Higher Education Administration


Degrees Offered

The Higher Education Administration program is designed to enhance leadership skills and  prepare students for executive, administrative (business administration, academic affairs, and student affairs), academic support, and faculty positions.

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in higher education administration
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in higher education administration

Online Masters (M.A.) - Higher Education Administration

The master's program is designed to enhance leadership skills and prepare students for administration positions within college and university settings.


  • Online graduate program with options for face-to-face courses
  • Part-time or full-time enrollment options
  • Courses can be taken from any geographic location
  • Flexible program of study (two to eight years to complete the program)
  • Advanced learning platform technologies (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Courses taught by full-time faculty and administrators

Career Placement

  • Alumni have been placed in executive, administrative (business administration, academic affairs, and student affairs), and faculty support positions.
  • Higher education administrators held about 161,800 jobs in 2012 and employment in this area is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Higher education administrators work at colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical schools.



  1. Hybrid graduate program with options for online and face-to-face courses
  2. Part-time or full-time enrollment options
  3. Flexible program of study
  4. Synchronous online courses
  5. Courses taught by full-time faculty and professors

Career Placement:

  • Executive, administrative (business administration, academic affairs, and student affairs) and faculty support placements.
  • Higher education administrators held about 161,800 jobs in 2012 and employment in this area is projected to grow 15% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Faculty Positions
  • Policy Positions
  • Higher education administrators work at colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical schools.

Acceptance Policy

Applicants for a master of arts degree in higher education administration (HIED) and/or Ed.D. must comply with the WVU requirements for admission to graduate studies, the requirements of the College of Education and Human Services, and those that the HIED program has specified. Admission to all programs is contingent on an assessment of complete official transcripts, including all higher education work attempted, and other evidence the faculty may deem necessary in order to judge students' prospective success within the graduate program.

If applicants meet the minimum requirements, they may be invited to an on-campus interview. Students will receive official notification of acceptance or rejection within one month of the interview. All students accepted into the program will receive information about their assigned adviser and guidance on the development of a personalized program of study.


Applicants are required to submit an online application,  found at http://graduate.wvu.edu/future-students/application-process. The Higher Education Administration Program admits students to the Master of Arts Program on a continuous basis  The following must accompany the online application:

1. Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) Scores. Request that GRE or MAT scores be sent to WVU, code 5904. Test dates must be within five years of the date of application. Applicants must score at or above the 50th percentile on the GRE or MAT examinations. In addition, all applicants whose native language is not English must have a minimum score of 93 on the internet-based test (IBT) TOEFL examination.

2. Personal statement, describing past work experience and goals for graduate study in higher education administration. Please upload under personal statement section to the  supplemental materials page of the application.

3. Resume. Please upload your resume/vitae to the supplemental materials page of the application.

4. Complete contact information and description of professional relationship for three references. Please upload these  under “other” section of the supplemental materials page. Do not  submit  references contacts under the “recommendations” section of the online application..

5. Two scholarly writing samples. Please upload  under “other” section of the supplemental materials page.


A committee of HIED faculty reviews applications to the program. Admissions materials include:

1. GRE/TOEFL:  Applicants for the HIED Ed.D. need to earn 300 or better (new scoring)  or 1000 or better (old scoring)  on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). In addition, students must score at the 50th percentile on the analytical writing section. International students must score a minimum of 550 on the paper version of the TOEFL or a minimum of 213 on the computer version of the TOEFL. Test scores submitted for consideration must be no more than five years old.

2. Personal resume/vita:   Applicants must provide a chronological history of their education and experience  in a vita. The vita should offer evidence that the applicant has appropriate professional experience that would support the goals and expectations of the program.

3. Goals statement:  Each applicant must provide a clear statement of professional goals. This statement should be well written, and it should clearly indicate how the applicant’s goals fit with the program. Particular consideration will be given to goal statements that clearly demonstrate that the student has researched the program and faculty and knows how program offerings and faculty expertise meet his or her specific interests and needs.

4. Writing sample:   All Ed.D. applicants must provide a writing sample with their application. The writing sample should provide clear evidence of the applicant’s writing ability as well as his or her ability to engage in research and/or scholarships.

5. Three current letters of reference:  All Ed.D. applicants must provide three letters of reference that explicitly address the applicant’s potential as a doctoral student. References should know of the applicant’s academic performance and potential.

INTERVIEW:   The HIED Ed.D. admissions committee may also request an interview to seek additional information in order to judge potential for success in the program.

RESIDENCY:   The purpose of residency is to provide doctoral students with intellectual experiences and scholarly engagement with faculty and peers in the HIED program and the Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies Department. In order to achieve residency, students must engage in meaningful work with faculty within the Department beyond their coursework. This work may include collaborative research, grant writing, team teaching, or assisting in university service. Residency plans must be negotiated with and approved by the student’s adviser in consultation with the student’s program committee. The adviser and committee must receive evidence of plan completion.

Curriculum Requirements

A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required in all major courses.
A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.
HIED 649Contemporary Issues in Higher Education3
Required Common Core (12 credit hours)
HIED 650Higher Education Administration3
HIED 648History of American Higher Education3
HIED 651College Student Development3
Required Research Core Courses* (6 credit hours)
EDP 612Introduction to Research3
EDP 617Program Evaluation (Required Research Core Courses* (6 credit hours))3
Sample of HIED/EDLS ELECTIVES (6 credit hours)
HIED 651College Student Development3
HIED 760Curriculum Development and Reform in Higher Education3
Sample of Support Area Courses (9 credit hours)
EDP 600Educational Psychology3
EDP 640Instructional Design3
C&I 789Teaching in Higher Education3
Required Capstone Experience (3 credit hours)
HIED 693CSpecial Topics3
Total Hours36

  *or other advisor-approved research methods courses 

Doctor of Education

Major Requirements

HIED Courses 15
HIED 693
Leadership and Organizations
HIED 693
Diversity Issues in Higher Education
History of American Higher Education
Higher Education Administration
College Student Development
HIED Specialization Strands 12
(Select 12 credits from one of the following strands)
Curriculum & Assessment and Academic Affairs
Curriculum Development and Reform in Higher Education
Academic Affairs Roles
Adult and Continuing Education
Assessment in Higher Education
Assessment Research in Higher Education
College Access, Transition, and Success
College Students and Courts
College Student Affairs
College Student Research in Higher Education
Adult and Continuing Education
Assessment in Higher Education
Assessment Research in Higher Education
Administration, Organizations, and Policy
Higher Education Budget and Planning
Institutional Advancement
Community College Leadership
Governance of Higher Education
Higher Education Law
Higher Education Finance
Individualized Studies in Higher Education Administration
This individualized plan of study will be developed in consultation with the student’s advisor/program committee
Additional HIED Electives12
Students are required to take 15 credits of research coursework, including 6 credits each of graduate-level qualitative and quantitative methods and 3 credits of additional advanced research. Courses may be taken outside CEHS as necessitated by the student in consultation with the student’s advisor. Note: With permission of advisor, students pursuing advanced quantitative methodologies may replace the second qualitative course with a fourth advanced quantitative course.
Cognate Minor 12
These 12 credits pertaining to the individual student’s interests and goals must come from graduate-level courses outside the HIED program in consultation with the student’s advisor.
Internships 6
Students are required to take 6 credits of a supervised practicum in higher education administration by enrolling in HIED 785. This internship experience should be conducted after the Qualifying Examination (DQE), and allow the student to apply theoretical concepts to practical situations. The internship experience is designed by the student in consultation with the advisor and proposed supervisor.
Dissertation 15
12 credits of dissertation work
Total Hours87

Major Learning Goals

Higher Education Administration

The learning goals for this program are to prepare students who:

  • Have commitment and skills to engage in life-long learning;
  • Are effective communicators;
  • Recognize that teaching is a professional, moral, and ethical enterprise with well-developed ethical frameworks which facilitate effective teaching;
  • Will serve as a facilitator of learning for all students;
  • Possess in-depth knowledge of both pedagogy and content, and the relationships between them;
  • Are reflective practitioners;
  • Are aware of, and have respect for, human diversity;
  • Value and integrate knowledge from a wide variety of fields, are creative and open to new ideas, and are able to act constructively in a world characterized by technological, cultural, and societal diversity and change.


HIED 648. History of American Higher Education. 3 Hours.

The administrative development of American higher education from 1636 to the present, including internal trends and external forces.

HIED 649. Contemporary Issues in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

The purpose of this course is to explore critical, contemporary challenges facing American higher education. The course explores issues of access, accountability, academic freedom, financial aid, state and federal government policy, changing legal structures, teaching and learning in a digital age, student issues, diversity, and the influence of business models and values on institutional strategy and practice.

HIED 650. Higher Education Administration. 3 Hours.

Key concepts of organization and administration within higher education institutions, concentrating primarily on the non-academic components of the institutions, from the president to first-level supervisor.

HIED 651. College Student Development. 3 Hours.

Review of research and literature on college student development from beginning freshmen through graduate school. Emphasis on different student subgroups.

HIED 652. Assessment in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Critical analysis of contemporary assessment issues; develop sophisticated plans to evaluate the quality of student learning and growth in academic programs and student affairs.

HIED 653. College Students and Courts. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. A study of the major areas of higher education law from the perspective of the college student. A case study approach.

HIED 654. College Student Affairs. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. A study of the organization, administrative functioning components, issues, and models of college student services using a historical and topical approach.

HIED 655. Institutional Advancement. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Studies in fund raising, alumni relations, and foundation management.

HIED 656. Higher Education Budget and Planning. 3 Hours.

Covers knowledge of such areas as budgeting systems, budget preparation and administration, resource reduction and reallocation, and grants/contracts preparation and administration.

HIED 657. Community College Leadership. 3 Hours.

An analysis of the historical/philosophical development of community colleges in the US. A specific focus on developing a critical understanding of the administrative and leadership issues.

HIED 693A-J. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

HIED 693J. Special Topics. 1-6 HR. A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

HIED 751. Academic Affairs Roles. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Management, leadership, and administrative roles of academic affairs offices in colleges and universities including academic personnel, program definition, research and teaching issues, and other functions of academic oversight.

HIED 752. Governance of Higher Education. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Formulation and implementation of state master plans and the roles of state governing bodies in public and private institutions.

HIED 753. Adult and Continuing Education. 3 Hours.

Principles, concepts, and processes involved in programming for adults in a community setting. Nature of adult learning, subject matter, and learning environment.

HIED 755. Higher Education Law. 3 Hours.

Critical legal issues of higher education, public and private, using a case study approach.

HIED 756. Higher Education Finance. 3 Hours.

Financial concerns in higher education with emphasis on taxation and legislative actions, sources of income, budgeting, and cost analysis.

HIED 759. Assessment Research in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Students review an array of instruments designed to assess college students' perceptions, satisfaction, and learning. They will also critique these instruments to determine their quality.

HIED 760. Curriculum Development and Reform in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Analyze curriculum development and implementation issues. Critique different curriculum designs in general education and major academic programs also.

HIED 762. College Student Research in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Students will critique research articles pertaining to college student development and conduct research investigating a subpopulation's development.

HIED 790. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Supervised practice in college teaching of HIED. Note: This course is intended to insure that graduate assistants are adequately prepaired and supervised when they are given college teaching responsibility. It also provides a mechanism for students not on assistantships to gain teaching experience.

HIED 793A. Higher Education Internship. 1-6 Hours.

HIED 797. Research. 1-15 Hours.

PR: Consent. Research activities leading to thesis(698), problem report (698), research paper or equivalent scholarly project (698), or dissertation (798).

HIED 798. Dissertation. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Note: this is an optional course for programs that believe that this level of control and supervision is needed during the writing of students' reports (698), theses(698), or dissertations (798).



  • Dale S. Niederhauser - Ph.D. (University of Utah)
    Foundations of Education, Educational Technology

Professor emeritus

  • Ernest Goeres - Ph.D. (University of Iowa)

Assistant professor

  • Nathan Sorber - Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University)
    Higher Education Administration

Teaching Assistant Professor

  • Erin McHenry Sorber - Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University)
    Educational Policy Studies, Administration, Planning, and Social Policy

Adjunct assistant professors

  • John (Jay) Cole - Ph.D. (University of Michigan)
  • Steve Robinson - Ph.D. (University of Alabama)


  • Gabriel St. Leger - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)