MA in Higher Education Leadership

Department of Leadership Studies

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.

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


The following campus offices offer graduate assistantships. Please note that available positions differ each year and not all positions will be available each year. 


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


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.

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 Graduate Assistant?

This first step is to apply to the MA in Higher Education Leadership. Applicants and current students are contacted in early spring with information on available positions and application processes. The hiring process for the next academic year takes place 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.