M.S.Ed. in Higher Education


University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, USA


Master of Science on Education

The Higher Education division offers a set of degree programs: a master's degree, a traditional format Ed.D. for early and mid-career professionals, and a Ph.D. in the Higher Education program as well as an executive format Ed.D. for senior academic leaders through our Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management.

Aims of the Study Program

The Higher Education Division (HED) provides students with a broad understanding of higher education and of the most successful practices of campus management. The faculty focus their research on access and equity; diversity and higher education; policy and public financing; civic engagement; organizational change; and the impact of the marketplace on colleges and universities. They are actively engaged with such organizations as the American Education Research Organization, the National Clearinghouse Research Center, the Higher Education Policy Institute, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the Council of Europe. 

Their research, supported by grants from the Institute of Education Science, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the American Educational Research Association, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Academy of Education, appears regularly in the American Education Research Journal, Research in Higher Education, Educational Researcher, Academe, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and other journals.


Programs focus on higher education administration with specialized electives in policy, finance, law, development, and organizational theory. Students are prepared for careers as leaders at colleges and universities and as scholars of higher education.


Master of Science on Education (M.S.Ed.) – Full Time

  • Coursework
    • 10 courses total
    • 6 Higher Education courses (EDUC 592 – Professional Development in Higher Education is required)
    • 4 Electives, 1 Distribution (GSE course outside of HED)
  • Graduate Assistantship, 15-20 hour-a-week internship
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Full-time program can be completed in two semesters (Fall and Spring).
  • Admissions requirements: completed application and official test scores.
  • All applicants are reviewed for merit-based school grants/scholarships.

Master of Science on Education (M.S.Ed.) – Part Time

  • Coursework
    • 10 courses total
    • 6 Higher Education courses
    • 4 Electives, 1 Distribution (GSE course outside of HED)
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Continuous enrollment required for fall and spring semesters until degree completion (typically one or two courses a semester).
  • Admissions requirements: completed application and official test scores.
  • No merit-based school grants/scholarships given to part time students.

The Higher Education Division also offers Doctorate Programs in the area of Higher Education Research:

Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) – Part Time only

Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – Full Time only

Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management (Ed.D.)

Time to complete

The full-time master’s program is a one-year course of study. The Executive Doctorate is a two-year study. The other programs are mostly flexible with approval from the division, program manager, and academic advisors.

Start of studies

Studies start during the Fall term, usually late August.

Requirements for admission

Most programs require a statement of purpose and resume, recommendations, transcript, and official GRE test scores. For more information, check the website.

Mode of admission

Online application.

Deadlines for application

Deadlines are subject to change every year. Therefore, it is best to check the website.


Karen Carter, Program Coordinator
Email:  karen@gse.upenn.edu
Phone: (215) 898-2444

Ross Aikins, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Program Manager
Email:  raikins@gse.upenn.edu
Phone: (215) 898-8398

Graduate Assistants, Higher Education Division
Email:  gse-hed@gse.upenn.edu
Phone: (215) 746-2923

Find out more about the study programs: Student Guide