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University Options for a Higher Education Degree in Missouri

Missouri has five schools that offer higher education degree programs. Learn about the degrees, tuition information and program options for these five schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Degree programs in higher education focus on training students in the administration or management of colleges and universities. While Missouri has few options for a degree in higher education, those that are available are offered at the master's and doctoral degree levels. In addition, some schools allow students to choose a higher education specialization, such as student counseling or athletic administration. Five Missouri schools and their relevant graduate programs are profiled in the brief descriptions and comparison table listed below.

Northwest Missouri State University (NMSU)

Located in Maryville, NMSU offers prospective students one master's degree program in higher education leadership. The program is designed to train students in financial, personnel and public relations administration and management of higher education organizations. Students are taught through a combination of on-site workshops, online courses and field experience courses. Most classes are offered on weekends, which allows for greater flexibility.

Course topics include leadership issues, institutional research and law, policy and finance. A comprehensive exit exam and a professional portfolio are also required to graduate from the program. All applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher and a combined score of 700 or higher on the GRE.

Saint Louis University (SLU)

St. Louis-based SLU has both a master's degree and a doctoral degree program in higher education administration. The master's degree program focuses on student personnel administration and consists of 32 credit hours of coursework. Courses include training in legal and ethical issues, student development and intervention skills. All students are also encouraged to take elective courses in business, counseling and communication. The program's final assessment includes passing a comprehensive exam and an oral defense of research findings.

The doctoral degree is designed for both higher education teachers and administrators. Theory and practical approaches to higher education are taught to each student as he or she creates a program designed around specific interests. The program includes 30 credit hours of coursework and 12 credit hours of dissertation research and writing. By the end of the program, students can expect to have learned about the history, law, finance and curriculum standards associated with higher education administration.

Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO)

Cape Girardeau's SEMO offers students a master's degree program in higher education administration. The program aims to prepare students for entry-level positions in a variety of leadership roles within the higher education system. Students must complete at least 36 semester hours of coursework in topics ranging from research methods and student development theory to financing and sports facility operations.

Elective courses are chosen with the help of the program coordinator on the basis of the student's larger career goals. All students can choose to focus their studies in general administration, student counseling or athletic administration. At the end of the program, each student may choose to either complete a thesis or write a graduate-level paper and pass a comprehensive exam.

University of Central Missouri (UCMO)

This university in Warrensburg offers a master's degree program in college student personnel administration through its College of Education. Graduates from this program might seek entry- or mid-level employment in areas that include student services and student life at higher education institutions. Higher education professionals on the UCMO campus mentor graduate students in this program.

Students complete 39 credit hours of coursework in subjects that include legal issues, student affairs administration, student development, program evaluation and leadership. Graduate assistantships are available to students enrolled in this program. A required internship consists of 300 hours of supervised field practice.

University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL)

UMSL is located in St. Louis and offers students a master's degree program in adult and higher education. It is designed for students planning to work for institutions dedicated to Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Education Development (GED), among other adult education organizations and services. Students are trained in adult education curriculum and teaching in addition to the organization and administration of higher education. The program's flexibility allows for both part-time and full-time enrollment, and includes the option of specializing in specific sub-fields.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Higher Education Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Northwest Missouri State University 4-year, public; remote town MS in Higher Education Leadership $358.96 in-state; $388.96, Bearcat Break program; $611.82 out-of-state per credit hour **
Saint Louis University 4-year, private, not-for-profit; large city MA in Higher Education: Student Personnel Administration,
PhD in Higher Education Administration
$1,075 per credit hour**
Southeast Missouri State University 4-year, public; remote town MA in Higher Education Administration $294.50 in-state; $520.50 out-of-state per credit hour**
University of Central Missouri 4-year, public; rural MS in College Student Personnel Administration $278.45 in-state; $556.90 out-of-state per credit hour**
University of Missouri - St. Louis 4-year, public; large suburb MEd in Adult and Higher Education $444.50 in-state; $1,091 out-of-state (tuition only for fall 2016-spring 2017) per credit hour**

Sources: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); **Schools' websites.

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