Higher Education
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA in Higher Education and Student Development (pending SCHEV approval)

Note: As of catalog publication in April, the program described below has been approved by the Board of Visitors and sent to the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia for consideration as a new degree program. The university cannot accept applications or enroll students in this program until SCHEV approval has been granted.

The Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Development prepares students for positions in higher education administration, student development, non-profit higher education associations, and government organizations. Today's higher education professionals are required to address both the needs of incoming traditionally aged students, as well as those of older students returning for a degree and special populations. The wide range of student backgrounds in the current complex context requires a holistic approach to college student development.

The master's degree will prepare future higher education leaders who understand higher education in the digital age, student development, multicultural and diverse populations, program development, professionalism, and learning assessment. This multidisciplinary program requires 36 credits, offers both thesis and project capstone options, and is full and part-time student friendly. Alumni hold positions in areas such as career development, academic advising, assessment, facilities management, admissions, and residence life.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see the Academic Policies section of the catalog.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 36 credits of graduate work. Courses applied to the degree are subject to the following restrictions: a maximum of 6 credits may be taken through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; a maximum of 15 credits may be transfer credits; a maximum of 6 of the transfer credits may be from other accredited institutions.

Transfer credits include credits taken before first enrolling as an admitted degree-seeking students (at another institution, in another Mason graduate program, or in Mason non-degree status) or credits taken at another institution after admission to the degree program through study abroad or study elsewhere (which requires prior written approval of the director and the dean). Additional information may be found in the Graduate Policies section of the catalog.

Seven core courses (21 credits)

HE 603 - Higher Education in the Digital Age Credits: 3
HE 605 - Learning Assessment Credits: 3
HE 606 - Diversity in Higher Education Credits: 3
HE 610 - Research Designs in Higher Education Credits: 3
HE 621 - Higher Education in the United States Credits: 3
HE 644 - Student Services in Higher Education Credits: 3
HE 646 - Student Development Theory Credits: 3

Optional Practicum (3 credits)

Depending upon prior work experience, students may be encouraged to complete a 150 hour practicum related to the student's learning and career goals.

HE 685 - Practicum Credits: 3

Thesis or Project Capstone (15 credits)

Students may choose a thesis options or project option as described below. Electives can be taken outside of HE courses and should be selected in consultation with the advisor.

Thesis Option (15 credits)

Students selecting the thesis option will complete the course work below. In addition to HE 799 - Higher Education Thesis, students will take an additional research methods course, a research apprenticeship, and two elective courses.

  • One additional research methods course (3 credits) offered at Mason with approval of an advisor.
  • HE 785 - Research Apprentice Credits: 3
  • Two elective courses (6 credits). HE 685 - Practicum may apply to this requirement based upon the work experience and with the approval of the student's advisor.
  • HE 799 - Higher Education Thesis Credits: 1-3 (3 credits required)
    A thesis is a rigorous scholarly inquiry that requires the collection of original data and is presented in a traditional, formal, written format. It is informed by experience gained from the research apprenticeship. The guideline and deadlines for thesis submission are set by the University and administered by the University Dissertation and Thesis Service.

Project Option (15 credits)

Students who select the project option will also complete 4 elective courses (12 credits) approved by the advisor.

  • Four courses (12 credits) of elective credit. HE 685 - Practicum may apply to this requirement based upon the work experience and with the approval of the student's advisor.
  • HE 798 - Higher Education Project Credits: 1-3 (take 3 credits)
    A project is a product the student creates from existing literature such as a traditional research monograph that is smaller in scale than a thesis and/or does not rely on the collection of original data. It is a deliverable with a practical application, such as a manual, handbook, or workshop grounded in research literature.

Total: 36 credits


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