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Online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration

The online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration (MAHEA) is the perfect degree for current university or college employees, as well as for those seeking employment in the higher ed industry.

Offered by the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Louisville, the online master’s in higher education is perfect for those currently employed or seeking employment with a higher education institution, this degree provides you with deep knowledge and skills related to the practice and challenges within higher ed administration—preparing you for leadership roles in a university setting. Our program strives to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to make data-informed decisions, and initiate efforts of organizational change to improve higher education opportunities, outcomes, and institutions, with a focus on policy, inclusion, and equity.

How Much Will I Pay?

Tuition & Aid    

Are you a university employee? Ask us about tuition remission options!


  • Skip the GRE - it's not required for admission.
  • Take advantage of 100% online classes and 24/7 access to resources and tools.
  • Explore areas of practice and knowledge, such as the history of higher education, campus management, organizational change, organizational improvement and project management.
  • Experience high-quality curriculum that was ranked #7 in the nation for Best Online Master's in Higher Ed programs of 2021 (Best Colleges)
  • Transfer in up to 6 credit hours of graduate courses from other accredited universities.
  • Focus your expertise around higher education administration or sports administration.
  • Learn from world-class and award-winning faculty.
  • Earn your degree in as little as 2 years (full-time students).
  • Take condensed courses, focusing on one class at a time while making progress to a degree. All courses (except LEAD 690 and 697) are offered in 8-week fall and spring formats; Many courses are offered in 3-week (in May) and 6-week (June-early July) summer formats.



Complete your degree on your own time through fully online coursework and learning tools.

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Complete 10 courses consisting of 8 core courses and 2 approved electives.

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2 Concentrations

Specialize in 1 of 2 concentrations that fit your career goals and interests.

Online learning video - Online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration

"I get fulfillment out of helping other people, and I feel I can best reach college students.
This was the right program for me to be able to do that with my life."


What can you do with a master's in higher education?

Graduates with a master’s degree in higher education can work in a wide variety of administrative positions in virtually all departments at both public and private colleges and universities. This is also ideal for those who want to strengthen their skillset to navigate and improve higher ed policies, opportunities, and more. Furthermore, the median pay for post-secondary administrators is projected at $97,500 annually (bls.gov).

Graduates have pursued university positions including:

  • Executive Director, Academic Success
  • Academic Advisor
  • Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
  • Director of Financial Aid
  • Director of Athletics
  • Business Affairs Officer
  • Instructional Design & Technologies Manager
  • Curriculum Planning Officer
  • Dean of Students
  • Director of Institutional Research
  • Grants & Contracts Manager
  • Multicultural Affairs Director
  • Registrar Office Administrator
  • Title IX Coordinator


Preferred Application Deadline Term Start Date
December 10 Spring I January
February 10 Spring II March
May 1 Summer June
August 1 Fall I Late August
September 10 Fall II October

Note: We admit students on a rolling basis. The preferred deadlines help you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We review applications as they become complete, and admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts and other materials may take more time.

How to Apply for the Online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration

  1. Start your application for graduate admission
  2. Submit $65 non-refundable application fee
  3. Upload required materials*
  4. Request official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. Transcripts are only accepted directly from the institution(s) by email: gradadm@louisville.edu (recommended) or mail: University of Louisville, Graduate School, 2211 S. Brook St., Louisville, KY 40292.
  5. Create a financial plan


Online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration Admission Requirements and Materials

To be considered for admission, applicants must have:

  • a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. (Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA may inquire about conditional acceptance.)

*Required application packet materials include:

  • a one-page personal statement describing the applicant’s background and interest in [the program].
  • two letters of recommendation.
  • standardized test scores (if applicable).

Note: GRE scores not required.

*Your Application Portal:
Once you have started the graduate application, you can check the status and review any additional checklist to-do items. Log in to your application using the email address you used to apply for admission and your password. Your checklist items may include additional materials or documentation that facilitate a smooth admissions process. You will also have access to important contact information and next steps after an admissions decision is made.

All credentials are considered. Please know that satisfying the minimum GPA or GRE requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

* See the Graduate School Transfer of Credit Policy for more information

International Students

  • If you live outside of the United States and intend to complete an online academic program from your home country, be sure to view special requirements for international students.
  • International applicants must take the TOEFL, IEFLS or DuoLingo exam if applying from countries where English is not the native language.
  • Bachelor's degrees earned internationally must be assessed to ensure that entrance requirements are met.
  • International students will not be issued a U.S. visa if admitted to the online structural transportation certificate program, since there are no campus attendance requirements.

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

Start Your Application

The Master of Art in Higher Education Administration degree is a 30-credit hour program that has the choice of two concentration options. The Higher Education Administration concentration requires completion of 24 hours of core courses (core consists of practice and advanced classes) and 6 hours of electives. The Sports Administration Concentration requires completion of 27 hours of core courses and 3 hours of electives.

The typical degree path includes:

  1. Practice core courses
  2. Advanced core courses
  3. Concentration elective courses
    • Higher Education Administration
    • Sports Administration
  4. Exit requirement

Higher Education Administration Concentration:

Courses Hours
Practice Core Hours
LEAD 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics OR
LEAD 666 Program Development and Assessment in Higher Education
LEAD 682 The Organization and Administration of Higher Educational Institutions 3
LEAD 693 College Students in the United States 3
LEAD 690 Professional Project in Higher Education 3
Advanced Core  
LEAD 680 Legal Issues in Postsecondary Education 3
LEAD 684 Educational Resource Management in Postsecondary Education 3
LEAD 694 Diversity in Higher Education 3
Specialization/Electives 6
Elective 2 (approved by advisor) 3
Exit Requirement * 3
LEAD 697 Organizational Improvement in Higher Education 3
Total Credit Hours 30

Sports Administration Concentration:

Courses Hours
Practice Core Hours
LEAD 600 Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics OR
LEAD 666 Program Development and Assessment in Higher Education
LEAD 682 The Organization and Administration of Higher Educational Institutions 3
LEAD 693 College Students in the United States 3
Advanced Core  
LEAD 680 Legal Issues in Postsecondary Education 3
LEAD 684 Educational Resource Management in Postsecondary Education 3
LEAD 694 Diversity in Higher Education 3
SPAD 680 Athletics and Higher Education 3
SPAD 625 Sport Management and Leadership 3
Elective (approved by advisor) 3
Exit Requirement * 3
SPAD 692 Internship in Sport Administration 3
Total Credit Hours 30

* Exit requirement vaires depending on concentration

For more information about specialized concentrations please contact our enrollment counselors at 800.871.8635 or online@louisville.edu.


Course Descriptions

    Featured Faculty

    Learn more about the faculty of the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Human Resource Education.

    The set of questions and answers outlined below can help you learn more about our program, delivery method, application and admission process, financial aid options and how to succeed as an online student at UofL. 

    • 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 adviser approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

    • 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?

      Yes, you will need to complete a new application packet for the MA in Higher Education Administration program.

    • 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.

      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 adviser one semester before you plan to take the internship course to discuss what you are considering.

      • What is the purpose of the internship class?

        The purpose of an internship is to provide you with on-site work experience in an area of college and university administration. The internship should allow you to gain new knowledge and apply program coursework to a work setting relevant to your academic and professional goals. The experience can also be helpful to the goal of gaining a new position, advancing in a career, or as professional development at your current work site.

      • When can I register for the internship class and do my internship?

        The internship is an exit requirement for the program. You may enroll for the class as one of your last nine hours, but no sooner.

      • What if I work full-time and cannot take time off to do the internship?

        Ideally, you would do some of the work within the office where your internship is located. If you do not currently work in a higher education setting, you should make every effort to spend a significant amount of time at the site. However, all internships are project oriented, therefore, if the instructor of the internship course approves your internship site and activities, you may do most of the work off-site. You must communicate regularly with your site supervisor regardless of where you do the work.

      • I already work at a university. Can I do my internship at my institution?

        Yes, you can but you may NOT do your internship within your department or within the scope of your current responsibilities. Your work supervisor may not be your internship site supervisor.

      • When should I start planning for my internship?

        Start planning your internship during the semester before you plan to take it. You should also contact the internship course instructor at about the same time to review the requirements which will assist you in making arrangements.

      • What are the requirements of internship site supervisors?

        Internship site supervisors must have at least a Master’s degree, be willing to supervise you, evaluate you and participate in a meeting (in person or by phone for distance education students) early in the semester.

      • What are the requirements of the internship course?

        You must complete a minimum of 105 hours, be responsible for a significant project(s), write a learning summary paper, provide reflection journal entries and respond to discussion board prompts on Blackboard. You must also receive a satisfactory evaluation by your site supervisor.

      • How do I find an internship site?

        By this time in your Master’s program, you should have a sense of a department or function in which you want to learn more. Once you have done so, start talking to prospective departments/institutions about your interests and ask if there are projects in that area that are important to them but perhaps have been on the back burner because of lack of time or staff to complete them. If there is a fit between their needs and your interests, you may have found an internship site!

      • What are some ideas of internship projects that have been completed in the past?
        • Learning to do student financial aid advising and creating a training manual for new financial aid advisors at a community college
        • Conducting a study on solid waste management plans at universities to develop a proposal for a zero-waste university for a research university
        • Creating a resource library on a website on Transformative Education for faculty professional development at a regional university
        • Conducting a study to evaluate current and prospective benchmarks for an Institutional Research office using IPEDS and NCES data at a research university
        • Reviewing best practices in leadership academies and creating a student leadership academy for student athletes at a Division I institution
        • Conducting a program review for an African American Male Initiative program at a research university
        • Developing a procedures manual by reviewing “best practices” and the policies and practices of a Finance and Administration department at a liberal arts institution
    • What are the career options and salary ranges for graduates of this program?
      • Professional-Level Positions

        Professional-level positions in higher education can be across various departments of the University such as academic, student, institutional, athletic and fiscal affairs. Additional departments include facilities, I.T., research, and office personnel. People pursuing professional career options can expect to see annual salaries starting at $31k with a median of $61k and a maximum of $142k (according to HigherEdJobs.com) varying by type of institution.

      • Administrator Positions

        Administrators in higher education fall under such titles as bursar, athletics officer, alumni affairs administrator, student financial aid officer, assistant provost and more. People pursuing administrative career options can expect to see annual salaries starting at $57k with a median of $137k and a maximum of $535k (according to HigherEdJobs.com) varying by type of institution.

      • Executive-Level Positions

        Executive-level positions in higher education fall under such titles as Dean, Chief Academic Affairs Officer, Provost, Executive Vice President, Vice Chancellor, Chief Financial Officer and others. People pursuing executive career options can expect to see annual salaries starting at $59k with a median of $132k and a maximum of $543k (according to HigherEdJobs.com) varying by type of institution.

    For answers to any other questions you might have, please submit an Information Request Form.