Master of Arts: Higher Education Leadership


The EDLP Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership (EDHE) Cohort is committed to preparing its students for leadership roles in institutions of higher education—both 2- and 4-year – through a well- rounded academic experience. This Cohort promotes learning, equity, and achievement for all students in a pluralistic society, and seeks to prepare transformational leaders with the capacity to facilitate and manage change.

The cohort’s program is organized around four interrelated core themes that are central to the professional leadership and management of all educational organizations:

  • Visionary Leadership and Management
  • Policy into Practice
  • Data for Decision-Making
  • Building Community in a Diverse Society

Each of these themes is integrated across the curriculum and addressed with a combination of teaching and learning strategies, including service, learning, and cooperative learning. Additionally, EDHE considers important the growing diversity of higher education, and seeks to address the consequent need for leadership who can appropriately address an increasingly diverse student and staff population: Future college leaders need a multicultural perspective of leadership that includes a sensitivity to diverse sense-making and decision-making strategies, an understanding of organizations and programs as cultures with symbolic dimensions (Gibson-Benninger, Ratcliff, & Rhoads, 1996) and a balance between theory and practice that includes concept application, reflection, and an understanding of the future by way of the past (Hankin, 1996), (Brown, Martinez, & Daniel, 2002, p.45).

Life and work experience enhance students’ learning and professional growth in the field. The EDHE program invites individuals with some life and work experience and a passion for serving students in higher education who are seeking to advance their career aspirations toward serving in leadership roles to apply.

Career Options

The program is designed to prepare exemplary leaders for California’s 21st century community colleges, 4-year universities, and private postsecondary institutions, as well as other educational organizations. 


Admission Requirements: Admission to the Master's Program in Higher Education Leadership program requires that the applicant possess the following:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 units.
  • Participate in an interview with program faculty; interviews are generally scheduled at the close of the application period.
  • Submit:
    1. a completed Higher Education Leadership Option Program Application.
    2. a completed Supplemental Application Form
    3. a Self-Assessment Scale Form
    4. 2 reference forms from past and present supervisor(s) and/or a college instructor
    5. a typewritten resume
    6. a typed two-page statement of purpose in higher education leadership
    7. a set of unofficial transcripts

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test scores are NOT required; however, they may be included with the admission application.

Refer to the catalog for detailed admission and academic requirements.

Course Listing

Review the courses required to complete the degree.

Additional Information

The program is designed as a hybrid – a combination of online learning opportunities and face-to-face meetings.  Face-to-face class sessions meet one weekend (Friday night, all day Saturday) each month of the semester.  Online meetings are held twice per month for a minimum of 2 hours per session.  Students complete coursework in the first 3 semesters, and then begin work on their culminating experience in the 4th semester.

All students are required to successfully meet the graduate writing requirement (GWR) to advance to candidacy for the MA.  In EDLP, the GWR is met by successful completion of EDLP 250: Educational Research.  The MA culminating experience in the Higher Education Leadership cohort is the successful completion of a project or a thesis.  Students work individually with a faculty advisor to design and complete a research project that meets University and Program standards, and demonstrates mastery of instructional content delivered over the 3-semester program.

PDF: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Learning Outcomes

The Cohort Model
All students selected for the program will enroll in the same courses in the same sequence.  This cohort approach facilitates student development of a strong network of colleagues who support each other and encourage completion of the program. Students within a cohort learning environment learn how to work together in teams to solve real world problems or issues and tend to complete the learning experiences in a timely manner because they enroll in the same courses.


Dr. Geni Cowan
(916) 278-6154
Eureka Hall 402A

Apply Now

Visit the admissions page to learn how to apply.