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  • Online Master's in Higher Education Leadership

    Taking lessons from the past while turning an eye to the future, Drexel University’s online MS in Higher Education Leadership provides a comprehensive overview of higher education, with an emphasis on meeting the diverse needs of traditional and nontraditional students, as well as stakeholders. Courses prepare you to navigate the entirety of the higher education field, from management to student development to recruitment. You will examine the ever-changing pressures, limitations and opportunities higher education professionals face every day in areas such as policies and practices, diversity and globalization, equity and access, legal and ethical issues, technological advancements, and risk management, and graduate ready to meet those challenges head-on. Whether you currently work in higher education and are looking to advance, or wish to transition into the field, this degree will prepare you to successfully lead in a higher education environment.

    Master's in Higher Education Leadership Program Features

    • 100% online program
    • Interdisciplinary core courses
    • Customizable assignments and capstone project
    • Diverse faculty and practitioners with extensive experience in higher education leadership
    • Innovative instruction that optimizes technology, active learning, and transfer of learning
    • Access to the Higher Education Leadership speaker series, mentoring and professional networking


    • Education Policy
      Acquire the tools to analyze, craft, and implement educational policy effectively.
    • Global and International Education
      Review the complex economic, political, cultural, and social structures that shape learning in different parts of the world.
    • Learning Technologies and Instructional Design
      Explore new learning technologies and trends, applying them toward solving problems in the ever-evolving technical landscape of education.
    • Mind, Brain, and Learning
      Learn and expand knowledge, skills, and experience based on current/emerging research related to teaching, instructional design, and professional development across dynamic educational and training environments.
    • Student Development and Affairs
      Learn how to make colleges supportive, learning rich environments for all students ranging from traditional to adult students.

    Archived Webinars

    What Can I Do With a Master's Degree in Higher Education Leadership?

    The MS in Higher Education Leadership program prepares you for entry to mid-level leadership positions within higher education administration and management as well as to pursue doctoral studies. Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to lead within:

    • Higher education four-year and two-years institutions
    • Executive search firms
    • Government agencies
    • International organizations
    • National, state, and regional associations
    • Non-government organizations
    • Non-profit and for-profit organizations/corporations
    • Policy-related sectors

    How Long Does it Take to Earn a Master's in Higher Education Leadership?

    Drexel’s online MS in Higher Education Leadership is a 45-credit program designed to be completed in two years. However, should you need to pursue this degree over a longer period of time, you can customize your plan of study to accommodate your schedule.

    Drexel University runs on an academic quarter system, which allows you to take more courses per year and complete your degree sooner. Learn more about the quarter system.

    Related Programs

    This program is also available as a Graduate Minor.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    Higher Education Leadership Core Courses
    Leadership in Educational Contexts and Systems 3.0
    Using and Integrating Learning Technologies 3.0
    Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice in Education 3.0
    Evidence-Based Evaluation 3.0
    Foundations of Higher Education and Governance 3.0
    Student Development Theory and Application 3.0
    Legal Issues & Ethics in Higher Education 3.0
    Institutional Assessment, Accreditation and Effectiveness 3.0
    Higher Education Career Development, Leadership & Application 3.0
    Capstone Research 3.0
    Students have the option to select from the Practitioner or Thesis capstone track.
    Practitioner Capstone Course I 3.0
    or EDUT 780 Thesis Capstone Course I
    Practitioner Capstone Course II 3.0-4.5
    or EDUT 781 Thesis Capstone Course II
    Electives or Concentration (See Below) 9.0
    Students select either any three elective courses (from offerings within the School of Education) or three courses within the concentrations offered.
    Total Credits 45.0-46.5

    Electives or Concentration

    Concentration in Global and International Education
    Select three of the following:
    Global, International & Comparative Education 3.0
    Comparative Higher Education Systems 3.0
    Culture, Society & Education in Comparative Perspective 3.0
    Globalization and Educational Change 3.0
    Analysis of Policy Issues in Global & International Education 3.0
    Elective 3.0
    Concentration in Educational Policy
    Education Policy: Concepts, Issues, and Applications 3.0
    Select two of the following:
    The Shaping of American Education Policy: Global Forces, Interest Groups, and Politics 3.0
    American Educational Policy and U.S. Competitiveness 3.0
    or Quantitative Literacy: Interpreting and reporting data for educational policy and research
    Ethics in Educational Policy Making 3.0
    Access & Equity in Educational Policy Making 3.0
    Elective 3.0
    Concentration in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design
    Select three of the following:
    The Learning Sciences 3.0
    Learning Engineering 3.0
    Play & Learning in a Participatory Culture 3.0
    or Learning Analytics: Lenses on students, teaching, and curriculum enactment
    Instructional Design Methods 3.0
    Teaching and Learning Issues in E-Learning 3.0
    Concentration in Student Development and Affairs
    Critical Issues & Risk Management in Student Affairs 3.0
    Student Success: Learning and Innovative Support Services 3.0
    Elective 3.0
    Concentration in Mind, Brain, Learning & Administration
    Mind, Brain and Learning 3.0
    Select one of the following:
    Neurodiversity in Education and Workforce 3.0
    Neuropedagogy and Assessment 3.0
    Select one of the following:
    Critical Issues & Risk Management in Student Affairs 3.0
    Student Success: Learning and Innovative Support Services 3.0
    Concentration in Creativity and Innovation
    Foundations in Creativity 3.0
    Select two of the following:
    Tools and Techniques in Creativity 3.0
    Creativity in the Workplace 3.0
    Elective 3.0
    Concentration in Human Resource Development
    Foundations of Human Resources Development 3.0
    Strategic Human Resource Development 3.0
    Elective 3.0

    *Student must be enrolled for at least 4.5 credit hours each term to be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (graduate degree GPA will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA)
      • Provisional admission may be granted with a GPA between 2.80 to 2.99

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two professional letters of recommendation
    • Personal Statement (500 - 750 words) describing your interest in the program. Specifically:
      • How the program relates to your previous educational and professional activities
      • If changing course, why you're moving in this new direction with your educational goals
      • How the program relates to your current line of work
      • How you plan to apply the program to your future goals
    • Resume
    • Additional requirements for International Students

    Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2024-2025 is $1111 per credit. (A 25% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1481 per credit)

    For the academic year 2023-2024, students enrolled in an online graduate academic program will be charged a graduate online program fee of $125 per year.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Career Outlook

    Drexel's MS in Higher Education program provides a strong foundation for entry/mid-level career placement, executive and senior level advancement, and future doctoral studies. We've established close relationships with national associations and organizations and strongly encourage students to become involved in these entities as “student members” (e.g., attending conference, presenting papers, and networking.) Through these affiliations, as well as through the co-op experience, students will have unique opportunities to meet leaders within higher education and acquire new skills that will ultimately assist with career placement and advancement. 

    In addition to the preparation students receive in the program, Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center provides many resources and services for current students and alumni. The center assists with career exploration, resume-writing and interviewing skills, and co-op and job placement assistance. The Higher Education program also maintains an online "career resource link" that allows students to search for available positions within and outside of academia, nationally and internationally.

    Types of Careers our Current Students and Graduates Pursue

    • Executive Search Firms: Spellman & Johnson Group; Academics360.com; Academic Careers Online
    • Government Agencies' Educational and Training Divisions/Programs: U.S. Department of Education; Departments of Education across all 50 states; Office of Personnel Management-OPM; U.S. General Services Administration-GSA; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-HHS; National Center for Education Statistics-NCES; Federal TRIO Programs/Council for Opportunity in Education-COE
    • International Organizations: World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank-IADB; United States Agency for International Development-USAID; United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization-UNESCO; International Association of Universities-Affiliate of UNESCO; Institute of International Education-IIE; Council for International Educational Exchange-CIEE; Association of International Education Administrators-AIEA
    • Military Education, Research and Training Divisions/Programs: Department of Defense; Military-affiliated training institution/facilities; Army Installation Management Agency; U.S. Military Branches
    • National Associations: Council for Higher Education Accreditation-CHEA; Association for Institutional Research-AIR; National Association of College and University Business Officers-NACUBO; Council for Advancement and Support of Education-CASE; Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers-APPA; National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators-NASFAA; National Council for Higher Education-NCHE; American Council on Education-ACE
    • Non-Profit and For-Profit Organizations/Corporations: College Board, Blackboard, ACT, ETS, Peterson’s; Follet Corporation; Agresso Americas; SAS; E-Reference Desk
    • Politics: Political consultant, lobbyist, advisor
    • Publications: Chronicle of Higher Education; Campus Technology; Education Resource Information Center-ERIC; Educational journals/magazines; Association journals/magazines

    Places of Employment and Job Titles of our Current Students and Graduates

    • Dean of Development at a Community College
    • Assistant Director, Multicultural Student Affairs at a four-year State University
    • Director of Enrollment Management, University System
    • Assistant Director, Enrollment Services and Operations at private, four-year University
    • Manager, Career Services at higher education alumni association
    • Director of Student Records and Academic Evaluation at a College of Podiatric Medicine
    • University Registrar
    • Director of Retention, at a four-year private university
    • Assistant Director of Operations, Career Development Center at a 4-year private university
    • Special Events Manager at a non-profit organization
    • Senior Survey Data Collector at a non-profit higher education testing organization
    • Program Manager for Eastern Studies Program at an ivy league 4-year university
    • Group Director at a large North American financial services company
    • Associate Director of Alumni Relations at a private 4-year university
    • Institutional Research Analyst at a community college
    • Assistant Vice President of Industry Relations at a non-profit higher education-focused company
    • Director of Undergraduate Admissions at a Catholic, 4-year liberal arts college

    Academic Calendar

    2023-2024 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2023

    September 26, 2023

    December 9, 2023

    December 11, 2023

    December 16, 2023

    Winter 2024

    January 8, 2024

    March 16, 2024

    March 18, 2024

    March 23, 2024

    Spring 2024

    April 1, 2024

    June 8, 2024

    June 10, 2024

    June 15, 2024

    Summer 2024

    June 24, 2024

    August 31, 2024

    September 3, 2024

    September 7, 2024


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