Northwestern University

School of Education and Social Policy

Higher Education Administration and Policy

Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy

  • M.S.
  • Certificate
Program Emphasis: 
  • Administrative Leadership
  • Adult Education
  • College Teaching
  • Community College Leadership
  • International Education
  • Student Learning & Development


+ 847 491 4620
Mr. Mark P Hoffman
1800 Sherman Avenue
Suite 7300
Evanston, IL 60208

Program Statement

The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy program (MSHE) prepares you to lead in higher education—for colleges and universities, governmental agencies and consulting firms in postsecondary education. Pursue career fields such as academic advising and administration, alumni relations and development, athletics, career services, enrollment management, international and global education, nonprofit, policy and government relations, and student affairs.

Learn more about the Northwestern difference at our interactive and personal information sessions, which we offer at different days and times. Sign up to attend an information session via our program website.

Below are several of our distinctive features:

Broad Curriculum - Our curriculum is designed to expose students to the full institutional and social context of the American higher education system. The course of study helps students to consider all of the important factors and stakeholders that will impact their professional practice. Experience with a wide range of careers and functions within higher education gives graduates career flexibility and helps them discover what types of positions most closely fit their interests. 

Diversity as a Valued Resource - Our students come from a vast array of educational and professional backgrounds. Some students have years of experience in higher education, and others are just launching their careers. Still others are making career changes, often from fields such as law, teaching, engineering, banking and many others. This diversity adds depth to classroom discussions as students share their experience and viewpoints with their peers in a uniquely collaborative context.

Research and Inquiry - The Master's Project allows students to conduct in-depth research on a current issue in higher education and contribute to the knowledge in their field. Students gain research and assessment skills that they will utilize continuously in their professional practice. As a result, our alumni are able to address the real-world problems that exist in higher education today through systematic study and deliberate action.

Authentic Experience - We believe that students' own passions and experiences should guide their learning. Therefore, our courses offer flexibility for students to examine areas of particular interest within each topic. The Master's Project and internship experience(s) give students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the issues within higher education that are most important to them.

Connecting Theory to Practice - Courses in the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program are taught by practitioners and researchers with a wealth of experience in higher education. These instructors help students connect what they are learning in the classroom with what they will encounter in their professional practice. Students who are working full-time or completing an internship can start implementing what they learn in their courses right away.

Exceptional Career Placement - More than 90 percent of our graduates have jobs within three months of graduation. The program offers a variety of high-quality career and networking services, including interviewing and resume workshops, networking opportunities, salary negotiation workshops, career panels with practitioners in the field of higher education, and one-on-one career coaching. Additionally, students benefit from a strong network of talented colleagues that includes classmates, instructors and distinguished alumni.

Flexible Scheduling - The master's degree can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the degree in four (4) quarters / twelve (12) months. Part-time students can complete the degree in as little as (6) quarters / eighteen (18) months years. Each course meets just once per week in the evenings to allow students to work or obtain internships during the day. Full-time students can start program in either Summer or Fall term. Part-time students can start the program in all terms except Spring term.

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

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
Full-time Option: 1 year / Part-time option: 18 months - 3 years

Visitation Program



Entrance Exam: 
  • GRE
Assistantship Required: 
Assistantship Placement Assistance: 
  • Full time
  • Part time
Program Delivery: 
  • In-person
Course Schedule: 
  • Evening
Comprehensive Exam Required: