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Master’s Degree Programs in Higher Education Administration Overview

Majors Overview August 12, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in higher education administration and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Higher Education Administration

Group assignments and individual projects augment coursework in Master of Higher Education Administration (M.H.E.A.) degree programs to train graduates to seek various careers in the field. Educational administration theories and realistic case study scenarios devise coursework aimed at bolstering the students’ budget management and funding capabilities, leadership skills, and organizational aptitudes.

Program coursework integrates learning activities, such as problem-solving projects, writing reports, and simulation exercises. Other components of the coursework include techniques and methods for college catalog analysis, career mapping, and mediating asynchronous online discussions. Most graduate degree programs are available in on-campus and online formats. In some MHEA degree programs, completion of a capstone research project is a compulsory requirement.

Independent study on a higher education administration subject that the student has an interest in, such as technology trends or fundraising, is usually in these projects. The typical culmination of capstone projects includes a group presentation of the research findings and a written report.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. In some programs, interested students are required to have some prior experience in higher education, even if only at a basic administrative level.


Students have to complete approximately 48 credit hours of coursework, in addition to internships and research projects, to graduate from most higher education administration master’s degree programs. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•History of higher education
•Higher education business management
•College and university student personnel management
•Organization and administration of higher education
•Legal issues in higher education

Job and Wage Outlook

An average job growth rate has been predicted for higher education administrators (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth is due to the imminent retirement of several professionals in the field. In 2012, there were 161,800 individuals employed as higher education administrators in the United States; these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $86,490 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Most doctorate programs offered by schools in this field are either a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education Administration. Program graduates can also pursue continuing education opportunities offered by professional organizations, such as NASPA and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

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