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

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

Our degree program offers a rich comparative perspective on diverse higher education contexts around the world, the tools to conduct high-quality research and put it into practice, and specialized tracks to support both research —and practice— focused careers in higher education.

At a Glance

How many courses?

This program consists of 10 courses for a total of 30 credits.

How long will it take?

Students in the Scholar-Practitioner track can complete the program in 18 months.

Those on the Research track generally require two years to complete the program.

When can I start?

The program begins in the fall semester.

Program Format

You can complete the program in person, from a distance, or through a hybrid format.

At BC, we recognize the importance of a sense of mission that goes beyond acquiring skills and content. International connections are transformative, and we help students think about how institutions can incorporate global and intercultural dimensions into all their activities.
Gerardo Blanco, Co-Director, International Higher Education Master's Program

Our Alumni

Ashley Brookes '17

Ashley Brookes '17

Wake Forest University

Ashley Brookes '17

Wake Forest University

During her time as an undergrad at Gettysburg, Ashley Brookes had the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda and Rwanda. This transformative experience inspired her to help other students engage in transformational study abroad experiences during their undergraduate careers. Ashley worked with the College Year in Athens (CYA) program for three years before starting the MA in IHE program. 

Brookes was the first graduate of the MA in IHE program and credits her degree with obtaining her current position in study abroad at Wake Forest University. Ashley's current portfolio includes working with semester study abroad students, various diversity and inclusion efforts, and WFU's Community-Based Global Learning program, an ethical service-learning program that she helped develop, which takes diverse student groups to sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, and south and Latin America and is paired with extensive training in ethical community engagement. 

Courtney Hartzell '20

Courtney Hartzell '20

Academic Cooperation Association, Brussels

Courtney Hartzell '20

Academic Cooperation Association, Brussels

As an ESL teacher in Turkey, India, and Germany, Courtney Hartzell appreciated the international focus that the Masters of International Higher Education program that Boston College offered, as it would help her to actualize her career goals.

During her time in the program, Hartzell discovered her enthusiasm for studying international education networks, a topic that she explored through her master's thesis focusing on European University Networks. She credits her time at Boston College with inspiring her and giving her the confidence necessary to pursue her Ph.D., a goal that she did not realize until her time in the MA program.

Ismael Crotte '18

Ismael Crotte '18

Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico

Ismael Crotte '18

Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico

With 19 years of experience working on international higher education issues, performing administrative functions at the Center of Studies for Foreigners and the General Coordination for Cooperation & Internationalization at the Universidad de Guadalajara, Ismael Crotte applied to the International Higher Ed program hoping that it would provide the academic theory to support his years of administrative experience.

During his time at Boston College, he found an academic new world and also discovered a new path: writing articles and performing research.

Sanfeng Miao '19

Sanfeng Miao '19

Doctoral Student at Michigan State University

Sanfeng Miao '19

Doctoral Student at Michigan State University

In search of a program that would expose her to world-class scholars and cutting-edge ideas and research that would help her to realize her academic goals, Sanfeng Miao was eager to begin her program at Boston College. 

During her time at BC, the research training that Miao received helped her to build a solid foundation for a scholarly career in the field of international higher education. Today, her doctoral work considers the global academic labor force, international students’ experience, and curriculum internationalization across disciplines. She continues to frequently apply what she learned from CIHE to her work and feels grateful to have studied here. 

Karen Miller '20

Karen Miller '20

Global Partnerships and Programs Coordinator

Karen Miller '20

Global Partnerships and Programs Coordinator

Through her own “alternative” educational experiences of homeschooling and graduating from a community college to shape her approach to internationalization, Karen Miller became a certified ESL instructor in Mexico, Boston, and New York. While pursuing the master's program at Boston College, Karen was actively involved in international organizations and conducted research with the American Council on Education and the New England Board of Higher Education. 

Today Miller leads internationalization at home efforts including internationalization of the curriculum, coordinates the school’s dual-degree programs, trains faculty in their virtual exchange workshop, operates the Cultural Ambassador Program for students, and continues to advocate for international opportunities for all, regardless of background or status.

The Center for International Higher Education

The M.A. in International Higher Education leverages the renown of Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) to prepare you for a career as a practitioner, policymaker, administrator, or researcher in the fast-growing field of international higher education. We take a comparative approach rather than centering the U.S. context. 


Adjunct & Visiting Faculty

Photo of Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn
Emeritus Professor and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)

Photo of Dr. Ariane de Gayardon, Researcher, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente

Dr. Ariane de Gayardon
Researcher, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente (The Netherlands)

Photo of Professor Sioux McKenna

Professor Sioux McKenna
Director of Postgraduate Studies, Rhodes University (South Africa)

Theory Meets Practice

I had been waiting for years for this particular master’s program to be offered—with just the right combination of theory of international education and practice focusing on the management of global engagement operations.
Ismael Aarón Crôtte Ávila, M.A. ’19


Students have two possible tracks, each of which culminates in a final assessment (either a thesis or an applied research project). Academic advisors will help you decide which track best aligns with your interests. Online and hybrid options enable international students and scholars to join counterparts in Boston, fostering a truly global conversation.


  • Courses: 10 
  • Credits: 30 
  • Comprehensive Exam or Master's Thesis

The Scholar-Practitioner track (18 months) is designed for those focused on professional careers in international higher education. In addition to taught content, students complete an applied research project, conducted “in placement” with an organization in the field, and a final comprehensive exam. International applicants already working in higher education can choose to focus their final project on their home institution, by spending one year in Boston and then returning home to complete the applied project component.

The Research Intensive track (2 years) is suited for those interested in research careers in international higher education. Students complete a traditional academic thesis in the second year.



  • Study Abroad Advisor
  • International Student Advisor
  • Coordinator of Global Partnerships and Programs
  • Assistant Director, International Business School
  • Academic Services Coordinator
  • Associate Director of Graduate Student Services
  • Student Support Advisor
  • Academic Advisor
  • Policy Officer


  • OECDNYU Shanghai (People's Republic of China)
  • University of Guadalajara (Mexico)
  • Kansai University (Japan)
  • Coimbra Group of Universities
  • Academic Cooperation Association
  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of California San Diego
  • Colorado State University

Financial Aid

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 & Deadlines

Apply Now

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required. The fee is waived for select applicants.

Fall 2023

  • Priority Deadline - December 1*
  • Rolling Admission - Until July 15

*In order to participate in the February admitted student Interview Days programming, applicants must apply by the priority deadline.


To be uploaded to your online application.

In addition to your academic history and relevant volunteer and/or 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.

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

Two letters of recommendation are required, with at least one preferably coming from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.


Transcripts from all college/university study are required.

Applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the United States should view the "International Students" section for additional credential evaluation requirements.

Please begin your online application before submitting your transcripts. Details on how to submit transcripts and international credential evaluations can be found within the application. In order to ensure your transcript reaches our office, it is important to review and follow the instructions.

Standardized Tests

Submitting GRE test scores is optional for this program for the 2023 entry term(s). If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218.

Please view the "International Students" section for information on English Proficiency test requirements.

Writing Sample

Not required.

International Students

Applicants who have completed a degree outside of the United States must have a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript(s) completed by an evaluation company approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Submission of falsified documents is grounds for denial of admission or dismissal from the University.

Applicants who are not native speakers of English and who have not received a degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS test result that meets the minimum score requirement.

Please click the link below for full details on these requirements.

Requirements for International Students

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.

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