This degree is part of the higher education program, housed in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.

The purpose of the master’s degree programs in higher education is two-fold: 1) to prepare students for professional administrative leadership positions in a variety of higher education settings; and 2) to provide a foundation for intellectual engagement. The curriculum is developed to meet the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s (CAS) Professional Standards for Higher Education and are guided by the ACPA & NASPA professional competencies. The higher education faculty are nationally recognized experts in college-student development, administration, college access, faculty work, diversity issues in higher education and higher education policy. With grounding in both research and practice, graduates advance to doctoral studies and/or professional positions in areas such as student activities and leadership, multicultural affairs, Greek life, academic advising, financial aid, residential life, and enrollment management.

We also offer a master of education (M Ed). Those pursuing the MEd must complete the higher education capstone project. This includes a scholarly reflection of their academic and professional experiences and an oral group defense among other graduating students and their faculty advisers.

Focus Areas

Learning Outcomes for SA Leadership Concentration

Through the program students will demonstrate self-reflection and progress towards these professional competency areas, including:

  • Recognizing organizational and environmental characteristics in various types of post-secondary educational institutions.
  • Analyzing the impact of college on diverse students in various institutional and contextual settings.
  • Evaluating and applying student development theories within postsecondary settings to foster student success.
  • Applying critical perspectives to address social problems, including issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Learning Outcomes for HEd Leadership Concentration

Through the program students will demonstrate self-reflection and progress towards:

  • Recognizing diverse systems of higher education.
  • Analyzing organizational structures, functions, and environmental characteristics of higher education institutions.
  • Evaluating and applying theories of higher education to foster organizational success.
  • Applying critical perspectives to address social problems, including issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Degree Requirements

Master’s degree candidates can complete the required 33 hours by selecting courses with their advisers that will most fully meet the individual needs. At least 16 hours in professional education must be taken at the 8000 or 9000 level.

A maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate-level graded course work completed at another accredited college or university may be transferred with approval of the adviser, the department director of graduate studies and the Office of Graduate Studies. Up to 12 hours earned as a post-baccalaureate graduate student at MU may be applied to the degree pending admission to the program and approval of higher education faculty.

Students pursuing a master of arts (MA) degree are required to take 12 hours (of the 33) dedicated to research design,  methods, and thesis writing. If the thesis is not successfully completed in 33 hours, additional research hours may be required. Because of the time involved in completing a thesis, the program may take longer than 2 years for full-time students.

Learn more about individual courses in ELPA.

Assistantships and Scholarships

Graduate Assistantship Recruitment Process (GARP)

GARP is designed to help students who have been accepted into the ELPA higher education program find graduate assistantships. Assistantships provide financial support and an experiential educational opportunity. These opportunities are available in a diverse array of academic and student affairs offices at the University of Missouri and neighboring colleges.

For those interested in administrative graduate assistantships for the 2020-2021 academic year, GARP will take place on a Thursday and Friday in late February of 2020. The deadline to register will be in early February. You will be asked to upload your most recent CV/resume as well as a 1-page cover letter that discusses your interest in obtaining an administrative graduate assistantship (PDF format is recommended).

After registration closes, you will receive information regarding position descriptions and the GARP schedule. Those available to interview on campus should plan travel for events taking place in the afternoon/early evening Thursday and all day Friday. Lodging is not provided – please let us know if you need assistance in identifying options. Those not available to interview on campus should also register for GARP so that potential employers can contact you to interview over the phone or Skype/Zoom.

Research Assistantships

For students interested in a research apprenticeship, ELPA offers research assistantships for qualified students. Priority is given to doctoral students; however, interested master’s students may apply.

College of Education Scholarships

The College of Education offers a variety of competitive scholarships for newly admitted and continuing graduate students: Mizzou Ed graduate financial assistance


Application Deadlines

For Fall semester:

  • To participate in the Graduate Assistantship Recruitment Process (GARP), the application deadline is January 15
  • We will then consider applications on a rolling basis until May 15

For Spring Semester: September 15

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate education.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • Minimum scores accepted by the MU Graduate School for TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or the Cambridge C1 Advanced exams for non-native English speakers
  • Possible interviews with selected faculty.
  • Any exceptions to the above must be justified.

The Application Process

Complete the online Graduate School and ELPA applications prior to the aforementioned deadlines. You will be asked to include the following in your application:

  • Contact information for three recommenders (at least two of which should be from faculty who instructed or academically advised the applicant; each recommender will receive an emailed link to submit their letter online)
  • Unofficial transcripts (you will be asked to submit official transcripts upon admission)
  • Essay (prompt provided in the application)
  • Statement of Purpose (guidance provided in the application)
  • Resume/CV

For more information, contact:

Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis