Top Higher Education Administration Graduate Schools in the U.S.

Read about graduate programs in higher education administration, through which professionals train to work as leaders in colleges, universities and educational organizations. Learn about the degree options at three universities, and see what other schools in the U.S. offer higher education administration programs.

School Overviews

Postsecondary programs in higher education administration typically lead to a master's or doctoral degree and can be found at schools like the University of California in Los Angeles, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Pennsylvania State University. All three schools have received high marks from U.S. News & World Report for the quality of their education schools and programs in higher education administration.

1. University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA)

School Highlight: The Higher Education Research Institute offers resources to students.

The Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA ranked 13th among the top education schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, as well as second for its higher education administration program. UCLA also placed tied for 23rd among national universities and tied for second among public schools, according to USN&WR. The school's Higher Education and Organizational Change Division offers three graduate degrees, including a Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Courses include topics in college student cognitive development, diversity, theoretical frameworks and organizational analysis.

2. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

School Highlight: Michigan offers dual programs leading to master's degrees in both higher education and public policy or business administration.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2015, the School of Education at this public university ranked 11th among its peers and offered the number one higher education program in the country. The school's Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education offers several graduate degree programs in higher education administration. Students can pursue an M.A. in Higher Education or a Ph.D. in one of five different concentrations, including academic affairs, organizational management and public policy.

3. Pennsylvania State University in University Park

School Highlight: Penn State offers an Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management program.

Pennsylvania State University's graduate programs in higher education administration ranked fourth and its education school placed 36th in the country, as designated by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. The programs can lead to a M.Ed., Doctor of Education (D.ED.) or Ph.D. The master's curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for administrative roles in various areas of postsecondary education, such as admissions and student advising. The school's D.Ed. and Ph.D. programs help professionals acquire the skills they need to assume leadership or research roles in education-related institutions and organizations.

Top Higher Education Administration Graduate Programs

School NameDistinctionLocation
Harvard University Higher education students can participate in paid internships that are custom-built to aid professional advancementCambridge, MA
Indiana University - BloomingtonU.S. News & World Report ranked the higher education administration 9th in the country in 2015 Bloomington, IN
Iowa State UniversityOffers master's and doctoral programs with concentrations in community college leadership and higher education student affairs, among other areasAmes, IA
Michigan State UniversityCenter for Higher and Adult Education hosts forums addressing higher education policy challengesEast Lansing, MI
Stanford UniversityHigher education students benefit from small class sizes and individualized mentoringStanford, CA
University of PennsylvaniaHigher education graduate programs offer specialized electives in law, finance, development and policy Philadelphia, PA
Vanderbilt UniversityU.S. News & World Report ranked the higher education administration tied for 7th in the country in 2015Nashville, TN

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