Master’s in Higher Education Administration

Note: This page provides information on a Master's Degree in Higher Education. For doctoral information, please see our PhD in Higher Education Administration page.

A Master's in Higher Education Administration can help prepare graduate students for a variety of career paths including teaching, administration at the college level, higher education instruction, and many more. There are even research opportunities for those who wish to go in this direction. Most master's degree programs require proof of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum required GPA. Another typical requirement is a GRE score at a set level as well as letters of recommendation from professors or current employers. Some schools may even require a teaching license. However, a related bachelor's degree would be acceptable for most college and university programs, if the student does not plan on entering the K-12 teaching realm.

Choosing an Online Master's in Higher Education Administration Program

Picking a college or university may be one of the most difficult decisions students are faced with. When looking into higher education administration programs, both online or on-campus, it is imperative to know that the school you will attend is nationally recognized and reputable. The following questions will help you:

Is the Program Accredited?

When a program is accredited, you can feel confident in knowing that you will receive a high caliber of education. The process of accreditation is similar to peer review. For a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration, the peer review process must be done by an official organization or agency representing the field. Most schools proudly share their accreditation status upon request. To learn more about accreditation, you can visit:

How Long Has the Program Been Offered?

Consider it a red flag if an online school or program has not been around long enough to gain full accreditation. Remember, if a program is not accredited by a reputable agency (one that is recognized by CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation), your degree will not be valid. In general, the longer the program has been around, the better. This shows that the school has proven to be successful year after year.

What Technologies Will Be Used to Facilitate Online Learning?

In order to facilitate online learning, master's in higher education administration programs will utilize virtual classrooms. These virtual classroom can be accessed through the web, usually with no costs associated. Each school has their own preference as to which online learning platform is used. It may be a good idea to delve into the technology beforehand to get an idea of what learning will look like.

What Resources Will I Have Access To?

There is no doubt that you will be required to partake in research over the course of your master's degree program. Good online schools may give students access to resources such as catalogs, scholarly journals, and other online research tools. In addition, many reputable online schools offer student services such as advising and technology assistance. Before signing on, find out what resources and student services are offered to you.

What Skills and Topics Are Covered?

To find out how a Master's Degree in Education Administration lines up with your career goals, review the program's curriculum before signing on - this will usually come in the form of measurable outcomes directly related to higher education administration. Good schools should be able to provide an organized curriculum upon request. Within the curriculum, you should notice rigor. Be wary of a program that boasts "fast and easy".

Do You Have Job Placement Information for Students Who Recently Graduated from the Program?

Another good way to tell if a program is right for you is to reach out to recent graduates. Alumni can act as great mentors and counselors. See how individuals have used their online Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration to grow in their career. If given the chance, do ask questions about about the program and seek advice regarding effective work habits for online learning.

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Is an Online Degree Right for You?

Earning a Master's in Higher Education Administration can be hard work. With that said, choosing a degree path that is right for you is a very important decision. There are two main options when it comes to earning a degree - the traditional route and the online route. The traditional route is very familiar to most of us, as it has been around for hundreds of years. Below we will explore some aspects of online education, which has been growing rapidly in the United States.

Flexible Schedule

When it comes to earning a Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration, time can be an enemy to those who are currently working or raising a family. However, many master's programs are now offered completely online. Often, these programs take less time and have varying start dates - allowing graduate students to take classes on their own schedule. Online education does not require students to reorganize their lives. Students can study and complete assignments whenever it fits into their schedules - whether that's early in the morning before work, on their lunch break, or a few hours in the evening at a coffee shop. Online schooling takes away the worry of missing classes because of work or other family obligations.

Tuition and Costs

When considering overall costs, online degree programs can be more cost effective. You may even find the cost of an online degree to be quite comparable to the cost of a traditional one. Consider the following:

  • No fees associated with parking passes, transportation, gas, car maintenance, or on-campus meals.
  • No costs having to do with relocating and living on campus.
  • Due to the flexible schedule, online students will be able to maintain a consistent source of income.

Fast Completion

Online Master's in Higher Education Administration programs are often self-paced. Due to the self-paced nature, students have the possibility of completing program requirements more quickly. Graduate students have the option to take classes throughout the year and back to back. Additionally, many online master's programs offer accelerated completion tracks.


If you are considering an online Master's in Higher Education Administration, it would be a good idea to assess your own work habits. Self-starters or self-motivators tend to have an easier time completing online programs. These type of learners do not need physical interaction to stay on track. Online courses are just as rigorous as their traditional counterparts, so it is important to stay on top of all requirements.

Master's Program Course Topics

Although course topics for a Master's in Higher Education Administration will vary from school to school, you can expect to see courses similar to the following:

Understanding Higher Education

This class offers historical perspectives on the development of higher education over the years and in the current system. Students will be made familiar with the requirements, philosophy, and community of higher education.

Best Practices for Student Success

This course emphasizes the deployment and designs of programs and services that students will have available and may recommend if teaching at the higher education level.

Understanding Institutions

This class deals with organizational behavior and culture. It focuses on students learning how to identify aspects of the structure and college at higher educational levels. Students will assess strategies for working within governance structures effectively.

Managing Resources for Organizational Success

This class introduces the fundamentals of financial administration to students. As rising costs and dwindling resources are rampant, the effective, socially responsible, and ethical management of resources becomes more important.

Foundations of Research

This type of class offers an introduction to the principles and processes of research. Professionals can explore the various steps and considerations needed in the research process.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Higher Education Administration?

Career pathways based on a Master's in Higher Education and Administration may not be as varied as other degrees;however, there are several choices available.

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers instruct students at the college level and in other academic and technical areas. Postsecondary teachers are in demand at the moment as more and more courses are being created. These professionals can work online or in an actual classroom on a college campus or professional school. The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains more information on postsecondary teachers.


A researcher is in charge of research, typically in the educational realm. Researchers often work in actual classrooms, offices, or labs gathering data over time. The number of research positions are limited, as is the funding for such positions. This means the field is also limited and pay varies greatly based on grants and positions.

Public Speaker

Public speakers book jobs to offer lectures at colleges, universities, and other organizations. This is typically to share research findings or other information. This is a job that is typically offered to those who are well known in their fields.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Administrators at this level are typically over a department at a college or university. These professionals may oversee curricula, supervise personnel, budgets, and payroll among other things. Some administrators may even specialize in students affairs, such as resident life, student activities, career services, and counseling.

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Professional Associations

Another way to help your career in higher education administration is to join professional associations. Through these associations, you will have access to conferences, resources, and other members. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, for example, promotes the well-being and advancement of professionals in the field of higher education. Staying current with research and findings in the field of higher education administration is imperative to professional growth.