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Lynch School of Education

Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree

higher education


M.A. in Higher Education Priority Deadline: December 1, 2015

*Applications must be submitted by this deadline to be considered for Interview Day.



The Master's degree in Higher Education prepares students for entry and middle-management positions in student affairs as well as in other professional areas in colleges, universities, community colleges, and policy making organizations.

The M.A. program consists of 30 credit hours of required and elective course work and a field experience.

Most students complete the program full-time in two academic years. Students with substantial professional experience have the opportunity to complete the program full-time in one academic year and one summer. It is also possible to complete the program on a part-time basis.

In addition to a core of foundational studies in higher education, the program offers students the opportunity to concentrate on one facet of higher education. Among these are the following:

Student Affairs

  • This concentration prepares students to work as professionals in functional areas of student affairs such as student activities, residence life, admissions, service learning, orientation, career services, and academic advising. Students gain an understanding of the foundations of higher education and student affairs and are able to link theory and practice through class projects and field experience placements.

General Higher Education Administration

  • This concentration prepares students to work as professionals in colleges and universities, policy organizations, and advocacy organizations. Students gain an understanding of the foundations of higher education with a focus on law, policy, and administration and are able to link theory and practice through field experience placements.

Spirituality, Faith, and Formation in Higher Education: Leadership & Student Affairs in Catholic Higher Education

  • The top-ranked Catholic graduate school of education in the country, the Lynch School offers the only master's degree in higher education that prepares students to shape the policies, practices, and intellectual life of Catholic colleges and universities while supporting the continuing formation of diverse students in their own journey of faith and spiritual development. This course of study integrates theories of student development, sociology of religion, institutional culture, leadership formation, policy development and theological topics in a Catholic higher education setting.

The Program in Spirituality, Faith, and Formation in Higher Education is designed to:

1. Foster an understanding of higher education administration within Catholic colleges and universities as a vocation in service to the needs of a pluralistic society and for the common good;

2. Engender knowledge of institutional culture, identity, and mission in Catholic colleges and universities in the context of decision-making, policy development, institutional research, governance, intellectual culture and student life;

3. Enable graduates to bring the resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition to contribute competently and ethically to the mission of a Catholic institution by serving in a broad range of institutional leadership roles and responsibilities.

4. Prepare students for competencies and skills to be employed in both faith-based and secular institutions of higher education.

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the influence between religion and higher education in the       development of intellectual culture and religion in the United States
  • Explore theories of student moral and spiritual development and their application to educational policy, practice, student development, and the sociology of religion
  • Engage in an analysis of leadership of mission, student affairs, academic affairs,finance, enrollment management, and advancement and how these issues contribute to the administration of and scholarship about Catholic higher education.
  • Develop core competencies in the knowledge of the history of higher education, Catholic higher education, theories of religion and secularization, philosophy of Catholic higher education, spirituality, ecclesiology, and Catholic intellectual tradition.
  • Secure professional skills, internships, assistantships, contacts and networking through mentoring, rigorous intellectual life and personal formation.

Faculty advisors work with students on an individual basis to design programs of study and applied field experiences according to the individual student's needs, interests, and goals.

Contact: Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education, Campion Hall, Room 205, 617.552.4185

Department Chair: Ana M. Martínez Alemán

Students who attain an MA in Higher Education from our program are strongly discouraged from applying to the PhD program.

Department Faculty:

Karen Arnold, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Michael James, Ph.D.
Lecturer & Director, Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education

Ana M. Martinez-Aleman, Ed.D.
Professor & Department Chair, Educational Leadership and Higher Education

Diana Pullin, J.D., Ph.D.

Heather Rowan-Kenyon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Laura Rumbley, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Boston College Center for International Higher Education

Ted Youn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Affiliated Faculty:

Barbara Jones, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Patrick Keating, Ph.D.

John Zona, Ph.D.
Chief Investment Officer

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Upcoming and Important Dates:

  1. New MA Student Orientation: Friday, September 4th
  2. MA Comprehensive Exams Fall 2015: October 23-25
  3. MA Comprehensive Exams Spring 2016: February 26-29


Sample Courses of Study
Program of Study & Requirements
Comprehensive Exams
Graduation Information