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Strayer University

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Capella University

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Southern New Hampshire University

Master
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Purdue University Global

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Grand Canyon University

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Higher Education Administration Degree Programs

Administrative jobs at colleges might involve handling student affairs, graduation ceremonies or scholarship applications. Learn about degree programs that can lead to a career in higher education administration.

What Higher Education Degree Programs Are Available?

Typically, higher education administration degree programs are offered at the graduate level. You can earn a Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Education (M.Ed.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration. Some programs offer specializations in student affairs administration or educational leadership.

Earning an M.A. or M.Ed. might lead to entry-level work in post-secondary administration; both programs could also prepare you for enrollment in a doctoral program. If you're interested in educational research or a college-level teaching position, you might consider earning a Ph.D.; some Ph.D. recipients also go on to work in higher education administration. Ed.D. programs in this field are often designed for current administrators looking to enhance their skills.

Program Levels M.A., M.Ed., Ph.D, Ed.D
Common Courses Research methods, administrative practices, educational philosophy, student development
Online Options Some schools offer online programs; may include some in-person internships or field experiences
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (postsecondary education administrators)*
Median Salary (2018)$94,340 (postsecondary education administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Regardless of the higher education degree program you choose, you'll probably study research methods and common administrative practices. You'll also learn about educational philosophy, financial planning and organizational leadership. Additional topics might include student body diversity, educational laws and ethics, school culture and student development.

Some M.A. programs in higher education administration expect students to write a thesis; other programs require completion of an internship. Most M.Ed. programs include an administrative practicum or field experience. You'll usually need to take qualifying exams and write a dissertation in order to earn a Ph.D.; some Ed.D. programs require a dissertation, as well.

Can I Study Online?

Many schools offer online M.A., M.Ed., Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs in higher education administration. However, some in-person work may be required, including internships or field experiences. Campus-based courses in these programs can often be completed on weekends or during summer sessions. In most distance learning programs, you'll use a university's course management system to download assignments, view recorded lectures, examine class notes and interact with fellow students.