Dean of Students: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a dean of students. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and related experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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A dean of students responds to students' needs at a college or university, and plans programs for campus life. Typically, an advanced degree is required for this job, and duties can vary depending on the size of the school. Here you will find the details of this career, as well as its salary and job outlook.

Essential Information

Also known as a higher education administrator, a dean of students provides social programs and support for students at colleges and universities. Successful deans of students collaborate with different departments, stay up to date on relevant student resources and work directly with students. Education and experience requirements for this position vary, but many deans of students possess an advanced degree and have worked their way up from lower-level positions.

Required Education Master's or doctoral degree in education administration or similar field
Other Requirements Candidates may need to progress from lower administrative positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% for all postsecondary education administrators
Mean Salary (2015)* $102,610 for all postsecondary education administrators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

A dean of students plans and directs university activities related to student services and campus life. As an administrator, a dean of students might help coordinate admissions, health services, financial aid, housing and social programs for students. The office of a dean of students is generally responsible for serving as a point of information for students and responding to students' needs. A larger university might have multiple deans of students, each of whom has specialized tasks and an area of focus.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for postsecondary education administrators, like deans, should increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024. The 2015 mean salary for all postsecondary administrators was $102,610, as reported by the BLS. Those who were employed by colleges, universities and professional schools had a mean annual salary of $106,650 in 2015, while those working at junior colleges earned a mean annual salary of $88,990 that year.


The job duties of a dean of students usually includes supervising various campus programs and serving as a liaison between college administrators and student organizations, such as a student council. Social programs managed through the office of the dean of students might include Greek life and orientation events for incoming students. A dean of students could also coordinate services specifically for transfer or international students. Additionally, they might handle discipline-related processes and procedures.

While deans of students work primarily with non-academic issues, their office initiatives might include encouraging academic success and monitoring students who are struggling in classes. They could also provide advice regarding degree and distribution requirements. When serving as the head of an office or a department, a dean of students might manage the office budget and develop office policies regarding student life program development.


According to the BLS, student affairs directors might start out in lower administrative positions and progress to higher positions after obtaining an advanced degree in counseling or education administration. However, a doctoral degree could be necessary for a top position in student affairs ( Master's degree programs in higher education administration and student affairs are available, and some programs can be completed online. Relevant course topics include the finances of higher education, governance and structure of universities, student privacy issues and students' personal development during college years. Doctoral degree programs in education administration are widely available and typically include field experiences in higher education.

Deans of students, or student affairs directors, provide support for students, and plan and implement social programs that enrich the college experience. A master's or doctoral degree is most often required for this position, and demand in the field is expected to increase by 9% through the year 2024.

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