M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education


If you are passionate about helping college students learn and develop, our M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education will equip you to succeed and lead. Our program grounds you in the theory and methodology of student development. Our specialization in Higher Education prepares you for a variety of leadership and administrative positions in student affairs and higher education. You can choose to complete a focus area in student affairs administration, higher education leadership, or develop another focus area with advisor's approval. The program is 36 semester hours; internships generally require 120 hours of field experience.

Learning Outcomes

During your program of study, you will:
  • Apply historical, social and philosophical foundations of adult and higher education to the practice of adult and higher education.
  • Apply learning and development theories to diverse practice settings in adult and higher education.
  • Utilize a theory-to-practice model to develop and plan programs in diverse settings.
  • Apply principles of assessment/evaluation to the practice of adult and higher education.
  • Critique and apply research findings to the practice of adult and higher education.

To apply for this program, you'll need to provide the following:

  • An application
  • A written statement of goals
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Resumé

Your written statement of goals is a short essay (maximum of two pages, singlespaced) that explains why you want to pursue this graduate work, how your previous experiences in school, work and life have shaped your career ambitions, and why you believe our program will advance your success.

Application Deadlines

Fall priority: Feb. 1
Fall final: July 15
Summer: June 1
Spring: Dec. 10

Apply Today!

  • Our internship requirement provides professional career experience to develop your in-depth understanding and working knowledge of a specific employment area in adult and higher education. You'll have the opportunity to not only work with a diverse population of students but also take advantage of professional development experiences and networking throughout Chicagoland. You also can explore internships on the national and global level.
  • Our Division of Student Affairs and other academic affairs offices offer graduate assistantships to students in our programs; the typical compensation includes tuition waiver and stipend. Opportunities include Admissions, Career Services, several diversity and cultural resource centers, First- and Second-Year Experience, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Housing and Residential Services, Student Involvement and Leadership Development, Student Conduct and many more.

We promote best practices in the preparation of educators, advocates and leaders as we promote an understanding of the world, communities and social justice. Our alumni are committed to understanding the past, advancing the present and modeling for the future what graduate preparation should encompass.

You'll study ethics, leadership and administration, program planning, community development, social justice, adult learning theory, educational policy analysis, student development, continuing professional education, program assessment and evaluation, and more. The CAHA 598 e-portfolio experience helps you to integrate and synthesize concepts and principles and to connect theory and practice.

Specialization Core Requirements (15 credits)

  • CAHE 500 Foundations of Higher Education (3)
  • CAHE 502 Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in Higher Education (3)
  • CAHE 503 U.S. College Students (3)
  • CAHE 522 Student Development in Higher Education:Programs, Issues, and Practices (3)
  • CAHA 598 Issues in Adult and Higher Education (3)

Research Core Requirements (6 credits)

  • CAHE 572 Assessment Methods in Higher Education (3)
  • ETR 520 Introduction to Research Methods in Education (3)

Internship Core Requirement (3 credits)

  • CAHA 586 Internship in Adult and Higher Education (3)

Suggested Focus Areas-developed in consultation with advisor (12 credits)

Student Affairs Administration

  • CAHA 562 Helping Skills for Student Affairs Professionals (3)
  • CAHE 509 Campus Environments and Student Cultures (3)
  • CAHE 523 Outreach, Advocacy, and Intervention in Student Affairs (3)
  • CAHE 701 Student Affairs Administration and Practice (3)
  • CAHE 702 Student Development in Higher Education: Theory and Practice (3)

Higher Education Leadership

  • CAHA 555 Seminar in the Community College (3)
  • CAHE 703 Postsecondary Access (3)
  • CAHE 770 The Administration of Higher Education (3)
  • CAHE 771 Legal Aspects of Higher Education Administration (3)
  • CAHE 772 Financing Higher Education (3)

"NIU was an excellent fit for my education because it provided the space necessary for me to develop my potential as a student. Being a student at Northern embeds you into an environment to be a modern professional while highlighting intersectionality. We convert from students to professionals and often become role models."by Josiel Marrufo, M.S.Ed., Adult and Higher Education