Higher Education M.Ed.

student listening in class and smiling

As a master’s student in higher education, you’ll immerse yourself in the scholarship of the field while preparing for a career in university and college administration.

We cast a wide net in our coursework, examining foundational writing and leading research in higher education, as well as delving into associated work in sociology, psychology, history, and economics. Drawing on this base, our students engage in assessment, evaluation, and research projects on student experiences and higher education organizations that contribute to current thinking in the field. To complete the degree, students develop a case study project in the capstone Integrative Seminar and orally present/defend their resulting work. Not all of our students go on to doctorate programs, but all are well prepared to do so. There is also an opportunity to complete a dual degree with a masters in public policy administration and higher education (MPPA/M.Ed.).

In addition to coursework, our students gain practical experience in higher ed administration through a required practicum, assistantships, and other positions. The curriculum gives them opportunities to reflect on these experiences and integrate them into their scholarly work.

Some of our students come directly from undergraduate programs, while others have extensive experience in higher education. They have a wide range of undergraduate degrees and many worked in campus administrative offices as undergraduates. Most complete the master’s program in two years as full-time students in a cohort of 15-18, but part-time enrollment is possible as well.

Our alumni go on to work in higher education administration in such areas as student affairs, residential life, student activities, academic advising, admissions, assessment, policy, and development.

If you not only want to work in, but also transform higher education, we encourage you to apply.

For more information about the master’s program, contact Chrystal George-Mwangi, chrystal@educ.umass.edu.

Master's student presenting poster research

Course of Study

Sample full-time two year program plan (36 credits)

Course Description Credits
  First Year Fall Semester  
EDUC 634 Master's Seminar in Higher Education 3
EDUC 844 History of Higher Education  3
  Specialization Course 3
  First Year Spring Semester  
EDUC 641 Student Life Research 3
  Specialization Course 3
  Specialization Course 3
  Second Year Fall Semester   
EDUC 689ED Practicum in Higher Education  3
  Specialization Course 3
  Specialization Course 3
  Second Year Spring Semester  
EDUC 675 Master's Integrative 3
  Specialization Course 3
  Specialization Course 3
Graduate student smiling while listening in class

Sample Specialization Courses

  • EDUC 601 College Student Development Theory
  • EDUC 615T Impact of College on Students
  • EDUC 674 Leading Higher Education
  • EDUC 621 Managing Higher Education
  • EDUC 723 Organizing Higher Education
  • EDUC 691A Assessment Practices in Higher Education
  • EDUC 642 Principles and Practices of Student Affairs
  • EDUC 615 Higher Education Finance Policy
  • EDUC 615E Race, Class, and Gender in Higher Education
  • EDUC 683 Women in Higher Education
  • EDUC 846 The Academic Profession
  • EDUC 614B Inclusive College Environments and Campus Cultures 
  • EDUC 614 College Access and Equity






Application Timeline

Application materials are due by January 2. Priority Deadline: December 1. We will continue to review applications until the final College of Education application deadline (January 2). However, we encourage applicants to apply by the December 1 deadline in order to obtain first priority for full consideration into the Higher Education concentration.

 After we receive your application materials, they are reviewed by the Higher Education faculty, and acceptance emails are generally sent out by the end of February. Our admissions decisions are made prior to and independent from decisions about assistantships. Consequently, if you are admitted, you will hear from a higher education faculty member in February that you have been recommended to the graduate school for admission. An official notification of admission from the graduate school will follow shortly thereafter.

We host a Welcome Day for accepted applicants – usually this is held in late February or early March. All admitted students are invited to attend the event. It provides you an opportunity to visit our campus to learn more about the program, and to meet and interact with the faculty and current students. Some students are also able to interview for possible assistantships.


  • Generally we require an minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Experience working in the field of higher education (e.g., as an R.A.) is recommended.
  • Our master’s students come from many different undergraduate majors (English, Communications, Government, Journalism, Political Science, Health Science, Economics, Sociology, Business Administration, History, Education, Media Studies).
  • The deadline for submission of all required application materials is January 2.
  • We typically do not admit students who already have a master's degree to our master's program—regardless of the field of study in which it was earned. If you already have a master's degree we encourage you to apply to our Higher Education Leadership & Management Certificate Program or our doctoral program.

Required Materials

  • Graduate Online Admissions Application
  • Letters of Recommendation – A minimum of two letters of recommendation. At least one should be from someone who can speak about your academic background.
  • Official transcript(s) – An official transcript from all colleges/universities attended, undergraduate and graduate, where 6 or more credits were taken.
  • Personal Statement – Tell us why you are interested in pursuing a program in Higher Education, and why this is the right program for you.
  • Résumé/CV
  • Application fee
  • The GRE is not required


For more information about the master's program, contact Chrystal George Mwangi, chrystal@educ.umass.edu.