Higher Education Administration

Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration serves the purpose of preparing students for innovative and socially responsible leadership roles within higher education. Students will gain knowledge and leadership skills necessary to meet the growing challenges of working with and supporting a culturally diverse student population consisting of first generation students, underrepresented minoritized students, international students, and/or students who face economic challenges.

Thesis Option

The thesis option consists of 39 credit hours. This path is for those seeking upward mobility within the field of higher education in either student or academic affairs, as well as those seeking to further their academic research skills in preparation for doctoral study. Students who choose this path are required to take a minimum of 6 credit hours of thesis research. The thesis option will require successful completion of the thesis defense.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option consists of 36 credit hours and successful completion of a practicum and comprehensive exam. This path is designed to give students a foundation in education research, while also focusing on content relevant to those who wish to work or are currently working in academic or student affairs. This general option gives students the ability to elect to complete a practicum course and submit an experiential project to complete degree requirements. All practicum students may select from the following options:

  • Select an administrative practicum in an area of interest
  • Select an experiential practicum focused on preparation for a national or regional conference
  • Select a written practicum focused on publication
  • Select a personalized practicum with your faculty advisor

The Non-thesis option will require successful completion of a comprehensive exam. Comprehensive exam dates and timelines will be announced at the beginning of the final semester of a student’s degree plan. Students will be given a period of no more than two weeks to complete their comprehensive exam. No collaboration nor outside help is allowed during the exam period. Failure to independently complete the comprehensive exam will result in an automatic no-pass score and the student will be removed from the program with no option to reapply.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements for admission to the Master of Science in Higher Education Administration:

  • Completed undergraduate degree (any major)
  • An official copy of all transcripts
  • GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three professional recommendations
  • Interview
  • No GRE score is required

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration program will prepare students with competency in the following areas:

  • Knowledge of organizational theory, as well as social and policy issues that critically impact student success.
  • Knowledge of ways in which to engage in strategic partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs to provide critical support structures for student success.
  • Knowledge of the unique challenges and variations within higher education, including differences in schools by regions of the United States, urban/rural institutions, tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), historically Black colleges and universities (HBCs), and other iterations of higher education institutions.
  • Knowledge of organization, culture, diversity and the history of higher education.
  • Knowledge of relevant research on student development theories.
  • Knowledge and skills to engage in and use research and assessment to improve education programs and practices within higher education.
  • Knowledge and skills to be competitive when seeking admission to advanced degree programs.

Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration

The Higher Education Administration Graduate Certificate serves the purpose of preparing current and future professionals with the knowledge base necessary to be successful within their current positions within higher education, as an avenue for work-related advancement and promotion, and/or enrollment in a future degree-seeking graduate program in Higher Education.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration:

  • Completed undergraduate degree with an overall GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale OR current UAB undergraduate student in good standing with 60+ credit hours completed and an overall GPA of 3.0 (Applicants do not need to have earned a degree in education nor be currently pursuing a degree in education).
  • Applicants must submit an official copy of their transcripts.
  • Submit a purpose statement outlining the reason student is pursuing the Graduate Certificate (not to exceed one page).
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from your current (most recent if currently unemployed) supervisor.

Note: If undergraduate students meet the certificate admission criteria stated above, they can start the Higher Education Administration Graduate Certificate while still pursuing their bachelor’s degree. However, because of their admission to a Graduate Certificate program, these undergraduate students cannot use the graduate credit hours from this certificate program toward their undergraduate degree. After having earned their undergraduate degree and also having earned the Higher Education graduate certificate, alumni will be able to use up to 12 credit hours from their graduate certificate toward an Master of Science in Higher Education Administration at UAB if completed within five years of having earned their undergraduate degree.

Learning Outcomes

The Higher Education Administration Graduate Certificate will prepare certificate-seekers with competency in the following areas:

  • Organization, culture, diversity and history of higher education,
  • Governance, structure, and management of higher education institutions,
  • Research, theoretical, and practical issues surrounding access to college and equity in higher education, and
  • Critical support systems within higher education that promote student success.

Plan I is the thesis option and requires successful completion of the thesis defense for graduation. Plan II is the non-thesis option and requires successful completion of the comprehensive exam for graduation.

Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

Plan I

RequirementsHours
Major Courses
HEA 600Administration of Higher Education3
HEA 610History of Higher Education3
HEA 620Access & Equity in Higher Education3
HEA 630Higher Education Law3
HEA 640Organization, Leadership, & Change3
HEA 660College Student Development3
HEA 670Strategic Partnerships in Academic & Student Affairs3
HEA 680Practical Issues & Challenges in Higher Education3
Electives3
Special Topics
Student Health and Well-Being in Higher Education
Critical Social Issues in American Education
Culture and American Education: Race Class and Gender
Research Courses
EPR 594Introduction to Educational Research Design3
EPR 608Introduction to Statistical Methods in Educational Research3
or EPR 596 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
Thesis
HEA 699Thesis Research3
HEA 699Thesis Research3
Total Hours39

Plan II

RequirementsHours
HEA 600Administration of Higher Education3
HEA 610History of Higher Education3
EPR 594Introduction to Educational Research Design3
HEA 620Access & Equity in Higher Education3
HEA 630Higher Education Law3
HEA 640Organization, Leadership, & Change3
HEA 650Assessment & Evaluation of Higher Education3
HEA 660College Student Development3
HEA 670Strategic Partnerships in Academic & Student Affairs3
HEA 680Practical Issues & Challenges in Higher Education3
Electives3
Special Topics
Student Health and Well-Being in Higher Education
Critical Social Issues in American Education
Culture and American Education: Race Class and Gender
Practicum
HEA 690Practicum in Higher Education3
Total Hours36

Individuals who complete the Higher Education graduate certificate will be able to use the 12 credit hours from their graduate certificate toward the Master of Science in Higher Education Administration at UAB if completed within five years of having earned their undergraduate degree.

Certificate in Higher Education Administration 

RequirementsHours
Required Coursework
HEA 600Administration of Higher Education3
HEA 610History of Higher Education3
HEA 620Access & Equity in Higher Education3
Advisor Approved Electives3
Higher Education Law
Organization, Leadership, & Change
College Student Development
Strategic Partnerships in Academic & Student Affairs
Practical Issues & Challenges in Higher Education
Special Topics
Total Hours12