The graduate certificate in higher education administration is designed to address the need for enhanced understanding of the higher education institutional context and for improved skills and technical knowledge in areas required for effective administration and governance of higher education (e.g., budget and finance).

As a stand-alone certificate program, it is available to all current graduate students and non-degree seeking post-baccalaureate graduate students. Students may also apply the 12 hours of credit earned for this graduate certificate to the master of education, master of art, or doctor of philosophy with emphases in higher education upon admission to one of these degree programs. Courses required for the proposed certificate are existing courses offered in the master’s and doctoral programs.

Many students in this program are full-time employees at institutions of higher education. They often continue in their current employment after completion of the certificate and use the certificate to help career advancement. This certificate can be completed in one fall semester, if you are wanting to take all four courses at once. The two required courses for the certificate are both offered online and many of our elective courses are also available online, so it is possible to complete the certificate as a distance student.

Learning Outcomes

Through this certificate students will progress towards:

  • Recognizing diverse systems of higher education.
  • Analyzing organizational structures and functions of higher education institutions.
  • Identifying critical social problems, including issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Program Characteristics

  • The graduate certificate in higher education administration draws upon the existing resources of established courses and current faculty.
  • The faculty certificate coordinator will advise graduate certificate students.
  • Students must complete four courses (12 hours)
    • ED_LPA 9450: Administration and Governance of Higher Education (required)
    • ED_LPA 9451: Higher Education Finance (required)
    • The remaining two courses are electives that are selected under the guidance of the faculty adviser.

Learn more about individual courses in ELPA.


Apply for this certificate program through online graduate studies application. As part of the application process, we require copies of academic transcripts.


Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis