Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

About the master's program...

  1. Who's this program for?
    • Aspiring student success leaders seeking entry-level positions in college and university divisions of student affairs and academic support services
    • Current student success professionals seeking to advance their careers and enhance their theoretical knowledge and skills.
  1. How is SDSU's program unique ?

    Our master's program:

    • is intentionally designed to provide a foundational framework for professionals and aspiring professionals to discover how to foster student success for all students.
    • is informed by decades of student success research as well as emerging student success research and neuroscience.
    • uses a cohort design to foster collaborative learning.
    • uses a Reflective Student Portfolio as the master's culminating experience.
    • students gain vital on-the-job technical skills as they work with other professionals in student programs and services, which complements the theoretical foundations that underpin student success work learned in the classroom.

    To view the program Fact Sheet for a detailed description of the various components of the graduate program, including program mission and program learning outcomes, and the course sequence for current students, click to visit the Program Info page

  1. What will my experience in the classroom look like?
    Courses are held once per week (Monday – Thursday) between 4:00 pm and 9:40 pm. Students who enroll in this graduate program MUST be available for courses during these days and times between September and May of each year.Classroom learning in this program is characterized by group discussions and flipped classrooms. Classroom projects, such as job shadows and undergraduate student interviews, provide opportunities for collaborative and experiential learning.
  2. What will my experience outside the classroom look like?

    Gain real-world experience through:

    • Graduate Student Affairs Assistantships at both San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos, and UC San Diego

    Connect with classmates through:

    • Peer Mentoring Program: Newly implemented and entirely student-run, the peer mentoring program matches incoming first-year students with a second-year student mentor to guide them through their first year in the program
    • Cohort socials: Occur approximately once a month. Activities include bonfires, potlucks, and holiday celebrations

    Get involved on campus through:

    • Student Advisory Board: Consists of five students in each cohort who meet once a month to discuss upcoming program events as well as brainstorm solutions to student concerns and issues. Click to visit the Student Advisory Board page to view more information on the Student Advisory Board.
    • Volunteer: Assistant program coordinator sends weekly updates on both program-related and campus-related volunteer opportunities
    • Professional Involvement: Assistant program coordinator sends regular updates about local and national conferences to attend
    • Professional Development Seminars: Offered 2-4 times per semester. The seminars are intended to target learning needs outside of the classroom. Topics are determined through a combination of student, alumni, faculty, and employer feedback. 

Back to top

About admissions …

  1. What GPA is required for admittance into the program?

    A minimum 2.85 grade point average is required for admission to SDSU graduate programs. However, in reviewing applicants, we consider multiple indicators of preparedness for graduate studies, including: the personal statement, letters of recommendation, student leadership experience, professional work experience, and GRE scores.

  1. What GRE score is needed to enter the program?

    Note: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the Fall 2021 Admissions Cycle. SDSU and the ARPE department do not mandate a minimum GRE score. GRE scores are considered in relation to other indicators in our review of program applicants. Scores fluctuate year to year, but the average GRE scores for admitted students in the most recent admissions cycle was Quantitative- 148.4 Verbal- 150.2 Writing- 3.9.

    NOTE: If you took the GRE within the last five years, there is no need to retake the test. You can simply submit your past scores.

  1. Do my references need to be professors or can they be professional references?

    Both professional and academic references are accepted. A combination of both is preferred.

  1. Should the statement of purpose on the departmental application be similar to the statement on the CSU Application?

    Although the CSU Application asks for a statement of purpose, you can simply write See Supplemental Application in the section of that asks for a statement of purpose. The supplemental application is where you will include your actual statement of purpose.

  1. How many transcript copies do I send?

    One unofficial transcript of all graduate and undergraduate coursework must be uploaded with your online application to the College of Education. One official copy of all graduate and undergraduate coursework must be mailed to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Department in a sealed envelop (NOTE: This is a recent update. In the past, two transcripts were required).

  1. Are students allowed to apply to 2 SDSU graduate programs in the same admission cycle?

    Students are only allowed to officially apply to one program per admission cycle. Only one Cal State Apply application is allowed and if a student attempts to submit a second one, it will not go through. Generally students will contact the second program they are interested in and simply follow through with submitting the supplemental materials only. Since only one official application is allowed though, only one official admission decision can be updated. The student will need to make sure to be in contact with both programs because of this.

  1. Are non-SDSU students who have a degree in progress suppose to submit final transcript for proof of degree completion?

    Non-SDSU students who have the degree in progress are admitted "provisionally/conditionally". Students are told they are required to complete their degree no later than the term prior to matriculation and that they must provide a final transcript with the degree posted, by the end of their matriculation period. If they fail to submit the final transcript by the end of the matriculation period, a hold is placed on their registration for the next term. Our staff sends out several email reminders to the students about the final transcripts being required.

Back to top

About Graduate Student Affairs Assistantships…

  1. Is a Graduate Student Affairs Assistantship required for admission to the program?

    An assistantship is not required for admission.

  1. Is tuition included as part of the compensation for Graduate Student Affairs Assistantships?

    Our assistantships are paid hourly positions and do not include tuition assistance. Students holding assistantships in residential education typically receive some room and board compensation.

  1. Are the assistantship positions guaranteed for two years?

    Our assistantship positions are always contingent upon the availability of funds. Thus there are no guarantees of employment for any set amount of time. However, students who hold assistantship positions typically stay in these roles for 1-2 years.

Back to top


  1. Can I take courses from another university online and have it credited towards my degree?

    As a general rule, we do not allow students to transfer courses from other graduate program. In the past, we have done so in extremely unusual and unforeseen circumstances. If you intend to transfer courses from another graduate program, please discuss the situation with your academic advisor once you are admitted to the program. You should assume you will not be allowed to transfer courses and should plan your academic program accordingly.

  1. How do I file for a thesis?

    In order to file for a thesis, you must have an official program filed and be advanced to candidacy. This can happen after you have completed 12 hours of coursework. You must file forms through the graduate committee and get signatures from your committee and committee chair. PLEASE NOTE: Students who elect to complete a Master's thesis are still required to complete a reflective learning portfolio.


Back to top