Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.

Higher Education Leadership and Administration Graduate Certificate

School of Education

Lead the way in higher learning

Learn to lead in the field of higher education. Capella’s online Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership and Administration builds on your previous undergraduate or graduate educational experiences and provides an overview of the scope and functions of higher education, its history, current issues and trends, and leadership theory. In this program, you’ll learn to make sound decisions in higher education based on a solid understanding of the roles and functions of institutional divisions, and the culture and politics of four-year and community colleges.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 5 core courses

Classes Start August 5th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SUMMER)

What you’ll learn

Understand higher education

Get a foundational overview of the scope and functions of higher education, its history, current issues, and leadership theory. 

Make sound decisions

Apply higher education theory and best practices to make positive decisions for your organization. 

Create an action plan

Create an action plan for your professional development and an e-portfolio.

Think critically

Engage in a curriculum that emphasizes scholarly inquiry and critical thinking, and communication within higher education.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Credit Toward Your Next Degree

Apply credits from this program to our MS in Higher Education degree program. 

Focus on Your Goals Early

Create a professional development plan in your first course that can help you stay on track throughout your program.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$455 per credit, 20 total quarter credits, 4 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.


There are a variety of need-based federal grants available to help pay for tuition and costs.

Federal work study

Part-time jobs sponsored by the U.S. government are available to help you reduce loan debt.

Sample courses

This online higher education leadership and administration graduate certificate fine-tunes your understanding of the culture and politics of colleges. You’ll dive into current theories and trends in higher education leadership.

Show course with description
Leadership in Higher Education

Learners in this course examine the leadership philosophies, theories, and decision-making structures associated with higher education administration. Learners explore the nature and function of leadership; leadership roles; and institutional history, vision, culture, politics, and organizational structure. Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Human Resources in Higher Education

Learners in this course focus on human resource management in colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions. Learners also identify and assess potential litigation scenarios, gain experience resolving case studies, and participate in a mock arbitration. Finally, learners investigate compensation, selection, training, development, collective bargaining, retention, tenure, and termination. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
The Politics of Higher Education

This course focuses on the changing perceptions of the role of higher education in the United States. Learners examine the politics of competition for resources, the expectations of consumers and providers, and the role of state and local government in higher education institutions. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
The History of Higher Education

In this course, learners explore the evolution of colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions. Learners focus on the societal, cultural, and economic influences that have shaped the development of higher education curricula, culture, practices, and governance.

4 quarter credits
Advanced Studies in Education: Theory, Practice, and Purpose

This is the introductory course for learners pursuing doctoral, education specialists, and post-master’s certification within the School of Education. Learners in this course focus on critical thinking and scholarly writing—requisite skills for graduate study and professional practice. This course provides opportunities for learners to acquire and practice skills necessary to succeed in online learning. In keeping with Capella University’s focus on the scholar-practitioner model, learners also critically examine and apply relevant educational theory to their practice. Finally, learners articulate and examine their professional purpose and how it aligns with their chosen degree program and professional career aspirations. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Writing support

Sharpen your writing skills with our free tutoring services and other resources.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals. 

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.