Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership

The Higher Education Leadership Graduate Certificate is a 15-credit academic concentration focused on the study of leadership, management and organization in higher education and the intersection of theory and practice. It is designed for the many current and future leaders in higher education who could benefit from additional leadership training but who do not wish to commit to a degree program at the current time. Credits earned can be applied towards a master’s or doctoral degree in Higher Education at UMass Amherst if you decide later that you would like to pursue a degree. See UMass Amherst Higher Education Program.

Who Should Consider the Higher Education Leadership?

You may be interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate if you are a:

  • Higher education professional who wants to gain leadership and management skills
  • Current doctoral student in any field considering a career in higher education administration upon completion of your degree;
  • Faculty member or administrator who wishes to enhance your knowledge and skills in order to provide better leadership for your campus.

The Graduate Certificate is most suitable for those who already have several years of experience working in higher education. 

Courses Included in the Graduate Certificate

  • EDUC 601a – Foundations of Higher Education (Summer & Fall)
  • EDUC 674 – Leading Higher Education (Fall)
  • EDUC 621 – Managing Higher Education (Spring)
  • EDUC 723 – Organizing Higher Education (Summer)
  • Elective - Courses currently include EDUC 689 Academic Profession, EDUC 642 Principles & Practices of Student Affairs, EDUC 692R Introduction to College Teaching, EDUC 748 Community Colleges in America. We will be rotating new courses regularly. You may also want to consider completing a practicum course as your elective (see  Student Handbook for additional information.)

The certificate is fully online. It can be completed in one year by taking two classes in each of the fall and spring semesters, and the final course in the summer. Or, courses can be spread out over more semesters.

Program Tuition and Fees

The graduate certificate is administered through UMass Amherst Continuing & Professional Education (C&PE). For more information on C&PE tuition and fees, see

Tuition waivers for eligible state employees for Continuing & Professional Education courses offer a 50% discount on the course tuition. For more information on tuition waivers, see

Current UMass Amherst graduate students and employees can choose classes that are offered in face-to-face sessions (usually EDUC 674 Leading Higher Education and EDUC 621 Managing Higher Education) for which tuition waivers apply. Other classes must be taken through Continuing and Professional Education.

Admission to the Graduate Certificate Program

Admission is on a rolling basis.

You must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. You may take up to two courses before you officially apply to the program.

Materials required for admission include: application form, personal statement, resume, transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, and two letters of reference.

Submit your application materials to:
Kate Hudson, Coordinator, Higher Education and Leadership Graduate Certificate
College of Education, N182 Furcolo
813 North Pleasant Street
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003

Materials can also be submitted electronically to:

Transfer of Credits

If, after you complete the requirements for the Higher Education Leadership certificate, you apply to and enroll in the master’s or doctoral concentration in Higher Education at UMass Amherst, you will be able to apply all 15 credits toward that degree. Details are available through the Coordinator.

Associated Faculty

Benita J. Barnes (Associate Professor), Elizabeth Bennett (Adjunct Lecturer), Chrystal George Mwangi (Assistant Professor), Shane Hammond (Adjunct Lecturer), Katherine Hudson (Lecturer), Ezekial Kimball (Assistant Professor), Ryan Wells (Associate Professor), Susan Wyckoff (Adjunct Lecturer)