Dean of Students: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

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.

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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 19% between 2010 and 2020. The 2012 average salary for individuals in this profession who worked for colleges and universities was $103,820, as reported by the BLS, and those who were employed by junior colleges earned an average of $86,850 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 a dean of students works 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 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.

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