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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences:
MS in Higher Education

The MS in Higher Education is designed for individuals who want to make a positive impact on students and staff in 4-year colleges, community colleges, and universities to enhance their institution’s ability to successfully contribute to social equity and positive change. Students will learn to think creatively and critically about the challenges facing higher education institutions and provide expertise in addressing these challenges. Learning activities emphasize the application of research-based best practices from business leadership and management, student learning and support, and systems thinking to maximize institutional effectiveness. Critical issues in higher education policy, administration, emerging technologies, legal and ethical issues, and governance are addressed throughout the program in the context of real-world problems facing today’s colleges.

Note on Teacher Licensure or Certification

This program does not lead to teacher licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this program, educator professionals will be able to:

  1. Apply an understanding of higher education systems, business principles, and student learning in solving institutional problems to drive institutional and student success.
  2. Make effective decisions based on critical evaluation of research and data.
  3. Articulate the perspectives and interests of multiple stakeholders.
  4. Choose leadership approaches appropriate to the culture of the organization.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to deploy resources to achieve intended results.
  6. Evaluate the potential impact of policies and processes on student outcomes.

Degree Requirements

  • 30-33 total semester credits (only Adult Learning specialization is 33 semester credits)
  • Foundation course (3 semester credits)
  • Core courses (9 semester credits)
  • Specialization courses (15-18 semester credits, depending on the specialization)
  • Capstone course (3 semester credits)


Foundation Course (3 semester credits)

Core Courses (9 semester credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Additional Core Courses/Specialization Courses

These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page.

Capstone Course (3 semester credits)

Course Sequence

The course sequence for this specialization is dependent upon the student’s Program of Study. Students work directly with their student success advisor to ensure the appropriate course sequence based on course availability.