Online Master of Science Degree in Higher Education

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Program at a Glance

  • Develop the practical knowledge, critical thinking, research, and writing skills relevant to leaders at colleges and universities.
  • Customize your program by choosing a concentration in administration and leadership, teaching, or student affairs.
  • Learn from instructors who are professionals in the higher education field and bring real-world knowledge to the classroom.
  • Gain hands-on experience in the student affairs concentration through a 120-hour internship experience.
Upcoming Start Dates

We offer multiple start dates to give you flexibility in your education, life, and work schedules.

Course Effort
15 Hours per Week
Course Length
10-Week Terms
Average Completion
1.5 years
Of Full-Time Study
Credits Required
(33 Semester Credits)
Cost per Credit
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Master of Science in Higher Education Overview

Whether your interests are in administration, teaching, student services, or other areas within higher education, our interactive online courses are designed to help you pursue new opportunities or advance your career in postsecondary educational settings or colleges.

  • Focus on multicultural and diversity issues affecting student development in higher education.
  • Examine how technology, public policy, and financing issues affect a student’s ability to attend college.
  • Explore the historical development of colleges and universities in the United States and the organizational principles that guide them.

Degree Concentrations

Choose from three concentrations to customize your master's degree in higher education

  • College administration and leadership: Study the principles of effective leadership as they relate to the management of academic programs and departments in a variety of postsecondary settings.
  • College teaching: Explore foundations of adult learning and the use of technology in higher education settings. Develop expertise in curriculum design and implementation and in the methods and models used to assess learning outcomes.
  • Student affairs: Focus on the administration of a comprehensive student services program for both on-ground and online institutions. You will also have the opportunity to complete a 120-hour internship experience.

See the University Catalog for policy and degree plan information specific to this program.

Kentucky students please be advised that this program is not accredited in Kentucky by the Education Professional Standards Board and is not recognized for initial, additional, or renewal of certification or salary enhancement (rank change) for P–12 educators in Kentucky. For more information, please visit the Education Professional Standards Board’s website at:
Graduate Resource Center

Take advantage of the Graduate Resource Center, a self-paced course for graduate students that includes information on professional memberships and clubs, career services, social networking, and more.

Academic Alliances to Expand Your Teaching Opportunities

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to announce a partnership with Promise Opens Doors, an organization that offers an online certificate program for educators interested in working abroad and helping others learn English.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required to enroll in a master’s degree program. You will need to provide an official transcript that shows completion of your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, though an unofficial copy may be provided during the application process. Refer to the University Catalog or speak to an Advisor to learn more.

Ways to Save

  • Transfer Credits

    Earn credit for prior coursework completed at eligible institutions, including community colleges.

    Save Time and Money on Your Degree

  • Financial Aid

    Title IV federal financial aid is available for many of our degree programs.

    Financial Aid FAQ

  • Corporate Partner Benefits

    Employees of Purdue Global partner organizations may be eligible for special tuition reductions.

    Employee Savings and Benefits

  • Military Tuition Reduction

    55% reduction per credit for current servicemembers, 38% per credit for veterans for undergraduate programs.

    Tuition Savings for Military

  • International Tuition Reduction

    International students living outside of the United States are eligible for a 25% tuition reduction.

    International Tuition and Benefits

Program Cost Estimator

Calculate your estimated tuition and ways to save.


View the total cost of attendance for your program.

What Courses Will I Take?

This master’s in higher education online degree program focuses on the practical knowledge, critical thinking, and research skills related to today's colleges and universities.

See All Higher Education Courses
Sample Courses
  • Foundations of Higher Education
  • Higher Education Laws and Regulations
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity in Higher Education
  • Higher Education Finance


Choose one of three concentrations within the master’s in higher education degree to align the curriculum with your career goals.

  • College administration and leadership
  • College teaching
  • Student affairs

Program Requirements

  • Core Credits
  • Elective Credits
  • Total Credits

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for postsecondary teachers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2021 and 2031. Opportunities for administrators and student services personnel are also expected to increase during the same period.* The Master of Science in Higher Education is designed to prepare you to pursue leadership positions in colleges, community colleges, universities, and technical and vocational centers.

Top 5 Skills Employers Are Looking for:

  1. Active Listening
  2. Monitoring
  3. Social Perceptiveness
  4. Speaking
  5. Coordination

Top Jobs With This Degree

Labor market, salary, and projected growth information are supplied by Emsi. Average salary range is based on national data. Projected growth represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018–2030) at the state level and is based on your geographic location. Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience, and opportunities for employment. Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment placement, salary level, or career advancement.

Note: Most institutions require individuals teaching at the collegiate level to have the minimum of either a master’s degree in their teaching field or a master’s degree in higher education and 18 semester hours (27 quarter credit hours) of graduate coursework in their teaching field.

Get to Know Our Faculty

Purdue Global faculty members are real-world practitioners who bring knowledge gained through the powerful combination of higher learning and industry experience.

View Education Faculty Directory
grad hat icon 98% Faculty members who have advanced degrees
diploma icon 51% Faculty members who hold a doctorate
tablet icon 395 Faculty publications in 2021–2022
student at desk icon More Than 38,000 Professional development hours logged by faculty in 2021–2022

Statistics include all Purdue Global faculty members and are not school or program-specific calculations. Source: Purdue Global Office of Reporting and Analysis, July 2022. 2021–2022 academic year.

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Education Programs Brochure

Download our brochure to learn more about the Master of Science in Higher Education and the benefits of earning your degree at Purdue Global.

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*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Teachers, and Postsecondary Education Administrators, National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. College teaching requirements vary by institution and program. This program was not designed to meet any specific state’s requirements for licensure or certification, and Purdue Global makes no representations or warranties as to whether the degree or any individual courses meet such requirements. Refer to the University Catalog for additional information.