Master of Arts in Higher Education

Learn to support students, improve accessibility, and innovate and implement change through the Morgridge College of Education's MA in higher education. By joining the program, you can gain valuable insight into the manner in which policy is developed and how it impacts higher education, as well as skills that can allow you personally to affect and improve those policies. With a strong focus on social justice and the public good, the higher education MA allows committed individuals to develop the abilities necessary to advance their careers and improve educational outcomes through administration, policy and research.

You'll have the opportunity to learn from a renowned teaching staff with a wide range of research interests, and you'll also be a part of a collaborative and diverse community of students with whom you'll share knowledge and experiences while expanding your professional network. The MA offers three optional emphasis areas: public policy; organizational change and college student affairs; diversity and higher learning. In addition to your coursework, you'll complete multiple real-life projects and have the opportunity to pursue a variety of service-learning partnerships with local educational institutions and organizations.

Applications are currently under review, look for decision emails coming soon!

Applications Open for 2024

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Higher Ed Student Employment

Applications are Being Accepted!

There are many graduate assistantships available. Opportunities offer real-world experience, tuition waivers, and income. 

As an MA student in the Higher Education program (HED), you can apply for graduate assistant and fellowship positions. These positions give priority to incoming first-year students making a two-year commitment. If you are a returning student there are many employment opportunities available at DU or with campus partners for you to explore.

Interest Areas (Degree Emphasis)

MA students may choose to complete an optional emphasis by taking 12 of the 24 required elective credits in one of the areas listed below. 

  • College Student Affairs

    The College Student Affairs emphasis enables students to gain knowledge about higher education and student development. Students will develop skills for supporting diverse student populations and experience internships in student-related areas. The College Student Affairs emphasis is intended for individuals interested in positions in college/university student services and other organizations focused on college student success. Courses which satisfy this emphasis are:

    • HED 4201 – Assessment in Higher Education
    • HED 4217 – Student Affairs Administration
    • HED 4229 – Student Support in College
    • HED 4260 – Students and College Environments
    • HED 4261 – College Student Development Theory
  • Diversity and Higher Learning

    The Diversity and Higher Learning emphasis is intended for future scholars and practitioners interested in enhancing diversity, access, and equity in organizations; faculty and staff development in P-20 educational institutions; trainers in for-profit companies and not-for-profit agencies; and administrators and faculty in two-year and four-year higher education institutions. This emphasis places a great deal of importance on developing critical understanding of the impact that social identities (e.g., race, class, and gender) have on collective and individual learning in organizations. Students who currently work in or intend to pursue careers in multicultural affairs, curriculum development, university instruction, university administration, consulting, or training will find this emphasis a good fit. Courses which satisfy this emphasis are:

    • HED 4281 – Inclusive Excellence Programming and Development
    • HED 4284 -- Inclusive Excellence in Organizations
    • HED 4287 – Critical Race Theory and Education
    • HED 4288 – Gender & Sexual Orientation in Education
    • HED 4289 – Race and Racism in Higher Education
  • Public Policy and Organizational Change

    The Public Policy and Organizational Change emphasis prepares experienced professionals to assume greater responsibility, pursue longer-term career goals, or change their emphasis in higher education administration. This emphasis area has been especially designed for individuals working in or seeking to understand postsecondary education in a changing multicultural and global society. Experienced professionals who are interested in enhancing their careers will discover that this program challenges them to discover and strengthen an array of skills essential for success: analytical, communication, multicultural competence, and leadership. The Public Policy and Organizational Change emphasis area enables participants to link professional knowledge and research with the world of practice in postsecondary education, for-profit companies and not-for-profit agencies, foundations, think tanks, research institutes and the private sector. Courses which satisfy this emphasis are:

    • HED 4212 – Introduction of Public Policy and Higher Education
    • HED 4221 – Financing Higher Education
    • HED 4222 – Legal Issues in Higher Education
    • HED 4242 – Educational Policy Analysis

Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes for the Masters of Arts in Higher Education are as follows:

  • Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge about higher education as modeled in the core curriculum.
  • Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge about their specific interest area(s) (College Student Affairs; Public Policy and Organizational Change; and Diversity and Higher Learning).
  • Students will demonstrate a critical understanding of the values of diversity, equity and inclusion as exhibited by Inclusive Excellence and its applications.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to apply theory to practice.
  • Students will be able to connect and integrate materials from the curriculum, co-curriculum and additional experiences as it relates to their personal and professional interests.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups and/or individuals in diverse settings.
  • Students will express their personal and professional growth and development through critical reflection of their experiences in the program.
  • Students will demonstrate the development of their personal and professional values.
  • Students will demonstrate self-awareness and the strategies needed for continuing professional development.

Program Requirements

You’ll need to complete 50-quarter credit hours. You must also complete a reflective e-portfolio project and an internship. Examples of previous internship locations include:

  • University of Denver Offices of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
  • Inclusive Excellence Fellows – a unique program that places Higher Education students across campus to work on diversity and social justice-related concerns in academic and administrative units
  • Locally headquartered policy organizations, including the Education Commission of the States
  • Local post-secondary institutions, including Community College of Aurora, Colorado School of Mines and the Auraria Campus in Downtown Denver