Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership

The Masters of Arts in Higher Education Leadership is designed to provide professionals dedicated to the field of higher education with the ability to make an enhanced impact by expanding the way they collect and process information. Including research, organizational theory, change and more, the program provides opportunities for graduate assistantships and international experiences.

All students in the Higher Education Leadership Program take five courses (15 units) in the leadership core. These courses are designed to enhance students’ understanding of leadership theory, its practical applications and the ethical dimensions of leadership–concepts we believe are universally applicable in today’s society. The core also includes a 3-unit research design and methodology course. Students also are required to take four courses (12 units) in the Higher Education core. These courses are designed to give students a strong foundation in higher education policy, history, organizational structures and diversity, as well as an exposure to the implications each has for leaders in higher education.

The remaining 9 units include a 3 unit practical experience or internship and 6 units of electives. Students work closely with their advisor to design an experience in one of three higher education specializations:

  1. Community College Leadership,
  2. Higher Education Administration, or
  3. Student Affairs.

Students will begin to design their final action research project in the Action Research course and also have the opportunity to gain practical experience at a post-secondary site of their choosing. The 6 units of elective courses chosen will also enhance this experience by providing additional opportunities to engage in theory and practice related specifically to the student’s specific area of interest.

Additional Requirements for Admission

Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership

See here for basic admission requirements.

Entrance Semesters Fall
Application Deadlines Visit
Minimum Grade Point Average 3.0 (4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework
Standardized Admission Test Not required. Applicants at or near the minimum GPA may choose to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores to strengthen their application.
Additional Requirements An interview may be required for admission.
Statement of Purpose
Two letters of recommendation

Program Requirements

Leadership Core12
LEAD 550Integral Leadership Theory3
LEAD 551Human Relations for Leaders3
LEAD 555Leadership and Ethics3
LEAD 559Leadership and Organizational Change3
Research Requirement3
LEAD 547Action Research Methods I3
Higher Education Core12
LEAD 569Making Meaning and the Collegiate Experience3
Select 9 units from the following:9
COUN 515Multicultural Counseling3
LEAD 565Dynamics of Race, Gender and Culture in Higher Education3
LEAD 571History and Philosophy of Higher Education3
LEAD 576Community College Leadership3
LEAD 577Higher Education Policy3
LEAD 578Higher Education Administration3
LEAD 594Student Affairs Graduate Assistant Seminar1.5
Internship (Practical Experience)3
LEAD 598Leadership Internship3
or LEAD 594 Student Affairs Graduate Assistant Seminar
Students may take a maximum of 6 units of LEAD 594. 3 units may be counted towards the HE Core, and 3 units may be counted towards the Internship requirement.
Electives are selected in consultation with an advisor from USD’s graduate programs.

International Requirement

At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.  International experiences are approved by each student's faculty advisor and can be credit based or non-credit based activities. 

Exit Requirement

Action Research Project or Action Research Thesis (please consult advisor and student handbook for specialization requirements)