George Mason University

Humanities and Social Sciences

Higher Education

Higher Education

  • M.A.
  • Certificate
Program Emphasis: 
  • Administrative Leadership
  • College Teaching
  • Student Learning & Development


Dr. Jan Arminio
4400 University Blvd.
Fairfax, VA 22030

Program Statement

The Higher Education Program prepares new and mid-level professionals for careers in higher education at community colleges and 4-year institutions, as well as in associations, government agencies, and industries whose activities relate to or impact higher education.

The program provides grounding in the principles and practices of higher education. It strives to produce informed and reflective practitioners and researchers who are knowledgeable about current best practices and flexible enough to adapt to new situations.

The program offers a doctor of arts and two graduate certificates. It offers a higher education specialization in the PhD in education in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education. It offers two concentrations through the MA in interdisciplinary studies (MAIS).


The Higher Education Program (HEP) 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. The program also 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. 

Learning Outcomes

Students will understand and apply concepts of leadership, teaching, administration, and assessment within the context of the complex higher education enterprise. Leadership, teaching, administration, and assessment are studied through an interdisciplinary lens using emergent technologies with a focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Students will become socialized members of a community of higher education professionals where they will contribute to and lead scholarly conversations by consuming, critiquing, and creating scholarship. Students will understand and employ effective pedagogical approaches. They will value assessment, understand its role, and be skilled in enacting processes of analysis. Students will reflect on themselves as cultural beings, analyze the ways in which that influences their work in higher education, value diversity, and meet multicultural competencies. Students will use theory as a base from which they ground their practice of effective and ethical leadership, teaching, and administration. 

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

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
2-3 years

Visitation Program



Entrance Exam: 
  • None Required
Assistantship Required: 
Assistantship Placement Assistance: 
  • Full time
  • Part time
Program Delivery: 
  • In-person
  • Hybrid
Comprehensive Exam Required: