Higher Education

Higher Education

Program Description

The Higher Education Program (HEP) is designed for students interested in careers in administration in a college or university or in policy and planning at a higher education association or agency. During an intellectually and personally invigorating academic year, students examine the policies, practices, and issues of contemporary American higher education and enhance their analytical and managerial skills.  Rather than preparing students for one particular job, the curriculum offers them the skills and knowledge essential for their professional advancement through many positions during their careers in higher education.

At Harvard, HEP students are taught by higher education faculty whose vast knowledge, experience and passion for their fields enrich their courses and inform their advising.  The HEP’s innovative “president-in-residence” program brings a former college president to Harvard each year to attend classes, meet with students, and discuss course assignments and career choices. Many students complement their coursework with custom-designed, paid internships that provide professional development in an ongoing or new field of interest.

Students also learn from their extraordinarily smart, talented, and enthusiastic peers.  Coming to Harvard from a broad array of previous positions, students have diverse academic, professional, and life experiences that enliven their conversations in and outside of the classroom.  Some have worked in higher education previously, in entry, mid-management or faculty positions; some are interested in making a career transition into higher education; and a select few come directly from undergraduate studies where they were highly accomplished students and student leaders. The master's degree in Higher Education is a one-year, full-time program. A very small number of part-time students are admitted and complete the degree in two years.

The cohort-based program creates exceptionally close ties that extend well beyond the students’ graduation.  After HGSE, HEP graduates assume roles of increasing leadership and influence in student affairs, academic affairs, enrollment management, institutional research, finance and planning, institutional advancement, and policy analysis.  They remain connected to each other and to the Higher Education Program as they work to improve and sustain the work of colleges and universities.

Attention Incoming Students:

Please visit our FAQ section for questions relating to your transition to HGSE, including information regarding internships, housing, and orientation.