Professionals trained in educational administration are well-suited for a variety of positions within the administration of postsecondary schools, including work as a registrar, student affairs administrator or admissions administrator. Pursuing a career in educational administration in any environment requires strong leadership and problem-solving skills; advanced interpersonal skills are also extremely important. Students interested in taking on a leadership role in this field are required to have at least a master’s in educational administration, along with relevant work experience in a setting that is similar to their area of specialty.
While students may need to satisfy an on-site internship or field experience credits, the coursework required in the master’s programs encompasses training in a variety of computer programs and software applications. Computer skills are a necessity for all educational administrators, especially registrars and admissions counselors who may work with digitized databases and online applications. Today, achieving success in educational administration requires a modern approach to traditional administrative responsibilities. For this reason, completing a master’s in educational administration online is an excellent place to start.
Below, we’ve ranked the top online master’s in educational administration programs in the U.S. for 2016.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Mississippi College||Clinton||$$$$$||200 South Capitol Street|
Clinton, MS 39058
The online master's in education administration provides a foundation in theoretical and practical administrative skills based in the Christian tradition. The degree consists of a total of 27 course credit hours in Basic Effective Leadership, Research Methods and Procedures and Finance in Higher Education, as well as two required practicums in the field.
Online courses are delivered through Blackboard in MyMC, a single sign-on student portal providing resources like computer support, access to virtual databases, remote chapel services and other student support options for distance learners. Students may enroll in the online master's program in the fall, spring or summer semesters, and the accelerated degree may be completed online in as little as 18 months.
|2||Stony Brook University||Stony Brook||$$$$$||310 Administration Building|
Stony Brook, NY 11794
The online master's degree in educational administration program is comprised of 30 total course credit hours in a combination of core and elective courses, an optional practicum and a final master's project. Stony Brook's online MA degree stresses comprehensive leadership skill-building through optional subspecialties in student affairs, academic affairs or general postsecondary administration.
Online courses are delivered through Blackboard, with numerous student support services, including video tutorials, online orientation courses and tech support help. Distance learners are encouraged to communicate frequently with peers and instructors via the university's SOLAR System network, as well as participate in its exclusive Student Success Webinars.
|3||Colorado State University||Fort Collins||$$$$$||102 Administration Building|
Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100
Courses in the online MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education prepare graduates for careers involving student activities, financial aid, admissions and residential advising within postsecondary administration. The program consists of 45 course credit hours, including two practicums; students may work with a personal advisor to find a practicum in their area of interest; the program culminates in a professional portfolio and final project.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously through Canvas, incorporating annotated PowerPoint presentations, live chat rooms and threaded discussion forums. The university's own ValuED blog encourages discourse on the benefits of online learning and welcomes feedback from those involved in distance education.
|4||Andrews University||Berrien Springs||$$$$$||4150 Administration Drive, Room 136|
Berrien Springs, MI 49104
The online master's in education administration prepares students to pursue careers in colleges and universities in administrative areas like enrollment, admissions, financial aid and athletics. The curriculum stresses an international focus, providing the skills needed to master the universal basics of the field so that they may apply for positions in universities worldwide.
Distance learners complete assignments through Moodle, with a number of support services available, including online registration and transfer options, financial aid assistance and virtual library access. Additionally, online students may participate in special distance-oriented clubs and activities via a weekly newsletter and dedicated Facebook page. The master's in higher education administration may be completed in two to four years.
|5||Dallas Baptist University||Dallas||$$$$$||3000 Mountain Creek Parkway|
Dallas, TX 75211-9299
Students of the online M.Ed in Higher Education choose the administration or instructional track. Both tracks are comprised of 36 total credit hours in a combination of core and concentration courses. Depending on the track of choice, students may choose further concentrations in topics like Community College Leadership, Distance Learning Specialization, Interdisciplinary Studies and more.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously through Blackboard, with the aid of student support services including a 24-hour helpline, a dedicated writing center and library access. Additionally, distance learners are encouraged to take part in discussion boards and chat rooms, featuring virtual "lecture halls" where students can interact in real-time using multimedia tools.
|6||Iowa State University||Ames||$$$$$||3410 Beardshear Hall|
Ames, IA 50011-2030
Iowa State University offers a hybrid online master's degree in educational administration, ideal for students looking to pursue a career as a principal or superintendent within a K-12 school system. The master's degree is a Pre-LEAD program designed to lead to principal certification, if applicable to the student's study track and career plans.
The program is delivered via a cohort model, with a group of students moving through the sequence of courses together, and combines online asynchronous curriculum in Blackboard and Moodle with 1-2 required meetings on campus per term. Support for distance learners available through the online ISU portal includes career services, e-portfolio software and video tutorials.
|7||University of Louisville||Louisville||$$$$$||2301 S 3rd St|
Louisville, KY 40292-0001
The online master's in education administration program prepares students to understand contemporary issues that may arise during their careers. Coursework is comprised of 36 course credit hours, geared toward working professionals with experience in the field. Professional classes include Legal Issues in Higher Education, College Students in the United States and Philosophy of Higher Education.
Students use Blackboard to access their courses and support services specifically for distance learners, including the online library database, virtual tutoring and writing advising and career counseling. Online coursework is intended to be self-guided, although IT and Blackboard support is available as needed through a unique live chat feature.
|8||University of Houston||Houston||$$$$$||212 E. Cullen Building|
Houston, TX 77204-2018
The M.Ed. in Higher Education is centered on the idea that higher learning as a vehicle of social change can be transformative. The curriculum stresses a combination of theoretical and practical concepts, with a focus on experiential learning; a variety of field options are available to satisfy the program's internship requirement. Other avenues of educational administration the program stresses are in "policy and planning," "collaboration and community" and "student experience and opportunity."
Online students use Blackboard to participate in their courses. They also have access to numerous student resources created especially for distance learners, including a live chat feature, and dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts. Additional resources available to online master's in higher education administration students include virtual library and bookstore access, an online writing center and academic tutoring services.
|9||Drexel University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||3141 Chestnut St|
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Drexel offers an online master's in higher education administration, incorporating an experiential learning component to prepare students for leading-edge opportunities in the field. The program offers a variety of specialization options in addition to the MS degree, including school principalship certification and special education leadership concentration.
Distance learners complete courses online through Drexel Learn. Drexel continues to grow the benefits of its extensive virtual network for distance learners, which includes active alumni, knowledgeable experts and potential career connections. Online students may take advantage of a range of academic support resources, including 24/7 tech support, virtual library and writing center access and advising via Steinbright Career Center.
The higher education leadership and policy studies program at Hofstra provides an excellent foundational education by way of interdisciplinary coursework. According to Hofstra, major topics emphasized throughout the program include "the governance and operation of an institution of higher education" and "historic and current issues involving administration and leadership in colleges and universities in the U.S." The program has specific courses addressing ethics, governance, higher education economics and the modern postsecondary student.
Distance learners must complete 36 total credit hours in core and electives courses, culminating in a completion project.
Online assignments for the online master's in higher education administration are completed in Blackboard by logging in to the student portal; distance learners may take courses online in combination with an independent study course that satisfies the face-to-face internship requirement. Support services available to online students include integrated access to career counseling, an exclusive writing center and links to professional organizations with longstanding partnerships with Hofstra programs and faculty.
|11||University of Mississippi||University||$$$$$||Oxford, Mississippi|
University, MS 38677-1848
The higher education degree at University of Mississippi is a part-time program for those already working professionally in a college or university setting. Online coursework covers contemporary issues in student-centered higher learning administration, particularly in support of on-campus lifestyles and efforts to shape students into leaders. Sample program courses include "Human Resource in Higher Education," "Law in Higher Education" and "Curriculum in Higher Education."
Though the majority of coursework is delivered online through Blackboard, students are required to attend two on-campus residencies at the beginning and end of the program. Developed to maximize collaborative learning, the online MA utilizes a cohort method of completing the curriculum, with course content provided through A/V conferencing and streaming multimedia sessions.
|12||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville||$$$$$||1806 Ave J|
Huntsville, TX 77340
The higher education administration program takes a contemporary approach to leadership in administration. Topics covered include academic affairs and student success, governance and organization of higher education, technology and resource allocation. Students may complete the degree with or without a thesis; the program requires completion of 30 course credits, including a practicum.
Assignments are completed online over the Blackboard learning platform. A variety of additional student resources are available, including IT support, online scholarship opportunities, a job board for SHSU students and multimedia tutorials.
|13||Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||University Park||$$$$$||201 Old Main|
University Park, PA 16802
The higher education degree prepares graduates for a variety of career options in higher education administration, including academic advising, institutional outreach and student life. Curriculum in the 30-credit professional program is centered on one of three optional areas of emphasis: administration, student engagement or institutional research.
The school is in the process of transitioning from ANGEL to the Canvas learning management system to host its online courses. Students have access to a variety of resources and support, including web-based academic advisors, optional student clubs and organizations, the Alumni Student Teacher Network and financial aid opportunities.
|14||National University||La Jolla||$$$$$||11255 North Torrey Pines Road|
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
In National University's higher education administration program, students build the theory-based leadership and management skills needed to drive necessary changes in the administration of a school, to boost the morale of students and to increase an institution's pool of student leaders, as trained by a qualified administrator. The program is comprised of 45 quarter units of combined core and research courses and culminates in a thesis project. Core courses deal with strategic planning in a postsecondary workplace, managing student enrollment and university public policy and ethics.
Online courses are delivered through Blackboard as part of a single-sign-on initiative, which also offers academic, technical and personal student support services at one point of access. Distance learners can access career counselors, available jobs, financial aid and graduation assistance, among other options, through Student Concierge Services online.
|15||Abilene Christian University||Abilene||$$$$$||1600 Campus Court|
Abilene, TX 79699
The Master of Education degree is well-suited to both mid-level professionals seeking advancement and those looking to start a career in education administration. Students enrolled in this program may choose either the college student affairs concentration or the enrollment management concentration. Admission into the online M.Ed. is not contingent on completion of a thesis or GRE.
Coursework is delivered through an exclusive student portal, MyACU, that incorporates discussion boards and collaborative assignments to encourage steady communication between students and faculty. Though the majority of coursework can be completed online, students must participate in one four-day residency on ACU's campus to complete the degree; most part-time students graduate in under two years.
|16||University of Central Missouri||Warrensburg||$$$$$||202 Administration Building|
Warrensburg, MO 64093
The University of Central Missouri offers an online MSE in School Administration that is well-suited to students aspiring to the role of principal or superintendent within the K-12 school system. The degree consists of 30 credit hours in a combination of theoretical and practical application of school administration skills and culminates in an internship experience that spans two semester.
Online assignments are delivered through Blackboard, and students have access to a number of services, including academic advising and tech support. They can also use UCM's Writing Center, Student Success Center and the KC REACHE education consortium. Additionally, UCM hosts a live chat option and a mobile Blackboard app for distance learners.
|17||North Park University||Chicago||$$$$$||3225 W Foster Ave|
Chicago, IL 60625-4895
The master's in higher education administration is for students looking to serve in the nonprofit administration sector after graduation. The online MHEA degree consists of 36 credit hours, in a combination of core and elective courses; major classes include: Curriculum in Higher Education, Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations and Ethical Leadership. Students typically complete the program in two to two-and-a-half years.
Distance learners access assignments through Moodle, which also hosts a number of other online student resources, including technology tutorials, an integrated helpdesk system and a writing center. Additionally, students completing coursework online in the master's program may utilize WebAdvisor, the virtual library and bookstore services.
|18||Bay Path University||Longmeadow||$$$$$||588 Longmeadow Street|
Longmeadow, MA 01106
The MS in Higher Education Administration allows students to choose one of four available concentrations: Enrollment Management, Institutional Advancement, General Administration and Online Teaching and Program Administration. Students have three opportunities to enroll in the online MS program throughout the academic year and may attend full-time or part-time to complete the degree in 20-24 months, respectively.
Online courses are facilitated through Canvas, accessed by logging into the student portal. Students can receive personalized advising from staff who are trained to guide them through the online learning experience. Additional student support services for distance learners include special access to an online bookstore and Hatch Library.
|19||Wilmington University||New Castle||$$$$$||320 Dupont Hwy|
New Castle, DE 19720
Wilmington University offers an online M.Ed. in School Leadership with an emphasis in bringing theoretical learning into practice. The program encompasses 33-35 credits in required and elective courses, including a practicum in school leadership and an internship in general administration. Students research topics that explore school and community, curriculum leadership and fiscal operations. Graduates are prepared to pursue principalship, superintendent positions or other leadership roles within K-12 administration.
Courses are delivered through Blackboard, and additional services are available through WebCampus, including an exclusive course scheduling tool, student finance management and virtual access to the career services network. Academic support for distance learners includes tutorials, workshops and seminars offered through the dedicated student services center.
|20||Saint Leo University||Saint Leo||$$$$$||33701 State Road 52|
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
This St. Leo program is ideal for students looking to pursue certification in education leadership in K-12 administration in Florida. Students complete 36 credit hours of coursework; the curriculum explores eight major content areas of the field and culminates in a required practicum course. Classes include: School Operations; Principalship: Theory and Practice; and Data Driven Instructional Design.
All online assignments are accessible through a virtual learning portal that also incorporates full-service tools to accommodate the distance learning community and provide tech support. Coursework in the program combines CD ROM, A/V media and traditional textbook delivery; additional online support includes a live chat option and dedicated career counseling.
|21||Adams State University||Alamosa||$$$$$||208 Edgemont Blvd|
Alamosa, CO 81101
The higher education administration and leadership program uses the cohort method to explore concepts such as policy and politics, data analysis and finance and budgeting in higher education, along with other experiential learning initiatives. Though the majority of the 36 credit hours of coursework is performed online, students are required to attend a two-day, on-campus orientation session at the beginning of the program, as well as an in-person, two-day leadership summit to conclude their degree.
Online assignments are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system as part of a "one stop student services" portal. Online learners have access to a variety of student resources centered, including video tutorials, personal counseling and course advisement. Online students may also take advantage of the resources available through the Grizzly Testing and Learning Center or join an online student interest group.
|22||New England College||Henniker||$$$$$||98 Bridge St|
Henniker, NH 03242
The curriculum of the higher education administration program consists of 40 credits of coursework that explore broad administrative and leadership concepts of contemporary two- and four-year colleges and university systems. The program culminates in a capstone course in the final semester. Graduates are prepared to perform on-the-job duties related to advising, admissions, enrollment and student affairs.
Online students complete assignments in Blackboard and have the support of additional online learning systems, including Moodle and various Adobe applications. NEC aims to provide a variety of student support services for distance learners, including academic tutoring, career planning services, mentoring, financial advising and technical support.
|23||Upper Iowa University||Fayette||$$$$$||605 Washington St|
Fayette, IA 52142-1857
Students of the the 36-credit hour higher education program can focus their degrees on student affairs or leadership. The curriculum is centered on translating theory into practice through a combination of individual and group assignments, culminating in a required capstone project. Coursework encompasses a range of learning materials to help students fully understand the curriculum, including case studies, simulation exercises and problem-solving projects.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously through a singular online student portal, powered by Pearson's eCollege and designed to grant access to online courses and a wealth of student services for distance learners. Online learning support resources include academic tutoring through Smarthinking, career counseling and an online writing lab.
Educational administrators play a pivotal role in K-12 schools, colleges and universities. At any institution, qualified professionals in this field are necessary to perform day-to-day functions involving student admissions, records maintenance and general support of student affairs and activities. Those who complete an online master’s in educational administration may be eligible for a career as an admissions counselor, registrar or provost, among other options. As student enrollment increases in the U.S., the BLS estimates there will be a concurrent need for skilled postsecondary education administrators through 2022, with employment opportunities expected to grow by 15% during the next seven years.
A master’s in educational administration is generally preferred by hiring institutions in this field. Graduate-level programs are designed to provide a well-rounded education in clerical, research, organizational and “people” skills, however students in a distance program may receive the added benefit of using integrated software and technology to complete their degree online.
The importance of computer skills in educational administration cannot be overstated. Many positions in the field require advanced knowledge of online applications, including admissions application software and database and word-processing experience to input school data and maintain student records. For students completing a master’s in educational administration online, they can gain experience in the virtual classroom while also pursuing field experience in a real-world setting.
Prospective educational administrators, especially registrars and school deans, should have practical experience in their area of interest. Some students pursue an internship or practicum while completing their degree, while others seek on-the-job experience in an entry-level position after graduation. Though requirements vary, field experience is preferred by most employers, as it demonstrates an advanced understanding of the interpersonal skills required to thrive in educational administration on a day-to-day basis.