Higher Education, M.S.

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The master’s degree in Higher Education prepares graduates to affect change and enact critical reforms in academic, student affairs, and administrative settings in higher education.

This program goes beyond basic development of professional skills in student affairs to include broader policies and understandings of institutions of postsecondary education. Students gain an understanding of higher education systems, professional organizations and associations, faculty culture, campus partnerships, and fostering student learning and development. There is an emphasis on the historical, philosophical, and legal foundations of higher education needed to advocate and support students of all backgrounds and needs. This program aligns with standards from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, ACPA College Student Educators International, and NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Priority Application Deadline: January 29 | More admissions information

Why Higher Education at Syracuse?

  • Complete your degree in two years of full-time study, or part time while continuing to work in higher education.
  • Most graduates are employed in the field soon after, or even before, they complete their degree.
  • We build community and foster a sense of belonging through opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Our student cohort model fosters close personal and professional relationships, including regular department events, one-on-one mentoring, and student-led retreats.
  • Unique courses like the Laboratory in Learning Communities, which prepares students for roles and initiatives that blur the lines between curricular and non-curricular activities that promote student learning.
  • A commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in our student cohorts and faculty, fostering intercultural experiences around college access and success.
  • Intensive internship experiences in different contexts, such as academic advising, admissions, multicultural affairs, career services, athletics, disability support, residential life, and LGBT resource centers.
  • More opportunities for summer internships through the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) or the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA).
  • Strong relationships with the Division of Student Experience and across Syracuse University provides mentorship, internship, and other academic opportunities.
  • New students are paired with experienced mentor students to help with their transition to graduate school. Local alumni and graduate assistants coordinate networking opportunities, social events, and support groups to make and strengthen connections.
  • Take part in School of Education short-term study abroad trips or semester-long programs around the world. School of Education students are also eligible for exclusive funding to support study abroad experiences.

A strength of our program is our partnerships across Syracuse University and other local schools and organizations that provide intensive internships, where students are often supervised by our alumni. These include:

  • Syracuse University offices like Residence Life, Multicultural Collective, Alumni Engagement, Athletics, New Student Programs, Greek Life, Student Engagement, Admissions, Career Services, Veteran Affairs, International Serices, and Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Academic, student engagement, and inclusion-related offices at local institutions like SUNY ESF, LeMoyne College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Hamilton College, and Utica College.
  • Other organizations like On Point for College, Say Yes to Education, POSSE Foundation, Creating Change, Association of College and University Housing Officers, American College Personnel Association, and Imagining America.

Our graduates are prepared to advise, counsel, and develop curricular and co-curricular programs that enhance college students’ learning at colleges and universities of all sizes and types, in areas such as:

  • Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Academic advising and student support services
  • Student Activities and Residence Life
  • Diversity resource centers (LGBT, multicultural, disability, etc.)
  • Alumni relations and programs
  • Research and Instruction
  • Further studies in Intercollegiate Athletic Advising and Support, Higher Education (doctoral) or another area of interest.

Program Contacts

Speranza Migliore, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
smiglior@syr.edu|315.443.2505
Speranza Migliore
Cathy Engstrom, Associate Professor; Faculty Director for Graduate Studies
cmengstr@syr.edu|315.443.4763
Cathy Engstrom