Higher Education (MA)

This is a master of arts degree in educational leadership and policy analysis with an emphasis in higher education.

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

The mission of the master’s degree programs in higher education is to prepare students for professional administrative leadership positions in a variety of post-secondary educational settings. 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). Students enrolled in the MA program must complete a thesis; those in the MEd must complete the higher education capstone project, which includes a scholarly reflection of their academic and professional experiences and an oral group defense among other graduating students and their faculty advisers. The vast majority of our students pursue the MEd option.

Focus Areas

There are two possible focus areas:

1. Student Affairs Leadership

This focus area prepares students for student affairs leadership and program development positions in post-secondary educational institutions. It was developed to meet the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education as published by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and are guided by the NASPA/ACPA professional competencies.

Through the program, students will gain the knowledge to:

  • Develop an awareness of organizational and environmental characteristics in various types of post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Understand the impact of college on undergraduate students through an exploration of diverse institutional types and influences on and within higher education, as well as the diversity of today’s undergraduate students;
  • Understand student development theories and be able to apply these within post-secondary settings to foster student learning and development;
  • Understand issues of diversity, equity and social justice as they apply to higher education.

Through the program, students will gain the skills to:

  • Communicate ideas clearly and within the standard practices of the field;
  • Develop programs for students and assess the value of those programs;
  • Become thoughtful consumers and producers of educational research in higher education;
  • Be prepared for student affairs leadership and program development positions in post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Demonstrate self-reflection and progress toward the professional core competency areas for student affairs practitioners identified by key higher education professional organizations

2. Higher Education Administration and Leadership

This focus area prepares students for administrative and/or leadership positions in post-secondary educational institutions and other areas in which knowledge of higher education administration and organization is important.

Through the program, students will gain the knowledge to:

  • Develop an awareness of organizational and environmental characteristics in the various types of post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Understand best practices in higher education administration;
  • Understand issues of diversity, equity and social justice as they apply to higher education.

Through the program, students will gain the skills to:

  • Communicate ideas clearly and within the standard practices of the field;
  • Be prepared for administrative and/or leadership positions in post-secondary educational institutions and other areas in which knowledge of higher education and organization is important;
  • Become thoughtful consumers and producers of educational research in higher education;
  • Demonstrate self-reflection and progress toward the professional core competency areas identified by key higher education professional organizations.

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 six 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 and methods and writing the thesis. 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 two years for full-time students.

Learn more about individual courses in ELPA.

Assistantships, Scholarships & Fellowships

Graduate Assistantship Recruitment Process (GARP)

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

For full consideration for an administrative/student affairs graduate assistantships and/or ELPA research assistantships for the following fall semester, submit applications by Jan. 15.

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 are encouraged to apply.

The College of Education offers a variety of competitive scholarships for newly admitted and continuing graduate students.

Mizzou Ed graduate financial assistance
Graduate studies fellowships

Apply

Application Deadlines

For fall semester: Jan. 15
For spring semester: Sept. 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
  • Possible interviews with selected faculty
  • Completed university and ELPA applications
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least two of which should be from faculty who instructed or academically advised the applicant)
  • GRE scores are not required. However, non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL examination, and those scores will be considered as part of admission decisions.
  • Minimum scores established by MU’s Graduate Faculty Senate for TOEFL or IELTS exams must be met.
  • Any exceptions to the above must be justified.

How to Apply

Complete the online graduate studies application.

For more information about this program, contact us:

Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
573-882-8221
elpa@missouri.edu