Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Higher Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Paul Bylsma

Academic Year



As Fat Studies is an emerging field within higher education student affairs, research shows that the academic, social, and personal development of students who face fatphobia or discrimination is stunted (Brown, 2016; McHugh and Kasardo, 2012; Ramseyer Winter, 2017; Ropers-Huilman et al., 2016; Stevens, 2018; Wann, 2009). But, as colleges have historically and continuously ignored or erased the presence of fat students on their campuses, fat students are often left without support during their college experiences (Wann, 2009). Several factors impact fat college students and this project explores these factors, including the gendered aspect to fatphobia, the medicalization of fatness due to pseudo-scientific terminology, the lack of sense of belonging for fat college students, and the current state of Diversity and Inclusion training for graduate students of higher education student affairs. Despite these challenges, student affairs practitioners must receive the education necessary to support and understand the unique experiences and challenges of fat college students. The imperative of this project, therefore, is to provide faculty of graduate student affairs programs the material for an introduction to Fat Studies in higher education for their courses that focus on Diversity and Inclusion within their curriculum.