The M.S. in Higher Education Administration provides students with the knowledge and experience necessary to become institutional leaders ready to advance America's diverse array of colleges and universities. Graduates of the program carry with them a broad, holistic understanding of university structures and operational areas, as well as the ability to identify and analyze problems, craft data-driven solutions, and cast vision for future practice.

This 30-credit online graduate degree can be completed in two years of full-time study. Program coursework has an applied focus and orients students to various dimensions of institutional identity, context, and effectiveness. Two core requirements introduce the historical development of the American system of higher education as well as the fundamentals of institutional research and assessment, while the remaining content courses span a wide range of topics and functions in higher education, including organization and governance, financial management, legal issues, the college student experience, external relations, and administrative leadership. Students conclude the degree program by participating in a practicum field experience guided by a professional mentor and by completing a capstone research study that addresses a postsecondary issue of importance and contributes to institutional improvement.

The M.S. in Higher Education Administration is designed so that students can tailor the program to their professional goals or to prepare for doctoral study, if desired. The curriculum, taught by experienced faculty, will be beneficial to professionals in all areas of higher education administration, including:

  • Enrollment management
  • Admissions
  • Development
  • Management and business
  • Marketing and communication
  • Educational technology
  • Facilities management, and more.

Students who complete the M.S. in Higher Education Administration gain the knowledge, skills, and experience to contribute effectively in a higher education position, to advance professionally, and to become leaders in their respective fields of expertise. With the flexibility of online delivery and accelerated course terms offered every fall, spring, and summer, students can efficiently pursue their graduate degree while working full-time. This program is offered at a special competitive tuition rate.

(412) 396-5568 

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a U.S. accredited university or approved equivalent
  • All international students with a degree from a non-English-speaking institution must submit a TOEFL or an IELTS score
  • Minimum overall 3.0 GPA or minimum 3.0 GPA on most recent 48 credits
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate study
  • One-page statement of purpose addressing motivation for seeking admission to the program (250 word maximum).

Note: Due to higher education regulation changes, Duquesne University is unable to accept applications for admission to online programs and courses from students residing in certain states. Before applying, please refer to the list of prohibited states.

After completing the Duquesne University graduate online application, please send transcripts to:

Program Assistant for Higher Education Administration
Duquesne University School of Education
401 Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282


The following 10 courses are required for the M.S. in Higher Education Administration:

Administrative Foundations
GHEA 501 Foundations of American Higher Education (3 credits)
GHEA 502 Data-Driven Decision Making in Higher Education (3 credits)
Administrative Contexts
GHEA 521 Organization and Governance in Higher Education (3 credits)
GHEA 522 Financial Management in Higher Education (3 credits)
GHEA 523 Legal Issues in Higher Education (3 credits)
GHEA 524 The College Student Experience (3 credits)
GHEA 525 Managing External Relations in Higher Education (3 credits)
GHEA 526 Leadership in Higher Education (3 credits)
Administrative Practice
GHEA 551 Administrative Practicum (3 credits)
GHEA 552 Capstone in Higher Education (3 credits)

Learning Outcomes

Candidates for the M.S. in Higher Education Administration will:

  1. Identify and describe the key operational areas of a modern college or university. Explain and analyze how these areas are functionally organized and how they work together to ensure institutional success in a competitive environment.
  2. Describe and analyze the historical development of the purposes and form of the American system of higher education. Identify, describe, analyze, and pose solutions to contemporary issues and trends.
  3. Identify, collect, analyze, synthesize, and use appropriate and relevant data to effectively make strategic decisions.
  4. Identify, describe, and apply frameworks for understanding organizational structure, culture, and behavior.
  5. Identify and describe the major revenue streams and expenditures of various types of postsecondary institutions. Use an understanding of financial management principles to assess and support institutional health.
  6. Identify and describe relevant areas of law and public policy for postsecondary institutions. Use an understanding of the legal code and government regulations to determine institutional compliance.
  7. Identify and describe the developmental patterns and needs and of an increasingly diverse student population. Use an understanding of college impact research to support student success.
  8. Identify and describe the characteristics and interests of external constituencies critical to the success of modern colleges and universities. Use an understanding of organizational marketing and communication to effectively engage key stakeholders.
  9. Identify, describe, and use an understanding of personal strengths and exemplary leadership practices to enhance managerial effectiveness in postsecondary institutions.
  10. Identify, describe, and effectively advocate for the value and contribution that higher education makes to the public good.