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The educational landscape is ever-evolving. With the advancements in technology and changes in pedagogical approaches, it's imperative for educators never to stop their pursuit of knowledge.
As times change, colleges and universities continue to adapt to the increasing demands of a rapidly changing role. This has made the role of school administrators and leaders increasingly crucial. Because of this, earning a Master's in Higher Education is a valuable asset that will equip educators with advanced knowledge and skills necessary to excel.
A Master's in Higher Education is a specialized program designed to equip teachers and aspiring educators for administrative and leadership roles within colleges, universities, and other academic institutions. A master's degree delves into the intricacies of higher education and offers students a profound understanding of the principles, practices, and policies that govern this sector.
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An online Master's in Higher Education offers a combination of specialized knowledge and skills that provide students with a solid foundation of educational theory, as well as establish vital practical skills, including effective communication, leadership, and strategic planning. With the advent of online education, pursuing a graduate degree has now become more accessible for teachers.
Selecting a top-tier college or university that offers a Master's in Higher Education can take a lot of time and effort. However, students must conduct thorough research into the academic institution they are considering to ensure the program curriculum, coursework, and delivery format suit their schedule and other commitments.
We are here to help you in making an informed decision! The ten leading online Master's in Higher Education graduate schools listed below have been carefully selected! Each program made it to our list because of these attributes:
- Offered as an online or hybrid master's program,
- Features an academic curriculum that highlights the most important and most advanced Higher Education courses that will equip graduate students with a solid foundation in the field,
- Offers financial assistance to eligible graduate students to reduce their online Master's in Higher Education degree expenses,
- Classes are facilitated by distinguished faculty that comprises professionals with remarkable contributions to the field,
- Has attained top rankings and received remarkable reviews from former and current students to demonstrate authority within the academic community,
- Has appropriate accreditation from government and private educational associations that develop evaluation criteria and assess whether such criteria are met.
Visit our Methodology section for more information.
10 Best Master's in Higher Education Graduate Schools
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers hundreds of programs in 56 countries across six continents. It is home to 1,400 faculty members who help students pursue their passion at UMass Amherst.
- The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an online Master of Education in Higher Education.
- With its online delivery format, current teachers with demanding work schedules can conveniently earn a graduate degree.
- Those who earned 15 credits from a Higher Education Leadership and Administration (HELA) graduate certificate can qualify for the higher education master's or doctoral degree.
- This master's degree in Higher Education emphasizes social justice and student success, developing their understanding of how higher education can strengthen current systems of oppression.
- Coursework involves delving into economics, history, psychology, and sociology, as well as examining leading research and foundational writing in higher education.
- The capstone project requires them to develop a case study and defend their work.
- Students are to take one to two courses per term and complete the degree program in seven semesters.
Students enrolled in the Med in Higher Education program need to complete 120 hours of practicum in the field along with academic reflections applying their experiences with scholarly work. However, they may be able to waive the requirement if they have more than five years of professional experience in higher education. If that is the case, students who do not need to undergo practicum training must choose additional electives instead.
Did You Know?
UMass Amherst has ranked among the top 50 best-value public colleges in America. It is one of the best LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. It has ranked number 32 among the national public universities across the nation. Plus, it has some of the best campus food, too.
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi is the state's flagship academic institution. It is a member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification. It has 16 academic divisions, including a medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, pharmacy, and law, and an Honors College. This university is among the most routinely acknowledged college towns in the country.
- The University of Mississippi's Master of Arts in Higher Education is a 30-hour online degree program that tackles the various major aspects of higher education administration.
- This degree program prepares teachers and those employed in the administration of various areas of postsecondary education by developing their competencies, dispositions, and skills in fulfilling leadership roles at various types of institutions.
- This is a blended program that addresses student affairs and a wide range of administrative functions in higher education.
Full-time students who are interested in the MA in Higher Education at the University of Mississippi can enroll in the residential MA program to earn this degree.
Did You Know?
The University of Mississippi is committed to producing well-rounded graduates who are passionate about leadership and scholarship. This is why they have various on-campus activities, social programs, and service opportunities for all students, including community service, campus organizations, environmental awareness programs, and other recreations.
The University of Toledo
- The University of Toledo's Master of Education in Higher Education, a professional development opportunity, is designed to establish a more profound knowledge of higher education administration practices and issues in two- and four-year academic institutions.
- This master's program prepares individuals for entry-level administrative and professional staff positions, as well as those who are already working in higher education and want to pursue mid-level positions.
- It possesses rolling admissions in the fall, spring, or summer semesters and can be completed in six semesters.
- Graduate students who do not have full-time work experience in higher education will be required to take a practicum course, allowing them to gain work experience at an academic institution near them.
Students enrolled in the University of Toledo's Master of Education in Higher Education program can apply for scholarships that are designed for master's and doctoral students to fund their pursuit of graduate studies. Those who will be traveling and presenting at conferences will also receive funding support.
Did You Know?
The University of Toledo's Military Service Center acknowledges the services and sacrifices made by military members. Because of this, it provides accessible education, customized support services, and degree completion opportunities to all service members and their families.
University of Houston
The University of Houston was founded in 1927. It is the third-largest university in the state of Texas and the largest public research university in Houston. Today, it has produced around 316,769 alums and welcomes over 46,000 every year.
- The University of Houston's Master of Education in Higher Education program is one of its nationally-ranked education programs.
- This program uses a cohort model that allows students to earn a master's degree in two years.
- Its online program has the same coursework, performance expectations, and admissions as its in-person program.
- The M.Ed. in Higher Education program is perfect for full-time professionals who are working in higher education and are seeking advancement in their careers.
- Its online curriculum is delivered through the university's Blackboard Learn classroom management system, which follows the same layout and design structure to ensure students will be able to navigate through the virtual classroom environment easily.
- Through this program, students will be prepared to demonstrate leadership qualities that are grounded in effective practice and theory and to realign support services with students' specific needs through policy analysis and strategic planning.
The University of Houston's Master of Education in Higher Education degree program will train graduate students to become agents of change who can help increase access and success for their students, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds. Some graduates have gone on to pursue leadership roles in nonprofit organizations that are committed to improving college success and access.
Did You Know?
The University of Houston has faculty members who are members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, a group of private, nonprofit institutions that help solve some of the major challenges in the country and the world.
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University Global is dedicated to supporting and delivering personalized online education to working adults who have gained work or life experiences beyond the classroom. It is backed by the 150-year legacy of Purdue University, one of the nation's most innovative and respected public universities.
- Purdue University Global's Master of Science in Higher Education is designed to develop graduate students' practical knowledge, research, writing, and critical thinking skills to prepare them for leadership roles in academic institutions.
- This MS in Higher Education program allows students to customize their program by letting them select a concentration in College Administration and Leadership, College Teaching, and Student Affairs.
- It has a 120-hour internship requirement that allows students to gain real-world experiences in the student affairs concentration.
- It features a comprehensive curriculum that features interactive courses to help students pursue new opportunities or advance in their careers in postsecondary educational environments.
- Students get to focus on diversity and multicultural issues that affect the development of students at postsecondary levels.
Purdue University Global has academic alliances that expand students' teaching opportunities. Its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has formed a partnership with Promise Opens Doors. This reputable and exclusive organization offers online certificate programs, namely Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or TESOL/Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TEFL, for teachers who are interested in working in other countries to help others learn to speak English.
Did You Know?
Purdue University has ranked 8th among the most innovative schools in America. It has also been included in Fast Company's "Brands That Matter" for three years in a row.
Penn State World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania State University has over 125 years of experience in providing distance education. Because of this, the university launched the Penn State World Campus in 1998, allowing working adults to earn a degree without attending on-campus classes. Today, the university has over 175 programs offered to students all over America and the world.
- Penn State World Campus' Master of Education in Higher Education provides students with the practical skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.
- This online degree program in Higher Education is part of a higher education curriculum that has been producing exceptional graduates for more than 50 years.
- Working professionals who are interested in pursuing this degree can take one to two courses at a time and complete the program at their own pace.
- This Higher Education master's degree program offers students a comprehensive guide to administration, careers, evaluation, history, and organization of postsecondary activities and programs.
- This program produces career-ready graduates who qualify for entry-level positions, particularly as mid-level administrators of college and university offices.
Penn State World Campus offers three emphasis areas: Administration, Institutional Research, and Student Engagement. Graduate students can seek professional advice from faculty advisers who can help them choose the most appropriate program of study.
Did You Know?
Penn State World Campus is a nationally recognized university that has the largest alum network in America. It is Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)-approved and obtained additional accreditations for several of its programs through various governing bodies in those particular fields.
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University welcomes over 35,000 students attending its online or on-campus programs every year. This land-grant university is a Carnegie top-tier research institution that provides innovative academics to develop its students' creativity and intellect.
- Oklahoma State University's Master of Science in Educational Leadership Studies, Option in Higher Education degree is specifically designed for professionals who are looking to pursue leadership positions at public and private academic institutions.
- Through this program, students will learn about the complex issues facing postsecondary schools today, including administrative and organizational frameworks, as well as the needs of different students.
- Kamm Lecture in Higher Education, founded by Dr. Robert B. Kamm, is a virtual symposium that brings together public and private sector leaders to discuss various issues in the field, focusing on the application and impact of the topic or issue addressed previously.
- Students have the option to follow the suggested two-year accelerated completion sequence wherein they need to take two courses per semester or complete the program in three years using a spring or fall sequence.
Students can apply for assistantships through the Higher Education and Student Affairs program to support a faculty member with their research and teaching. All they need to do is express their intention to apply to the program coordinator.
Did You Know?
Oklahoma State University has been recognized as the number one college in the state of Oklahoma for its online education opportunities.
An estimated 87% of graduates from OSU have been reported to be employed full-time time, earning a median annual salary of $45,000.
A Higher Learning Commission-accredited institution, Walden University is committed to ensuring the highest standard of academic excellence. This university is a pioneer in distance learning and has been delivering high-quality online education for working professionals.
- Walden University's Master of Science in Higher Education prepares graduates to take on leadership roles, such as administrators, academic directors, professional developers and trainers, and research and planning directors, in postsecondary settings, as well as in business and government.
- Through this master's degree program, students will develop the confidence and skills needed to make a positive impact on their future employers.
- They will have the opportunity to explore budgeting and strategic planning and learn how to build high-performing and strong culture teams.
- The program features a capstone project that will give students the chance to use their newly acquired insights and skills to solve real challenges in their workplaces.
- Walden's MS in Higher Education degree gives students an option to choose a specialization to focus on, including Adult Learning, College Teaching and Learning, Enrollment Management, Institutional Marketing, General Program, Global Higher Education, Leadership for Student Success, and Online and Distance Learning.
Walden University has produced nearly 60,000 education alums, including over 150 state teachers. This proves that this academic institution is one of the most trusted educators in the nation.
Did You Know?
The Richard W. Riley College of Education & Human Services has a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation. It is recognized for its excellence in clinical experience, program impact, content and pedagogy, capacity, and selectivity for continuous improvement.
Ohio University has ranked the best college town in Ohio, with more than 28,000 students enrolled in its online and on-campus programs. It offers over 250 majors, minors, and certificate programs across its residential campus, five regional campuses, and extension campuses and centers.
- Ohio University's Master of Education in Higher Education program can be completed in five semesters using a theory-to-practice model.
- This master's program in Higher Education is designed for those who desire to advance their understanding and skills while working in a higher education setting.
- This degree is also for individuals who are transitioning to a career in student affairs administration.
- Students gain a broad knowledge of the history, contexts, and purposes of higher education, research concepts and methods, leadership, organizational dynamics, and the learning environment.
- They also develop a deeper understanding of the American Higher Education system and are able to translate what they have learned into excellent practice.
- They become adept at promoting diversity and opportunity throughout higher education.
- They will also be able to use applicable knowledge, methods, and theories to critically evaluate and analyze relevant policies and conceptual and theoretical literature.
To graduate with an M.Ed. in Higher Education degree, students will need to complete a capstone project that consists of a literature review with a topic that is of interest to them and is relevant to the current issues and trends of the major area of study.
Did You Know?
Ohio University has been recognized as the number one best-value public university in the state of Ohio. It has also been considered the number one college in the state for its online education. It guarantees no tuition or fee increase throughout the time students spend with the university.
Liberty University is an evangelical liberal arts institution that has 15 colleges and schools, over 700 programs of study, and more than 100,000 students. For over 50 years now, this university has produced CEOs, artists, nurses, pilots, law enforcers, counselors, pastors, and teachers who love God and serve the community.
- The M.Ed. in Higher Education program offered by Liberty University is aimed at those who love working with college students and preparing them for employment after graduation.
- This online degree program will develop students' administrative and teaching skills to qualify them for leadership roles in the postsecondary education field.
- This program will prepare students to shape education policy and guide their students to success, helping them qualify for a broader range of career options within the education system.
- They will be trained to make a positive impact on the lives of their students, providing them with practical and theoretical knowledge to meet the changing needs of faculty and students.
- Classes are taught by professors with years of experience in the education sector, helping students gain marketable skills and credentials.
- At the end of the program, students are required to complete a capstone project that fosters professional development, allowing them to gain the necessary tools for establishing a professional network, contributing to discussions about higher education, and assembling their teaching portfolio.
Various institutions recognize Liberty University's Master of Education in Higher Education degree program for its affordability, accessibility, and academic quality. It has also ranked among the top three online schools in the country.
Did You Know?
Liberty University is one of the most affordable online Christian colleges. The undergraduate and graduate tuition rates are at the bottom third among its leading competitors.
It also accepts financial assistance, military tuition assistance, and veteran benefits to ease the financial burden of those who want to pursue a baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a bachelor's degree in education necessary for students who want to pursue a Master's in Higher Education?
A lot of colleges and universities admit students to their Master's in Higher Education even with a non-education undergraduate degree.
Students only need to furnish the school of their choice with the admission requirements, including their official college transcripts, admission application, and proof of English proficiency for those whose native language is other than English.
What are some of the core courses for an online Master's in Higher Education program?
Graduate students enrolled in an online Master's in Higher Education program are required to complete 30-36 hours of coursework. These include the following courses:
- Student Development Theory
- Research for Educational Leaders
- Leadership for Change
- Student Support Services
- Contemporary Issues in Educational Policy
Will online students of Master's in Higher Education be required to visit a campus physically?
Frequently, students enrolled in an online Master's in Higher Education will never be required to visit the campus they are enrolled in. Even for their practicum requirement, students living out of state can complete their internship at a local school accredited by the college or university they are enrolled in.
- An online Master's in Higher Education is an excellent step to take for those who aspire to qualify for leadership roles in key administrative areas or student affairs within a college or university.
- This program will prepare students for various positions or promotions in student affairs, admission and financial aid, recruitment and outreach, and academic affairs and advising, to name a few.
- This master's degree program will help graduate students understand the academic, financial, and personal needs of college students through courses that cover academic advising, academic support, career guidance, and student retention.