSA Program Director and Graduate Advisor

[email protected]

For any other inquiries, contact the program Faculty Director.