US News Best Online Programs Grad Education 2023This degree is part of the higher education program, housed in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA).

The mission of the master’s degree program in higher education is to prepare students for professional administrative leadership positions in a variety of post-secondary educational settings.

The purpose of the master’s degree program 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 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 professional positions in areas such as student activities and leadership, multicultural affairs, Greek life, academic advising, financial aid, residential life, assessment, institutional research, enrollment management and/or doctoral studies.

Focus Area

Learning Outcomes for Higher Education & Student Affairs 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.

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.

Master of education students must complete the higher education capstone project. This includes a scholarly reflection of their academic and professional experiences and an oral group defense with other graduating students and their faculty advisors.

Program Planner

Learn more about individual courses in ELPA.

Assistantships and Scholarships

For those interested in administrative graduate assistantships on campus, we encourage you to utilize Hire Mizzou Tigers . Following your admission to MU [or the University of Missouri], you will be able to log-in to identify and apply for available graduate assistantships at MU. You will also want to let your advisor know what types of opportunities you are looking for so they can assist accordingly. Each student will be assigned a faculty advisor and this information will be provided in the offer of admission we send you.

For those interested in research, ELPA may offer research assistantships for qualified students. While priority is given to doctoral students, master’s students may apply.

The College of Education offers a variety of competitive scholarships for newly admitted and continuing graduate students (application is due March 1st). To be considered for need-based scholarships, students will want to complete the FAFSA. MU’s priority deadline for federal student aid is February 1st.


Application Deadlines

For Fall semester: The priority application deadline is January 15th; our second priority application deadline is May 15th and then we will consider applications on a rolling basis until August 1st.

For Spring Semester: The priority application deadline is September 15th and then we will consider applications on a rolling basis until December 1st.

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