Master of Arts (M.A.) in Higher Education

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Higher Education

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. 

At a Glance

How many courses?

This program consists of 11 courses for a total of 30 credits. 

How long will it take?

Full time students will typically complete the program in 2 years.
Part time students can take 3-4 years to complete the program.

When can I start?

Students can begin the program only in the Fall semester

Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?


  • Courses: 11
  • Credits: 30

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.


Student Affairs Concentration 

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.

Administration Concentration 

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 Concentration

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.

Mary Kinnane Award

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. 

Learn more about the award and see past recipients 

Where do our graduates work?

Merrimack College

Resident Director

The Legal Aid Society

Education Attorney

Princeton University

Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Fordham University

Admission Counselor


University of Connecticut

Career Consultant

Kyung Hee University

Policy Analyst

MCPHS University

International Services Specialist

Brown University

Study Abroad Advisor

University of Miami

Director of Enrollment Marketing and Operations

Elms College


Financial Assistance

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. 

Application Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


Regular Decision
Rolling Admission
Until 8/1
Intl. Applicants
Until 7/1

Apply Now

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A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required; however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


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.

Personal Statement

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.

Letters of Recommendation

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:

  • Course titles and grades for each course
  • Year and entry term for each of the courses listed
  • Translated into English by certified translation agent (if not already in English)
    • Original and translated transcripts must be provided

If you are able to secure official transcripts, please note the following:

  • An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.
  • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.
  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in 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

Standardized Tests

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.

Writing Sample

Not required.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development.

Requirements for International Students

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