M.A. in Higher Education Administration

The Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration is Ranked 3rd in the Nation by TheBestSchools.org!

MA HEA Online

The 36-hour degree program, which includes online options, is designed for students who wish to qualify for college administrative positions, and for students who work full-time in a university setting and take classes part-time. Although, students may take classes full-time.

Graduates from the program:

  • Know about the historical, philosophical, and organizational foundations of American higher education
  • Understand and can apply administrative skills such as planning, human resource management, and finance and budgeting
  • Know about the responsibilities and roles of college and university faculty
  • Use contemporary methods to conduct and use research relevant to postsecondary administration
  • Understand issues of cultural diversity and know about the global context of postsecondary administration
William George

The Higher Education Administration program has opened my perspective on how colleges and universities of all types vary when it comes to their organization and administration. The professors’ backgrounds within higher education are diverse, and they do an excellent job of using their own experience as real-world examples of the hurdles faced by colleges and universities everywhere. The classes touch on a variety of interesting topics, all of which are helpful in understanding the complexities that span all areas of this field. This program delivers in developing its students professionally and preparing them for careers in higher education.

William George, Higher Education Administration Student

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Annie Fitzpatrick

I found my experience in the MA in Higher Education Administration program at the University of Louisville to be invaluable. The curriculum and professors are both relevant and adaptable to students’ specific interests and fields within higher education. Perhaps the best part of this program was its ability to give me multiple different perspectives (legal issues, organizational structures and theory, and resource management, specifically) that I can use to study and then address challenges in higher education. While I would have learned these perspectives in the field eventually, having quality academic preparation has certainly given me an advantage.

Annie Fitzpatrick, Higher Education Administration Student

Distance Learning

Please check availability of the online program in your state.

Online Info Session
Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration
November 14, 2016 | 7:30 p.m.

The MA in Higher Education Administration is one of two graduate level programs offered within the College of Education and Human Development that can be completed entirely online.

The online format of the MA in Higher Education Administration is designed for distance learners who need the flexibility that's not offered by the on campus program. Online classes are offered through Blackboard -- a course management system used by UofL to facilitate online learning. Among other things, students use Blackboard to...

  • Read the course syllabus or handouts
  • Submit papers and assignments
  • Take tests
  • View grades
  • Send email to other students or the instructor
  • Participate in an online chat
  • Discuss case studies with classmates on a discussion board
James Barnard

The Higher Education program has given me a more broad view of how colleges and universities operate. I had experience in my specific field but the classes I have taken made me see things from new perspectives. This helps me to think critically in my job and put theories into practice in the workplace. The program is big enough that I have met a wide variety of other students with diverse experiences, yet small enough that I have gotten to know the faculty well and developed mentor relationships with them.

James Barnard, Higher Education Administration Student

The biggest benefit of online learning is that you can work to earn your degree from your own home while raising your family, working full time, or experiencing particular life circumstances that make commuting to campus difficult or impossible. At U of L, you are taught by the same world class faculty as our on campus students. You read the same textbooks, do many of the same assignments and earn the same degrees. The biggest difference is that you are able to do it in a way that best fits your lifestyle.

Be prepared for online learning. Online learning is learning that is facilitated in an online environment. Rather than attend class in a traditional classroom setting, online learning allows you to "go to class" when it's convenient for you whether that's 5am or 11pm.

Will you be a successful online learner?

Online learning is not for everyone. Successful online students...

  • Have a desire to learn online
  • Are motivated
  • Have strong time management and organizational skills
  • Can work independently
  • Have college level reading and writing skills
  • Are not afraid to speak up when problems arise

For more information, view http://louisville.edu/online.

For details about program curriculum, visit the Graduate Catalog.

FAQs about the program's Internship requirement


Courses are available entirely online and face-to-face

General Requirements (3 hours)
ELFH 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics3
Professional Area (15 hours)
ELFH 678 The American College and University3
ELFH 681 Philosophy of Higher Education3
ELFH 682 Organization and Administration of Higher Educational Institutions3
ELFH 693 College Students in the U.S.3
ELFH 607 Principles of Educational Leadership (for Higher Education)3
ELFH 684 Educational Resource Management in Postsecondary Education3
ELFH 694 Diversity and Higher Education3
ELFH 680 Legal Issues - Postsecondary3
Electives (approved by advisor) (6 hours)6
Exit Requirements (3 hours)
ELFH 690 Internship in Post-secondary Education3
Minimum total hours36

Courses are available entirely online and face-to-face

Concentration in Sport Administration
Professional Area (15 hours)
ELFH 607 Principles of Educational Leadership3
ELFH 620 Legal Issues in Education3
ELFH 682 Organ. and Admin. of Higher Education Institutions3
EDFH 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics3
Choose one:
--EDFD 680 The American College and University or
--EDFD 681 The Philosophy of Higher Education
SPAD 625 Sport Administration3
Specialization Area
SPAD 618 Rise of the Sport System in America OR3
SPAD 680 Athletics in Higher Education3
SPAD 505 Sport Facility Management OR3
HSS 575 Administration of P.E. Programs and Athletics3
SPAD 684 Current Trends and Issues in Sport Administration3
SPAD Elective as approved by the advisor3
Exit Requirements, 4 - 6 hours
ELFH 699 Thesis or Professional Paper OR1-6
SPAD 692 Internship in Sport Administration 
Minimum Total Hours31-33

Note: Meeting GRE score and GPA minimums do not guarantee a student will be accepted to the program.

Students may be admitted for the fall, spring or summer semesters. Applications will not be reviewed until ALL materials have been received by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their materials no later than 4 weeks before the start of a semester to allow sufficient time for appropriate review and advising.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit an online application for admission to the University of Louisville School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

  • As part of the application process, students are required to submit all official transcripts. The minimum requirement for admission is the baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • Each applicant is required to submit at least two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential. Do not include friends or family members.
  • The GRE requirement is waived for applicants with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 during undergraduate studies or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 during graduate studies. All others will be required to take the GRE.
    For GRE scores prior to August 1, 2011, a minimum combined (verbal and quantitative) score of an 800 is required for unconditional admission. For GRE scores taken August 1, 2011 and after, a score at the 36th percentile or higher in Verbal Reasoning and the 22nd percentile or higher in Quantitative Reasoning is required.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all foreign students from countries in which English is not the native language. Students holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States are exempt from this requirement.
  • Each applicant must submit a resume and a one-page professional goals statement. The professional goals statement must be 1 - 2 pages in length and address why you are interested in the program, how it relates to your career goals, the relationship between your personal and professional goals, and your experience with and interest in learning more about diversity issues in higher education. This document is also a writing sample and will be used to assess your writing skills.
  • For unconditional admission, students are required to have a 2.75 cumulative grade point average, or 2.75 grade point average for their last 60 hours in an undergraduate program.
  • All credentials are considered. Please know that satisfying the minimum GPA or GRE requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

Application Priority Deadlines

  • July 1st for fall admission.
  • December 1st for spring admission.
  • April 1st for summer admission.

If you have questions about applying to the program, please email gradadm@louisville.edu or call Education Advising and Student Services at 502-852-5597.

FAQs about the program's Internship requirement

Christine Payne

As a nontraditional student pursuing my graduate degree full-time, I reviewed all the programs that were available to me both in the classroom and online. The MHEA was a perfect fit for my goal to transition into the field of higher education administration. I have been inspired by my classmates and engaged by the faculty in this program.

Christine Payne, Higher Education Administration Graduate


Learn more about our program faculty.

Jacob Gross
338A College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

Program Faculty

Jonathan Hughes

As a recent graduate from the Higher Education Administration program I can honestly say that the program equipped me with the tools necessary to be successful in my career. The faculty and staff in the program are pioneers in higher education and afford students like myself the opportunity to work alongside them and help create new knowledge and research. The faculty and staff provided me with knowledge of how colleges and universities function from various perspectives. I was also given mentorship that allowed me to meet the leaders in my field and taught me those transferable skills that made me employable after graduation. I can say with the upmost confidence that I am a proud graduate of the Higher Education Administration program and would not be in the position that I am without the program.

Jonathan Hughes, Higher Education Administration Graduate

Why Choose a Career in Higher Education?

    Work in a variety of different positions on campus.
    Assist students during very important and critical time in their lives.
    Gain valuable experience and insight into higher education.
    A campus environment continually offers new challenges.
    Competitive wages, benefits, discounted tuition.
    A career that's always new and exciting with constant change!

Career Outlook

Financial Aid

Full time students may be eligible for a limited number of graduate assistantships available in the CEHD and the Division of Student Affairs at UofL. It is the responsibility of the students to secure these positions. In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the College of Education & Human Development also has information about other forms of financial aid.

Other financial aid opportunities available include graduate assistantships and other employment opportunities.

I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if your UofL advisor approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

What is the difference between the Higher Education Administration program and the College Student Personnel program?

The MA in Higher Education Administration program focuses on the study of universities and colleges as organizations and prepares practitioners to work in a variety of postsecondary offices.

The College Student Personnel program focuses on the study of students in collegiate settings and prepares practitioners to work primarily in offices that provide direct student services and programs.

Are GRE scores required for admission?

Not if your cumulative undergraduate GPA is a 3.0 or higher; or if your cumulative graduate GPA is a 3.5 or higher. If you do not meet this criteria, then, yes GRE scores are required. GMAT and MAT scores can be converted to GRE equivalencies.

Can I be admitted provisionally, until I take the GRE?

In typical cases if your GPA is below the threshold mentioned above, no, however, the committee may look at each situation on a case by case basis.

I applied and was admitted to another program in the College of Education and Human Development but have changed my mind and want to apply for the MA in Higher Education Administration. Do I have to complete a new application packet?


Can I complete the degree completely online?

Yes, you can but the sequencing of online courses may result in your taking longer to complete the degree. Students within commuting distance of the University are strongly encouraged to take most, if not all, of their courses on campus.

I have a Bachelor's degree in another content area and want to teach that area in a university or college. Will this degree give me the credential to do so?

No. This degree prepares people who want to work in university administration and does not satisfy any P-12 or postsecondary teaching certification requirement.

Tell me about the internship requirement

More FAQs about the program's Internship requirement

The internship provides you with the opportunity to work in a different setting related to higher education. You will complete, under the supervision of the course instructor and a site supervisor, a significant project or projects that allow you to apply what you learned from your program of study. The internship activities cannot include projects within your current scope of responsibilities. It is taken within the last 9 hours of the program and requires a minimum of 105 contact hours. You should contact your advisor one semester before you plan to take the internship course to discuss what you are considering.