Curriculum Overview

The Master of Arts in Higher Education is a 36-hour, cohort-based program with a common curriculum, emphasizing a theory-to-practice model of learning and a strong connection between course content and out-of-class experiences. The curriculum is informed by mission and values of Elon University and the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education, and reflects the knowledge, skills and dispositions graduates should possess. The courses and learning outcomes adhere to the Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Programs (CAHEP) guidelines for Higher Education Administration and Leadership Programs for Master’s Degree Level and the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators.

Courses are designed to build on and deepen students’ learning as they progress through the program, with the capstone seminar requiring students to integrate their knowledge and skills, and to work in teams to apply their understanding in the development of a resolution to an authentic problem in a campus program/department.

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 offices. In their second year, students extend their professional knowledge through the application of learning to practice in internships, a study away experience, and a team-based capstone project. Second year coursework focuses on social justice, organizational behavior and culture, legal issues, global education, and leadership.

Collectively, the program of study is designed to equip the graduate of the program with the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be an effective new professional in the field of higher education.