The Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Higher Education is a cohort-based program with a common curriculum emphasizing a theory-to-practice-to-theory model of learning and a strong connection between course content and out-of-class experiences. The curriculum is informed by the mission and values of Elon University and the School of Education and reflects the knowledge, skills and dispositions graduates should possess. It is designed for students to engage in best practices related to student learning, development and inclusion; develop a foundational knowledge of the organization, functions and leadership of colleges and universities; and acquire the skills needed for effective professional practice in higher education settings. The capstone seminar requires students to integrate their knowledge and skills across these areas, and to work in teams to apply their understanding in the development of a resolution to an authentic problem in a campus program/department. Students write a final, culminating paper, and give a capstone presentation to fellow graduate students, program faculty, and other invited guests.

The MHE curriculum is scaffolded to build on and deepen students’ learning as they progress through the program. First-year courses provide students with a strong knowledge base upon which to build their professional identity. Topics examined in the first year include: the historical underpinnings and evolution of higher education as a field of study; theories of student learning and development, advising/mentoring, and high impact educational practices; research competencies needed to critically analyze, conduct and disseminate empirical scholarship, program evaluation and assessment; higher education financial management practices; and the approaches and processes utilized by college and university enrollment management offices. In their second year, students extend their professional knowledge through application of learning to practice in internships, a study abroad experience, and a team-based capstone project. Second year coursework focuses on social justice, organizational behavior and culture, legal issues, global education, and leadership.

Degree Requirements

To earn the Master of Arts in Higher Education degree, the student must:

  • Have an overall minimum grade point average of 3.0 in graduate coursework.
  • Successfully complete all required graduate credit hours, internships, and the required capstone project by earning at least a C in each.
  • Achieve a 70% total score on the Professional Practice Dispositions Evaluation for MHE 799 Capstone.
  • Receive satisfactory evaluations from the apprenticeship supervisor.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the Registrar.

Required Courses

All courses are required.

Fall Semester: 1st year
MHE 611: Foundations of Higher Education (3 credits)
MHE 621: Transition to Adulthood in the Context of College and Culture (3 credits)
MHE 631: Research Methods and Statistics for Higher Education (3 credits)
MHE 671: Colloquium - Hot Topics, Trends and Best Practices in Higher Education (non-credit)

Winter Term (January): 1st year
MHE 645: Student Engagement and High Impact Practices (2 credits)

Spring Semester: 1st year
MHE 652: Counseling, Mentoring, and Professional Development Coaching College Students (3 credits)
MHE 662: Budgets and Finances in Higher Education (2 credits)
MHE 682: Enrollment Management (1 credit)
MHE 692: Program Evaluation, Assessment, and Decision Making in Higher Education (3 credits)
MHE 602: Colloquium - Hot Topics, Trends and Best Practices in Higher Education (non-credit)

Fall Semester: 2nd year

MHE 711: Administration and Governance in Higher Education (2 credits)
MHE 721: Law and Higher Education (1 credit)
MHE 731: Diversity and Social Justice (3 credits)
MHE 741: Theory and Practice of Global Education (1 credit)
MHE 797: Internship I (1 credit) (MHE 797 Internship I may be completed in the summer between the 1st and 2nd year or the fall of the 2nd year)
MHE 701: Colloquium - Hot Topics, Trends and Best Practices in Higher Education (non-credit)

Winter Term (January): 2nd year
MHE 745: Experiential Learning in Global Education (1 credit)
(includes 10-day Study Abroad or Study USA)

Spring Semester: 2nd year
MHE 782: Organizational Leadership, Development, and Change in Higher Education (3 credits)
MHE 798: Internship II (may be completed in fall of 2nd year) (1 credit)
MHE 799: Capstone (3 credits)
MHE 702: Colloquium - Hot Topics, Trends and Best Practices in Higher Education (non-credit)

Total M.A. in Higher Education Credit Hours: 36

Programmatic Themes and Student Learning Outcomes

The Master of Arts in Higher Education curriculum is organized around nine learning outcomes which are presented within three broad themes. The first theme incorporates Elon’s commitment to engaged learning, student development and an inclusive community. The second theme describes the foundational knowledge for a higher education generalist and reflects the Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Programs (CAHEP) Guidelines for Higher Education Administration and Leadership Programs for the Master’s Degree Level. The third theme emphasizes the importance of acquiring the skills and dispositions needed for effective professional practice. In addition to CAHEP, these learning outcomes are aligned with the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators.

Theme One: Engaged Learning and Student Development

Students will be able to:

1: Apply principles for effective undergraduate education with an emphasis on student agency, student engagement and high impact practices

2: Evaluate and apply theory and research in student learning and development

3. Construct and defend a philosophy on the importance of social justice, diversity and inclusion, and cross-cultural engagement

Theme Two: Foundations of Higher Education Administration

Students will be able to:

4: Analyze the values, philosophy, and history of higher education

5: Interpret and apply law, policy, and governance of higher education

6: Evaluate the management of human and organizational resources

7: Interpret and apply higher education administration policy and practice

Theme Three: Professional Practice

Students will be able to

8: Use assessment, evaluation, and research to solve authentic problems

9: Students will demonstrate a commitment to the following areas of professional practice dispositions:
      a. ethical and professional conduct
      b. learning and application of theory to practice
      c. diversity and inclusion
      d. personal, professional, and leadership growth

Student achievement of these learning outcomes will be assessed in course-embedded assessments and/or feedback from apprenticeship/internship supervisors. Professional practice dispositions will be assessed during the first course (MHE 611 Foundations of Education), the final course (MHE 799 Capstone) and in the apprenticeship and internship experiences.

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