MA, Leadership: Higher Education Leadership Specialization
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Advance Your College Administration Career with an MA in Higher Education Leadership

Skilled higher education leaders are in great demand as colleges and universities face more competition and financial constraints than ever before. Professionals in this field must also be prepared to guide schools and students into the distance-learning era as online courses and degree programs continue to grow.

The online Master’s of Arts in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization program from Concordia University Chicago focuses on creating leaders who achieve excellence through the ethical, effective and efficient delivery of services. Students will master the latest tools, techniques and strategies that are essential for leaders at postsecondary academic institutions.

Graduates of the higher education leadership MA program will have expertise in:

  • Leadership and Excellence
  • Strategic Leadership and Planning
  • Ethical and Social Leadership
  • Evaluation and Research for Counselors
  • Law and Higher Education
Prepare for Higher Education Leadership with an Online Master’s Degree

Concordia University Chicago offers a variety of specialized degrees in many industries, including healthcare, business, education and human services. The online MA in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization program is designed to prepare graduates with information on the latest research and theory in their chosen field, as well as practical, real-world applications of that knowledge.

Among the topics covered in this master’s in higher education program are:

  • Institutional Advancement and Development in Higher Education
  • Historical and Societal Issues in Higher Education
  • Fiscal and Social Responsibility in Higher Education
  • Governance and Leadership in Higher Education
  • Knowledge Management for Higher Education
Degree Program Specifications

The MA in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization program includes 33 credit hours of online coursework, including a leadership capstone experience in the final semester. Depending on whether students take one or two classes per eight-week term, they can complete the degree program in one or two years.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission into the online master’s in educational leadership program at Concordia University Chicago, students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Prospective students are required to complete the free online application and submit required admissions materials:

  • Complete the free online application and submit all required admissions materials:
    • Objective Statement – Write a brief essay outlining your education and career goals and explain how an online master’s in higher education degree from Concordia University Chicago will help you fulfill those objectives.
    • Official Transcripts – Provide one official, sealed transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree. Full admission requires a cumulative grade point average of 2.85 or better for bachelor’s degrees and 3.0 or higher for master’s degrees.
    • Letters of Recommendation – Send two letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to comment on your academic proficiency, professional competencies and personal character.

International applicants may be required to submit additional supporting materials, such as proof of English language proficiency and a foreign transcript evaluation from an approved credentialing service. For full requirements, visit the Admission & Tuition page. 

There is no application fee and no GRE requirement to apply for the online higher education leadership MA program at Concordia University Chicago.

MA, Leadership: Higher Education Leadership Specialization: 33 Credit Degree Program

Higher Education Leadership Specialization Courses

Semester 1

Leadership and Excellence

OLDR 6000      3 credit hours 

Overview of leadership theories and leadership concepts, systems and organizational perspectives, organizational performance and effectiveness, and learning organization concepts and strategies.

Strategic Leadership and Planning

OLDR 6001      3 credit hours

The course is designed to prepare students with diverse perspectives, frameworks, skills, and tools for executing effective strategy within mission driven organizations. Topics include effective mission driven organizations, role of strategic leadership, tools for developing and assessing strategic engagement, stakeholder concerns, and opportunities for leading change initiatives and strategic planning.

Semester 2

Introduction to Research

RES 6620      3 credit hours

This course examines foundation level principles and processes of social and behavioral research as applied across disciplines. This course is designed to enable students to acquire both a basic understanding and skills in general research methods. Specifically, the course prepares students to be critical consumers of research and to be an active participant in the generation and implementation of research knowledge.

Ethical and Social Leadership

OLDR 6002      3 credit hours

Examine and explore ethical dilemmas of leadership, the context and foundations of moral choice, moral implications of decisions, and ramifications of leader choices. Ethical challenges and decision making criteria, stewardship and social responsibility in an age of increased organizational accountability and transparency.

Semester 3

Law and Higher Education

HLDR 6800      3 credit hours

This course addresses the legal environment of post-secondary institutions and specific issues that affect higher education. In addition to faculty and administrative structuring, curriculum development, and institutional financing, a university’s policy is affected by legal concerns, including constitutional privileges, ethics, and regulations that may be relevant in regards to state and local municipalities. Students enrolled in this course will participate in research and weekly discussions evaluating the significance and importance of the limitations and allowances of government-defined operating and monetary restrictions on academic institutions.

Institutional Advancement and Development in Higher Education

HLDR 6810      3 credit hours

This course examines the role of institutional advancement in supporting the mission and vision of the higher education institution through the development of external funds, relationships with alumni and other external constituencies and communications support and public visibility.

Semester 4

Historical and Societal Issues in Higher Education

HLDR 6820      3 credit hours

This course addresses the major social issues affected by higher education, specific issues and trends, dominant themes of historical and institutional impact. Students enrolled in this course will acquire an improved understanding of previous events of the significance of higher education, including how it has developed and increased in importance to society.

Governance and Leadership in Higher Education

HLDR 6830      3 credit hours

This course includes the theoretical perspectives on higher education organizations as well as the organizational structure, management, and leadership of colleges and universities and governance systems. Learners enrolled in this course will become familiar with the purpose of institutional governance, its various functions, administrative models and the factors utilized to define its strategies.

Semester 5

Fiscal and Social Responsibility in Higher Education

HLDR 6840      3 credit hours

This course addresses the major financial and economic issues experienced within higher education including fiscal awareness, social responsibility and stewardship. Learners will be able to understand the primary concerns involved with budgeting, ethics and management within the higher education landscape and able to apply theories and principles to maintain a functioning and sustainable institution. Learners will be exposed to the economic, political and organizational cultural factors which affect the allocation of monetary resources within the higher education organization.

Knowledge Management for Higher Education Leadership

KMIL 6020      3 credit hours

Application of knowledge management principles to a university environment, including how to apply information regarding learners, faculty, staff, state and national legislature, and competing institutions to improve the academic quality and educational conditions of the organization. The process of acquiring knowledge from a learning institution and developing a system to assist with future strategies that correspond with the current requirements, industry preferences and objectives of an institution.

Semester 6

Leadership Capstone

OLDR 6004      3 credit hours

This course serves a culminating experience in which students are expected to apply knowledge and insights gained from their graduate course experience. The course is designed to provide a final experience in which students demonstrate mastery of content and allow an opportunity for closure and connection between courses. The purpose of this capstone course is to facilitate the integration and synthesis of content through critical thinking; it is also a turning point for the student from education to professional practice.

Career Outlook for Higher Education Leaders

Those who work in higher education leadership oversee student services, faculty research and academics at colleges and universities. They may be in charge of the entire university system or large departments such as the registrar’s office, student life or admissions.

Demand is high for qualified professionals in this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% increase in employment of postsecondary education administrators between 2016 and 2026.

Earning an MA in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization prepares graduates for jobs such as:

  • Academic Advisor
  • Continuing Education Specialist
  • Alumni Relations Director
  • Director of Research
  • VP of Student Affairs

Salaries vary widely depending on the exact position and the location of the school. According to BLS data from May 2017, the median salary for postsecondary education administrators was $92,360. The top 10% of postsecondary administrators earned over $182,150 annually.

Effective higher education leadership helps better the lives of students and prepare the leaders of tomorrow while ensuring that academic institutions operate in a way that is efficient, ethical and sustainable. Earning an MA in Leadership: Higher Education Specialization positions you to take on an important and influential role in this critical field.

Tuition & Financial Aid

If there is no interruption in your course of study at Concordia University Chicago, you are guaranteed there will be no increase in tuition rates. Contact us to confirm the current tuition and fees for the MA in Higher Education Leadership degree. Students who enroll in the online master’s in educational leadership program as a degree candidate are eligible to apply for federal financial aid.

Active-duty military service members, veterans and eligible dependents can take advantage of financial programs available to assist in paying for a college education. For more information, please visit our website.

Contact Information

Lori McGill-Sarago
Concordia University Chicago
Student Recruitment Manager


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