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 (CUs). Under this planned program of study full-time students typically enroll in four to five CUs of coursework in the Fall and Spring semester, and some elect to take summer coursework prior to the Fall or after Spring commencement. 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 independent studies or propose an alternate program of study.

Higher Education Courses
The higher education M.S.Ed. curriculum provides a broad, foundational knowledge of the enterprise of higher education with the requirement of at least six higher education courses. Of those six CUs "Diversity in Higher Education" (EDUC 594) is required. Other emphasized areas of knowledge that students can choose from inlcude but are not limited to

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • University Administration
  • Public Policy
  • International Higher Education 
  • Research, Methods, and Inquiry
  • Higher Education Foundations

Courses typically offered by the Higher Education Division that fall across these content areas include, among others: 

  • Diversity in Higher Education (EDUC 594) 
  • History of American Higher Education 
  • University Community Partnerships 
  • Gender in College 
  • Understanding MSI's 
  • Building Inlcusive Communities 
  • Access and Choice 
  • Administration of Student Life 
  • Enrollment Management 
  • Organization & Administration of Intercollegiate Athletics 
  • Case Studies in Higher Education Administration 
  • Public Policy in Higher Education 
  • Advanced Public Policy Seminar 
  • Law and Higher Education
  • Globalization and the University 
  • Democratizing Higher Education Participation 
  • Higher Education Policy: What We Can Learn from Other Countries 
  • Introduction to Inquiry in Educational Research 
  • Social and Statistical Network Analysis 
  • Quasi-Experimental Design 
  • Student Development in College Environments 
  • College Student Health
  • Faculty and Academic Governance 
  • Ethics and Leadership in Higher Education 
  • Higher Education Finance 
  • Economics of Higher Education 
  • Contemporary Issues in Higher Education

These topics and courses provide examples of the content areas that students can choose or sample from, but the higher education division typically offers more than 30 courses per academic year. Additionally, M.S.Ed. students can take up to two CUs as independent studies (EDUC 999) over their program of study. 

Required Courses                                                                                                                                                                                             EDUC 594 is a requred course for all HED M.S.Ed. students, and students with fewer than four years of work experience must also complete "Professional Development in Higher Education" (EDUC 592). Students can meet with their faculty/academic advisor to arrange or propose course substitutions. 

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.

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 five 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
Part-time M.S.Ed. students must be registered for at least 1 CU each fall and spring term, up to 2 CUs per term. Enrolling in coursework during the summer terms is not required. 

Higher Education Required Courses
Students must complete six Higher Education courses, including "Diversity in Higher Education" (EDUC 594).

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.

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

Manuel S. González Canché, Ph.D.

University of Arizona

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

Stiteler Hall                                                          208 S. 37th St.                                     Philadelphia, PA 19104

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

 

S. Noel Lipki

 Program Assistant: Higher Education Division
(215) 746-2923

nlipki@gse.upenn.edu

 

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

(215)-746-2922