About a Master’s in Higher Education Degree:
Higher education, otherwise known as post-secondary education, refers to the stage of learning that occurs after high school at universities, academies, colleges, seminars, institutes of technology, vocational and trade schools, and community colleges. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, increasing numbers of students will be attending higher education institutions during the next decade. With a master’s in higher education you would be working in administrative operations of higher education centers, typically within student affairs departments, or within policy and planning at a higher education association or agency. The education component within master’s in higher education programs includes examining policies, practices, and issues of contemporary U.S. higher education, as well as courses that enhance analytical and managerial skills. The curriculum also usually offers skills and knowledge essential for professional advancement through many positions in the higher education career. Admission to this type of program requires an undergraduate degree and the program usually lasts around one year.
Admissions Criteria for a Master’s in Higher Education Degree
As in all degrees, the admissions criteria for admission into a master’s in higher education degree program depend on the school and program you’re applying to. Generally though all programs require you to have a previous bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They also wish for you to include the official transcript from the college or university you attended, which include the number of credits earned or the type of school that was attended. There’s usually a GPA requirement, around 3.0, for the complete bachelor’s degree. GRE scores are occasionally required for admission. Usually GRE scores play a component in admittance, but they’re not a determining factor.
Sometimes more personal information is required for master’s in higher education degree programs. These include letters of recommendation, personal essays’, and resumes. A letter of recommendation should be from a professional or academic source, and is usually accepted electronically. Your letter of intent usually has specific guidelines, but should include information on why you want to acquire a degree in higher education, and what you would like to do with that degree upon graduating. Resumes should be professional resumes with your most recent relevant work experience.
Completion Requirements for a Master’s in Higher Education Degree
Course curriculum for different master’s in higher education programs vary depending on the school, the length of program, and the specialization. Sometimes people take a general master’s in higher education, while others choose to focus on a certain area such as enrollment management or leadership. Programs also wish to tailor themselves to fit their student’s academic pursuits, so even if a program doesn’t have your specific specialization, you may be able to still take courses directed in the area you wish. Most classes focus on administration, governance, and policies of higher education institutes. Through these courses programs wish to strengthen students’ understanding of the contemporary issues and practices in higher education, and enhance professional skills to deal with those issues.
In general, core classes include:
- History of American Higher Education
- Economics of Colleges and Universities
- Higher Education and the Law
- Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning
- Institutional Advancement in Higher Education
- Principles and Policies in College Admissions
- Immigration, Education, and Student Identities
- Diversity in Higher Education
- Introduction to Statistics for Research
There are also electives within master’s in higher education programs that a student can choose to take. Electives usually go towards a specialization, or are chosen based on personal interest. Some examples of elective courses include:
- Cross Cultural Counseling
- Managing Financial Resources
- Leadership and Governance
- Building Connections from School to Career
- Intermediate Statistics
- Adult Development
- Online Education
- College Student Development Theory
- International Perspectives and Education Reform
- The College Environment
- Community Colleges
- Sociology of Higher Education
- Dynamics of Vocational Development
Examples of specializations within a master’s of higher education degree include:
- College Teaching and Learning: This specialization aids in learning the major steps in the teaching and learning process, such as planning, developing, and facilitating learning experiences and assessing outcomes.
- Enrollment Management and Institutional Marketing: A specialization in enrollment management educates you in techniques to attract and retain students at higher educational institutes. It covers communication strategies to promote your institution, facets of the enrollment management process, and helping students stay committed to their educational goals.
- Global Higher Education: Preparing masters in higher education students with an understanding of global collaborations and alliances is important more today than ever before. Living in such a global environment, learning abroad programs are becoming common at schools. This specialization aids in the understanding of global trends and issues in higher education. It includes strategies for serving international students, as well as approaches to program planning and management within study abroad programs.
- Leadership for Student Success: This specialization you can gain tools to develop and measure programs that support student success, as higher educational institutions are accountable for providing students with skills to prepare them for the future. Courses within this specialization would include understanding the best practice’s for engagement with student population, retention, and educational achievement.
- Online and Distance Learning: Since distance learning is becoming and more popular option for many working adults today to obtain a masters in higher education, this specialization is focused on deepening your understanding of distance-learning technology. You can learn how to manage the most effective online programs, how to assess their value for students, learn about a variety of different learning style sand methods, as well as incorporate the most current online technologies to support student learning and organizational effectiveness.
Internships are also usually a component of higher education degrees. Usually the school’s program will help you find an internship that fits your interest and future career desires. Examples of placements would be in residence life, college career services offices, centers for multicultural education and programs, athletic programs, academic affairs, financial aid offices, and advising offices.
Most online programs are offered in both part-time and full-time capacity, generally containing between 30 and 40 class credits. A part-time load would be 1 or 2 classes a semester, while full-time would be between 4 and 5 classes.
Future Career Options with Master’s in Higher Education
Higher education administration is one of the top jobs in the country based on salary, professional development opportunities, and room for innovation. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment within the higher education field is projected to grow quickly with excellent job opportunities due to a large expected about of retirements, fewer applicants, and because the number of students at the postsecondary level of education is growing more rapidly. There are many options of different careers within higher education after you graduate from a master’s program. Some of these options may include:
- Academic advising
- Academic affairs
- Academic programs
- Distance learning
- Diversity management
- Enrollment management/student recruitment
- Facilities management
- Faculty development
- Financial aid
- Human resources
- Institutional advancement
- Institutional research
- Residential life
- Student affairs
- Student services
No matter what career you choose, getting your masters in higher education will help you gain a position within higher education at a higher salary than you could with just an undergraduate degree. A master’s degree also allows room for advancement within an institution, and the basis for further education and certifications.
Benefits of Obtaining a Master’s in Higher Education Degree Online:
The benefits of choosing an online degree are well worth considering. Online programs can provide you interactivity, cooperative learning, mentoring, and all the benefits of campus learning, along with a much more flexible schedule and a less costly investment. There’s the same availability of quality study materials as well as quality level of education available through online programs.
One of the biggest things to consider is that you’ll have the freedom of studying at your own free time. Instead of being required to go to class at a certain time throughout the week, with an online learning program you can go to class whenever it suits you. That way you can have a family and a career while obtaining a master’s in higher education. You can also access your classes from anywhere, whether you’re in your house or across the world on vacation or work trip. You’re not restricted to staying in one location with online degrees.
Handling assignments for professors and accessing group discussions, lectures, or study material is not difficult through online learning degrees. If you have a computer with Internet connectivity then you should be able to access all that’s necessary. Lectures and various course materials can be downloaded through the Internet. Additional information about subjects can then be discovered online, and you can also get your questions answered through chatting online. Teachers and other students can be contacted through email, and most schools have web based classroom environments that make things easier than you would expect.