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Capstone Project

MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs


The goals of the Capstone Project are to:

  • Encourage professional development and professional socialization
  • Encourage involvement in professional organizations
  • Ensure preparation for global higher education
  • Enhance student career preparation

Program Overview

Each student will write and have approved by their adviser a statement of professional preparation.

Each student will be required to engage in professional development that includes exploration of issues in global higher education. A point system is provided to track this engagement.

Each student will develop and present a portfolio of their work and accomplishments.

Program Elements


A portfolio is a creatively compiled collection of evidence related to the student's academic and internship work and accomplishments during her or his master's program. A portfolio is a powerful tool for students in their job search. The portfolio contains the statement of professional philosophy, the internship contract, and a collection of materials related to the student academic and professional experience at NYU. Several portfolios from previous students are available for viewing in the department. Students can contact the program secretary to schedule a time to review them.

Students may opt to create an electronic or web-based portfolio instead of a paper version. The electronic version, while initially demanding to create, can convey skills beyond those conveyed in the paper version.

Statement of Professional Philosophy and Program Preparation

This statement will be a two-part document.

The process of writing, presenting, and explaining this statement will also prepare students to address such issues in their job interviews. The student will work with his or her adviser on developing this statement and the adviser will need to approve the statement prior to the portfolio presentation.

A three to four page explication of the student’s professional philosophy (i.e., values, beliefs, and perspectives as related to student affairs work); and

A three to four page section that focuses on integrating the elements of the program (i.e., academics, practical experience, and professional development) and that explains how the experiences have prepared the student to be an effective educator, administrator, and leader as a student affairs professional.

Guidelines for Professional Development and Global Higher Education Points

As part of the Capstone experience, students are required to earn 15 professional development points and 5 global higher education points. These can be earned by participating in activities that significantly enhance one’s professional skill set and understanding of education issues in a global context. Please review the Capstone Handbook for specific examples of activities that would be recognized as appropriate for this endeavor.

Capstone Presentation

In a group session scheduled for mid spring (or late fall), the students will present and explain their portfolio and statement and respond to questions from a panel of faculty and student affairs professionals. Each student will have had their portfolio and statement reviewed and approved ahead of time by their adviser. The Capstone presentation is meant to be a celebration of students’ professional accomplishments rather than a defense of their work.