Higher Education Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership is ideal for current and future leaders in higher education who would benefit from leadership training, but who already have a terminal degree or do not need an advanced degree. Students in the 15-credit program study leadership, management, and organization in higher education, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice. 

The graduate certificate program is fully online, making it convenient for professionals from a wide geographic area. You can complete the program in one year by taking two classes in each of the fall and spring semesters, and the final course in the summer, or you can spread the courses out over more semesters. 

Who should consider the graduate certificate in higher education leadership and management?

  • Higher education professionals currently working in management positions or who want to gain leadership and management skills that will allow them to move into positions with more responsibility.
  • Current doctoral students in any field considering a career in higher education administration upon completion of their degree
  • Faculty members or administrators who wishes to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to provide better leadership for their campus

The Higher Education Leadership Graduate Certificate is most suitable for those who already have several years of experience working in higher education. If you are a recent graduate, our master’s program in higher education may be a more appropriate choice.

For more information about the Graduate Certificate contact Kate Hudson, info-leadership@umass.edu.


Course of Study


Fall registration opens June 4. Fall courses run from September 4 - December 12. 

Course Description Credits
  Fall 2018 Courses  
EDUC 621 Managing Higher Education*  3
EDUC 674  Leading Higher Education* 3
EDUC 690a Community College Foundations** 3

*Required course for Higher Education Leadership Certificate

**Can be used as a Foundations credit or an elective

You may also want to consider completing a practicum course as your elective (see the Student Handbook for additional information).

Courses Included in the Higher Education Leadership Graduate Certificate

  • EDUC 601a – Foundations of Higher Education
  • EDUC 690a – Community College Foundations
  • EDUC 674 – Leading Higher Education
  • EDUC 621 – Managing Higher Education
  • EDUC 723 – Organizing Higher Education
  • 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 (current issues). We will be rotating new courses regularly. You may also want to consider completing a practicum course as your elective (see Higher Education Leadership Graduate Certificate Student Handbook for additional information.)

We are now offering a community colleges track option for students looking to do a more focused study of community college leadership and administration. Students interested in this option can take EDUC 690a Community College Foundations as their required foundations course and EDUC 748 Community Colleges in America as their elective.  

For more information on program requirements, see Higher Education Leadership Graduate Certificate Student Handbook.

Tuition and Fees

Continuing & Professional Education (CPE) at UMass Amherst administers registration and payments for the graduate certificate. 

Tuition details

  • Tuition is currently at $474/credit.
  • Tuition for each 3-credit course is $1,422 plus applicable fees.
  • Total tuition for the 5-course program is $7,110 (Figures applicable as of May 2018).
  • There is also a $47/semester registration fee.

Tuition Waivers

Eligible Massachusetts state employees receive a 50% discount on tuition for Continuing & Professional Education courses. For more information on tuition waivers, visit the CPE website.  

Financial Aid

Financial aid is not available for certificate programs. 

Visit the Continuing & Professional Education site for more information on tuition and fees.


Application Timeline

We admit students to the program on a rolling basis. 

Degree Requirements and Required Application Materials

To apply to the certificate program you must hold at least a baccalaureate degree. Many applicants will have a master’s or doctoral degree as well.

You may take up to two courses before you officially apply to the program.

Application Requirements

  • Application form
  • Personal statement
  • Résumé
  • Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions attended
  • Two letters of reference.

You may submit your materials electronically to helm-info@educ.umass.edu or mail them to 

Kate Hudson
813 N. Pleasant St.
Furcolo N182
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003

Transferring Credits 

If, after you complete the requirements for the Higher Education Leadership graduate certificate, you apply to and enroll in either our master’s or doctoral programs, you will be able to apply all 15 credits to that program. Contact program coordinator, Kate Hudson, for specific details.