Assistantships

MA in Higher Education Leadership

Department of Leadership Studies

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership (MAHE) focuses on preparation of higher education professionals and offers an integrated program that includes the development of an individualized learning and leadership plan; rigorous coursework; a bi-weekly graduate seminar; and many professional development and applied learning opportunities.  University administrators and SOLES faculty work closely together to integrate academic coursework, current theory and research with best practices in the field, specifically through the MAHE seminar that is available to all students. 

Program Highlights

  • Classroom environments that engage a broad range of human capabilities and have a transformative effect on students while enhancing leadership skills and abilities
  • Cutting-edge and relevant leadership training for the real world
  • Development of a distinctive character and value system, which emphasizes meaning, purpose, generosity, authenticity, ethical behavior, and initiative-taking
  • Personalized attention from university administrators
  • Professional development funds for attendance at national conferences

Employment Opportunities

The MAHE offers two distinct opportunities to gain paid part-time work experience in higher education while in the program.  One option is as through an assistantship offered in collaboration with Student Affairs, the Student Affairs/SOLES Collaborative (SASC); the other is through the Graduate Campus Assistantship (GCA) program that offers a variety of other graduate assistantship across USD. 

Additionally, we welcome full-time working students who are already employed in a variety of higher education positions and plan to pursue their education on a part-time basis. 

The Student Affairs/SOLES Collaborative (SASC) is a partnership between the Department of Leadership Studies and USD's Division of Student Affairs. The students who participate in the SASC are a cohort of students in the MA in Higher Education Leadership program who are aspiring to work in student affairs and other areas of higher education.

SASC is an integrated program that includes the development of an individualized learning and leadership plan; a graduate assistantship within various areas of the university, including student affairs; a bi-weekly graduate seminar; rigorous coursework; and many professional development and applied learning opportunities.  University administrators and SOLES faculty work closely together to integrate academic coursework, current theory and research with best practices in the field. Please note that available positions differ each year and not all positions will be available each year. Below is a list of recent positions.

Eligibility

Applicants should be currently enrolled or newly admitted MA in Higher Education Leadership students in good standing.

Compensation

An hourly wage of $13.25 for 20 hours a week for up to 48 weeks per year, for a maximum of two years, which equals approximately $25,440 (pre-tax) in wages total. $25,500 (pre-tax) is the maximum amount an SASC graduate assistant can earn over a two-year appointment.

Up to $5,000 tuition scholarship per semester for a maximum of 4 semesters, which equals $20,000 in scholarship total. Please note, positions in Residential life offer room and board in lieu of this scholarship. The resulting compensation is equal to (or more) than the scholarship amount.

One year appointment with the possibility of re-appointment for one additional year.

Download a detailed information sheet on SASC graduate assistantship compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What hours do graduate assistants work?

Graduate assistants work approximately 20 hours per week. Actual hours will vary by position, but are typically between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. with some nights and weekends.

What are graduate assistants' responsibilities?

Responsibilities will vary by position. Examples of professional development and applied learning opportunities include, but are not limited to: program coordination and management, direct advising of students, training/teaching experience, university committee service, training and programming in diversity and inclusion, research and assessment, participation in training and various international learning opportunities. View sample position descriptions.

How can I apply to be a SASC Graduate Assistant?

This first step is to apply to the MA in Higher Education Leadership. Admitted students will apply and interview at the campus visit for admitted students each February.  Virtual interviews will be granted for those unable to attend.  Apply through your response to the invitation for the campus visit. The hiring process for each academic year takes place in the spring.

May I apply to more than one graduate assistantship?

Yes, but you may only hold one graduate assistantship at a time. If you receive multiple offers you will need to choose one position.

May I renew my assistantship contract?

Yes, contracts are renewable for up to two years.

The Department of Leadership Studies has worked with a number of departments and organizations across the USD campus to craft graduate assistantships that provide students with up to 20 hours of work a week.  Possible placements may include:

  • Black Student Resource Center - Available Position
  • Center for Student Success
  • Career Services
  • Graduate Admissions
  • Graduate Records
  • Office of International Students and Scholars
  • Office of Undergraduate Research
  • One Stop Student Center
  • Veterans Center

Eligibility

Applicants should be currently enrolled or newly admitted MA in Higher Education Leadership students in good standing.

Compensation

An hourly wage of that typically starts at $13 per hours for up to 20 hours a week.  Additionally, students are still eligible for scholarship through SOLES and the university.

How can I apply for a Graduate Campus Assistantship?

After SASC placements each spring, admitted students will be notified of GCA openings and application will be made directly to the hiring offices.