North Carolina Masters in Higher Education Degrees

A Masters in Higher Education degree might prepare you to pursue an academic or administrative career in a college or university setting. Maybe you were inspired by a college ...

professor and want to pay it forward. Or perhaps you want to combine your interest in education with a keen sense of management. Read on to figure out which program aligns with your goals.

Masters in Higher Education

About Masters in Higher Education Programs

Masters in Higher Education programs are designed to prepare students for professional careers in postsecondary settings. Some programs require the completion of about 30 to 36 credits. This might mean two years of full-time study beyond the Bachelors degree. Some Higher Education Masters programs require students to take core courses, electives, research, and choose a concentration area. This might be a focus in student retention or in higher education budgeting. Either way, students may learn current theory and build career-related skills. Alternatively, use your Masters degree as a platform for continued education.

FUN FACT: Many postsecondary education administrators, particularly those working in student affairs, were involved in student activities while they were attending college. For example, they may lead student organizations or participate in student government to gain the experience necessary to work in student affairs after graduating.i

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Higher Education Masters Curriculum: Potential Courses

Exploring a Masters in Higher Education curriculum might give you more insight into the diversity of this field. Take courses that might range from college student affairs to higher education finance and student assessment. While each grad school has a unique faculty and syllabus, you might expect to study topics such as:

  • Enrollment management
  • Student success
  • Resource allocation
  • Higher education administration

Which Masters Degree in Higher Education Is Right for Me?

Is your vision is to pursue a career in a non-academic aspect of higher education? Or, are you interested in college teaching, student assessment and current pedagogical theory? Are you seeking initial licensure as a classroom teacher? The answers to your questions are helpful tools for choosing a Masters degree in Higher Education.

The Master of Education: Higher Education Administration

The MEd in Higher Education is often designed for current professionals. Students may already be working in admissions, student affairs or athletics, with the aim of moving into a mid-level management position. Or, working towards a Doctor of Education and ultimately pursuing a potential career as a Provost or Dean.i The MEd Higher Education curriculum may cover some of the basics surrounding the philosophy and history of education. It may also get students thinking about human resource management and legal issues in education.

M.Ed. Higher Education Administration at a Glance:

  • Students required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college
  • 18 months to 2 years full-time (varies)
  • 30 credit hours (varies)
  • Core courses, research, concentration, electives

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration degree may enhance career-related skills needed in mid-level administrative positions in postsecondary settings. It might also provide students with a clear direction for Doctoral study. Distinct from the MEd degree, an MA in higher education administration typically provides more in the way of instructional practices. The MA higher education curriculum may cover topics such as student assessment techniques, curriculum design and research methodologies. It may also give students a sense of American higher education and how to foster student development. Choose a thesis or non-thesis option.

M.A. Higher Education Administration at a Glance:

  • Students required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college
  • 18 months to 2 years full-time (varies)
  • 36 credit hours (varies)
  • Core courses, research, higher education specialization courses

The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

The Master of Science in Higher Education degree sometimes attracts experienced higher ed managers, career changers and recent undergraduates. The MS ED might provide students with practical knowledge in higher education laws and regulations. Courses may be a bit more technical than in an M.A. degree program. Some programs allow students to dive a little deeper in one specific area to develop expertise. This might be student services or evaluation methods. In fact, students are sometimes encouraged to design their own area of interest. This is done through a concentration area. The MS Ed Higher Education curriculum might explore courses about educational policy, college teaching and learning or educational technology.

M.S.E.D Higher Education Administration at a Glance:

  • Students required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college
  • 18 months to 2 years full-time (varies)
  • 30 credit hours (varies)
  • Core courses, concentration (e.g. college teaching, college administration, student affairs

What Might I Do with a Masters in Higher Education Degree?

What you ‘do with’ a Masters degree in Higher Education might depend on your interests. Research your ideal career to determine whether you need to pursue a PhD or EdD degree. Per the BLS, postsecondary education administration has faster-than-average employment growth.i  Possible next steps after graduation might include:

  • Exploring a potential career as a Curriculum and Assessment Director, Program Administrator, or School Standards Coachii
  • Exploring a potential career as Director of Admissions, Registrar, or Financial Aid Directoriii
  • Continued education to pursue a career as a Lecturer, Professor or Researcheriv

Are Online Masters in Higher Education Programs Available?

One of the ways to search for Higher Education Masters programs is by learning format. Some students prefer the feel of a campus and can commute, relocate or just find a grad school close to home. Others might prefer the convenience of an online Masters in Higher Education program. And then, there are the hybrid programs. These combine web-based learning with some on-site requirements. Arguably the base of two learning formats. Use our on-page navigation to surf right to ‘campus’, ‘online’ or ‘hybrid’ Masters degree programs.

Find Accredited Masters Education Administration Degrees

First off, accreditation is a student’s measure of whether a school has undergone a third-party quality review. So, yes, accreditation may be important to future employers or even a next grad school. Regionally accredited schools are those that have been vetted by one of six agencies. These accreditors are recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. In terms of program accreditation, well, this is going to vary. If you are preparing for teacher licensure or a high school principal endorsement, you might look for a regionally accredited and CAEP accredited school and program. Who is CAEP? The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. A consolidation of NCATE and TEAC since 2013.

Take the Next Step

Find MA, MEd, MSEd Degrees in higher education administration by scrolling through the sponsored listings. Go straight to a preferred program format or just search for schools by city, state or country. See an appealing program? Send off a request for more information. Whether you want to learn about managing student affairs or leading in a multicultural organization. Explore your options today!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-9031.00 | [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9033.00 | [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1081.00