University of Maryland, College Park


Counseling, Higher Education, & Special Education

Higher Education, Student Affairs, & International Education Policy Program

  • M.A.
  • Ph D.
  • M. Ed.
Program Emphasis: 
  • Administrative Leadership
  • College Teaching
  • International Education
  • Student Learning & Development


Dr. Michelle Espino
3214F Benjamin Building
College Park, MD 20742-1108

Program Statement

The Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy (HESI) program is committed to advancing the positive role education can have in society. Our faculty and students study core facets of the education system, including the functioning and impact of colleges and universities; the enactment and implementation of K-18 and nonformal education policies; and the analysis of higher education organizational processes. With particular emphasis on social justice, diversity, policy, and system change, our students, alumni, and faculty are scholars, practitioners, change agents, and innovative leaders in universities, as well as in national and international organizations.

There are three concentrations in this academic program that run their programs separately with regard to curriculum and admissions: 

  • Higher Education Concentration (HIED): This nationally recognized graduate concentration (ranked #10, U.S. News and World Report 2020) prepares students for leadership positions in higher education administration, policy analysis, and scholarship. The GRE is not required for master's applicants. The GRE is required for Ph.D. applicants.
  • Student Affairs Concentration (HISA): The Student Affairs Concentration is committed to the professional preparation of administrators and student development educators in higher education environments. The program is modeled and directed by the core values of Student Development, Social Justice, Leadership, Scholarship and Research, and Ethical Practices. The concentration is ranked #1 in U.S. News and World Report (2020). The GRE is not required for master's and Ph.D. applicants.
  • International Education Policy Concentration (HIEP): The focus of this concentration is on the relation of education to economic, political, and social development in both developing and developed countries at local, national, regional, and global levels. The IEP concentration gives comprehensive attention to education, considering both formal schooling, from pre-school to higher education, as well as non-formal, adult, and community-based education.

Interested applicants select one of these concentrations when applying. During their course of study, students are able to choose electives from all concentrations to tailor their educational experiences to their interests and future career goals.

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

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
2-5 years

Visitation Program



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