Courses Higher Education Leadership and Administration

Master of Science in Education

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Core courses:

Foundations of Master’s Studies in Education

This course provides learners with opportunities to acquire and use graduate-level skills, including the ability to critically examine and apply relevant educational theory to professional practice. Learners develop expertise in scholarly writing as well as explore the importance of multicultural perspectives and diversity in professional contexts. Finally, learners articulate and examine their professional purpose and its alignment with their specialization and career aspirations. Must be taken during the first quarter by learners who have been admitted to the MEd in Teaching and Learning, MS in Education, MS in Education Innovation and Technology, and MS in Higher Education degree programs and the Adult Education and Higher Education Leadership and Administration graduate certificate programs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methodology

This course is an overview of graduate research methodology. Learners examine fundamental research methodologies and their respective quantitative and qualitative approaches to rigorous scholarly inquiry.

4 quarter credits
ED5012 *
Overview of Higher Education

Learners in this course study the impact of higher education on individuals and society.  Learners also evaluate the history of higher education; examine the structure and scope of higher education institutions; and analyze the role of history, policy, and theory on current and future practices within the field. The course also includes a review of current higher education literature, issues, and trends. Learners continue to develop the Capella e-portfolio and career action plan. Prerequisite(s): ED5010. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Foundations of Higher Education Assessment and Evaluation

Learners engage in a planning process for developing and conducting effective learning outcomes assessment in both academic and non-academic settings in higher education. Learners examine the background, context, and practice of assessment of student learning and evaluation of educational programs. They apply knowledge of assessment processes and strategies to design an equitable and inclusive assessment plan that can be implemented at the program, course, department, or institutional level to promote improvement and accountability.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

History, Issues, and Trends in Higher Education

Learners gain an understanding of the evolution of colleges, universities, and other postsecondary institutions. Learners investigate the cultural, societal, and economic influences that have shaped the development of higher education curricula, culture, practices, and governance. Learners also relate historical events and milestones to current issues and trends in higher education.

4 quarter credits
ED5572 *
Politics and Public Policy in Higher Education

In this course, 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. Learners explore change theory and ethical implications for public policy. Prerequisite(s): ED5012.

4 quarter credits
ED5574 *
Financial Management and Institutional Development

In this course, learners examine higher education revenue sources and review expenses and cost drivers associated with institution management. Primary topics include tuition and fee revenue, government appropriations, gifts and grants, and investment income. Learners also study the growing expense of faculty and staff compensation, technology upgrades, and long-term debt service obligations. Other topics include the complexities of financial aid, institutional budget planning, and program management. Prerequisite(s): ED5012.

4 quarter credits
ED5890 *
Higher Education Leadership and Administration Capstone

In the capstone course, learners demonstrate proficiency in the program’s competencies by integrating learning from required courses to complete a final project. Must be taken during the learner’s final quarter. Prerequisite(s): ED5006; ED5016 or ED7547; ED5570 or ED7841; ED5572 or ED7840; ED5574; ED6504; completion of all concentration courses. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Leadership in Higher Education

Learners analyze and apply leadership theories and decision-making structures to higher education challenges. Learners investigate organizational structure, the culture and politics of higher education, and strategies for leading equity-minded practice in higher education. Learners develop a personal philosophy of leadership. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning. 

4 quarter credits

Higher Education Program Administration concentration courses:

ED6572 *
Organization and Functions of Higher Education Programs

This course exposes learners to the organizational structures and functions within higher education institutions, including the operational roles that each division plays. Within this context, learners explore student services, academic affairs, financial affairs, institutional advancement, and enrollment management. Prerequisite(s): ED5570.

4 quarter credits
ED6574 *
Law and Governance in Higher Education

This course helps learners develop an understanding of the shared governance structures of colleges and universities. Learners analyze ways the legal system affects the operations of higher education institutions. Topics also include the roles leaders play in managing legal issues and legal implications of technology. Prerequisite(s): ED5570, ED5572.

4 quarter credits
ED6576 *
Higher Education Program Administration

In this course, learners explore the distinctions between leadership and management and identify the knowledge and skills needed to address higher education administrative challenges. Learners determine communication skills necessary at personal and organizational levels and strategies for articulating a shared vision. Topics also include current best practices in human resources leadership and management and their connections with ethical practices. Prerequisite(s): ED6504.

4 quarter credits






At least 48 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.

This specialization is not designed to lead to license, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. Contact your school district for a determination on qualifications for salary advancement.

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this program.

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Take an individual course

Whether you're completing additional credits for your own education, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure that the credits you earn now may be applicable to a Capella degree program.

Learn more about individual courses.


If you have elective courses in your specialization, you may be able to use them to fulfill both your degree and concentration requirements at the same time. However, completing a concentration may extend your total credits beyond the requirements of your degree. Concentrations available for this specialization include:

  • Community College Leadership
  • Higher Education Program Administration

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