Higher Education, M.S.

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.

Why Higher Education at Syracuse?

  • Complete your degree in 2 years of full-time study, or complete your degree part time while continuing to work in the higher education space.
  • 90-100% of our graduates are employed in the field soon after, or even before, they complete their degree.
  • A commitment to ethnic, racial, educational, and life experience diversity in our student cohorts and faculty, fostering intercultural experiences around college access and success.
  • Intensive internship experiences, including academic advising, admissions, multicultural affairs, career services, athletics, disability support services, residential life, and LGBT resource centers. These provides a breadth of experience in offices and institution types where you have not had previous work experience.
  • Strong collaborative partnerships with the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience provides mentorship, internship supervisors, assistantship roles, and volunteer opportunities to learn more about the integral roles they play in supporting and shaping students’ college experiences at Syracuse University.
  • Sustained partnerships with student affairs colleagues at nearby institutions, including LeMoyne College, SUNY Environmental Sciences and Forestry, St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, Onondaga Community College, and SUNY Upstate Medical University.
  • A student cohort model that fosters close personal and professional relationships, including regular department events, one-on-one mentoring pairs, and student-led retreats.
  • Courses are not characterized by lectures: instructor-led or peer-facilitated discussions, activities, and presentations are commonplace. Course assignments combine traditional readings with written and oral responses, research projects, service-learning activities, and group projects and papers.
  • Take part in School of Education short-term study abroad programs around the world. Through the Himan Brown Fellowship, School of Education students are also eligible for exclusive funding to support study abroad experiences.
  • Opportunities for internships through the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) or the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA).

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:

  • Student Affairs
  • 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 Higher Education, Public Administration, or another area of interest.

Program Contacts

Email the Department of Higher Education at with questions or for more information.

Rebecca Pettit, Inquiry and Application Specialist|315.443.2956
Speranza Migliore, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment|315.443.2505