Best Higher Education Administration Programs: List of Top Schools

In the field of higher education administration, there are numerous opportunities for specializations at top ranked schools in the United States. These graduate programs offer degrees at the master's and doctoral levels.

School Information

Below is detailed information on three highly ranked higher education administration programs by U.S. News & World Report. Students may specialize in a wide variety of topics, including service learning, student affairs, organizational behavior and instructional methods.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN

School Highlight: Vanderbilt ranked 8th among all national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

As of 2016, Vanderbilt University's Peabody College ranked 8th among schools offering higher education administration programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Master of Education in Higher Education Administration program is designed for those planning to pursue administration at the college or university level. It has specialties in institutional advancement, service learning, student affairs or general administration. The intuitional advancement specialty is the only one of its kind, focusing on the preparation of educational professionals for careers in development, public affairs or alumni relations.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI

School Highlight: U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor as the best school in the nation offering higher education administration programs for 2016.

The Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan (U-M) offers graduate-level programs that focus on areas such as public policy, organizational behavior and student development. Students in the Master of Arts in Higher Education program prepare for starter roles in higher education.

The school's doctoral degree program is ideal for those planning to work in research or high-level administrative positions. The Doctor of Philosophy program has four concentrations in higher education administration: academic affairs and student development, organizational behavior and management, public policy or research, evaluation and assessment.

Indiana University in Bloomington, IN

School Highlight: Students can join networks and organizations such as the School of Education Graduate Student Organization and the Graduates in Instructional Systems Technology.

Indiana University in Bloomington was ranked 9th in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of top graduate programs in higher education administration. In 2017, the school's online graduate programs in education were ranked 22nd nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Among the numerous research centers and institutes at the school are the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy and the Center for Human Growth.

Top Higher Education Administration Programs

The following is a list of seven additional schools that offer excellent higher education administration programs.

  • Pennsylvania State University located in University Park, PA ranked 7th on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of the best higher education administration programs.
  • The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ is home to the southwest region's first Center for the Study of Higher Education.
  • The University of California in Los Angeles was ranked at #3 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report's list of schools offering higher education administration programs.
  • The University of Georgia in Athens, GA, has an alumni network of 59,000.
  • The University of Maryland, which is located in College Park, offers students an opportunity to choose from concentrations in higher education, student affairs and international education policy.
  • The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA was ranked 23rd on the U.S. News & World Report list of top national universities in 2016.
  • The University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI is affiliated with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the Center for Education and Work and the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education.

Among the top schools offering higher education administration programs are Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan and Indiana University. These graduate schools offer students the opportunity to specialize in one or more area, and participate in research opportunities.

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