Boston University

School of Education

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies (ELPS)

Higher Education Administration

  • M. Ed.
Program Emphasis: 
  • Administrative Leadership


Dr. Raul Fernandez
Two Silber Way
SED, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215

Program Statement

The mission of the Boston University (BU) Higher Education Program is to prepare culturally compenent higher education administrators to serve students and institutions from a theory to practice perspective. Our program prepares administrators to serve in a variety of higher education including but not limited to student affairs, admissions and financial aid, residential life, academic program administration, professional schools (law, med, etc.), career advisement, and alumni relations or development. Our students advance their:

  • reflective mindset that critically considers how personal and professional narratives shape educational worldviews and higher education administration.
  • judicious understanding of developmental theories and ability to apply those theories in the advisement of students in curricular and co-curricular environments.
  • substantive understanding of the complex context shaping higher education’s present and future administration (historical acts, reports, commissions, administration, faculty, students, community, political, legal issues, etc.)
  • appropriate responses to issues of educational equity, diversity and inclusiveness.
  • critical understanding of contemporary issues in U.S. higher education and its collective impact on underrepresented populations.
  • ability to be good consumers and users of research and literature to drive administrative work.

Our program welcomes students from a variety of identity groups (race/ethnicity, gender, age, etc.), backgrounds, and professional experience levels. We also enroll students in both full-time and part-time capacities.

  • Our smaller, campus-based full-time cohort allows students to complete their degree in an accelerated 1-year degree program and provides a purposeful combination of theory (through coursework) and practice (through assistantships and internships).
  • Our larger, campus-based part-time cohort allows students to work at their own pace, with the average time to degree completion in the range of 2-2.5 years. These full-time professionals bring experiences from a wide array of higher education areas (including student affairs, academic affairs, health and wellness, development, admissions, financial aid, and professional schools) to their coursework and gain the theory to complement their practice. Part-time students represent colleges and universities throughout Boston and the broader New England region.
  • Our online cohort allows students to attend BU virtually, taking two 7-week courses per semester, with the average time to degree completion in 5 semesters. This cohort is designed for working professionals who are place-bound or prefer online learning and has a set curriculum of nine required courses. 

Along with full-time faculty, our program is equipped with a dynamic set of affiliate faculty members seasoned in practice. All of our faculty are committed to excellent teaching and bring theory to practice to life. Our location in the center of Boston also allows students the ability to study higher education among 50+ higher education institutions and engage in course assignments that promote exploring this rich learning environment.

Our curriculum fosters self-authorship and shared-learning by offering exposure to, exploration in, and experiential opportunities with core higher education concepts (6 or 7 courses) of history, strategic planning and administration, legal issues, research and assessment, social justice perspectives, and current issues, while also allowing personalization through the selection of electives (2 or 3 courses). We focus on theory-to-practice learning in every component of the program and offer students the opportunity to wrestle with real-time challenges facing higher education and its administrators.

Our full-time students have the opportunity to engage in graduate assistantships/internships at multiple institutions in the greater Boston area, allowing for greater understanding of various institutional types, cultures, and climates. Our robust part-time student cohort also brings valuable full-time leadership experiences into the program and allows them to match their practice to relevant theory. The combination of our students' identities and experience levels create a dynamic learning community. One student remarked: "our program benefits from years of combined experiences, unique backgrounds, and a wide range of opinions. Underrepresented and international students, first generation college attendees, and adult learners are all included. We represent the new face of students in the United States.”

Social justice and inclusion are weaved throughout courses in the program (such as perspectives, current issues, and legal issues) and we offer an elective course specifically focused on diversity and social justice. Guest lecturers are utilized to bring additional perspectives into courses. We also encourage students to raise social justice issue through course discussions and assignments. Overall, our program recognizes the need to educate higher education administrators who are aware, willing, and capable to assist underrepresented populations in college access through success.

Applicants to the program must submit the following:

  • BU School of Education Graduate Admissions Application
  • Personal Statement (Goals and Objectives)
  • Diversity & Social Justice Statement
  • Official transcripts from all previous institutions
  • Two letters of reference
  • Please note that GRE scores are NOT required, but can be submitted.

Graduates of the program serve in middle and senior level administrative positions as registrars, directors of admission, financial aid, and various student affairs roles including but not limited to student development, residential life, and community engagement. Some graduates are also working as researchers and policy specialists within the field.

Meets ACPA Commission for Professional Preparation Standards: 
Meets CAS Standards: 

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
1 academic year (full-time study); 2-2.5 academic years (part-time study)

Visitation Program



Entrance Exam: 
  • None Required
Assistantship Required: 
Assistantship Placement Assistance: 
  • Full time
  • Part time
Program Delivery: 
  • In-person
  • Online
Course Schedule: 
  • Evening
Comprehensive Exam Required: