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Program Coordinator:
Thandi Sulé, Ph.D.
480 E Pawley Hall

Department Secretary: 
Leslee Rogers
480D Pawley Hall
(248) 370-3070

Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership

Master of Education in Higher Education students have the opportunity to study both academic affairs and student affairs. The program values social justice and encourages students to think critically about institutional inclusiveness. It also emphasizes the integration of theory and practice through a capstone internship opportunity. Evening and weekend courses are available. In addition, this program is designed to be a full-time cohort based program. 

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the semester deadlines listed below:
  • July 15 for fall semester (cohorts begin in the fall semester); Early submission is recommended as graduate assistantships are competitive.
The mission of the Higher Education program is to develop transformational leaders who meet professional standards, understand social justice practices and think critically about promoting post-secondary institutions that are optimal sites for teaching and learning. 
Graduates of our program will have the tools to enact principles of effective higher education practice through theory, research and practice. Specifically, students will be able to advance their careers in entry to mid-level administrative positions in higher education. Additionally, students will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to pursue and advanced degree in higher education. 

The program goals are designed to respond to the dynamic nature of the higher education marketplace. Specifically, students in the higher education program will have the tools needed to:
  • Create post-secondary institutions capable of educating students for the knowledge economy
  • Create and sustain environments that promote social justice 
  • Apply the latest theories, research and best practices 
What is social justice higher education training? 

Social Justice education draws upon an interdisciplinary body of scholarship that identifies issues related to educational equity. Students will acquire a fundamental understanding of the intersection between social identity and participation in social institutions, particularly higher education. Thus, the program explores the history and current status of social inequities as a means to equip students with information necessary to inform higher education policies and practices. Essentially, social justice education emphasizes the equitable distribution of resources, consideration of diversity and social responsibility.
Future students applying for admission to the higher education program must submit a program specific goal statement (not the standard Graduate Admissions goal statement).  Please see guidelines below:
Length, Spacing and Font
  • Minimum length 1 page and maximum length 2 pages
  • Single-spaced
  • 12 point font and 1-inch margins
Narrative :
  • Why you want a master's degree in higher education
  • Area of higher education in which you would like to specialize
  • Qualifications and experiences that make you uniquely prepared for MAHEL
  • Your vision of higher education equity
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in your academic or professional record.
Resume (no more than 2 additional pages) with the following:
  • Post-secondary schools attended and degrees attained
  • Relevant work experience (including volunteer work)
  • Relevant organization memberships
  • Career goals
The Master's in Higher Education Leadership requires 32 credit hours of study including a capstone internship experience. Students can take courses in the following areas of leadership: academic affairs or student affairs. Classes will be scheduled on evenings and weekends.

Required Core: 16 credit hours
Our Masters of Higher Education Leadership program is a cohort program. All students are expected to take EL 580 Introduction to Higher Education and EL 584 Higher Education Equity during the first semester and History of Higher education during the second semester. Students are expected to complete the program in two years (four semesters).
  • EL 580 Introduction to American Higher Education - 4 credits
  • EL 581 History of Higher Education - 4 credits
  • EL 584 Higher Education and Educational Equity - 4 credits
  • EL 587 Capstone Internship in Higher Education - 4 credits
Year One:
  • EL 580 Introduction to American Higher Education - 4 credits/Core
  • EL 581 History of Higher Education - 4 credits/Core
  • EL 584 Higher Education and Educational Equity - 4 credits/Core
  • EL 585 Leading Effective Organizations - 4 credits
  • EL 586 Introduction to the Administration of Student Services in Higher Education - 4 credits
Summer One (optional)
  • EL 582 Current Issues in Higher Education - 4 credits 
Year Two:
  • EL 583 Academic Development and Curriculum - 4 credits
  • EL 585 Leading Effective Organizations - 4 credits
  • EL 586 Introduction to the Administration of Student Services in Higher Education - 4 credits
  • EL 587 Capstone Internship in Higher Education - 4 credits/Core
  • CNS 591 Counseling and Advising the College Student - 4 credits 
  • CNS 592 College Student Development and the Campus Setting - 4 credits
The MAHEL program requirements include a capstone internship experience. The internship is designed to give students the opportunity to reflect on the cumulative material learned throughout the program and to apply that knowledge in a practice setting. Students must complete 128 internship hours. At the end of their internships, students will create a portfolio that is cumulative of their internship experience and the previous semesters in the program.
  1. Internships are completed at the end of coursework and are individually designed by the student in cooperation with the course instructor and a field mentor who is an experienced administrator.
  2. The field mentor may not be an instructor of any course the student has taken nor the student’s immediate supervisor.
  3. Internships are undertaken in a setting other than the students’ current employment positions, though they may be completed on the same campus. For example, if a student is employed in Undergraduate Admissions, they will need to pursue an internship in a different office or department, such as the Office of the Registrar.

Previous MAHEL students have completed their internships in the following offices/units:

  • Office of the Registrar at Oakland University
  • Office of International Programs at Marygrove College in Detroit
  • Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development at Oakland University



Kendra Agee Headshot"Social justice is a necessary tool in creating diversity and inclusion in postsecondary education. It empathizes the importance of sharing knowledge and developing resources that can be used to create equitable access for disadvantaged populations."

-Kendra Agee, '15
Nicholas Desrochers Headshot

“For me, social justice in higher education is struggling with, understanding, and eventually committing to the notion that there are societal opportunities and privileges that have been extended to some, but not others.  Education is a tool that brings to surface the relevance and importance of social disparities, but furthermore, allows students to discuss their personal standpoints/experiences with their peers.  It was through these types of interactions that I truly got the most out of my graduate-level education.”

-Nicholas Desrochers, '14

ShaneLewis Headshot

“To work toward the ultimate, far-reaching goal of equality we must all be champions of social justice.  To be socially just, one must ensure the path to access in higher education is clear and without barriers.  Higher education practitioners must work to remove obstacles, so that all are free to pursue their dreams.  Higher education should not be reserved for the privileged -- everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves and their lives through the pursuit of post-secondary education.”

-Shane Lewis, '15

SaraMachiniak Headshot

“Social justice in higher education means a well-rounded education for faculty, administrators, and students. Today, the needs of our students varies greatly just as much as their backgrounds do, and we must be ready to meet them where they are. To ignore social justice in higher education is to ignore our country's history and present day occurrences, especially in regards to access, equity, and education. An institution that supports social justice efforts and education is an institution who creates future leaders who are cognizant of struggles faced by many silenced voices in this country. Long gone are the days of the ‘traditional student,’ and social justice in higher education helps to usher in this new era in our dynamic history.”

-Sara Machiniak, '15


Graduate Assistantships

Oakland University offers graduate assistantships to full-time, degree-seeking graduate students. Many students obtain a graduate assistantship to cover graduate student tuition and to acquire valuable experience in higher education. If you are interested in applying for an assistantship, please use the following list as a guide to opportunities on campus. Once you identify positions of interest, contact the representative listed with the indicated documents.

Eligibility and Requirements for a Graduate Assistantship Appointment

  • Students must have “regular” admission status to a specific graduate degree program.
  • Students must be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA).
  • ALL students with graduate assistantships are expected to maintain a full-time enrollment status at Oakland University during the semester(s) for which they are appointed.
  • Graduate Assistants must maintain an overall grade-point average of 3.00 AND show satisfactory progress toward completing degree requirements.
  • Students may not hold other employment positions during the term of appointment, either at Oakland or elsewhere, without prior written permission from their faculty adviser and Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.