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Master’s Degree Programs in Higher Education Leadership Overview

Majors Overview August 8, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in higher education leadership and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and licensing and continuing education choices.

Information on Higher Education Leadership Programs

Many schools offer master’s degree programs in higher education leadership. These programs are devised to develop students’ leadership skills as education administrators. A teaching or an administrative certification may be a requirement for individuals who seek positions in a public school, depending on the position and state they seek.

Students enrolled in these programs are usually required to complete 36-45 credit hours of study. Core coursework is devised to impart a broad base in higher education leadership through the study of student services management, campus management, higher education administration, and education law. Internships in college administrative offices are incorporated to give hands-on experience to students. Students enrolled in some programs are allowed to choose specializations in fields such as community college leadership, adult education, institutional research or student development. Schools may offer electives such as financial aid management, educational policy, and teaching adults online. Study abroad options may be in some programs.

Master’s Programs in Higher Education Leadership

Students enrolled in master’s degree programs in higher education leadership examine the application of leadership theory and hone the research skills they would need to ensure effective leadership and administration of education programs. Students enrolled in many programs can choose to tailor their studies to fulfill their career goals through specialization options in areas such as enrollment, student development, or academic development.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. In some programs, applicants who wish to pursue a credential in administrative services or its equivalent are also required to offer proof of prior teaching experience.


Coursework incorporates numerous educational administration concepts, such as the evaluation of governmental regulations, organizational strategy, and education programs, and how it relates to education. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Outcomes assessment
•Personnel management and evaluation
•Educational law
•Educational planning
•Strategic planning
•School site administration
•Research methods

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek jobs in various adult education settings, such as colleges, foundations, government agencies, and universities. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Faculty member
•Staff Developer
•Educational specialist
•Assistant Dean

Licensing and Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education may pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education that could lead to a higher-level faculty or administrative position in universities and colleges. Ph.D. candidates are allowed to choose specific areas of concentration, such as administration or student affairs. The credentialing process for their specific fields may also have to be completed by students – the regulations could vary by state. For instance, administrative services credentials are offered in some states, thereby authorizing the performance of certain tasks by the holder, including the conducting of disciplinary actions for personnel.

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