Educational Administration - Higher Education/Community Colleges

Educational Administration - Higher Education/Community CollegesMaster of Arts (M.A.)

Program Length

2 years





GRE/Entrance Exam

Not Required

Application Process

Learning the research interests and expertise areas of potential faculty advisors, particularly at the doctoral level, is an important consideration for prospective students. We encourage prospective applicants to learn about faculty advisors via the links below and through the “Meet our Team” link on the “About EDAD” tab.” Based on capacity, the following faculty members serve as advisors in this program:

Lead Change in Higher Education

Student success in higher education doesn’t happen by accident. In addition to robust curricula, excellent faculty, and a solid infrastructure, it takes effective administrative leadership. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Master of Arts (M.A.) in educational administration offers students the opportunity to grow their leadership and administrative skills through a rigorous, entirely online degree.


This program allows students to choose from two different areas of focus, see below for more details.

Higher Education
The MA in Educational Administration with a specialization in Higher Education offers students specific knowledge related to institutions of higher education.  Students will have many options to personalize their specialization by selecting from numerous electives ranging from issues in governance, diversity and equity in an educational organization to higher education planning, and more.

Community Colleges
The MA in Educational Administration with a specialization in Community Colleges offers students who are interested in this area of higher education options to personalize their specialization by selecting from 5 electives.  Possibilities for electives range from teaching and learning in the community college to emerging issues in community college leadership, and more.

The Nebraska Difference

We’ve built a program aligned with national standards, supported by research, and accessible for busy professionals seeking to advance their knowledge and careers on college and university campuses. Our team of faculty have gone a step further, identifying key skills and attributes practiced by top leaders in higher education and integrated those skills, knowledge, and dispositions into our program. We call it The Nebraska Difference.

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Nebraska higher education leaders engage in Effective and Informed Administrative Practice and Lifelong Learning

Higher Ed MA icon

Nebraska higher education leaders engage in Equitable, Scholarly, and Reflective Practice as rising higher education administrators and leaders

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Nebraska higher education leaders Communicate and Collaborate Effectively, promoting diversity and inclusive learning environments

Our Unique Program


  • Students learn from faculty who conduct and share leading research on contemporary challenges and opportunities in higher education. These scholars have devoted their careers to teaching, researching, discovering, and sharing what works in higher education administration.
  • Students also learn from faculty with decades of combined experience as higher education administrators and leaders who have lived and breathed the work of directors, coordinators, and supervisors at a variety of higher education institutions.
  • Courses are taught by current UNL administrators and carefully selected external professors, bringing an extra dimension of real-world credibility and authenticity to the program.

Individual Attention, Support, & Hands-on Learning

  • Students apply administrative theory and current research to their unique work environments while building supportive relationships with faculty and colleagues. Students leave the program with an expanded network of support, connections, and perspective.
  • Multiple opportunities to grow through additional, no-cost learning opportunities such as the Women in Educational Leadership Conference (WELC), the Critical Issues Forum, and the Sybouts Student Research Symposium, and the National Council of Instructional Leadership.

Access to Leading Higher Education Professionals

  • Experienced college and university administrators share expertise from the very beginning on current issues, such as enrollment, retention, access, campus culture and climate, law, student involvement, equity, and other key topics.

From Day One

  • With a thorough background in theory and experience with its application, our graduates are Day-One-Ready for student engagement and success, recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff, human and alumni relations, and other aspects of higher education administration.

Courses and Schedule

  • Part-time students who are full-time employees at colleges and universities complete the program entirely online in just four semesters and one summer while maintaining their full-time employment.

Launching Your Journey

Program Curriculum

The M.A. degree with a Higher Education Administration focus is an online program designed to serve those who seek to advance their career in administration. In just four regular semesters and two summer sessions, part-time students can complete the degree. At least 30 hours must be completed after admission to the degree program.

Deviating from this sequence may delay program completion, as certain courses are offered at certain times and are subject to enrollment limits. Students unable to follow the sequence above should be in regular communication with their advisor.

Course Sequence

  • EDAD 830 Administrative Theory Introduction to classic and contemporary administrative theory as applied to educational organizations. The theoretical nature of the course content is relevant to those with an interest in a broad variety of educational institutions.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 840 College Student Development Introduction to human development theories; psychosocial, cognitive, and structural theories, with a focus on learning to use theory to improve skills in working with students.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 832 Higher Education in America History and development of America's colleges and universities and a study of some recent trends and problems in higher education.
    • Credit Hours: 3
  • EDAD 842 College Students in America This course is designed to provide students an understanding of a broad range of facts and issues pertaining to undergraduate college students in America.
    • Credit Hours: 3
    • EDAD 925 Law and Higher Ed Examination of legal principles applicable to higher education institutions. Overview of the legal system, higher education institutions as legal entities, authority for governance and administration, faculty rights and responsibilities, student rights and responsibilities, institutional and personal liability, and other selected issues.
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • Specialization Elective
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • EDAD 845 Personnel Management The various aspects of human resources (HR) management and how they contribute to mission accomplishment and organizational success in American higher education (HIED). Students will examine traditional HR responsibilities (e.g., recruitment and selection, supervision and utilization, evaluation, professional development, pay and benefits, etc.) and how these activities operate within a college/university setting. Strategic HR planning concepts will be emphasized for optimizing human capital and strengthening institutional capabilities in the ever-changing HIED environment.
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • Specialization Elective
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • Capstone Course
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • Specialization Elective
      • Credit Hours: 3
    • If you elect to specialize in Higher Education you must choose THREE of the following courses, including up to one community college-focused course:
      • EDAD 966: Seminar in Educational Administration (summer)
      • EDAD 905: Issues in Governance of Educational Institutions (fall)
      • EDAD 879: Introduction to Student Affairs (fall, generally only offered face-to-face)
      • EDAD 920: Diversity and Equity in Educational Organizations (fall)
      • EDAD 838: Program Evaluation and Assessment of Student Affairs (spring, generally only offered face-to-face)
      • EDAD 843: Counseling Principles for Educational Administration (spring, generally only offered face-to-face)
      • EDAD 936: Higher Education Planning (spring)
    • UP TO ONE of the following courses may be included in the three courses for the Higher Education Specialization:
      • EDAD 934: Teaching and Learning in the Community College (summer)
      • EDAD 923: The Community/Junior College (fall)
      • EDAD 935: Workforce, Economic, and Community Development (fall)
      • EDAD 912B: Emerging Issues in Community College Leadership (spring)
    • If you elect to specialize in Community Colleges you must choose THREE of the following courses:
      • EDAD 934: Teaching and Learning in the Community College (summer)
      • EDAD 923: The Community/Junior College (fall)
      • EDAD 935: Workforce, Economic, and Community Development (fall)
      • EDAD 912B: Emerging Issues in Community College Leadership (spring)
      • EDAD 936: Higher Education Planning (spring)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    "The online MA in higher education administration provided essential information to equip me for a future career in higher education. I felt supported throughout this program by professors. And my biggest takeaway was learning about my identity as a first-generation, former student-athlete of color. As soon as I learned about black men in institutions having the lowest graduation and retention rate out of all races and genders in the country, it was obvious to me that I wanted to work with students and student-athletes of color. The online MA gave me the flexibility to complete my program as a student-athlete, and the knowledge and credential to attain my professional goals."

    Mikale Wilbon, Athletic Academic Coordinator, University of Wyoming Athletics

    "The program has helped me to take a look at myself and figure out how I can best use my strengths to help students. It has even helped me dig deeper into some of my identities, specifically my identity as a First Generation student. I feel I have useful experiences from my own educational journey which I can pull from in order to help students through difficult situations they may be facing."

    Mollie Rappl, Assistant Director for Student Services in Residence Life, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Application Process

    Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2024! Apply by March 1 for priority consideration.
    Are you interested in our online programs?

    Faculty members are experienced administrators, curriculum specialists, and college administrators who are dedicated to preparing students for rewarding and fulfilling careers in educational administration.

    Graduate Admission Requirements
    • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
    • One set of transcripts.
    • If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.
    • If International: upload copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.
      • Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.
    • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
    • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.
      Major Admission Requirements
        • Personal Statement: Describe what brought you to apply to this program, including your personal and professional goals. State an issue in higher education administration that is a concern of yours, and briefly discuss your knowledge of the issue
        • Essay: The Department of Educational Administration has committed to addressing access and equity in higher education. What does access and equity mean to you and how does that inform your current and/or future work in higher education? How do you believe this program will contribute to your understanding of access and equity in higher education?
        • Resume
        • Three References (name and contact information)


      Want to know more?

      Katherine Wesley Associate Professor of Practice, Higher Education Administration M.A. / CCLC Coordinator, Executive Director NCIA

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