M.S.Ed. in Higher Education

Part of the Higher Education Division

The M.S.Ed. is designed for students in the early stages of their careers who seek a better understanding of how the enterprise of higher education is structured, governed, financed, and managed. Most full-time master’s students also participate in an internship as a graduate assistant in order to learn about higher education management from a practical perspective.


Fast Facts


  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 10 course units
    • Required: 6 course units
    • Elective: 4 course units
  • Typical Course Load: Fall: 5 courses; Spring: 5 courses
  • Culminating Experience: Comprehensive Exam

 

View Admissions Requirements

Overview


The program is designed for those people who are in the early stages of their higher education careers and are seeking a better understanding of how the enterprise of higher education is structured, governed, financed, and managed. There is no typical M.S.Ed. student, although most fit into one of three groups: recent college graduates, people with one to three years of experience in higher education, or those with experience in other professional areas (e.g. corporate) who are interested in shifting to a higher education career. All share the need for foundational knowledge of higher education. The curriculum offers a variety of courses that enable students to shape a course of study that will prepare them for their area of interest.

Courses are reading and writing intensive and involve discussion-oriented seminars, individual and group projects, interactive case studies, and hands-on, work-based applications of learning. Most full time Masters students also participate 15-20 hours per week in an internship as a graduate assistant, learning about higher education management from a practical perspective. The graduate assistant or GA internship program helps to offset the costs of tuition while giving students work experience in their field of study.

Program of Study

Core Requirements

Full-Time Master's Students

CU Count
The Higher Education Master’s of Science in Education degree requires 10 Course Units. Under this planned program of study students are enrolled in 5 CUs of coursework per semester. Your academic advisor will assist in planning an appropriate program of study to meet degree requirements. Students may elect (in consultation with their academic advisor) to enroll in an alternate program of study.

Higher Education Required Courses
The core curriculum provides a broad, foundational knowledge of the enterprise of higher education with a requirement of six Higher Education courses. These include but are not limited to:

  • EDUC 504 Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
  • EDUC 607 Faculty and Academic Governance
  • EDUC 640 History of American Higher Education
  • EDUC 642 Higher Education in American Society

Students must also complete EDUC 592: Professional Development in Higher Education and at least four additional Higher Education Courses. *EDUC 592 is only required for students with fewer than 5 years of professional work experience. Students with more than 5 years of work experience may petition to be exempt from EDUC 592 from the instructor.

Students should meet with their faculty/academic advisor to discuss requirements for this course.

Distribution requirement
Candidates for the M.S.Ed. degree must demonstrate knowledge of the field of education beyond the area of specialization. This requirement is met by satisfying the distribution requirement. To meet the distribution requirement students must complete one approved graduate level GSE course outside the Higher Education division, earning a grade of “B” or better.

Elective courses
Elective courses may be taken at any school at Penn; however, the majority of Higher Ed students fulfill their electives within the division. Courses must be at the 500 level or above and students must consult their academic advisor before enrolling in any course outside of the Graduate School of Education.

Graduate Assistantship
All full-time Higher Education M.S.Ed. students are encouraged to seek graduate assistantships. These positions typically entail 15-20 hours of work per week, and may coincide with EDUC 592, though students do not earn course credit for assistantships.

Comprehensive examination
Higher Education master’s degree candidates must pass a comprehensive exam in order to graduate. The exam requires students to apply their foundational knowledge of higher education. To qualify to take the examination, students must have completed at least six Higher Education course units, or be enrolled in at least the sixth course unit. The exam is given in both the fall and spring terms. Under this planned program of study students can take the exam in the spring semester.

Graduation
Anticipated graduation under this plan is May.

Note: Any substitutions for required courses must be approved by your advisor and/or the Division Chair.

Part-Time Master's Students

CU count
M.S.Ed. candidates must be registered each fall and spring term for coursework; however you are not required to take two courses a semester nor are you required to enroll in summer session coursework.

Higher Education Required Courses
Students must complete six Higher Education courses.

Distribution requirement
Candidates for the M.S.Ed. degree must demonstrate knowledge of the field of education beyond the area of specialization. This requirement is met by satisfying the distribution requirement. To meet the distribution requirement students must complete one approved graduate level GSE course outside the Higher Education division, earning a grade of “B” or better.

Elective courses
Three elective courses may be taken at any school at Penn; however, the majority of Higher Ed students fulfill their electives within the division. Courses must be at the 500 level or above and students must consult their academic advisor before enrolling in any course outside of the Graduate School of Education.

Comprehensive examination
Higher Education master’s degree candidates must pass a comprehensive exam in order to graduate. The exam requires students to apply their foundational knowledge of higher education. To qualify to take the examination, students must have completed at least six Higher Education course units, or be enrolled in at least the sixth course unit. The exam is given in both the fall and spring terms.

Note: Any substitutions for required courses must be approved by your advisor and/or the Division Chair.

Faculty

Ross Aikins, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Diane Eynon, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Joni Finney, Ph.D.

Pennsylvania State University

Marybeth Gasman, Ph.D.

Indiana University

Shaun Harper, Ph.D.

Indiana University

Matthew Hartley, Ed.D.

Harvard University

Eric Kaplan, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Laura W. Perna, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Alan Ruby, Associate

Institute of Education, University of London

Robert Zemsky, Ph.D.

Yale University



Contact

Higher Education Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ross Aikins, Ph.D.
Program Manager and Lecturer
(215) 898-8398
raikins@gse.upenn.edu

Karen Carter
Coordinator: Higher Education Division
(215) 898-2444
karen@gse.upenn.edu

Questions for current students?
(215) 746-2923
E-mail Higher Education Division Graduate Assistants at:
GSE-HED@gse.upenn.edu