MA in Higher Education and Student Development

The Higher Education Program at George Mason University prepares individuals for positions of leadership in teaching, research, and administration at community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities around the globe. The interdisciplinary, graduate-level curriculum focuses on leadership, the scholarship of teaching and learning, administration, and assessment. This 36 credit hour master’s degree prepares students for positions in academic and student affairs as well as in associations, government agencies, and industries whose activities relate to or impact higher education. Students in the Higher Education Program come from varied professional backgrounds in college teaching, university administration, business, the performing arts, and government, and bring a vast spectrum of experience to their studies. 

The degree’s core coursework provides essential knowledge about the higher education enterprise. This includes the evolving nature of higher education and its foundational characteristics, students and their development, the management and administration of programs and services, and data driven practices; all in the context of the digital age. The current digital age provides extensive opportunities to communicate, teach, and learn through digital sources. Core courses provide a foundation in social sciences, quantitative reasoning, history, and digital media (e.g., pre and post refereed web writing, wikis, social media, open source learning, data visualization, digital textbooks, Google resources) with an emphasis on graduates’ capacity to apply course content and build skills to enhance educational opportunities in a budgetary constrained environment.

Upon completion of the program, students will:

  • Understand and apply concepts of leadership, teaching, administration, and assessment through an interdisciplinary lens within the context of the complex higher education enterprise.
  • Become socialized members of a community of higher education professionals to contribute to and lead scholarly conversations by consuming, critiquing, and creating scholarship.
  • Understand and employ effective pedagogical approaches.
  • Examine current issues related to existing and emerging technologies in theory and practice.
  • Value assessment, understand its role, and be skilled in enacting analytical processes.
  • Reflect on themselves as cultural beings and analyze how culture and history influence their work in higher education.
  • Value diversity, equity, and inclusion and meet multicultural competencies.
  • Use theory as a base from which to ground the practice of effective and ethical leadership, teaching, and administration.
  • Be prepared to implement programs and services that support institutional mission while adhering to oversight and accountability requirements.