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Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership

  • Total Credit Hours: 39
  • Degree Format: Hybrid

The Valdosta State Difference

The Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership Program allows students to develop as professionals and scholars through a blend of classroom learning and practical experience. Students are immersed in the operations of academic affairs as well as student services in the higher education field. Faculty members will maintain commitment in the areas of service and research for the sharing of knowledge and will provide leadership to students. Students will experience learning that will enhance the appreciation and knowledge of diversity in the classroom and workplace including numerous hands-on experiences.

Diverse Coursework

Courses expose students to a range of learning and development theories; explore the history of American higher education and discuss being a higher education professional on today’s diverse campus, Students will also interpret financial and organizational structures, evaluate institutional effectiveness, and analyze educational research.

Experiential Learning

Students are encouraged to pursue diverse internship experiences that will enable them to translate theory into practice as they develop a personal philosophy of higher education. Read more about graduate assistant and internship opportunities.

Career Outlook

According to the Department of Labor Statistics, “Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Expected growth may result from increasing student enrollment in colleges and universities”.

Admissions Requirements

Required Documents

Admission Requirements

Online Graduate Application

  • Application Fee (credit or debit card and e-checks accepted)
  • Apply Online

One Official Transcript from each institution where you have previously enrolled (undergraduate and graduate).

(Transcripts of coursework completed in-residence at VSU will be obtained by the Graduate School

  • Must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally- accredited institution.
  • For regular admission consideration, applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for an undergraduate or graduate degree calculated on all work attempted in which letter grades are awarded.
  • Applicants with at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale are not required to take the GRE or MAT.
  • For provisional admission consideration, applicants with a cumulative grade point average between 2.5 and 2.99 on a 4.0 scale for an undergraduate degree or a cumulative grade point average between 2.75 and 2.99 on a 4.0 scale for a graduate degree must submit a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller's Analogy Test (MAT) score. Recommended scores for admission are:
    • GRE - 145 Verbal and 139 Quantitative
    • MAT - 380
Career Goal Statement
  • A career goal statement which will serve as a writing sample.  The statement must demonstrate
    • the ability to organize and articulate thoughts,
    • writing skills including grammar and punctuation, and
    • the ability to set goals consistent with one's desired career path.
  • The statement must address the applicant's career goals, how the degree contributes to reaching these career goals, and why VSU was selected for this graduate work. 
  • The career goal statement should be no more than 250 words and is to be submitted to the Graduate School with the other application materials. 

Three Recommendations

(General Recommendation Form Required)

  • Recommendation letters from professionals familiar with your professional and/or academic work. 

VSU Medical Form

  • The form must be completed and signed by the student/applicant.
  • This form must be received prior to enrollment, NOT prior to admission.
  • Applicants who are currently enrolled, and those who attended VSU in the past, are not required to resubmit the Medical Form

Verification of Lawful Presence

(For applicants who believe they qualify for in-state tuition or a residency waiver.)

  • This is not required for individuals who do not qualify for in-state tuition or a residency waiver.
  • This must be received prior to enrollment (if applicable), NOT prior to admission.
  • Citizenship documentation is needed for any applicant who wishes to be considered for in-state tuition.
  • Complete list of accepted documents and information on residency.

Unless otherwise indicated above, all required documents must be received on or before the admission deadline for your file to be reviewed. It is the applicant's responsibility to allow adequate time for document delivery and to en-sure receipt of documents. Please allow at least 7-10 days for delivery by mail.

Additional requirements can be found on the Graduate School website.

Course Sequence


Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
RSCH 7100 Research Methodology in Education 3
HEDL 7840 History and Philosophy of Higher Education 3
HEDL 7870 Introdution to Higher Education Leadership 3
HEDL 7860 Student Development Theory 3
HEDL 7800 Organization & Governance of Higher Education 3
HEDL 7820 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 3
HEDL 8300 Social Context in Education 3
HEDL 7650 Leadership Theory in Higher Education 3
HEDL 7880 Counseling in Student Affairs 3
HEDL 7810 Finance and Budgeting in Higher Education 3
HEDL 8710 Collegiate Environments 3


Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
HEDL 7921 Internship in Higher Education 3
TBD Guided Elective. Must be approved by advisor 3


Professional Opportunities

  • Internship Opportunities

    The Higher Education Leadership emphasis offers internship opportunities in a variety of fields from the athletic department to campus wellness. Internships through the college are designed to meet each student's specific academic interests. To find out more, speak with your advisor.

  • Job Placement

    Job Search

    Check out the below Web sites and resources to find the latest jobs in higher education leadership.


    • VSU Academic Support Center: The ASC offers workshops and online resources to hone those interview skills. For more information or to make an appointment, call the ASC at 229-333-7570 or visit their website.
    • VSU Career ServicesThe office provides career development and awareness, experiential learning, and professional employment opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and alumni.
    • Resume-Help.org: Search hundreds of free resume samples, cover letter writing tips, and interview dos and don'ts at this helpful site.
  • Professional Organizations

    Higher Education professionals are a diverse group of individuals with the common goal of promoting academic achievement and student development at colleges and universities throughout the world. Below are a few organizations dedicated to supporting professionals in the many functional areas of higher education.

    Academic Advising

    • National Academic Advising Association: The NACADA is the leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development.


    • National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics: The NACDA serves as the professional association for those in the field of intercollegiate athletics administration. It provides educational opportunities and serves as a vehicle for networking, the exchange of information, and advocacy on behalf of the profession.
    • The National Collegiate Athletic Association: The NCAA is a voluntary organization through which the nation's colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. It is comprised of institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals committed to the best interests, education and athletics participation of student-athletes.
    • National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association: NIRSA is the leading resource for professional and student development, education, and research in collegiate recreational sports.

    Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

    • Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors: This group of Greek professionals unified to increase awareness of the value of the fraternity/sorority experience and to advocate for shared governance, infrastructure inclusiveness and community service.


    • Association of College and University Housing Officers - International: Join or read more about the ACUHO-I, an organization composed of thousands of housing professionals from more than 900 colleges and universities in 22 different countries, who serve approximately 1.8 million students worldwide.
    • The National Orientation Directors Association: For more than 40 years, NODA has provided education, leadership and professional development in the fields of college student orientation, transition and retention. The international organization of professional administrators, students, faculty is committed to its core values of community, diversity, integrity, learning, scholarship and service.

    Judicial Affairs

    • Association for Student Conduct Administrations: This organization provides higher education leadership students interested in judicial affairs with professional connections, conferences and the latest information about trainings and theories.

    Multicultural Affairs

    • National Association for Multicultural Education: This organization brings together individuals and groups with an interest in multicultural education from all levels of education, different academic disciplines, and from diverse educational institutions and occupations.

    Student Affairs

    • NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: With more than 11,000 members at 1,400 campuses in 29 countries, NASPA is the foremost professional association for student affairs administrators, policy and practice and affirms the commitment of student affairs to educating the whole student and integrating student life and learning.
    • ACPA - American College Personnel Association: ACPA is the leading comprehensive student affairs association that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery. ACPA, founded in 1924 by May L. Cheney, has nearly 7,500 members representing 1,200 private and public institutions from across the U.S. and around the world.
  • Professional Competencies

    The Higher Education Leadership Program bases its curriculum on professional competencies developed by the American College Personnel Association and the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators. To learn more about the professional competencies, click here: Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators (PDF)

  • Suggested Readings

    Higher Education is a broad, ever-changing field influenced by a variety of intellectual, moral and political theories and approaches. Students in the master's program will be exposed to the field's latest, most influential readings in classes; however, additional reading is encouraged. Below is a suggested reading list for those who want to explore theories and perspectives not addressed in class.

    Educational Leadership

    Cunningham, W., & Cordeirno, P. (2006). Educational leadership: A problem-based approach, Third Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

    Reinhartz, Judy, & Beach, Don M. (2004). Educational leadership: Changing schools, changing roles. Boston, MA: Pearson/Ally and Bacon.

    Sample, S. (2002). The contrarian’s guide to leadership. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

    Higher Education Finance

    Barr, M. & McClellan, G. (2011). Budgets and financial management in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Paulsen, M. B. & Smart, J. C. (Eds.). (2008). The finance of higher education. New York: Algora Publishing.

    St. John, E. P. & Parsons, M. D. (Eds.). (2005). Public funding of higher education: Changing contexts and new rationales. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Sheila Slaughter (with Gary Rhodes). Academic capitalism and the new economy: Markets, state and higher Education. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Student Development

    Evans, N., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (3rd edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    McClellan, G.S., & Stringer, J. (Eds.). (2009). The handbook of student affairs administration (3rd edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Pascarella, E., & Terenzini, P. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Higher Education Politics

    Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. Boston: Back Bay Books.

    Kingdon, J. W. (2003). Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. New York: Longman.

    Lemann, N. (1999). The big test: The secret history of the American meritocracy. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux.

    Walberg, H. J., & Bast, J. L. (2003). Education and capitalism: How overcoming our fear of markets and economies can improve America’s schools. Stanford: Hoover Inst. (available for free download at http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/publications/books/edcap.html)


    Olivas, M. (1997). The law of higher education. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.


    Cahn, S.M. (2011). Moral problems in higher education. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

    Heineman, K.J. (2001). Put your bodies upon the wheels: Student revolt in the 1960s. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee.

    Lucas, C.J. (2006). American higher education: A history (2nd ed). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

    Thelin, J. (2004). A history of American higher education: New York, NY: Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Journals and Newspapers

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