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Higher Education Administration (M.Ed.)

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Overview

Program Overview

In recent years, colleges and universities have experienced rapid growth in key areas that support their missions and students. Since 1972, the Higher Education Administration master's degree program at Vanderbilt University has been preparing professionals for rewarding careers in the higher education sector.

The Higher Education Administration degree will prepare you for professional roles in academe, state education agencies, or related nonprofits. Through coursework and real-world experience, you will learn about the contemporary higher education system and how to lead from within it.

With training available in three areas – student affairs, enrollment management, and general administration and policy – the Higher Education Administration program is for aspiring professionals in search of education careers that matter.

Program Specializations 

  • Enrollment Management—prepares you for a career in admissions, development, and student or institutional research, among other options.
  • Student Affairs—prepares you for a career in areas such as housing, student activities, Greek life, multicultural affairs, or international student services.
  • General Administration and Policy—prepares you for an individualized program of study. You will work with your academic advisor to build a curriculum that focuses on your own area of interest in higher education.

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Higher Education Administration

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Program Director: Brenda McKenzie, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Rosie Moody
Admission Term: Fall
Credit Hours: 36
Priority Application Deadline: December 31* for fall entrance

* We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships on a space-and-funds-available basis.

96%

of Higher Education Administration graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career placements:

Recent graduates with an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration have gone on to the following positions, among others:
  • Admissions Counselor, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
  • Analyst, Huron Consulting, Chicago, IL
  • Area Coordinator, University of New England, Biddeford, ME
  • Assistant Director of Campus Life, Bates College, Lewiston, ME
  • College Admissions Counselor, Dipont Education, Xi’an, China
  • Higher Education Program Analyst, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Nashville, TN
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • Resident Hall Director, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
  • Senior Associate, Education Advisory Board, Washington, D.C.
  • Student Services Specialist, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Learn more about Peabody Career Services.

Professional Experience

The Higher Education Administration program places a strong emphasis on learning by doing. The program offers you several opportunities to put theory and research into practice.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantship opportunities are available to you. These positions typically last for two years, require an average of 20 hours per week, and are available throughout Vanderbilt, at nearby higher education institutions, and state and local government agencies and organizations. In recent years, students like you have been graduate assistants for the Dean of Students, the Provost's Office, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, to name just a few potential assistantship sites.

Practicum Experiences

You are required to complete one 3-credit practicum to gain additional professional experience. The practicum coordinator assists you to find the best practicum to meet your individual aspirations and interests. You will also take a monthly class designed to aid with processing your experiences.

Internships

You may also complete internships in the summer between year one and two of the program. Internships are a great way for you to gain additional work experience and to develop new professional knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Program Curriculum

The M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration is a 2-year, full-time program that requires you to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework. The courses are firmly grounded in the bodies of theory, research, and conceptual understandings that scholars of higher education and other academic disciplines have produced.

These courses also stress the application of theory, conceptual understandings, and research to issues of policy and practice embedded in both the external and internal environments of higher education.

Core Courses

You will be required to complete 12 credit hours composed of the following courses:
  • HEA 6010 College and University Management
  • HEA 6020 Nature and Function of Higher Education
  • HEA 6030 Post Secondary Access
  • HEA 6040 State and Federal Government in Higher Education

Methods Core

You will be required to complete six credit hours composed of the following courses:
  • LPO 7860 Research Design and Data Analysis I
  • LPO 7870 Research Design and Data Analysis II

Practicum

You will be required to complete a three-hour practicum:
  • HEA 7950 Practicum in Higher Education Administration

Concentration Area

You will be required to complete a minimum of six credit hours within your chosen degree concentration:

Student Affairs

  • HEA 6500 Practice of Student Affairs
  • HEA 6520 Theory of Student Affairs

Enrollment Management

  • HEA 6110 Introduction to Enrollment Management
  • HEA 6100 Practice of Enrollment Management

General Administration and Policy

  • Two courses selected with the assistance of the advisor

Elective Courses

You will be required to complete nine hours of elective courses. These courses may be taken across Peabody College, as well as in other disciplines offered across Vanderbilt University upon consultation with your faculty advisor.

Program Curriculum

Faculty

Our renowned faculty conduct research in higher education history, governance, finance, economics, policy and politics, race and ethnic relations, fundraising, college student departure, college student success, student affairs, the academic profession, service learning, and international comparisons.

Angela Boatman
  • Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
William Doyle
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Brent Evans
  • Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Christopher Loss
  • Chancellor Faculty Fellow (2016–18)
  • Associate Professor of History
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Brenda McKenzie
  • Senior Lecturer in Higher Education Administration Student Affairs, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Program Director and Practicum Coordinator, Higher Education Administration
Matthew Patrick Shaw
  • Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School
Adela Soliz
  • Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Emeritus and Courtesy Appointed Faculty

John M. Braxton
  • Professor of Higher Education, Emeritus, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Doug Christiansen
  • Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education (courtesy appointment), Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs