M.A. in Higher Education Administration (w/ Online Option)

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

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

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 on-line format of the MA in Higher Education Administration is designed for distance learners who do not have access to an on-campus program. Students in the metro Louisville area are encouraged to take most, if not all, of their courses on campus because on-line course offerings are limited each semester. A limited number of electives are available on-line. These classes are offered online through Blackboard. Blackboard is the 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

Below are course descriptions:

ELFH 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics - Emphasis given to historical, empirical, and experimental methods of research; to techniques of research design and statistical analysis; and to skills in writing reviews and critiques of research literature.

ELFH 605 Leading, Training and Performance - Study of the modern theories of leadership, organization, management and administration of workforce training and performance improvement, with relationship to organizational management functions.

ELFH 607 Principles of Educational Leadership for Higher Education - Examines concepts, analytical tools, case material, and organizational theories from the public, business, and educational administration sectors.

ELFH 606 Program Evaluation - Examines the theories, techniques, methods, and program evaluation models currently used in assessing the effectiveness of learning programs and products in educational and other organizational settings.

ELFH 659 Strategic Planning - Focuses on the development of planning, implementation, and leadership skills needed to direct strategic decision-making.

ELFH 678 The American College and University - Examination of historical development of the American college, community college, and university, including major ideas and concepts underlying these developments and major problems affecting present institutions of higher learning.

ELFH 682 Organization and Administration of Higher Education Institutions - Exploration of organizational and administrative theory as related to colleges and universities and assessment of the roles of major administrative units of the institution.

ELFH 684 Educational Resource Management in Postsecondary Education - Study of resources, practices and procedures of finance and economics as related to postsecondary education. Provides investigation of specific and current educational finance issues affecting educational institutions.

ELFH 690 Internship in Postsecondary Education - Provides on-the-job learning and professional development for current and future postsecondary administrative personnel. Pass/Fail grading – all students must complete an internship.

Other Electives

Available through the Two Year College, Higher Education and Diversity, Principles and Practices of Academic Advising, College Student Personnel Program (on campus only) or the Human Resource and Organizational Development Program.

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.

    Applicants who have attended a college or university outside of the United States are also required to submit an evaluation of their transcript through either WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). Please note that transcript evaluations can sometimes take several weeks.

    Please have transcripts sent to:
    School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
    University of Louisville
    Louisville, KY 40292

    If transcripts are sent electronically,
    please have them sent to the following e-mail: gradadm @ louisville.edu

  • 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.
  • The minimum GRE scores required for admission is the 36% or higher on the verbal section and 22% or higher on the quantitative section of the exam.
    Please note: when submitting GRE scores through ETS, have scores sent to the general University of Louisville code, 1838.
    Need help preparing for the GRE? Sign up for a GRE Information Session.
  • 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 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 the senior college years.

FAQs about the program's Internship requirement

If you have questions about applying to the program, please contact Aaron Phillips, Assistant Director for Education Academic Services, at 502-852-3214.

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.

Bridgette Pregliasco
325A College of Education and Human Development

Department of Leadership, Foundations & Human Resource Education
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!

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?

Yes, they are required of all applicants, even those who already hold a master's degree in another area. GMAT scores can be converted to GRE equivalencies.

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

No, we will not review applications until all materials are received.

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. Do I have to complete a new application packet?


Can I complete the degree completely on-line?

Yes, you can but the sequencing of on-line 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.