Adult Education

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Dr. Steven W. Schmidt
Program Area Coordinator
221B Ragsdale Building

Ms. Christy Hines
Administrative Support Associate
213 Ragsdale Building

Student Affairs in Higher Education Certificate

Are you interested in enhancing your career in student affairs or in starting a new career in student affairs?

Student affairs professionals are increasingly in demand at higher education institutions across the country.  This online certificate is designed for graduate students interested in careers in student affairs in higher education and employees currently working in the field who are interested in learning more about the important role student affairs plays in higher education.  Students in the program learn the importance of student development theory and other skills necessary to work with diverse student bodies, foster leadership and engagement strategies, and deepen their understanding of student affairs in higher education.

The program is taught through a distance education format, making it easier for professionals to find time to fulfill the requirements of the certificate.

Program Details:

Application for admission to the Graduate School is made either online or on forms furnished by the Graduate School. All applicants for admissions pay a nondeductible, nonrefundable fee of $70. The application form and all supporting documents should be received by the Graduate School, Ragsdale Building, (252) 328-6012 at least thirty days prior to the beginning of any semester or summer term.

Applicants are asked to furnish two official transcripts from each institution attended since high school, a statement of intent, and at least two letters of recommendation. Once the application is complete and has been forwarded to the Coordinator of the Adult Education program, it will be reviewed and an admission decision will be made.

General Admissions Requirements
  1. Academic Achievement - Applicants must first meet the requirements for the admission to the Graduate School. The junior and senior years of under- graduate study are particularly crucial. It is recognized, however, that some applicants have finished their undergraduate study some time ago and that work experience and motivation are also factors in success in graduate study.
  2. Letters of Recommendation - Applicants will be asked to present two letters of reference which can speak to their ability to perform graduate level academic work as well as their interest and experience in adult education.
  3. Statement of Intent - All applicants to the program will be required to include a Statement of Intent with application materials. This statement should highlight applicants' reasons for applying to the Adult Education program.
Students currently enrolled in a graduate program may apply to “Add a certificate” through the graduate school website. Separate enrollment is required including an application fee. However, the admissions requirements are waived.

The Student Affairs in Higher Education Certificate requires a minimum of 15 semester hours. A culminating portfolio is also required. Coursework is as follows:

Student Affairs in Higher Education Core Courses (9 semester hours)
  • ADED 6100/COAD 6100 - Introduction to Student Affairs
  • COAD 6411 - Student Affairs and College Counseling
  • COAD 7411 - Administration and Management of Student Affairs in Higher Education
Electives (6 semester hours)

Students can choose from a variety of graduate-level electives related to their specific discipline or interests. The student and program advisor work together to choose electives that meet student needs and interests. Below are recommended electives.

Students should contact Dr. Kathy Lohr ( for approval of courses not on this list.

  • ADED 6590 - Multicultural Issues in Education
  • ADED 6456 - Adult Education and Social Justice
  • ADED 6450 - Community, Junior, and Technical College
  • COAD 6407 - Social and Cultural Issues in Counseling
  • COAD 6402 - Career Development and Counseling
  • COAD 6412 - Developmental Counseling and Learning: A Life-Span Approach
  • COAD 6408 - Counseling the Exceptional Student

Purpose of Portfolio : The purpose of the portfolio is to give you the opportunity to synthesize and integrate the various elements of what you have learned in the Student Affairs certificate. This portfolio project is intended to be reflective and comprehensive - personal, practice-based, and developmental; it's about you as a student affairs practitioner. The portfolio is designed to demonstrate your new knowledge, skills, and beliefs, as well as document your discipline proficiency for current and prospective employers. Your portfolio is to be done electronically (web-based) in approximately 10-12 pages of double-spaced, 11pt font (or approximately 2500-3000 words), with appendices included for brief additional evidence you wish to share. Content should be embedded in the web pages themselves (not included as attachments). The portfolio should be put together using Taskstream, which is ECU's portfolio development system. Information on Taskstream can be found at this link:

In your last semester of coursework, contact Dr. Kathy Lohr ( for guidelines and deadline information.

The culminating portfolio will be reviewed and must be approved by Dr. Lohr prior to completion of the certificate program.

For a full listing of all of the names and descriptions of the courses within this program, please visit the Adult Education and Counselor Education sections of the Graduate Catalog.

Following is a list of when each core course in the certificate program is typically offered. Course schedules for specific semesters may vary.

  • OAD 6100/ADED 6100 Introduction to Student Affairs in Higher - Offered during fall and spring semesters.
  • COAD 6411 Student Affairs and College - Offered during fall semester.
  • COAD 7411 Administration and Management of Student Affairs in Higher Education - Offered during first summer session.

Adult Education Handbook for the MAEd and certificates.

Get information on the cost, financing, and success rate of graduates in this certificate program by visiting the Gainful Employment Data page.