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 program has three distinct concentrations: Administration, Student Affairs and Spirituality, Faith, and Formation. Each concentration requires a year-long Field Experience which links theory and practice. In this way, the program provides students with foundation knowledge and the opportunity to sharpen their understanding of a certain aspect within higher education and apply those skills in their field experience.
The Master's degree in Higher Education at Boston College has a long and notable history. Boston College opened a Center for the Study of Higher Education in 1963 and was among the first group of institutions to do so. The Center was intended to represent Catholic colleges and universities in the emerging field of higher education research. The early work of the Center was to conduct institutes on current issues in higher education, to engage in research that could have some bearing on the fortunes of Catholic colleges, and to offer doctoral-level course work for students with careers in higher education. In 1968, the Center was converted into a program in Higher Education and several years later Boston College instituted a master's-degree program in higher education as well. Almost at once, the master's program achieved a distinguished status among schools offering work in higher education. The longevity of Boston College's program and the strength of its reputation continues to be of great benefit to the program's students today.
Graduate assistantships and other professionally-alligned opportunities are highly recommended by program faculty. They allow students to gain valuable experience and apply their classroom instruction in the workplace while reducing the financial burden on the student.
Interviews for these positions begin in February at the Higher Education Interview Days hosted on-campus and hiring continues through late September for many positions. Students can check the Higher Education Graduate Assistantships webpage for up-to-date position postings.
The program has three distinct Higher Education concentrations, Administration, Student Affairs and Spirituality, Faith, and Formation. The Student Affairs Concentration prepares students to work as student affairs professionals by helping them gain an understanding of the foundations of higher education and student affairs, along with the knowledge, skills, and experience to link theory and practice. The Administration Concentration is focused on law, policy, and administration and prepares students to work as professionals in colleges and universities as well as policy and advocacy organizations. The Spirituality, Faith, and Formation Concentration is designed to foster an understanding of higher education administration within Catholic colleges and universities. Each concentration requires a year-long field experience which links theory and practice. Also, the social justice mission of Boston College sets the school apart from many competing colleges and universities.
Students are required to take a comprehensive exam that test their knowledge of the core curriculum. The exam is written over one weekend during the fall or spring semester after students have completed their foundation and core requirements. Students also create an electronic portfolio.
Students with less than 3 years of full-time professional work experience in higher education are required to take the Field Experience course which is centered on enhancing the application of their classroom studies. Students spend 10-12 hours a week in their field experience placement for an entire academic year while taking the two-semester course.
Students interview as early as February for certain positions and hiring continues through late September for many of the positions. Students can check the Higher Education Graduate Assistantship webpage, the Graduate Student Life webpage, or the Lynch School Graduate Student Services Office for up-to-date position postings
Some students choose to work full-time during their program and take 1 or 2 courses per semester. There is a five year window that you have to complete the program.
We do not require interviews for admission to the program, but prospective students are welcome to visit. During a visit, many students visit classes (while in session) and speak with current students on campus. Program faculty can also respond to prospective student questions via email. Please see the faculty profiles below for contact information.
The Boston area is the perfect place for Higher Education therefore most of our students receive tuition assistance. Many of our students get graduate assistantships either on or off campus. Assistantships range in position type and compensation. Depending on the position, some assistantships include stipends, tuition remission, housing, board, or a combination of the above financial help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about financial aid.
The Boston College Off-Campus Housing website and the Residence Life website are helpful resources. Students will also connect via social media or in-person at Interview Days or Accepted Students Day and learn about potential living situations and roommates.
This program consists of 11 courses for a total of 30 credits.
Full time students will typically complete the program in 2 years.
Part time students can take 3-4 years to complete the program.
Students can begin the program only in the Fall semester
Students have a choice of three possible degree concentrations. These concentrations allow students to focus on and better align their curriculum with their professional goals and interests. All concentrations provide an understanding of the foundations of higher education and allow students to link theory and practice through field experience.
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.
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.
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.
This award is given annually to a graduating student in the Higher Education program who embodies the quality of academic excellence and service which reflects the Jesuit ideal of education in the service of others.
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Education should level the playing field – we feel the same way about financial aid.
The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $8.4 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable.
Click the boxes below for additional details on each item
To be uploaded to your online Application Form.
In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.
To be uploaded to your online Application Form.
In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.
Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.
Two letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.
Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in lieu of official transcripts for the application review process. In the event that one is admitted into a program and enrolls, our office will need official transcripts prior to course registration. To expedite application processing times, our office encourages you to send unofficial transcripts electronically to our email address at GSOE@BC.EDU. Please note that unofficial transcripts must include all of the following items:
If you are able to secure official transcripts, please note the following:
Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to email@example.com from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure it is received by our office.
Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:
Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Submitting GRE test scores is optional and not required for 2021 entry term(s). If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.