Graduate Program Directory

Graduate Program Detail

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North Carolina State University

Higher Education Administration
What college at the institution does this program reside in?
College of Education
What department within the college does this program reside in?
Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development
Program Director contact for this program:

Dr. Joy Gaston Gayles
Associate Professor of Higher Education
North Carolina State University
Poe Hall
Campus Box 7801
Raleigh, NC 27695
(919) 515-1612
How is the program offered?
  • Courses taken on a campus (residency)
What is the program's primary area of focus?
  • Student Learning and Development
What is the mission and/or objectives of the program?
The higher education program prepares leaders who are well versed in theory and research in the field and equipped to serve as scholar practitioners in a variety of roles (e.g., faculty, researchers, policy-makers, administrators) and higher education contexts. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) is designed for individuals who seek professional preparation for managing and administering student support services in higher education environments. This program blends a broad overview of the history and function of American higher education with a specific focus on the unique characteristics of student affairs. Practical application is emphasized within course work as well as required internship and research experiences.

What is the pedagogical philosophy of the program?
We are committed to deepening our students’ understanding of theoretical perspectives and frameworks, current research, and innovative methodological approaches within the field of higher education. We encourage interdisciplinarity, quality research design, the highest ethical standards, and research that inspires and informs policy and practice. Our scholarly community seeks to contribute to and advance knowledge in meaningful ways both collaboratively and independently.

What are the learning outcomes of the program?
Students who complete the Master of Education in Higher Education Administration at NC State will be able to:

1. Articulate a personal philosophy of student affairs and/or higher education grounded in critical self-reflection about one’s role as a professional in the field.

2. Understand and apply ethical principles, core values, and standards of practice endorsed by the higher education and student affairs profession.

3. Explain the importance of social justice advocacy as it relates to ethical practice in student affairs, and enact social justice values in professional contexts.

4. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the array of professional roles, functions, and activities that exist within higher education and student affairs.

5. Develop critical thinking, research, and analytical skills necessary to be critical consumers of higher education literature and integrate course-based knowledge to address issues facing students and leaders in higher education.

6. Critically evaluate historical events and current issues relevant to higher education and the student affairs profession and articulate their impact on individuals and institutions.

7. Design and evaluate effective educational interventions informed by: (a) current higher education and student affairs literature, (b) professional standards and best practices, and (c) understanding the basics of qualitative and quantitative research and assessment designs.

8. Exhibit leadership within the realm of higher education and student affairs administration by applying knowledge in leadership, management, and management practices.

9. Produce an actionable professional development plan that reflects involvement in higher education and student affairs at the institutional, regional, national and/or international level.

10. Develop and refine academic/professional communication and presentation skills, including written, verbal, non-verbal, and digital.

According to the CAS Standards and Guidelines a "program should recognize the important educational opportunities that diversity among its students and faculty brings to student affairs preparation. Therefore, programs should encourage the recognition of and adherence to the spirit of multiculturalism by all who are allied with the program's educational enterprise." How does this program do that?
Given that fostering access, equity, and inclusion are central to effective leadership in education, our program develops in our students a commitment to understanding, appreciating, and engaging diversity and advocating for social justice within and beyond higher education. Our intent is to help students move beyond merely knowing about diversity in higher education; we expect them to act on their knowledge by identifying areas where they want to make a difference and working for change as scholars and leaders in the field. Below are a few of the ways our program embraces and promotes diversity: •Issues of diversity and multiculturalism are infused in meaningful ways throughout core and elective courses. •All students in the M.Ed. program must choose at least one course to fulfill the diversity course requirement. Although students are required to take only one course, students have many diversity-focused electives available to them including Spirituality in Higher Education, Gender Issues in Adult and Higher Education, and International Higher Education among others. •Students participate in internship and assistantship experiences across a variety of institutional types including minority serving institutions, community colleges, and women’s institutions. •Program faculty affirmatively recruit students from underrepresented populations through an annual campus visitation program, the PREP Program.

What is the cost of tuition?
Visit our website for up-to-date information on tuition and fees:
Which of the following are available to help defray the cost of tuition, fees and other related education costs (from the program and/or institution)?
  • Assistantships
  • Fellowships
  • Financial Aid
  • Travel Funding
On average, how many years does it take to complete the program?
2 years

What is the employment rate of graduates from this program?
For May 2016 graduates, we had 100% employment rate within six months of graduation.

What are the professional contributions to the field made by graduates from this program?
Graduates of the M.Ed. program maintain active membership in professional associations, serve and lead their institutions and communities in various capacities, and some have gone on to pursue doctoral education.

If this is a master's degree program, what percentage of students go on to earn doctoral degrees?
No current data exists on students continuing on to earn doctoral degrees.

Please describe the program's curriculum:
The Master of Education degree requires 39 semester hours of coursework comprised of the following: •Higher Education Core Courses (15 Hours) •Diversity Course (3 Hours) •Research Component (3 Hours) •Practicum/Internship (3 Hours) •Specialization/Elective Courses (15 Hours)

Specific information about courses can be found here:

How many credits are required to graduate?
39 credits
Which of the following are required for graduation?
  • Practicum
  • Internship
  • Portfolio
How many of the program's faculty are full-time?
How many faculty are adjunct/part-time?
What is the faculty to student ratio?
Who are the current teaching faculty and what are their backgrounds and research interests?
Mary Ann Danowitz Mary Ann Danowitz is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Higher Education. Before coming to NC State, she was a senior research fellow at the Management Department of the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria, studying Ph.D. students’ experiences in new doctoral programs under the Bologna Process. Dr. Danowitz has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Denver, The Ohio State University, the College of William and Mary, and Penn State University. She was a Fulbright scholar in Austria and Indonesia, and has taught and conducted research in Australia, England, Germany, Hungary, and Malaysia. She holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education from Penn State University. The focus of Dr. Danowitz’s research is gender, diversity, and equity in the areas of leadership, governance, management, organizational change, and careers, particularly regarding the higher education sector in the United States and Europe. Dr. Danowitz’s publications include more than 110 articles, book chapters, and academic papers, as well as five books and monographs. Her most recent book is Diversity in Organizations: Concepts and Practices (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2012).

Joy Gaston Gayles Joy Gaston Gayles is a Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. Her research focuses on student access, success, and outcomes of undergraduate education, most notably for student athletes and women and underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM majors. More broadly, diversity and equity are themes that run throughout Dr. Gayles’ research agenda. She received a grant from the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) to study factors that impact degree completion for women and URM in STEM, and is currently working on a funded project to examine non-cognitive factors (e.g., self-efficacy, motivation, and sense of belonging) in relation to student success. Prior to her time at NC State, Dr. Gayles was an assistant professor of higher education at Florida State University. She earned her doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The Ohio State University. Dr. Gayles’ work has been published in outlets such as the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, the Journal of College Student Development, and Innovative Higher Education. She received the 2014 Diamond Honoree Award from ACPA – College Student Educators International for her outstanding contributions to higher education and student affairs, and serves on the editorial board for the Journal of College Student Development (JCSD) and the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (JSARP).

Audrey J. Jaeger Audrey J. Jaeger is a Professor of Higher Education, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, and Execcutive Director of the National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. She teaches courses in organizational theory, foundations of research and scholarship, governance of higher education, and student affairs. Before joining the faculty at NC State, Dr. Jaeger worked in higher education administration at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and at Bucknell University. She was also an adjunct professor at Baruch College (CUNY). Dr. Jaeger’s professional experiences include both academic and student affairs positions. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from New York University. Dr. Jaeger’s research examines relationships and experiences among faculty and students that illuminate issues of transition, access, climate, agency, and civic and community engagement. Additionally, her research explores how various aspects of the environment, from labor market conditions to institutional policies, affect faculty and students. Dr. Jaeger’s research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Educational Policy, Journal of College Student Development, Community College Review, and several others. She is currently the associate editor of Research in Higher Education and sits on the editorial Board of the Journal of Higher Education. Dr. Jaeger has been honored with national awards, including the NASPA Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member and the National Panhellenic Conference Women in Higher Education Achievement Award.

Stephen R. Porter Stephen R. Porter is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development, where he teaches courses in educational statistics, causal inference with observational data, and survey research methods. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Rochester, with a concentration in econometrics. Prior to his faculty positions at North Carolina State and Iowa State University, he spent nine years in higher education administration in the field of institutional research, working first at the University of Maryland, College Park, and most recently as Director of Institutional Research at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Dr. Porter’s current research focuses on student success, with an emphasis on quasi-experimental methods for program evaluation, and survey methods, particularly the validity of college student survey questions. His research has appeared in journals such as Economics of Education Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education. He is PI or Co-PI on $9 million of external funding from the Lumina Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others. Dr. Porter is currently an editorial board member for the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, and Research in Higher Education. He is also chair of the Education Systems and Broad Reform grant review panel at the Institute of Education Sciences, and a postsecondary content expert for the What Works Clearinghouse.

Alyssa N. Rockenbach Alyssa B. Rockenbach is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. Her research focuses on the impact of college on students, with particular attention to spiritual development, religious and worldview diversity, campus climate, community service engagement, and gendered dimensions of the college student experience. Her research has been featured in journals such as Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Gender and Education, and Religion and Education. In 2012, Dr. Rockenbach co-edited Spirituality in College Students’ Lives: Translating Research into Practice with Dr. Matt Mayhew. She is currently co-authoring the third edition of How College Affects Students with several colleagues, and is collaborating with Interfaith Youth Core on a grant-funded national, longitudinal study of college students’ engagement with religious and worldview diversity. Dr. Rockenbach previously served as associate editor of the Journal of College and Character and is on the editorial boards of Research in Higher Education and Journal of Higher Education. She has been honored with national awards, including the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar Award, the Annuit Coeptis Emerging Professional Award, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Religion & Education SIG Emerging Scholar Award. Dr. Rockenbach earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of California, Los Angeles and her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.

Paul D. Umbach Paul D. Umbach serves as Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development. He teaches classes on finance in higher education, organizational theory, policy analysis, college faculty, survey methods, and multi-level modeling. Before joining the faculty at NC State, he spent four years as an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Iowa and was a research associate with the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. At the Center, Dr. Umbach was a research team member working on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and a project manager of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). His professional background includes several years working in institutional research at Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, and the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Umbach’s current research focuses on policies and organizational structures that affect college student access and success. Central to much of his work are issues of equity and diversity. His work appears in the Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Journal of College Student Development. Dr. Umbach has twice been a member of both the AERA Division J and the ASHE program committees, and he served as the 2013 AERA Division J conference committee chair. He has been an editorial board member of Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development. He also has served as editor-in-chief of New Directions for Institutional Research, and is currently senior associate editor of the Journal of Higher Education.

What is the average size of the program's cohorts?
What percentage of students are full-time?
What percentage of students are part-time?
Please describe the diversity of the program's students:
For the 2017/2018 year, current M.Ed. students (first and second year cohort) are 70% female, 35% Students of Color, 45% out-of-state residents.

When is the deadline to apply?
Application URL:
Financial Aid URL:
Who is encouraged to apply?
The master's degree is designed for individuals who seek professional preparation for managing and administering student support services in higher educational environments. Competitive applicants generally possess a strong academic record and undergraduate GPA, evidence of undergraduate co-curricular involvement and/or full-time work experience at the collegiate level, and career aspirations that align with the purpose and outcomes of the M.Ed. program. Committed to program diversity and multiculturalism, the faculty also encourages applicants from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations to apply.

What are the requirements and criteria used for admission?
Admission into the M.Ed. program is based on a holistic review of the candidate materials. Prospective Students must submit the following to be considered: •Personal Statement (specific prompts are on our website) •Official GRE Scores •Professional Resume •Academic Transcripts •Three (3) Letters of Recommendations •Proof of English Proficiency for International Applicants •Application Fee

Is the GRE required?
On average how many applications are received each year?
On average how many students are accepted each year?
What makes this program unique from others?
Distinctive characteristics of the program include: •Diverse students and faculty representing a variety of backgrounds, research interests, and professional experiences •Opportunities for course specialization in either (1) Student Affairs or (2) Organization and Administration • A commitment to developing leaders who advocate for social justice in education and society •Access to multiple institutional types in the Raleigh /Durham/Chapel Hill area that provide an array of contexts for learning and professional development through graduate assistantships and internships

Student References
  1. Hannah Finkelstein
    2nd year M.Ed. Student; Higher Education Association President
    North Carolina State University
    300 Poe Hall
    Campus Box 7801
    Raleigh, NC 27695
Graduate References
  1. Patti Baynes
    Director, NC State Advising Corp
    North Carolina State University
    101 Current Dr CB#7105
    Raleigh, NC 27606
    (919) 515-5247
  2. Jenny Sloop Johnson
    Assistant Director, Career Services
    Duke Engineering-Professional Masters Programs
    114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Bay 5
    Box 90950
    Durham, NC 90950
    (919) 660-1057
  3. Donte McGuire
    Doctoral Student
    University of Maryland, College Park
    300 Poe Hall
    Raleigh, NC 27695

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